K-Beauty, short for Korean Beauty, is far more than just a skincare phenomenon—it’s a global dialogue that’s reshaping the way we approach our beauty rituals. At the heart of K-Beauty is a philosophy that marries innovative technology with a holistic approach to skin health, emphasizing gentle care, hydration, and the layering of lightweight products that nurture the skin. Think of it as the skincare equivalent of a carefully curated wardrobe, with each step providing a unique function, tailored to your skin’s shifting moods.
It’s famous for its extensive skincare routines (hello, 10 steps!), whimsically packaged products that spark joy, and potent ingredients like snail mucin and fermented extracts that sound like the latest gastronomy trends but are actually the secret sauce behind that covetable, dewy ‘glass skin.’ K-Beauty doesn’t just challenge us to rethink our daily cleanse-tone-moisturize mantra; it invites us to infuse a sense of mindfulness and self-care into every pat, dab, and swipe. It’s a skin-love story that’s as much about the journey as it is about the radiant destination.
Trends come and go, but several of these K-Beauty tricks have stayed in the focus of makeup lovers all year long. Here are a few we recommend you give a go.
1) Glass Skin
This makeup term has gotten a few names over the years from “donut glaze” a la Hailey Bieber, or “dewy dumpling” skin a la makeup artist Nam Vo, but it was originally known as glass skin. Glass skin refers to a combination of skincare and makeup products designed to give you skin a smooth, glass-like skin. There are a few products you can use to get this type of effect, regardless of if you have dry, oily, or combination skin.
It all begins with the base, after washing your face go in with a toner or essence, followed by a moisturizer and sunscreen. Once skin care is done, go in with a hydrating primer, like the Joah Beauty Luminous Skin Tint Stick ($13.99), to give your skin a glowy base.
Next go in with a light to medium coverage foundation, like the Joah Beauty Luminous Peptide Foundation ($15.99), and cover up any minute blemishes with a concealer or color corrector. Finish up with a light layer of power, particularly around the sides of the nose and the area in between your brows and slightly above. By powdering in these spots, you keep your skin looking glowy versus greasy.
For the final step, go in with the Joah Beauty Hydrating Glow Cream Mist ($17.99) to give your skin an extra layer of hydration and helping the powder better settle on the skin.
If there is one K-beauty trick that has remained constant in the past decade, it would be using aegyo-sal enhancing makeup techniques.
In South Korea, the roll of skin beneath your eyes that frame the lower eye lids is referred to as the aegyo-sal, which can roughly be translated to “charming fat”, because it’s believed to provide a youthful and “charming” look to the individual. The aegyo-sal can be highlighted by applying a light-colored glitter along the inner part of the lower lid line and by using a cool-toned eyeshadow or pencil (lightly applied!) to create a hint of shadow underneath the roll of skin beneath your eyes.
There are a number of glitter products you can use to get the aegyo-sal effect including a glitter liner, a glittery eyeshadow applied with a slightly damp makeup brush, or an eye-safe glitter pot and glitter primer with an eyeliner brush.
For as known as K-beauty is for soft rosy pink cheeks, an exceedingly popular color you can find in many a K-beauty makeup post is fig, a warm orangey-brown shade resembling the inside of a juicy piece of fruit.
There are a few products specifically designed to help you get this beautiful flush of color on your lips and cheeks, like the A’Pieu Juicy Pang Water Blusher in “Fig Pearl” ($13). While the product packaging may more initially resemble a bottle of nail polish, it’s actually an adorably little brush that allows you to apply a liquid brush across your cheeks and the bridge of your nose for a beautiful flushed look.
Another beautiful fig-colored product you can use across the cheeks and on the lips is the Sunnies Face Airblush in “Fig” ($18).
4) Multi-Chromatic Makeup
A style you will commonly see in K-beauty looks is multi-chromatic makeup. Unlike American makeup styles, where there is often an emphasis on a darker-colored shadow and a nude lip like with the martini makeup look. However, within K-Beauty, it’s not uncommon to see the eye, lip, and cheek makeup all resemble the same or similar color. Add a pop of matching glitter on top of the lids to help the eyes stand out.
5) Puppy Liner
As much as we love the cat eyeliner style in the States, in South Korea you are just as likely to see a makeup technique referred to as “puppy liner”. Similar to how many Americans compare body types to objects or fruits (hourglass, pear, apple, etc.), in South Korea, it’s not uncommon to hear about your face being described as looking like a “cat”, a “dog”, a “fox”, and so on. So people who have eyelids that tend to droop downward and have rounder facial features are often described to have a cute and friendly “puppyish” appearance.
Puppy liner is where you draw out your eyeliner from the inner corner and extend the line out but slightly downwards. This is a makeup technique that works especially well for those with hooded and mono eyelids.