Sunday, October 11, 2015

TOP 5 | K-Beauty Pro Tips and Secrets for Perfect Skin + Makeup

We are winding down #asiaweekxraeview with a highly requested Korean skin and makeup guide. After seeing a few professional makeup artists in action during my S. Korea trip, I gathered some valuable information about how K-beauty's glowing skin and effortless makeup is achieved. Even though the "no makeup" makeup look seems easy, it's deceptively complex because a restrained hand requires more training and practice. 


Find a liquid or cream formula that works with your skin type. Cushion foundations are extremely popular in Korea, and you see women touching up their foundation in powder rooms, while waiting for a train, etc. This is only possible if you skip the powder. 

Mixing liquid and powder formulas will inevitably cause caking, so try getting accustomed to wearing a liquid or cushion foundation by itself. If you have oily skin or plan to be photographed, apply powder only around the nose, on smile lines, and the center of your forehead.


A sticky concealer will help to fill pits and other textural imperfections. I got this advice from revered Jung Saem Mool, makeup artist to gorgeous Tang Wei as well as K-pop biggest names. I also learned that Korean women use fillers heavily, but if you'd rather skip the injectables, prep the skin with a smoothing primer like Shu Uemura's before concealer application for best results. 

A sticky concealer clings to the skin better for a longer lasting effect than a sheer liquid formula. You need to use a heavier, dense concealer to mimic the texture of real skin. Always use a small synthetic brush for precise application. Less is more! 


I always thought the bigger the better when it came to false lashes. Now that I'm nearly 27, I have realized that some of the long, full falsie styles I used to love are just "too much" for my face and personal style. I discovered some incredibly comfortable individual false lashes while in Seoul which will be featured in my upcoming Korea Haul video, and I have since converted! I still wear strip lashes more often due to time constraints, though. 

I am still improving speed without compromising technique, but for now, takes me about 30 seconds to prep, glue, apply, and wait for each bundle to set completely. Thus, it's a considerable commitment to apply individual lash bundles, but they look like eyelash extensions without the damage aka all your real eyelashes falling out!! Apply the individuals where you would tightline  between the natural lash line and your waterline  for the most believable results if you want a voluminous full fringe. 


Rich pencils and pigmented pomades are not ideal for creating signature k-brows. They will end up looking excessively dark, heavy, and totally unnatural. Korean brows are painstakingly tamed and groomed to appear straight and quite full yet feel light to prevent overwhelming the face. 

That is why Shu Uemura's Hard 9 brow pencil is still the industry standard in Korea! It is buildable and not waxy. Very few pencils are as smooth as this one. No flaking or clumping. See it in action in my K-Beauty Brow Tutorial!


Full lips can make you appear older (à la Kylie Jenner). The reason why ombre lips are so popular in Korea is because the look is so youthful. Although some American women are confounded by this trend since it makes your lips look smaller and thinner, it's the most flattering way to wear very bright and bold lip colors! 

For example, wearing red lipstick can be intimidating. If you have larger lips, the color might overtake your face so that only the red  not any other features  will be noticeable. This is where the gradient technique comes in!

If you apply only to the center of your lips and gently blend out, the color looks much more subtle. You can watch me apply a wine colored lipstick using this technique here. Cover the lip lines with a little concealer or powder to emphasize the ombre effect. Now you can wear red (or pink or orange or violet) any day, all day!
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  1. I love this! Thank you for sharing with us!

  2. Hi Rae, you are definitely spot on about Korean makeup style. I remember being in Seoul and learning to apply makeup for the first time and I did notice Korean women prefer thicker foundations and concealers, not necessarily heavier but a thicker texture. I find that it gives you a much more flawless look then using lighter foundations with powder. I have a hard time with the ombré lips so maybe you could give some pointers or do a tutorial? Luckily my brows are thick and grow straight so at least I have that part down lol.

    1. Of course! I've shown the technique in my most recent Get Ready With Me video!

  3. I have a little question for you. This is not regarding the K-skincare product. I have been using them, but i am not sure if it is chemical-free and all natural or organic. I watched your video and came across the TATCHA brand. I noticed that this brand is just launch 4-5 years ago. I looked at the website and the reviews are all good. This Japanese brand is all natural and "chemical-free". However, because it is so new to the skincare industry, that is why it got me wondering if i can try their skincare product. Compare to SKII, the price is almost the same. DO you think it is worth to switch to TATCHA, since I am currently using the FTE and aura bright? SKII is not totally "natural" or not "chemical-free", that is why it got me thinking of switching to TATCHA

    1. TATCHA skin care is good, but in my experience, not necessarily the best. I like the hand cream, the sunscreen, and of course, the cleansing oil which I've raved about. TATCHA is gentle. We are surrounded by and ingest (through food, water, air etc) so many chemicals every day. Although SK-II isn't natural, their skin care is still excellent and shouldn't be written off. Unless you have very sensitive skin and have experienced adverse reactions, there's no real need to switch.

    2. I am thinking of slowing incorporate some "natural" skincare products into my routine together with SKII (which I start to love), can you recommend some brand that I can try, such as Sunday Riley, Kate Somerville, Sulwhasoo, etc?

    3. Oh and I want to ask this, if you have to give the rank to the brand of all the skincare product you have used, what is your top 5 or 10 brands that you love and would recommend? Thanks. I am currently looking for some skincare brand to add together with the SKII to have new routine, I think the skincare routine i currently have is now longer do any good for my skin, until I add SKII, which I see result, that why I want to try new brand of product to incorporate.

    4. I like Sunday Riley and Sulwhasoo a lot, and you can surf through my reviews here on the blog or YT if you want to know more! If you're seeing results with SK-II, then I recommend that you explore more of their products. The problem with more "natural" skin care is that people generally do not see the results they hoped for. Brands and products are always changing, always reformulating, so it's a trial and error process for everyone!

  4. coming from a korean myself, you're totally spot on rae ;) and you look better in that hanbok than i will ever do!

  5. Hi Rae, I want to try Korean skin care brand. Between Ohui and the history of Whoo which one is good for oily skin. Thanks


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