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Guide to Korean beauty and cosmetics

How to get that Seoul slayin' look with some of the best Korean makeup and skincare products

If gradient lips and straight brows aren’t already a part of your makeup routine, here’s a crash course: We show you how to achieve three of the hottest Korean beauty looks using some of the best Korean cosmetic products. Also, read up on some of the key (and unusual) ingredients used in their skincare.

Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips
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Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips

Skin: Glossing Waterful Foundation
The lightweight liquid soaks into skin for a dewy, hydrating glow. Voilà – no caking, no creasing.
3CE, RM121

Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips
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Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips

Brows: Tint My Brows Gel
Brow-challenged babes: This peel-off gel will help your straight brows stay on fl eek for days. File under ‘lazy girl life hacks’.
Etude House, RM71

Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips
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Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips

Eyes: Backgel Eyeliner
Get a gorgeous, smudge-free puppy eye line with this best-selling gel eyeliner. It comes with a built-in brush.
TonyMoly, RM51.90

Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips
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Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips

Cheeks: Radiance Blusher
A multi-colour blusher (that does double duty as highlighter) with the perfect amount of sheen and shimmer. Plus, that plum pattern.
Sulwhasoo, RM210

Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips
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Look 1: Barely-there blush and cherry lips

Lips: Two Tone Lip Bar
You can’t go ulzzang and not get gradient kissers. Swipe on the stronger shade on the innermost part of your smackers.
Laneige, RM75

Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips
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Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips

Skin: BB Mate Contouring 1.2.3 Kit
Koreans contour too, except theirs is a softer look than Kim K and co.’s. Your goal: the illusion of a smaller face.
Dr. Jart+, RM180

Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips
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Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips

Brows: Eyebrow Mascara
Match your eyebrows to your hair colour with eyebrow mascara; 3CE’s comes in four shades. It grooms badly behaving brows.
3CE, RM47

Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips
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Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips

Eyes: Bling Bling Eye Stick
How to aegyo sal: Line your lower lash line and tear duct with the shimmery stick to highlight your eye pouches.
Etude House, RM31

Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips
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Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips

Cheeks: Cream Paint
The cult cosmetic brand under YG Entertainment – 2NE1, Big Bang – has a cream paint loved the world over.
Moonshot, RM102

Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips
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Look 2: Aegyo sal-meets-glossy lips

Lips: Petite Bunny Gloss Bar
It’s all about the packaging, and this one’s adorable. The gloss is also highly moisturising, by the way.
TonyMoly, RM32.90

Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades
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Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades

Skin: Perfecting Cushion
Think of a Korean cushion compact as a BB cream in a compact – and your skin’s new best friend.
Sulwhasoo, RM200

Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades
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Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades

Brows: Perfect Eyebrow Styler
The triangular-shaped tip makes for perfect precision, as well as fuller, thicker brows. Draw them on straight but soft.
Missha, RM40

Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades
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Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades

Eyes: Skinny microcara
It works wonderful on short, sparse lashes (#asianproblems) – and is lightweight yet lifting. You can’t beat the price.
Innisfree, RM36

Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades
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Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades

Cheeks: Jelly Pot
Put the multi-use makeup to good use: apply onto eyelids after cheeks – softer, more subtle eyeshadow shades are a Korean staple.
Moonshot, RM90

Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades
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Look 3: Do it up brown – or go for softer, subtle shades

Lips: Lip Lacquer
Straight brows, check. Shimmery eyes, check. Now, play up the puckers. Finish off the subtly sexy look with dramatic, semi-matte lips.
3CE, RM76

The key ingredients in South Korean skincare

Snail slime

Snail slime

All the slimy details: Snail slime – or snail filtrate, if you’d prefer – is known to have anti-ageing properties. It’s found in moisturisers, serums and spot treatments.

Try: Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream; TonyMoly Intense Care Gold 24K Snail Hydro Gel Mask

Egg white

Egg white

Talk about having egg on one’s face: The egg-cellent egg – long cited as a natural source of collagen and protein – is touted to brighten dull complexions, eliminate blackheads and smooth fine lines.

Try: Skinfood Egg White Pore Foam; TonyMoly Egg Pore Tightening Cooling Pack

Bee venom

Bee venom

To bee venom or not to bee venom? Here’s the buzz: Applying bee venom onto skin fools the body into thinking it’s been stung, which causes the body to stimulate collagen and elastin production.

Try: Nature Republic Bee Venom Mist Essence

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Seaweed

Seaweed

The superfood for hair and health is also good for skin – it offers superior hydration as well as anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory benefits, and is especially eff ective for superficial skin issues such as acne.

Try: The Face Shop Seaweed Moisture Pack; TonyMoly I’m Real Seaweed Mask Sheet

Three tips and tricks

1. K-beauty is all about the no-makeup makeup. Keep it au naturel-looking.

2. Double cleanse! Start with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, and follow up with a gentle, non-foaming cleanser.

3. Koreans live and die by sunscreen. It’s sunny in Malaysia, so slather on.

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