Round-Up: 7 Korean Beauty Trends in 2014

Since it’s almost the end of 2014, I decided to do a round-up post of the beauty trends this year. While the K-wave has taken the world by storm in terms of ridiculously good-looking boy bands/girl groups with catchy music grooves and snazzy moves, there is another industry that’s being invaded by products from Kimchi-land – the beauty and skincare industry. Not only do they come in visually-attractive packagings (Etude House leads the pack with its uber princessy theme), they’re also all the more effective simply cos they’re tailored for and therefore more suited for our Asian skin.

Here are some of the top trends that have emerged from Korea this year (a spillover from previous years) – if you haven’t checked them out yet, perhaps it’s time you hop on the K-bandwagon that’s headed towards Kbeauty world.


—Makeup Trends—

Aegyo Sal: Sufferers of puffy eye bags rejoiced this year (myself included). My bane of having a high water retention rate turned into a blessing since this whole puffy-eyed look signified a youthful, childlike, just-woken up image (well, that’s what my Korean friends say anyway). Some have even undergone aesthetic procedures to recreate this look (by injecting fillers). I prefer to fake it till you make it (with makeup) – apply some light pink pearl-sheened toned eyeshadow (I recommend Etude House’s Dear Girls Cute Eyes Maker as well as Etude House’s Play 101 Pencil in shade 28) along the lower lash line. To enhance this effect, add on some glitter eyeliner (Maybelline Big Eyes Love Bag Liner, Kate Shiny Eyelid Liner). Click here to check out more photos of celebs with and without aegyo sal to see the difference.

hangainActress Han Ga In with and without aegyo sal – see how different she looks?


BB Cushions / Cushion Compacts : These brought joy and relief to time-strapped ladies everywhere in the world. Often find yourself spending an additional 10 minutes in the morning having to blend and massage in that foundation? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. Instead, whip out this handy compact, which is usually a specially created sponge-like material (that contains 800,000 pores) and is soaked with something that’s akin to a watered-down version of the usual thick foundation.

However, this doesn’t compromise on coverage, and when applied with a special aerated sponge puff, will give you that perfect dewy Korean finish that creates the illusion of natural flawless skin. How’s that for convenience?

What’s more, some BB cushions even come with skin-cooling, anti-ageing, whitening, mineral water ingredients, sebum absorption effects – the variations are endless. Did I also mention that these formulations are usually buildable, which means that you can touch up on the go without getting that cakey effect?

bb cushionsL-R: Some BB Cushions to try from Hera, IOPE, Laneige and Sulwhasoo

Notable Korean-branded ones to try include Laneige’s BB Cushion (in Whitening (for drier skin types) and Pore Control (for oilier skin types), Innisfree’s Water Glow (for drier skin types)and Long Wear Cushions (for oilier skin types), Sulwhasooo’s Evenfair Perfecting Cushion, IOPE’s Air Cushion XP, Hera’s UV Mist Cushion, as well as The Face Shop’s Cushion Screen Cell.


cushion concealer blusher lipsOther variations of this cushion-based product include: (L-R) Peripera’s Cushion Blusher , Laneige’s Watery Cushion Concealer and Peripera’s Cushion Lips (lip tint).

Dewy Skin: There’s a fine line between dewy skin and oily kwali skin. The art behind getting the perfect dewy look is by using highlighters strategically – the nose bridge, the apples of the cheeks, the centre of the forehead and just at the tippy point of the chin. Highlighters also come in liquid and powder forms, so pick one that suits your style and overall look – I prefer a pink-tinged one (Hera, Etude House) for a more natural look. A gold-tinged one will be better for night use, or for those with a lovely bronzed goddess-like skin.

dewy faceL-R: Sandara Park, Song Hye Gyo and Shin Min Ah showing how to do the dewy face right


Straight Brows: Ah, this is the bane of makeup artists around Singapore. For too long have we been following the Western trends – an arched brow was all the norm, until the Korean trends came into play. Suddenly, all the MUAs were inundated with requests for “that Korean-style brow”, which is essentially a straight semi-groomed brow that is said to create the illusion of a younger and more youthful look. In theory, this is correct. Consider this – when we were all young ‘uns, we had natural brows that weren’t arched. As we grow older, our brows get more defined and shaped to look more groomed, and this association just sticks with age. The key to getting this look is to use a light grey/light brown eyebrow pencil / eyeshadow shade to fill in the gaps – try to avoid harsh dark browns or pure blacks. I use the Prismacolour Ebony Pencil (recommended by a Korean gal pal) – it literally is a pencil for drawing, but Koreans use it for their brows too.

korean straight eyebrowsL-R: IU, Han Ga In and Yuri sporting the distinctive straight Korean-style brows


Gradient Lips: Here’s a perfect bridge between the worlds of a full-coloured lip and a nude lip – a gradient lip look creates the illusion of a just-bitten lip and is great for the day with just a smidgen of colour. It also makes a great base for a transformation into the night full-on bold lippie look. Prepare a rather pigmented and hydrating lippie as well as some concealer / foundation for blending, and then check out my tutorial here.

korean gradient lipsL-R: Yoon Eun Hye, Han Ji Min and Korean celebrity makeup artist / beauty blogger Pony rocking the gradient lips


—Skincare trends—

Treatment Toners: These elevated the everyday toner to an all-new level (and in the process gained them some newfound respect). Lightweight, easy to absorb and packed chockfull with additional ingredients, treatment toners now brought benefits such as whitening, anti-ageing, skin clarity and more, versus its usual “to remove any remnant makeup” usage.

treatment toners featuredSome treatment toners to try: (L-R) Hada La, Hera, IOPE, Nature Republic and The Face Shop

Notable Korean ones to try include IOPE’s Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning, Hera’s Cell Essence, Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence, The Face Shop SMIM Fermentation Concentrate Total Treatment, Nature Republic’s The First Essence, Missha’s Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence, and the latest to join the bandwagon will be Laneige’s Clear C Advanced Effector (available in January 2015). Even the Western brands have joined in the fray – Estee Lauder has its own Micro Essence, while SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence (otherwise lovingly known as Miracle Water by its legion of fans) should come as no stranger. Check out my previous entry on Treatment Toners to Try.


Sleeping Packs: This elevates the term “beauty sleep” to a whole new level – yes it’s common knowledge that your body repairs itself while you snooze, but with sleeping packs (aka overnight leave-on masks), you’ll have double the beauty work done. Most of them leave no residue just 5 minutes after application, so you don’t even have to worry about getting your pillow cases gooey.

korean sleeping packs

For those looking to up your hydration levels, try Laneige’s famed and uber popular multi-award winning Water Sleeping Pack, while those looking for firmer, baby-soft skin can go for Sulwhasoo’s Overnight Revitalizing Treatment. CNP Laboratory’s Propolis Deep Moisture Pack is also great for soothing irritated skin.


And there you have it – 7 Korean beauty trends that were crazy popular this year. I can’t wait to see what’s up for 2015 😀

This blog post is also featured on the GetKlarity blog. GetKlarity is a beauty and wellness app that allows you to luxuriate in some much-needed ‘me-time’ anytime, anywhere. Discover available appointments at top spas and salons by location, enjoy exclusive promotions, and book seamlessly via Klarity app in real-time.

6 thoughts on “Round-Up: 7 Korean Beauty Trends in 2014

  1. Great post! I was wondering if you’ve tried any Mizon or Cremorlab products? Do you know if it’s suitable for mid-30 year olds? Your thoughts on these brands would be great! Maybe a review in 2015?? 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Seriously an awesome round up. I’ve spent a chunk of this evening going through all the brands on your labels to read and go through your reviews of bases/foundations/bb cushions! You seriously have the best and most extensive reviews and photos of BB cushions! I’m so glad I’ve found you! Your blog has been sooo useful and I will be mentioning you in my reviews to point my readers to read your reviews! Seriously love your content! I can’t wait to receive my order of my first two BB cushions I decided on after going through your reviews! The Laneige pore control and Iope air cushion!

  3. Pingback: Review: Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Sleeping Mask | beautifulbuns : a beauty, travel & lifestyle blog

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