5 Things I Learned from Korean Makeup Videos (No Language Skills Necessary)
The K-beauty vlogosphere is overflowing with kkul tips — Korean for “honey tips” — to the point where it’s nearly impossible to try them all out. But which ones work for the girl who prefers easy, foolproof makeup that delivers major results with minimal effort? Here’s a roundup of five such kkul tips I learned from watching Korean makeup videos.
I remember when I was a teen, the only way I could easily access expert makeup tips was to visit the MAC counter at a local mall. The sales reps, all decked out in flawless makeup, would sit me down on a director’s chair and start working their magic on me. By the time they’d had their way with me, I’d end up with contoured eye makeup (that would look amazing on someone with deep set eyes and structured brow bones, but TBH made me look like I got punched in the eye), as well as some sort of MAC product in my hand that I felt too bad not to buy in return for their know-how.
I loved the thrill of walking up to the immaculate displays of eyeshadows, glosses, and brushes galore. I loved finding out about new products, most of which my mom wouldn’t let me wear. I also always had high hopes that this time I’d like the way they dolled up my uneven eyes, sok ssangkapul (inner double eyelid) and all. Even when I was disappointed, I never regretted a lip gloss purchase.
Today I can experience a similar thrill, maybe more, in the comfort of my own home, no purchase necessary, by way of countless beauty vlogs, tutorials, and GRWMs online. I’m not sure when I got hooked, but once a week or so you can find me clicking my way down a dark and beautifully contoured hole of YouTube videos.
Korean makeup videos especially get me hook, line, and sinker since I prefer a more natural makeup look on myself (even if it takes a few layers of cosmetics to get there) versus a full makeup face. My eye shape also calls for something entirely different than the “Western” method of liner and shadow application.
While I usually emerge from the aforementioned virtual dark hole with my brain bursting with beauty tips, they’re usually more than I’ll ever try in my lifetime. I seek quick and easy ways to put myself together, not to mention I’m pretty clumsy when it comes to applying makeup on my face, so it takes a super simple, foolproof tip to make me actually venture out of my comfort cosmetic zone and try a new technique on myself.
Luckily, there is so much of that out in the beauty vlogosphere. Some of these insider tricks have changed my game so much that I had no choice but to add yet another step to my makeup or overall beauty routine. These are the gems that have delivered maximum impact with minimal effort on my end. Ahead, five of these kkul tips from my Korean makeup video binge sessions that are worth a shot.
1. For colored lips without the cracking and peeling, apply a creamy lipstick on the top lip and a tinted gloss on the bottom lip then lightly press together.
Ever notice that your bottom lip is more prone to drying and flaking than your top lip? Even if my lip stain or lipstick glides onto my top lip ever so smoothly, I find that my bottom lets me down with a surprise peel every so often.
When it comes to lip makeup, the key to a seamless finish is moisturized lips. So in a kind of quick-fix way to achieve this look, smooth a tinted gloss or balm over the bottom lip and a creamy lipstick to the top. The gloss or balm formula covers texture issues while also having a moisturizing effect, while the tint allows for a more effective transferring and blending of the cream color onto the bottom lip. Press your puckers together a few times to achieve the desired coverage. Just like that, your lips are flushed with your lipstick color of choice while exuding a subtle lit-from-within glow.
For a how-to, watch this episode of Get It Beauty at the 2-minute mark:
2. When you’re having a bad brow day, turn to a highlighter, your fingertip, or a brow gel that’s lighter than your hair color.
So you just finished your brows. You drew in individual strokes of hair, filled in sparse spots, groomed unruly strays, double checked that they arch perfectly (or not, if you’re into straight brows), and ensured that the ends extend to the perfect length. After all these steps to get your face-framers on point, you notice something’s still not sitting right. We’ve all been there.
When these moments come, despair not. If your brows are looking unnaturally sharp or harsh, simply take the tip of your finger and lightly stroke downward to soften and blur out the top of your brows. This diffuses some of that harsh line or color while allowing your brow hairs to lend a more natural flair. Leave the bottom of your brows alone, because that bottom edge is what gives your brows that clean, defined look.
If you think your brows need a little oomph, accentuate and define your brows a little more by applying highlighter underneath the brows along the outer half. Yes, a lot of us already do that, but the part that gives your brows extra mileage is what’s next: Apply the same highlighter on top of the brows along the inner half to balance out the highlighting effect. Blend into skin for a natural, light-catching effect.
Watch Meejmuse’s technique starting at 5:15:
Raise your hand if you naturally have dark brows and ever wished they would stop refusing to blend into your lighter brow powder or pencil that you bought to complement your newly dyed ’do. Or if you have super dark brows that you wish could take a chill pill and lighten up a little. For those tough times, a lighter brow gel is your BFF. Opt for a shade that’s lighter than your original color and that suits your goal color, then coat the strands of your brows. A brow gel is not only useful for fluffing and fixing brows in place, but also for pigmenting each hair from root to tip.
Watch Beautifymeeh do it at about 5:25:
3. To cover up dark circles, use a pink-toned under-eye brightener and start by applying at the boundary of the circles.
Raccoon eyes happens to the best of us. Thankfully, it’s easy to cover them up. Not so thankfully, it’s also easy for the coverup to look super cakey and creased. To avoid a bad under-eye concealer job, select a brightener or concealer with a pink tone. This pretty color combats the dark side.
First apply to the boundary of your dark circle. Use a brush to smooth and blend the product below the boundary, then above all the way up to the lash line. Finally, seal the deal by covering the darkish areas on the upper eyelid with the same product. This order helps distribute the brightener more evenly instead of settling too thickly directly on the dark circle, which is where skin is generally the thinnest.
Watch Korean celeb makeup artist Jungsaemmool do it at 0:30:
4. Always have a stock of nail polish stickers on hand in case of emergencies.
Koreans consider their nails an extension of their complete beauty look. In fact, nail beds are like canvases, rarely spotted without some sort of art on them. Yet reality does not discriminate — even the prettiest of gel nails grow out, and even the most chic manis can chip.
That’s when nail polish stickers come in handy. Not to be confused with press-on nails or nail art stickers, these nail appliqués adhere to and cover the entire nail with color or designs. The material also stretches so it contours to the unique shape of the user’s nail bed, leaving your nails looking like they just came out of a salon. The stickers take just a few minutes to apply to all 10 fingers, last much longer than a mani, erase as quickly as regular nail polish, and cost a fraction of a professional gel mani, so they’re the perfect solution when you need a fast nail-lift.
Watch starting around 3:35 for Miss Korea Kim Jinsol’s nail tips on Beauty 24:
5. Draw in faux lower lashes.
Um … what? That was my reaction when I came across this tip a couple years ago, but it became one of my go-to’s for nights when I wear more makeup than usual and want my lashes to step it up. It may be a more common trick today, but it’s worthy of its spot on this list because of the sheer genius of it all!
If you feel your bottom lashes are too spotty or bare, curl them down with an eyelash curler and then use a pen eyeliner with a sharp, pointy tip and literally draw in single lashes between your real ones. Pick a brown shade lighter than your mascara color so these faux lashes can more easily blend in, and draw the lines in the same direction as the real lashes, for obvious reasons.
Watch how Pony does it, starting at 7:45:
Are there any kkul tips on this list you want to try? What are some of the things you learned and love from Korean makeup videos? Let’s talk about it!