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July 18, 2018

Best Beauty Trends From the Hottest K-Dramas Right Now

Wanna know what beauty trends are happening right now in Korea? Look no further than the hottest K-dramas to hit your screens. From the new brow to a move away from mul-gwang skin (finally!), trend reporter Leo Louie scouts the latest K-drama beauty trends from these must-see Korean dramas.


Oh, Korean dramas. We sometimes laugh, mostly cry, and despite the common tropes that get repeated (how many times have we seen some rich guy falling for a “common” girl?), we keep coming back for more. I know so many of you know what I’m talking about when I say that there’s this strangely addictive quality where the outcomes are so often the same, but that doesn’t ever stop us from bingeing another drama. I also know I can’t be the only one out here sitting with a bowl of (cheesy) snacks, squinting through my tears, dumbfounded by how vicious the mother-in-law of the protagonist is being to his newfound girlfriend while also trying to determine if they’re wearing two lipsticks or just a sheered-out lip tint.


Sometimes it’s a perpetual mystery as to how some of these heroines look as amazing as they do, and other times they basically smack you over the head with very prominent product placement (anyone else get Subway cravings watching Goblin?). Regardless, they always look stunning; let’s take a look at a few notable faces that have graced our screens lately.


Lee Sung Kyung/이성경 — About Time


k-drama beauty trends
Lee Sung Kyung

If you haven’t started this drama, get those tissues ready — Lee Sung Kyung (who you may recognize from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo) can tell how long people will live by a “life clock” she can see on their body. Things may be coming to a close for About Time, but Lee has never been shy about showing off her love of Laneige. She’s an ambassador for the brand, and for good reason — I could not believe how pouty and beautiful her lips were! There’s no doubt she’s using her Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask to keep them moisturized. She’s also professed her love for the Laneige Two Tone Lip Bars in the past, though in a lot of scenes it looks like she’s moved on from the gradient lip look and is now just patting it on with a finger. The color also looks a lot more matte, which you can achieve with the new matte, more pigmented version of these Lip Bars for amped-up color payoff.


k-drama beauty trends
Lee Sung Kyung in pink


In at least a couple scenes, though, Laneige products make a rather obvious appearance. Here, the Laneige Stained Glasstick is prominently on display:


k-drama beauty trends
Lee Sung Kyung using Laneige stained Glasstick


And here, when Lee’s character Mika sleeps over her friend’s place to escape the turmoil in her head, they pat on Laneige Water Sleeping Mask before hitting the hay:


k-drama beauty trends
Lee using Laneige Water Sleeping Mask


Check out the trailer for About Time here:



Lee Yu Bi/이유비 — A Poem A Day


k-drama beauty trends
Lee Yu Bi/이유비


It might be my unhealthy obsession with Grey’s Anatomy (I binge-watched four seasons of the show in one summer #TeamCristina), but medical dramas never cease to grab my attention. The premise alone — about a group of health professionals with unfulfilled dreams — already has me primed to cry at any moment and many people would agree that A Poem A Day did not disappoint. It just wrapped, but Lee Yu Bi has been in the limelight since winning an award for her role in Pinocchio, which won an award for Outstanding Korean Drama back in 2015.


k-drama beauty trends
Lee Yu Bi in Pinocchio


However, the thing I could not stop focusing on in this drama was Lee Yu Bi and her eyebrows. Literal goals. She plays a medical professional, so the makeup is kept pretty simple overall, but her brows are the epitome of the current Korean trend of full but still natural and very soft. No more of the early 2000’s il-ja eyebrow (일자눈썹) trend that erased all of the shape of the brows to make them look almost like straight lines. The Etude House Tint My 4 Tip Brow is awesome to get that soft definition that will last for days; think of it like a “my lips but better,” only a “my brows but better” situation instead.


Park Min Young/박민영 — What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim


k-drama beauty trends
Park Min Young/박민영 in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim


What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim burst on to the drama scene in early June and its viewership and ratings keep going up with literally every episode that airs, in no small part due to Park Min Young. It’s her first foray into romantic comedy, and people are falling in love with her performance as a secretary who quits her job working for a super-narcissistic boss (played by Park Seo-joon). I, on the other hand, am obsessed with her skin. She’s got that perfect natural glow on-screen that is a good balance between the very matte/full coverage Western look and the super wet 물광/water glow skin that Korea has taken a (small) step away from in recent years.


k-drama beauty trends
Park Min Young & Park Min Young

Perfected skin is the hallmark among many Korean celebrities and Park Min Young is no exception (there’s a reason Shiseido picked her to be a brand ambassador), but I just love how natural she looks because it’s the exact kind of look I like for myself, even with my already shiny combo/oily skin. I’m furiously patting in my skincare every night to bring it to maximum health and clarity, but to help me get my complexion to where I like it, the Hera UV Mist is a big part of my day-to-day routine. It looks extremely natural, gives great coverage and isn’t as overly glowy as the name might imply. It’s hard to explain, but it almost feels like a bubble forms over my face when the cushion sets and it helps keep my skin at the hydration level I need, keeping all the summer dryness and air conditioning from sapping away all the hydration I patted in that morning.



Lee Hye Young/이혜영 — Lawless Lawyer


Lee Hye Young is a veteran in the industry, but I — like many others — fell in love with Boys Over Flowers, where she played the mother of one of the main characters. In Lawless Lawyer she’s front and center as a distinguished political figure who is far less virtuous than her public persona leads the public to believe, and her character is not to be trifled with — and neither is her eyeliner. Seriously, the promo images and premiere pictures from Lawless Lawyer had her coming in strong with her eyeliner game and I was totally in love with it!


k-drama beauty trends
Lee Hye Young


I think there can be weird misconceptions in beauty sometimes in regards to what types of trends or products are for what age group or demographic, and I frankly think it’s all crap. You can wear whatever you want, whenever you want (as long as you’re not breaking any laws lol) because it’s all just makeup you wash off at the end of the day. She’s sporting some super smudgy looks in the drama to add to her mystery, and during the press circuit, her liner was so freakin’ sharp and clean. Both @Ruth Kim and @Sheryll have sung the praises of the Clio Kill Black Waterproof Pen Liner, and it would be perfect both as a base to go under shadows for that smoky liner or used on its own for anything that’s graphic and sharp. I cannot get over how severe she looks and I’m here for it!



Son Ye Jin/손예진 — Something in the Rain


k-drama beauty trends
Son Ye Jin


I was so confused when I first saw the name of this drama because in Korean it literally translates to “Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food,” but I digress. What I’m not confused about is how crazy popular the drama was; the series — about an “older” woman in her 30s dating her best friend’s younger brother — turned out to be one of the highest-rated K-dramas in cable history, which isn’t too shabby for Son Ye Jin’s first return to TV in five years. Good news is that it’s also all on Netflix so you all can drool over her skin with me.


k-drama beauty trends
Son Ye Jin In Snow

Son Ye Jin is also a model for the skincare company Skin Inc (I swear they’re all models for skincare companies because why wouldn’t you hire them), and in interviews asking about her skincare routine, she mentions how masking is something she always makes time for. Son Ye Jin says she feels like it’s really worth the time it takes and loves herself some sheet masks to lock in that hydration.


k-drama beauty trends
Son Ye Jin in Black

I think we can all agree that sheet masks can be a big help with fighting summer dehydration. The Etude House Air Therapy sheet masks have been a favorite of mine for a while as a budget pick, and they just released some new varieties that I will absolutely be picking up ASAP. For a slightly more indulgent experience, there’s been multiple mentions of the Wonjin Effect sheet masks among our staff, and the Medi Hydro Vial Mask sounds exactly like the type of product Son Ye Jin was discussing.


If your summer is anything like mine, a large portion is spent shut inside with air conditioning on full blast to avoid the heat (it’s been over 110F/43C for weeks now!) and along with it comes a lot of Netflix bingeing and K-dramas on my screen. Do any of you have any dramas you’re obsessed with or any products that you’ve seen featured in your favorite dramas? What are some of your fave K-drama beauty trends? Hope you’re all surviving the heat and keeping your bodies and faces hydrated!



Born in Korea and raised in Washington, Leo is another 20-something member of the K-Beauty Squad that is as committed to his love of skincare as he is to wine and cheese covered snack foods. After working as an educator and trainer in the beauty industry, he joined the team at Beautytap to continue sharing his knowledge and passion for skincare and all things chok-chok. During his free time, he’s been spotted in the wild bingeing Netflix shows, blasting K-pop while playing video games, or (much more rarely) leaving his hovel to venture forth in search of cocktails and Korean BBQ.




I haven't watched any of these dramas, but whenever I saw pictures of them I was in awe! They all have great skiiiiiin! I'm so envious! D:


Whoa, "About Time" has such an enticing plot! Thank you so much for those recs, I can't wait to start watching! Also, omg, “Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food”!!! What a great title 😂


Any time there's any drama where extended food shots are promised, I'm there lol


Thanks for all of the recommendations! I’ve been searching for some new lip products! And yes Park Min Young’s hair is 😍😍😍


Have you tried the Laneige glowy lip balm? I am in loooove. I didn't think anything could be better than Korean lip oils, but wow. Everyone I know who's tried it is impressed. I have like 4 more in my cart. 😂

I'm dying to try the Glasstick. It looks so luscious.


I just finished About Time and I couldn\'t take my eyes off Lee Sung Kyung. She is so stunning and her lips are to die for. I really wanna try that Glasstick now.

And I\'m watching Secretary Kim now and Park Min Young\'s hair!!! I can\'t figure out if it\'s her real ponytail or if they added some extensions.

Yay leolouie for celebrating all kinds of beauty looks at any age! I wanna rock a signature look when I get to Lee Hye Young\'s age (which is probably sooner than I\'d like 😩)


I feel like they're always extensions 90% of the time no matter who it is or what you're watching when it comes to long hair lol. And I absolutely hate the idea of something being for a specific age demographic; it's all about taking an idea and making it work for you! No one can tell me that dewy foundation and highlighter "isn't for oily skin"


lol, we oilies have a natural dew and highlight! I'm finally learning to embrace the oily.