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April 26, 2018

How I Do K-Beauty: Coco’s Korean Makeup Routine

Just like everyone’s face is unique, the way everyone makes up their face is also unique. Here, we take a look at the Korean makeup routine of certified esthetician and makeup artist Coco Park — and learn a thing or two (or three).


Back in my day, we didn’t have Internet shopping (we barely had Internet) and the closest proper makeup counter was a solid two-hour drive in any direction. It was drugstore or nothing, and in those days, any drugstore was pretty universally trash. In my small southern town, you pretty much only had the choice of doing your cosmetic shopping at Walmart. This was 1990s Walmart, so we’re talkin’ chalky eyeshadows and waxy lipsticks.


Let me tell you, 13-year-old me would be absolutely gobsmacked at the wondrous reality that present-day me lives in. With a few clicks I can have a package of the most innovative and freshest cosmetics sent to my door. I can peek into the styles of any country I want and pick and choose my look from a wealth of trends and ever-shifting beauty standards from around the world. Even stepping away from the Internet, the global village we live in today means that I can pull from everywhere to create my own unique look. I currently live in a French province in North America in an area surrounded by ultra stylish neighbors from France, China, Korea, Haiti, and other parts of Canada. The future is now, y’all.


korean makeup routine


Since I’m such a huge fan of Korean skincare, I’m often asked if I use exclusively Korean cosmetics. The truth is not always, but a lot of the time I do. I will say this though: The majority of my favorites are Korean, and that has everything to do with the excellent quality and innovations used in the formulas. If you know what you’re going for, it’s easy to do it all with Korean cosmetics, and you’ll definitely come away happy.


Today I’m going to let you in on my current all-Korean makeup routine, and spotlight my current favorite products.


BB cushion


You’ve heard me go on and on about the Romand Perfect Innerlighting Cushion, and truth be told I’m still in love with it. I recently ran out of my precious #23 and heaved a sigh of relief when one of my latest packages from Beautytap contained a backup.


Romand Perfect Innerlighting Cushion Pure 21 cushion compact hack korean makeup routine


However, I do recognize that Romand has a pitiful shade selection that excludes a whole lotta people. With that in mind, I’m thrilled to say that Innisfree just launched a U.S. exclusive for their Full Cover Matte Cushions that have six darker shades made for people of color. In terms of formulation, Innisfree can do no wrong in my book, so these are a safe bet. Innisfree really does have excellent BB cushions, and I’m excited that they’ve taken this step. You can see some swatches here, and as the poster says, they can surely do better shade-wise. (Contributing editor Sheryll agrees in her review here.) But it’s a start, and I’m so thrilled they’ve taken this step to be more inclusive!




If I need a serious concealer, Tony Moly’s Go Cover is insanely good at covering blemishes and dark spots and even bruising. Let’s say, allegedly, you get a lil’ Botox. Allegedly. And let’s pretend you’re left with some bruising at the injection sites and you don’t want everyone to know the secret to your perfectly smooth brow. I’m just sayin’ … this concealer would be your best friend. Allegedly.


Tony Moly Go Cover Active Concealer - 2 tones korean makeup routine


For lighter concealer needs, I’ve been a loyal fan of the Skinfood Salmon Dark Circle Concealer with its peachy hue that’s a low-key color corrector for purple eye bags. It’s also reflective and brightening so the under-eye area looks fresh and you don’t look like you stayed up till 4 am binge watching true crime shows on Netflix. Allegedly.




Eyeshadow primer is always a must. I just don’t see a good reason not to use one. It results in longer lasting wear time and truer color payoff, so what’s not to love? One of my favorites is VDL’s Expert Color Primer For Eyes, which is a dupe for my old favorite Nars eye primer. There’s also Etude House’s Proof 10 Eye Primer, which is pretty great in and of itself and wildly cheap price-wise. Both products work just as well, if not better than, their popular North American/European counterparts, and they’re all I’ll buy these days frankly.




As far as eyeshadows go, this seems to be Korean beauty’s weakest spot. A lot of North American and European K-beauty enthusiasts are looking for the kind of deep, dark pigmentation that’s popular in their eye looks and therefore their eyeshadows. The Korean approach to eyeshadow is more like a soft watercolor wash as opposed to vibrant oil paintings, and that’s reflected in the formulas.


korean makeup routine


However, if you’re looking for more North American looks and are seeking good pigment, sticking to 3CE, Clio, and Pony Effect makeup are pretty safe bets. Those brands seems to embrace more color heavy looks that are the preferred on this continent, and I’ve never really been disappointed by them. Clio’s eyeshadows are rich and pigmented with a lot of different shade selections, 3CE is especially great for their cutting-edge trends, and Pony’s products have the added benefit of usually coming with easily found video tutorials from Pony herself.


korean makeup routine


Clio Pro Layering Eye Palette, 3CE Triple Shadow in Dainty Tasty, and Pony Effect Shine Easy Glam all get heavy rotation from me in an everyday eye look. Special shoutout to Peripera Holi Deep Velvet Pot — if they’re anything like their Holi Deep Jewel Pots, they’re going to be a must-have for me (I need to investigate this!).




I love eyeliner. We are best friends that started out as frenemies. Mastering it took a while, but once it was done we were inseparable. We’ve been through taut young lids and are now entering crepe-y old lady lid territory together and have seen everything in between.


korean makeup routine


I’m very picky about my eyeliner and won’t readily stray from it. I’m insanely brand loyal once I find a formula that works. I’ve talked for years about my beloved Tony Moly Backstage Gel Liner, which is still my ultimate #1 choice for gel pot liner. I’m also a huge fan of their gel pencil version. My newest addition to the eyeliner hall of fame is CELLNCO Eye Love Pen Liner. This stuff blew me away! The sharpness of the point is 👏 totally 👏 INSANE 👏. And the way this thing glides, son, it had to have been a gold medal ice skater Olympian in its former life. SHARP, SMOOTH PERFECTION. It even works on my aforementioned crepe-tastic old lady lids, and that is really saying something.




Lately I can’t quit my Touch In Sol Stretchex Stretch Lash Effect mascara. It gives defined, long lashes, with no goop or spider clumps. I also love a couple of different Korean skinny mascaras, which cannot be beat for grabbing those tiny lower lashes. It’s totally worth having two mascaras just for that alone. A’Pieu and Innisfree are my two fav skinnies.

korean makeup routine




Depending on how my skin is behaving, it’s either powder blush (good skin) or cushion blush (naughty dry skin) for me. When it comes to powder blush, Romand’s really sets the bar high. I love their gorgeous colors, packaging, and sweet-spot-baby-bear’s-porridge “just right” pigment. Peach Scandal is a personal favorite of mine as it really goes well with my warmer-toned makeup looks.


romand rose gold makeup korean makeup routine


For cushion blush, I really, really love Tony Moly Spoiler Mini Cushion Blusher in shade 02, which is my perfect flushed rose. It looks so natural and so pretty.



korean makeup routine


I’m not a fan of Kardashian level contouring for my everyday looks, but listen, Mama’s got a big-ass forehead, and if I’m wearing my bangs back, I need to contour that fivehead into submission. From the same line as their cushion blusher, Tony Moly also has Spoiler Contouring cushions, which are perfect for daytime contour as they’re insanely natural looking and blend flawlessly.



korean makeup routine

You already know I’m a highlighter junkie. I can’t help it — you always want what you don’t have, and my dry-skinned self is always chasing that visible glow. One of the most natural and prettiest ways to get that glow is Innisfree’s Mineral Glow Stick. It catches the light in such an oh-so-perfect way that whispers “I’m so young and gorgeous” rather than “MY FACE IS CHERNOBYL AND I WILL RADIATE THIS GLOW UNTIL YOUR DNA SCRAMBLES!” The Face Shop Highlighter Beam, which comes in both a gold and pinky shade, is another great option for that subtle but not too subtle glow that perfectly wraps up your look and puts the perfect bow on top.




It’s now officially spring so I’m returning to my summertime crush, Romand Juicy Lasting Tint. What I had been doing is using the shade FigFig (which is perfect for cooler weather) and putting the Romand Lip Matter on top. But I’m generally a huge fan of color so CELLNCO’s Chu Chu Lip in Sour Candy and MeloMELI tints (see my review here) will be getting a lot of play from me in the upcoming months. Between those three products, I haven’t really been using much else!


korean makeup routine


What is your Korean makeup routine look like? Do you focus on eyes, lips, or everything? And what are your favorite Korean makeup products? Let me know in the comments!


Coco Park is an author, beauty journalist, blogger, podcast host, and all around oddball living in Montreal Quebec with her family. Originally from the southern USA, she worked for several years in the makeup industry as a professional makeup artist and holds a certificate in esthetics. She is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Want to know more? Check her out on the Beauty Beyond Basics podcast, on her blog, on Instagram @thebeautywolf, and in her book "Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup."




Cushion foundation has changed everything for me! I love how thin the formulas are. I think that more "traditional" foundations never seen to get to the thinness that cushion foundations get to and I think that combined with (probably too much) blending really helps achieve a really natural look to the skin.