K-Pop and K-Beauty: How Connected are They, Really?

K-Pop and K-Beauty: How Connected are They, Really? - The Daebak Company
Michelle Phan in 2012

K-pop is all about visual interest - even long term fans continue to be amazed by the intricate choreography, impressive set designs, and OF COURSE the incredible makeup and fashion. If you Google search "Korean Makeup Tutorial," you will be at no loss for content, with no fewer than 17,700,000 search results. K-beauty has had a far reach in recent years, with Korean makeup and skincare products being made available all over the world from online, and the phenomenon continues to grow.

In 2012, Psy's 'Gangnam Style' was released, and longtime international fans of K-pop and Korean culture finally saw a global explosion of interest in the country they loved from afar. K-pop inspired makeup tutorials (like Michelle Phan's above) became very popular on Youtube, quickly gaining millions of views. 'Gangnam Style' was so influential, that HyunA's look from the MV was used to represent the 2010s for South Korea in Cut's "100 Years of Beauty" series. However, many people commented on the video saying that this look simply does not represent Korean beauty in the 2010s. So, what is the impact of K-pop on everyday makeup in Korea?


While many tutorials in previous years would include sparkly eyes and simple, dewy lips, more K-pop music videos are featuring darker, bolder makeup looks these days, as well as more vibrant colors. In regards to the finish of the foundation, it is is very common to see a matte, almost porcelain finish on K-idols in these MVs, and their skin rarely looks shiny or very rosy. In real life, achieving a "glass skin" effect by using products with a dewier finish is just as common as the desire to mattify, from the perspective of a foreigner who is living in Seoul. Additionally, blushes or tints are a staple in most Korean makeup routines, but the effects of these products are less apparent in high-production music videos, where the focus is typically on the eye makeup, or sometimes the lips. The amount of exceptions to these "rules" also indicates an important point ...

In the end, there is no single way to partake in K-beauty. Most Koreans are not sporting brightly-colored hair or flashy outfits, but that's what makes K-pop so special - it's a way to escape the everyday world and enter into something unique for a few minutes. While most young Korean women are probably not actively recreating makeup looks worn by K-pop artists, the influence of K-pop is certainly displayed in advertisements, with idols such as Krystal from f(x) becoming the face of brands like Etude House.

K-beauty has made its mark on the world for a reason, and while the success of idol groups certainly plays a role, it's the quality and the impact of the products that keep people buying. Using these products in a way that suits your creativity and personality is the whole essence behind makeup artistry.

What's your favorite style of K-beauty? Tell us below!

Featured Image: @jennierubyjane on instagram, BlackPink DDU-DU DDU-DDU MV on YouTube

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