A Beginner's Guide to Korean Makeup LookA Beginner's Guide to Korean Makeup Look

In recent years, Korean beauty products have gained immense popularity and have taken the beauty world by storm.

Korean makeup is all about achieving a natural, dewy and glowing look, that is both simple and effortless. It is not just a beauty trend, but a lifestyle that focuses on taking care of your skin, and enhancing your features in a subtle and elegant way.

This beginner’s guide will take you through the basics of Korean makeup, from skincare to makeup application, so that you can achieve the perfect Korean makeup look.

Whether you are a makeup enthusiast or a beginner, this guide is for everyone who wants to learn more about Korean beauty and wants to achieve a flawless and radiant complexioneup. We’ll talk about the basics of this type of makeup and tips and tricks for applying it correctly.

What is Korean Makeup?

Korean makeup is a beauty focuses on achieving a natural, radiant and glowing look. It is characterized by its emphasis on skincare, as Korean beauty routines prioritize taking care of the skin as a crucial step in achieving a flawless makeup look.

asian makeup look styles

Image: Pinterest

Korean makeup is known for its minimalism and subtlety, using light, sheer textures and soft, pastel colors to enhance the natural features of the face.

In addition, Korean makeup products often have cute, quirky packaging, which has also helped them become popular in other parts of Asia. Some popular Korean brands include Laneige, Mamonde, Etude House, Sulwhasoo, and Innisfree.


Korean makeup has a long and rich history dating back to the Three Kingdoms of Korea. At that time, women would use natural ingredients such as jujube fruits and red beans to enhance their beauty. They would also apply rice powder to their faces to make them look whiter.

korean makeup origins

Image: Freepik

Over the years, Korean makeup has evolved and become more sophisticated. Today, women use various products such as BB Korean cosmetics, CC Korean cosmetics, and contouring powders to achieve a beautiful complexion.

They also use eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, and Korean skincare, to enhance their features. The permanent makeup was also developed in Korea and has now become popular globally.

How Does Korean Makeup Differ From Western Makeup?

Korean makeup differs from Western makeup in its focus on achieving flawless, radiant skin, the use of gradient lips, natural-looking brows, emphasis on brightening the eyes, lower blush placement for a youthful flush, and a more subtle, natural approach to enhancing one’s features.

  • Korean makeup typically uses less foundation and powder than Western makeup.
  • Korean makeup often emphasizes eyeshadow and eyeliner over other features.
  • Korean eyelashes are often curled, and mascara is often used to create a more dramatic look.
  • Korean lip color is typically more subtle than the Western lip color.
  • Korean makeup is usually more dewy and natural looking than Western makeup.

Overall, Korean makeup focuses on enhancing natural beauty rather than covering it up with heavy makeup products.

Products & Brands

Cushion Foundation

korean makeup foundation

This is a lightweight, hydrating foundation that comes in a compact with a cushion applicator. It provides a natural, dewy finish and is perfect for everyday wear.

Lip Tints

korean makeup lips style

Korean lip tints are known for their long-lasting, pigmented formula that gives a beautiful, gradient effect on the lips. They come in a wide range of colors and finishes, from matte to glossy.

BB Cream

korean makeup style cream

BB cream is a multi-functional product that acts as a primer, foundation, and skincare all in one. It provides lightweight coverage, while also hydrating and protecting the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.


korean makeup looks blush

Korean blushes come in soft, pastel shades that provide a subtle, natural-looking flush to the cheeks. They are often formulated with nourishing ingredients like shea butter and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin.

Eyebrow Products

korean eyeliner and eyebrow

Korean eyebrow products are known for their precision and natural-looking results. They come in a variety of formulas, including pencils, gels, and powders, and are often formulated with ingredients like vitamin E and panthenol to nourish and strengthen the brow hairs.


korean highlighter makeup

Korean highlighters come in a variety of formulas, from liquid to powder, and provide a subtle, radiant glow to the skin. They are often formulated with pearl pigments to give a luminous, ethereal effect.

Makeup Tips for Beginners

Now that you know a little bit about the history of Korean makeup let’s talk about the basics. Here are the essential steps for achieving your perfect Korean makeup look:

1. Prep Your Skin: By cleansing, toning, and moisturizing your skin. This will ensure that your makeup has a smooth and even base to work with.

2. Apply Foundation: Choose a foundation that matches your skin tone perfectly. Use a damp beauty sponge or brush to apply it evenly over your face.

3. Conceal and Brighten: Use a concealer to cover any blemishes or dark circles. You can also use a highlighting concealer to brighten the bridge of your nose, chin, and cheeks.

4. Contour and Highlight: Add definition to your face with contouring powder. Then, use a shimmery highlighter on the high points of your face (cheekbones, brow bone, nose bridge).

5. Add Color: You can use blush to add a natural flush of color to your cheeks. For eyes, you can apply eyeliner and mascara. And for lips, opt for a tinted lip balm or lipstick.

6. Set Your Makeup: Set your makeup with a light dusting of translucent powder to finish your look.

7. Sun protection: Sun protection is not just a skincare step but a vital component of achieving a flawless complexion. Korean beauty brands offer a wide range of lightweight, non-greasy sunscreens. Apply sunscreen as the final step of your skincare routine, ensuring complete coverage over your face, neck, and any exposed areas.

When Applying Makeup

  • Start with a clean slate – always prep your skin before applying any makeup.
  • Keep it natural – Korean makeup is about achieving a natural, dewy look. So avoid using heavy foundations and opt for lighter shades instead.
  • Have fun with the packaging – many Korean brands have fun and quirky packaging, which can add to the enjoyment of applying makeup!
  • Take your time – don’t rush the process. Give yourself enough time to apply each product correctly and achieve your desired look.

These are just a few tips to help you get started with Korean makeup. With practice, you’ll soon be able to create beautiful looks with everyone asking how you do it!

Gradient Lips

gradient lip technique is a popular trend in Korean makeup, known for its youthful and playful appeal. To achieve this look, start by selecting a lip tint or lip stain in a shade of your choice.

Begin by applying a generous amount of color to the center of your lips, focusing on the inner parts. Gently press your lips together to distribute the color naturally.

Using your finger or a lip brush, blend the color outwards towards the edges of your lips. The goal is to create a gradient effect, with the center being more intense and gradually fading towards the outer corners.

Take your time to blend and smudge the edges for a seamless transition. This technique gives the illusion of plumper lips and a just-bitten, natural flush of color. Experiment with different shades and intensities to find the perfect gradient lip look that suits your style.


Use a spoolie brush to comb your eyebrow hairs upward. Trim any excessively long hairs that extend beyond the natural shape of your eyebrows. Trimming helps create a neater and more polished look.

Using an eyebrow pencil or powder that matches your hair color, fill in any sparse areas. Make light, feathery strokes in the direction of hair growth, focusing on creating a soft and natural look. Avoid applying too much product to maintain a natural appearance.

korean makeup eyebrows look

Image: Pinterest

Unlike arched eyebrows, Korean eyebrows are typically straighter. To achieve this look, follow the natural curve of your eyebrows and avoid creating a pronounced arch. Use light strokes to define the bottom and top edges of your brows, maintaining a soft and straight appearance.

Use a spoolie brush or a clean mascara wand to comb through your eyebrows. This helps blend the product and soften any harsh lines, ensuring a natural finish. Gently brush the hairs upwards for added fullness.

To keep your eyebrows in place throughout the day, apply a clear or tinted brow gel. This will help maintain the desired shape and hold the hairs in position.

Puppy Eyes

Get inspired by Korean beauty trends with the puppy eyeliner style, which features a downward curved winged liner, while the cat eyeliner curves the wing upward.

korean makeup eyeliner and gradient lips

Image: Pinterest

Korean beauty trends have introduced a unique twist on traditional eyeliner styles with the puppy eyeliner technique. Puppy eyeliner is characterized by a distinct downward curve in the winged liner, which creates a subtle and charming effect. In contrast, the classic cat eyeliner style is known for its winged liner that curves upward, creating a bold and feline-inspired look.

Depth and Dimension with Lashes (Optional)

korean makeup style cream

Instagram – @windassintya

To further enhance the allure of the Korean eye makeup look, some individuals opt to incorporate false lashes for added depth and dimension. False lashes can instantly make your eyes appear wider, more open, and defined. When choosing false lashes for a Korean makeup look, it’s best to opt for styles that are lightweight, wispy, and natural-looking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now that you know the basics of Korean makeup let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What is korean makeup called (K-beauty)?

Korean makeup is often known as K-beauty, which encompasses makeup and skincare products, techniques, and trends originating from South Korea.

K-beauty focuses on achieving healthy, radiant skin using innovative and high-quality products suitable for different skin types and concerns. It has gained worldwide popularity due to its effectiveness and unique formulas.

How to do korean makeup for dark skin?

While the majority of Korean makeup products and techniques are designed for lighter skin tones, it is possible to adapt them for dark skin. Here are some tips on how to do Korean makeup for dark skin:

  • Start with a proper skincare routine, choose a cushion foundation or BB cream that matches your skin tone,
  • Use a sheer or matte finish powder
  • Pick the right shades of blush and highlighter
  • Experiment with lip colors, and enhance your eyes with natural-looking makeup
  • For eye makeup, use a light, shimmery eyeshadow on the lids and a darker shade on the outer corner
  • Use a brown or black eyeliner to define the eyes and finish off with mascara.

What is the difference between Japanese and Korean makeup?

The main difference between Japanese and Korean makeup is the emphasis on natural-looking skin. While Japanese makeup focuses on heavy contouring, Korean makeup tends to be more dewy and luminous.

What color eyeshadow do Koreans use?

Koreans often use natural-looking eyeshadow shades such as soft browns, warm neutrals, and pastel hues for a subtle and youthful look.

How to do korean eyeshadow?

  • Start with a neutral base eyeshadow color
  • Apply a light, shimmery eyeshadow on the lids
  • Apply a darker shade on the outer corner
  • Use a brown or black eyeliner to define the eyes
  • Finish off with mascara
  • Keep the colors soft and natural-looking
  • Blend well to create a gradient effect

By Hà Phương

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