This might come as a surprise, but you don’t have to stick to the famed and perhaps fabled “10-step k-beauty routine” for youthful skin — in fact, Korean girls get lazy too. That’s not us making an assumption, by the way; these are words uttered from LANEIGE Global Makeup Artist Shawn Jeong, in a recent interview that made us feel less guilty about skimping on a couple of products. Great to hear!
Yes, skincare is important — he urges us to try at least 2 steps! — while also making the case for “skip-care”, a new k-beauty trend that calls for a simpler, less fussy routine that pays attention to skincare essentials, while responding to what your skin truly needs. Sometimes, this means reaching out for multi-functional products such as the latest in Laneige’s skincare technology, the Cream Skin Refiner. But more on this later.
In a bid to learn more about the ever-evolving world of k-beauty, we unintentionally ended up debunking some myths as well — the popular dewy skin’s out in favour of a semi-matte finish; there’s no time like now to embrace glitter on our eyelids; and surprise, there are makeup philosophies we can learn from our male k-pop idols after all. On makeup inclusivity, parent company Amorepacific‘s also starting to look at foundation shades for darker skin tones, while Jeong has a couple of lipstick recommendations too if you’re of a tanner complexion. Curious? Dive in below.
How is k-beauty different in 2019?
“We’re starting to get semi-matte finishes on the skin for base makeup. Several years ago, glowing makeup was very trendy, but I know that even then, Singapore customers couldn’t accept it because it’s hot and humid here. Fortunately, since last year, the trend has evolved from glowing skin to semi-matte skin — not very matte, because Koreans still like the look of healthy skin, with a little glow.”
How can we achieve semi-matte skin then, especially in this tropical climate?
“You need to care for your skin first, with skincare products, then go for matte makeup that doesn’t bother your skin.
For makeup, the Layering Cover Cushion has both a concealer and cushion foundation at the same time, so you can get the semi-matte finish without feeling too dry. You can also try the Light Fit Powder — the pigment is very light. We have two colours, and I’d recommend the bright pink with a slight shimmer. You can place it on the centre of your face so it looks nice when the light catches. And see, very smooth texture right?
Koreans also like to a rosy-pink base colour, and that’s why they usually apply a purple-toned makeup base. Usually, Asians have a bit more of a yellowish undertone, so you can colour-correct that for brighter-looking skin.”
The “10-Step Beauty Routine” can be daunting for non-Korean women — what would you recommend to simplify the routine for busy / lazy women?
“I understand, Koreans can be lazy too. We accept 5 to 10 steps for skincare, but people do it out of habit because it’s part of Korean culture — habits like applying our toner, essence, serum, eye cream, cream. Even mothers apply sunscreen for their babies before they head out, my nephew does that!
Here [in Singapore], we say there are 5 steps, and people are like, it’s too much! You can adapt it to 3 to 5 steps — please, at least 2 steps, every morning and night! Gradually you can add an eye gel, or a sleeping mask, or something else.
I’d recommend the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner. It’s a toner but with a deep moisturising effect that you can use as your first skincare step. You can then decide whether you want to layer anything after this. I would say, if you’ve got oily skin, you can even skip cream. In Korea, we call that “skip-care”. You can skip one or two steps in your skincare routine.
I also use this with the Water Bank Hydro Essence that has a relatively light texture — these two are a perfect pairing for people who live in hot and humid environments.
You can also use the White Dew Tone Up Fluid to protect from both UV rays and fine dust, which is becoming a serious problem in Korea. Its function is awesome because it can protect your skin, even blue light from smartphones. I apply this to the whole face and also the neck area; it’s very smooth, so it doesn’t bother your clothes. These are the three priority products for skincare and skin protection.”
K-pop celebrities are as popular as ever, especially with groups like BTS and BLACKPINK making it big on a global scale. What makeup tips can we learn from, say, the boys of BTS?
“Male k-pop idols apply full makeup just like women do, except maybe mascara. Even contact lens! These stars have to perform on stage with bright lights, so they often apply base shades that are at least 1.5x brighter, while they also put a lot of colour on their eyes. It’s stage makeup, so not really an everyday look. Maybe women can try to apply a bit more colour on their eyes and lips — camera-ready makeup. Experiment! Try brighter colours! Of course, you can go for natural makeup, but on weekends or on holidays, why not?
Yesterday, I met some customers here and introduced them to the Tattoo Lip Tint, and they said oh it’s too bright. These colours are popular in Indonesia and Thailand, Korean women also like them — but it’s different here, customers hesitate to try it. So, why not just try something different?”
Do you think the k-beauty industry will look towards more inclusive shade ranges for makeup? That said, what would you recommend for those with more tan or darker skin tones?
“To be honest, Laneige started from Korea, so when we start developing products, it tends to be for the Korean or Chinese markets. Nowadays though, we are looking towards being a global brand. Two years ago, we launched in Sephora in the US, and this year in Europe. We need to study more on skin types other than East Asian women, so we can develop more products in the future.
For a start, we’ve introduced darker foundation shades (no. 31 – 37), so I’d recommend these.
We can also recommend lip colours. I created the lip colour chart last year, and this is available in several countries — this makes it easy to choose, kind of like a food menu. Beauty advisors can check the customers’ lip tone, then recommend suitable colours. Normally, those with darker skin tend to have a darker lip undertone, so I’d recommend these lip colours [refers to last row on chart]; these are usually colours that aren’t too bright.”
What’s a trending eye look we can easily recreate?
“Glitter! Last year, we launched this product, the Finger Graphic Liner, that comes in two shimmery shades. Of course, we have eyeshadow palettes as well, but if you feel that it’s not enough, you can add on liquid glitter too. It’s very trendy in Korea — the colour Koreans prefer are, of course, peach pink, or orange and brown. You can finish off by drawing eyeliner that follows your natural eye line — not wing-shaped or puppy-eyed, a more gentle shape.”
What is a recent skincare or makeup innovation that puts Laneige ahead of others?
“The Laneige Cream Skin Refiner: there’s a Cream Blending Technology, so it feels like a toner, with a watery texture, but deeply moisturises like a cream. Laneige always tries to go for trendy and innovative technology, and this one was very popular in Korea! It went out of stock for a while when it was launched last year — I was shocked too!”
Are there any up-and-coming skincare trends we can look out for?
“Nowadays, fine dust is a serious problem so people tend to get sensitive skin — we want to resolve some of that using our products. We are focusing on more gentle ingredients and formulas, for example, unscented skincare that will be okay for people with sensitive skin. Green tea helps to calm the skin too, which is why Korean women like to put green tea bags on their eyes for a depuffing effect.”
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