Shhh, we're gonna let you in on a secret: you know the quintessential 'Korean' look? The one with glass skin, immaculate coiffure and perfect gradient pout? Korean girls don't wake up just looking like that. Seoul girls fall back on a couple of failsafe beauty hacks to get that look.
If French girls are known for their insouciant, effortless chic, the K-look could be defined by precision and perfection. There's no smudged eyeliner or messy bedhead in the K-beauty lexicon.
Instead, if you want to get the K-drama look, there are some surprisingly quirky yet specific tricks Seoul girls use. That's right, there's a lot more to looking like Song Hye Kyo than just having Sulwhasoo-worthy skin. Scroll through the gallery to find out a few easy yet essential steps to recreating that look.
Fill in your hairline
This one always surprises non-Koreans. No, there isn't an abnormal number of Korean women suffering from baldness. It's just that Koreans have a penchant for perfectly rounded, symmetrical hairlines so they use various darkening products to correct any unevenness. In Korea, you can find specific products to fake a fuller, rounder hairline but even eyebrow shadows will suffice to make your crown look immaculate.
Get the Korean part
Continuing the theme of hairlines, there is a preferred hair part in Korea and it's just slightly off-centre. Why this particular part? In Korea, having an oval face shape is considered "ideal" and this part provides the most balance to the face as it gives a nice 'v-line' chin without exaggerating the forehead. In addition to the slightly off-centre part, Korean women will usually tuck the shorter half of the hair behind their ear and the longer side will swoop down in a gentle fringe. They always create more volume at the roots of the fringe half by giving it a little lift with either a hair dryer or a straightener.
Take a b(r)ow
By now, most people are familiar with the Korean brow-it's a little straighter and a tad fuller. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of people go full-on Sesame Street Bert and Ernie in their quest for the perfect face framer. To nail the Korean brow, ease up on the brow pencil and make sure the outline of your brow is soft and somewhat undefined. Nice and natural is key to this look.
Forget all the Kardashian-esque contouring tricks you've picked up from Instagram. Korean contouring takes a lighter-handed touch, so harsh lines and chiseled jaws are a big no-no. The Korean contour also has a different geography. Instead of sweeping the bronzer under the cheekbones, it's placed on the cheekbone in order to create a less angular appearance. Traditionally, Asians have more pronounced cheekbones so Koreans do not emphasise them. Rather, they are minimized in order to achieve a smaller face.
May the force be with you(r cushion foundation)
In Korea, it's typical to see women slapping their faces with their cushion foundation pads. Don't worry - it's not a bizarre ritual of self-punishment. Adding a little extra force when you tap your foundation is said to help make your base look more natural. You know when your foundation feels a bit like a mask sitting atop your skin and seems to separate around midday? This genius trick helps you to avoid that, because in Seoul, looking good 24/7 is for better or worse a necessity. As a Seoulite, I swear this trick will instantly lift your foundation game and you will never be gentle with your foundation again.
This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.