5 Korean Beauty Expert-endorsed Makeup Secrets

Korean beauty expert Vivi Ahn, the brains behind Amore Pacific’s makeup team, shares her secrets to achieving flawless K-beauty.

Song Hye Kyo is the ultimate Korean Beauty

Photo courtesy of Laneige

Call it the perks of being in the media, but quite recently, I witnessed a makeup class on Korean beauty conducted by Vivi Ahn, head of the Amore Pacific makeup team. Korean beauty or K-Beauty has been the buzzword on the lips of industry influencers for the past couple of years. Now, K-Beauty mania has reached a fever pitch, thanks to the worldwide popularity of K-Pop stars and K-Drama actresses. Every beauty maven worth her lipstick wants to achieve Suzy Bae’s child-like pout. Taming brows so they’re straight and childlike and enhancing eyes with with the puppy liner technique are also well-loved trademarks of K-beauty.

Although Korean beauty is about looking fresh, natural and youthful, it actually takes skill (and practice) to achieve this! Vivi took away a lot of the guesswork and gave us a fresh perspective on makeup application with the following beauty secrets.

1.Hydrate skin with a sheet mask

Leave it on for about 10 minutes if you can.  You may lightly massage your skin after the mask is removed. Blot with tissue then pat skin with clean fingers till all of the mask liquid is absorbed into skin.

2. Don’t forget to apply makeup primer

“This brightens skin tone and smoothens out your skin texture,” says Vivi. She used Etude House’s Precious Mineral Magic Any Cushion  SPF34/PA++ in Magic Mint under the base. The key, she cautions is to apply sparingly with the sponge applicator. “When you put on too much at once, you will end up looking pale,” she cautions. To apply, use the puff to pick up the cushion formula from the middle of the carrier sponge.

3.  Pat to look dewy, roll to look matte

Choose a cushion compact in the shade closest to your natural skin tone. Apply to the middle of your face where it catches the light, leaving the sides bare. This provides a natural contouring effect (another K-beauty trademark).

Next Vivi imparts a unique secret: the puff that comes with the Amore Pacific cushion compacts gives you different finishes depending on how you use it. For a dewy effect, pat the puff over your face. Roll the puff from left to right repeatedly, all over your face to mattify. Vivi then applied Innisfree’s No-sebum Mineral Pact to remove shine from the forehead, around the eyes and along the sides of the nose.

4. Draw the start of your brows last

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t start drawing your brows, well, from the start of your brow. Instead, using the darker colour in Laneige’s Eyebrow Cushion-cara, draw your brows from the middle to its tail in short strokes. Once those areas are defined, don’t dip your brush back into the brow cushion. Instead, draw the start of your brows using the remainder colour in the brush. “Straight eyebrows used to be the Korean beauty trend but this year, the trend is favouring a curved, natural shape that’s slightly thicker,” shares Vivi. Then, using the lighter brown shade of the Cushion-cara, fill in brows with the mascara portion of the wand in light, upward strokes.

5. Apply eyeshadow over liner to make it last longer

Using Etude House’s Blend for 4 Eyes in #4 Cozy Beige, Vivi blended the lightest shade all over the eye area with her fourth finger. Next, she applied the second lightest shade on the lids. She defined the corners of the eyes and the eye sockets with the next darkest shade. Then, she tight lined the eyes with Mamonde Eyeliner in Black. To set the liner and prevent smudging, she applied the darkest shade of eyeshadow over the liner. Finally, she highlighted the puffy area under the eyes – the aegyo sal – with the shimmery second lightest shade from the eye palette.

6. Conceal your lip line!

This is a must to achieve the famous Korean two-tone lip trend. If you don’t have a concealer on hand, pat over your lip line with the puff in your cushion compact (Vivi used Laneige BB Cushion). If you’re looking for an easy way to achieve this trend, try out the Laneige Lip Bar (we love No. 6 Pink Step). This unique lipstick has two colours and textures in one, giving you glossy, two-toned lips in two swipes. Just make sure the darker colour shades the inner part of your lips. Use a lip brush to blend and clean up if required.

Here are some of the products that Vivi used:

Laneige Lip Bar in No.5 Darling Darling,Etude House Blend 4 Eyes in #4 Cozy Beige, Laneige Eyebrow Cushion-cara in Gray Brown, Laneige BB Cushion SPF 50+, , Mamonde Easy Drawing Gel Eyeliner in Black,  Etude House Precious Mineral Magic Any Cushion SPF34/PA++ in Magic Mint, Innisfree No-sebum Mineral Pact.

“You can massage your face while the mask is on. Let the warmth of your hands improve absorption of the mask formula into your skin.”


“Don’t forget to apply primer under the eyes as it colour corrects and lightens dark circles.”


“When transferring cushion formula onto your puff, remember to press firmly into the middle of the sponge to obtain the right amount. Don’t use too much force!”


“Use the dark coloured shade in Laneige’s Eyebrow Cushion-cara to draw and define the shape of your brows. The lighter is shade is used to fill in.”


“After tight lining your eyes, brush with a dark shade of eyeshadow to set the liner and prevent smudging.”

“Remember to apply concealer or BB cushion over your lips to lighten the lip line so you can achieve the two-tone lip trend more effectively.”

“Don’t rub your lips together from left to right after applying lipstick. To better achieve the Korean two-tone effect, smack your lips together with an “umm pah” sound.

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