Ever wondered what Key from SHINee does to sustain poreless, blemish-free skin? Or, how Wonyoung from IVE perfects that juicy lip combination? Under glamourous lights and in the constant line of cameras, Korean pop stars have to look no less than flawless.
It's a round-the-clock effort that goes into maintaining skin, hair and make-up, whether at home or on stage. Being so steeped in the world of beauty as they are, K-pop artists might just be your key to achieving that impeccable, superstar appearance.
These performers are experts at juggling the delicate balance between cosmetics and skincare. Luckily for us, they're also happy to share. Several famous stars will sit down with fans over a live stream and film their multi-step nighttime routines. From boy groups to girl groups, a thorough skincare regimen is an absolute must, and a solid K-beauty toner sits at the heart of it.
We're even privy to their favourite lip balms, lip tints, perfumes and so much more, thanks to viral what's-in-my-bag clips. It's no surprise that many stars are loyal to Korean beauty and skincare products, specifically those that are actually popular with the Korean public en masse - Rom&nd, Abib and Innisfree, to name a few.
Detective fans inspired us to put on our tin foil hats and snuff out the best beauty items K-pop stars use. Shop them below from Amazon, where free, fast delivery is possible with a Prime membership.
1. Jungkook, BTS: Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip
We're kicking off the list with a product that's not Korean, but, rather, Japan's number-one bestselling cleanser. The Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip can't be pinned down to a single K-pop star, so ubiquitous is its presence. Famously, it does sit on the bathroom countertop of a BTS member, singer-songwriter Jungkook. The cleanser lathers into a whipped cream-like consistency, just as its name suggests, breaking down dirt, make-up and sebum. What makes it a hydrating wonder are the hydrolysed silk essence and sodium hyaluronate. The best part is that you only need a pea-sized amount for each cleanse. Perfect Whip is also the go-to cleanser for Nayeon from TWICE.
2. Chaewon, LE SSERAFIM: Manyo Factory Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule
If you could gather the best of Korean skincare in one bottle, you'd get Manyo Factory's Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule. It stars in a live-streamed skincare routine by girl group LE SSERAFIM's member, Kim Chaewon. Known for her soft, plump skin, Chaewon layers two drops of this serum over her toner. It's packed with five probiotic ingredients, 90 per cent being the Bifida Ferment Lysate, which come together to create healthy skin and a strong moisture barrier. Reviewers with mature skin love this ampoule for achieving a dewy look.
3. Ten, WayV: Abib Yuja Probiotics Blemish Pad
Whether in K-dramas or behind the scenes, you'll often spot stars patting a watery solution onto their skin, post-cleansing. These magical toners are an irreplaceable part of skincare, adding a lightweight layer of goodness for hydration or treatment. Some opt for toner pads to make the most of the formula, like the boy band member Ten from WayV and NCT. Abib's blemish toner pads quickly take care of spots with vitamin C from the citrus fruit Yuja, probiotics and niacinamide, even adding a brightening effect. Ten uses a handful of the circular pads over the cheeks, nose and forehead till all the essence is absorbed into the skin.
4. Wonyoung, IVE: rom&nd Glasting Water Gloss, No. 00 Meteor Track
Arguably K-pop's hottest trendsetter on everyone's radar, Wonyoung (above) from the girl group IVE had fans up in arms over her signature glossy lips. This was until her make-up artist dished out the product: rom&nd's Glasting Water Gloss in the colour Meteor Track. Wonyoung's pout is first painted with a mauve, reddish tint and then locked in with the clear plumping gloss for a jelly effect. It has a silicone tip so you can wipe off any tint remnants to avoid colour contamination, though buyers say that there's no transfer. Do note that the gloss is infused with menthol, which can be irritating for some. Reviewers are also pleasantly surprised by how non-sticky the formula is.
5. Key, SHINee: Dr.G Red Blemish Clear Soothing Cream
Bid farewell to flushed cheeks with Dr.G's popular Red Blemish Clear Soothing Cream. The tiny container was spotted on the vanity of boy band member SHINee's Key, an avid skincare enthusiast widely envied for his glowy skin and rigorous routine. It's a cica complex formula, meaning Centella asiatica makes up most of this cream to soothe red flares due to heat or acne inflammation. The light green tinge to the cream from plant ingredients naturally cancels out any redness. According to reviews, it's very hydrating and doesn't trigger fungal acne. A top tip from Key is to always apply moisturisers all the way down to the neck, an oft-neglected area.
6. Ningning, aespa: R.E.M Ariana Grande
If there was ever a need for K-pop fragrance recommendations, Ningning from aespa is your girl for the job. Even on hectic world tours, the star names perfumes as her number-one essential to pack. From her amassed collection, we picked Ariana Grande's R.E.M, an amber vanilla fragrance for women. It's warm, sweet and powdery, recreated by notes of caramel, salt, tonka bean and lavender. Reviewers say that it smells fresh and clean, with a longer sillage than other Ariana Grande perfumes.
7. Jihyo, TWICE: Too Cool for School ArtClass by Rodin Shading
TWICE's Jihyo reaches out for the Too Cool For School contour palette for her everyday make-up look. What's known as shading in Korea, contouring with this three-tone powder offers a natural gradient - Jihyo is seen mixing all shades together to create a delicate definition. Reviewers with a light complexion say that they've finally found the right neutral shade that doesn't oxidise into orange. In the same vein, do note that the pigment might be weak for deeper skin tones.
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