These Are the Biggest Makeup Trends in South Korea in 2019

These Are the Biggest Makeup Trends in South Korea in 2019
Makeup artist Jo Hyemin — hailing from from Seoul's beloved Jennyhouse salon — shares the stand-out makeup looks of the moment and how to achieve them for yourself.

BY DEVON ABELMAN
May 8, 2019

Korean model wearing hot pink lipstick against a white background


In my dreams, my vanity looks like the workspace of a makeup artist at Jennyhouse, a full-service salon in Seoul's Cheongdam neighborhood with five floors devoted to hair, makeup, and nails. On the first floor, you'll find the designated makeup area with long counters neatly lined with open blush compacts and eye shadow palettes and drawers filled with brushes and lipsticks. Here, makeup artists adorn the faces of celebrities, like K-pop group Pentagon and actresses Park Shin Hye and Lee Sung Kyung. If you're unfamiliar with them, just know that I find myself bookmarking their makeup on Instagram for reference way too often.

While in South Korea recently, I visited Jennyhouse's Cheongdam Hill location and my dream makeup station in all its glory and met with members of its trend research team. Each season, six hairstylists and one makeup artist round up what they believe will be the most popular looks in Korea based on trends from around the world. Then they create reference photos for their clients to use.

K-beauty trends in America are 90 percent skin-care related, so I was interested in finding out what's happening in the makeup sector. Makeup artist Jo Hyemin shared stand-out trends of the moment beyond the usual berry-tone lip tints and the dewy skin we've come to know as the staples of Korean makeup.

1. “Thin” Lashes
Lee Sung Kyung thin lashes look

Getty Images

These days, people in Korea are moving away from flashy false lashes and toward a low-key lash look. "We prefer when the lashes aren’t too thick," Jo explains. "[The desired look] is really thin." They are more into giving their natural lashes a dramatic curl and evenly coating them with mascara. The result is more sparse and separated than the lush lashes often seen Stateside, but the Korean trend still gives eyes a widening effect.

To create this aesthetic, a lash curler surprisingly isn't involved. Instead, Jo says makeup artists light the end of wooden sticks (typically used for tteokbokki, Korean rice cakes), on fire before blowing it out and pressing them against lashes to curl them. I'd be startled by this revelation, but singer Tiffany Young once told Allure she swears by this lash-curling technique. "Wood ironing," as Jo calls it, helps mascara sweep on more cleanly without clumping. Plus, it more efficiently curls the downward, straight lashes that Koreans typically have.

2. Matte Hot-Pink Lips

Korean model wearing hot pink lipstick against a white background



Although glossy lips are trending in America, "matte is quite a big trend at the moment," Natalie Lee, a manager at Jennyhouse, tells me. In the past, people in Korea didn't focus on bigger, voluminous lips, but lately, the fuller look has been more desired than ever before. In addition to getting fillers to achieve it, Lee says they have been drawing attention to their lips with velvety matte lipstick in a fun hot-pink hue. She stresses it's applied with "really specific," crisp lines. I've noticed HyunA has been wearing fuchsia lipstick a lot lately, so that confirmed Jennyhouse's trend findings for me.

The shade is so major that Jo formulated her very own vibrant pink lipstick — dubbed Mimi Pink — for Jennyhouse's upcoming color cosmetics line. It will be dropping "before summer," Lee says. In the meantime, try Nyx's Suede Matte Lipstick in Clinger.

3. Completely Coral

jennyhouse jo hyemin with spring makeup palette

Jo Hyemin/Instagram

Several other makeup artists from Jennyhouse also made their own trend-based lipsticks, and Lee points out that three of them happen to be variations of coral. Lee Hee Jung, who works on their marketing team, asked the makeup artists if they were inspired by the Pantone Color of the Year, Living Coral. The overall answer was yes, but many noted that coral is especially flattering on the complexions of Koreans.

While exploring Seoul, I noticed coral tones on women everywhere, including Jo herself. Korean makeup brands like VDL even have Pantone Color of the Year collections, and coral options for blush, eye shadow, and lipstick are always available, no matter where you're shopping. Living Coral hair is even a thing.

People aren't afraid to go completely coral with their makeup, either. "If I'm using coral for eye makeup, I'll use coral for cheek and lips, as well," Jo says. "I prefer to use the same range of colors."

Jenny House Makeup vanity filled with blush and eye shadow

For eyes, Jo says coral helps give depth. She sweeps it all over for a wash of color or creates a downward shape from the outer corners in the beloved "puppy eye" look, a style that has long been a part of the Korean makeup lexicon. However, coral eye shadow is never rushed on in a "dramatic upward shape," she adds. I spotted the 3CE Multi Eye Color Palette in #Beach Muse and Maybelline New York Lemonade Craze Palette on Jo's vanity.
Devon Abelman/Allure


When sweeping coral onto cheeks, Koreans typically keep their blush concentrated on the center of the apples of their cheeks for a youthful, brightening effect, Jo says. And after swiping on coral lipstick, Jo recommends blurring out the edges for an ethereal, velvety look. Jo's a fan of the Clio Mad Velvet Tint in 07 Coral Ray.

After leaving Jennyhouse, I have to admit I bought a coral liquid blush from Banila Co, which, sadly, you can't get in the U.S. just yet, and a hot-pink liquid lipstick from VDL. It felt necessary. I may be all about clumpy, voluminous lashes, but I definitely want to live out the coral and fuchsia fantasies.

Devon's trip to Seoul was made possible by the Korean Tourism Organization.



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