A makeup artist shares the secrets behind the flawless faces of Korean drama stars and K-pop idols
The blush rush
So, what is the focus of Korean makeup in 2021? “There is a big blusher war going on right now in Korea with brands competing for the attention of the younger generation,” says Hong. From powder puffs to liquid cheek stains, the options are many and varied for adding a rosy glow to the face, but she believes that younger women are now looking for names that work as hard as they do. “It’s nice to see women favouring multi-tasking products that can be used on the lips and as a blusher for adding a natural flush to the face.”
Dew or die
The craze for dewy skin serves as one of K-beauty’s most successful exports to the world, undoing years’ of conditioning that shine was the enemy. A dewy glow that celebrates the skin’s natural sheen is now being welcomed, and Hong likes to rely on one powerful tool to get a dewy finish in two ticks: a serum spray. “After the base makeup is done, I like to finish off with a few spritzes of a serum spray, like the D’Alba First Spray Serum, to quickly and easily get that dewy texture,” she says.
Play it cool
Given the humid climate we live in, and its many unpredictable changes, it pays to borrow from the K-beauty rulebook for ensuring that makeup lasts longer through the day. To avoid adding frequent touch-ups to a celebrity’s already-hectic schedule, Hong chooses to cool their skin before applying base makeup. “You’ll generally find me using some mask pads for cooling the skin before applying primer and two-three layers of foundation—extremely thin layers, of course,” she says.
Keep your friends close, and your moisturisers closer
Needless to say, the quest for dewdrop-fresh skin doesn’t begin and end with the makeup kit—Korean celebrities are extremely vigilant about following through on their skincare routine with a heightened focus on hydration. “Moisturising creams are a must for Korean celebrities, and you’ll generally find them favouring hydrating formulas from Chanel, Hera Skincare and Lagom,” she shares.
The skincare-first approach filters into the base makeup routine that turns the spotlight on prepping the skin before makeup comes into play. “The order I’ve always followed for base makeup is to start with the moisturiser followed by the primer and sunscreen for sun protection through the day, before allowing foundation to touch the skin,” she explains. Among the recurring favourites in her makeup bag are the Avene TriXera Nutrition Nutri-Fluid Face & Body Lotion for giving dry skin a dewy sheen, ILLIYOON Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream for adequate hydration and Lagom Cellus Deep Moisture Cream. “The past year of wearing masks has also taken its toll on skin that gets dry and sensitive easily, and Centella’s lineup has proved to be essential for calming and hydrating the skin,” she adds.