The ‘right’ way to do soft Korean makeup in Singapore

Talk about Seoul chic! Backstage beauty at Seoul Chic Bazaar’s stellar showcase at Digital Fashion Week 2015 was K-Beauty at its most wearable: Sexy naked skin and a barely there blush, punctuated with a punchy pop of peach on the puckers

The artist and his work of art! All images: Wesley Kow

#BestMakeupLook yet? The most thrilling takeaway for us beauty watchers was the infinitely wearable makeup of the gangly girls gracing the Seoul Chic Bazaar runway: It’s just the sort of “natural” look Korean lasses like to sport.

The delicate dewiness and flushed femininity of the face are hallmarks of the ultimate ulzzang; even better, it’s a complete cinch to pull off. Here’s how:


I’m going on the assumption that you have solid skincare fundamentals down pat: Serum, emulsion, moisturiser, the works. Done? Now for foundation.

This look calls for the subtly “wet” sheen everyone and their mother’s so K-razy about these days – which can be treacherously tricky to execute in Singapore’s sweltering clime: One misstep and you’ll “read” as greasy, not glowy.

Happily, faking flawless skin needn’t be a futile endeavour, if you follow this top trick: Simply thin out your fluid foundation with a booster shot of facial oil. M.A.C Singapore’s senior artist Beno Lim recommends a drop or two of Prep + Prime Essential Oils, but any lightweight oil will do.

In any case, the recipe for this custom concoction is embarrassingly easy: Dispense said oil into your foundie, then stir well to create a soothing souffle-like mousse – sort of like brushing on a tinted treatment that comforts and conceals at the same time. 

Leery of loading on too much product? Beno says blending is of the essence: “Use soft stippling stokes to skim the product from the centre of the face outwards. Sheering out the product this way lends a seamless finish.” This gentle graduation also blurs out any discernible demarcation between your face and decolletage for that #IWokeUpLikeThis, is-she-or-isn’t-she no-makeup makeup look.


Using a paddle-shaped brush for maximum malleability, pick up a tiny bit of Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Perky, a creamy coral shadow that’s terrific for touch-ups throughout the day: Pat lightly into lids before makeup for better “grab” of pigments, then top up whenever your baby blues start to betray signs of fatigue.

To apply, sweep your instrument back and forth, going over the socket edges and smudging liberally for a soft smolder. Grab a cotton swab to take off any excess that might gather in your crease, but don’t be too precious about this bit. Perfection isn’t a prerequisite here – casually smeared lids are entirely fine, desirable even.

Time to lock in your liner. With a steady hand, use a thin-tipped gel liner in brown-black to “connect the dots” between your lashes, following your eye’s curvature and getting as close to your upper lash line as possible. No Adele-esque winged tip, please; restraint is required here, so stop lining at the farthest end of your natural lash line.

Mascara is equally muted: Lower your lids and sort of wiggle your wand a bit around the roots of your upper and lower lashes, dragging it out at the outer corners to elongate the eye. Finish by using a moistened cotton swab to sop up stray flecks, focusing on getting a really clean, tapered end. Gussy up your brows with a glossy clear gel and you’re good to go, at least on the eye end of things.


No convoluted contouring to speak of here, which is par for the course when it comes to Korean-style aesthetics. Colouring your cheeks should take you no more than two minutes, tops: Simply suck in your cheeks, then use tapping motions to apply a creamy blush; Beno’s using Cremeblend Blush in Brit Wit, a terracotta tint that lends a universally flattering flush to just about any skin tone.

Starting from under the centre of your pupils, swirl up and outwards into your temples. This V-shaped wedge of colour along the top of your cheekbones will lend a subtly lifted, superbly slenderising effect.


Ah, the star of the show. Softening your smackers with a sugar scrub is crucial to preventing unsightly feathering, so be sure to do that the night before. (Or pile on petroleum jelly and tissue off after 10 minutes for a quickie DIY lip mask.)

You may consider covering any lips with a creamy concealer from your Studio Finish palette for a nice, neutral base to work with, but this is strictly optional. For application proper, use an angled lip brush (I reckon a firm bristled No. 318 or similar would do the trick) to transfer a satiny salmon shade onto your lips – try M.A.C’s seriously TDF Lipstick in Impassioned Amplified – starting from the center and fanning out towards the edges.

Almost there! Now for a tip that’s an oldie but a goodie: Blot, re-apply, blot again. What you do is to fold a soft two-ply facial tissue in half, part your mouth, place it between your upper and lower lips, then press down gently. This blotting action wicks away oils, leaving a concentrated stain of sorts.

Some final bits and bobs: Pat in a shine-squelching setting powder on strategic no-glow zones like the forehead and tip of the nose, then press in a luminising lotion onto the highest planes of your cheekbones for depth and dimension.

And you’re done! Perfect for Pinterest and incredibly Insta-friendly, this toned-down Korean look boasts the pouty puckers and glistening gleam worthy of any Garosu-gil girl – or Clementi “chiobu”, for that matter. Cheers!