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Here are the Korean beauty trends predicted to blow up in 2018

The K-beauty lookbook

Text: Angelyn Kwek


Already sussing out the makeup trends to try for 2018? Skip ahead of the crowd with three hot K-beauty looks — and the products to create them — courtesy of Korean beauty giant Amorepacific

What do Kota Kinabalu, K-beauty, and keynote discussions have in common? Besides the letter 'K', that is. If your wild guess is something along the lines of a beauty conference, you defo nailed it.

Held over a span of three days with presentations, innovation sessions and hands-on classes, the annual Amorepacific summit that took place in the above mentioned Malaysian state was less of a corporate seminar than it was a gathering of makeup junkies who live and breathe all things beauty. Particularly Korean beauty, and how its innovative nature has transformed the beauty landscape of Asia Pacific (and soon, the world!) in recent years.

2018 Korean beauty trends

Spearheaded by a panel of insiders such as Amorepacific's head of ASEAN business Robin Na, chief makeup artist Jason Wu, and a trio of in-house beauty researchers, the discussion topic in the hotseat was the company's iconic beauty innovations, and their game plan to push forward as the leading Korean name on the global beauty platform. Naturally, this led to dissecting the brand umbrella  — did you know Amorepacific is parent to Sulwhasoo, Laneige, Mamonde, Innisfree, and Etude House? — and how each uniquely positioned sub-brand has contributed to the K-beauty revolution.

But even if the mania for all things Korean barely registers a blip on your radar, there's no denying its ubiquitous presence, what with K-beauty's assimilation into the mainstream when the cushion compact invention exploded everywhere, with drugstore, high street and luxury brands all picking up on it. Beyond breaking through into the Western market on the makeup front, Amorepacific has also patented skincare innovations like the sleeping mask, made using heritage ingredients derived from nature. These are namely ginseng, beans and green tea; proven to have powerful anti-ageing, protective, and anti-oxidant properties respectively.

2018 Korean beauty trends

With more than 70 years of expertise under their belt — and still growing with a massive 100, 000 square metre R&D-slash-manufacturing facility in Johor Bahru slated for 2020 — Amorepacific's eye for plucking out beauty trends (or perhaps instigating might be the correct term instead) is certainly legit AF. So if there's one name to look to when it comes to trendspotting Korean beauty, direct your attention to Amorepacific because the K-authority has spoken. Sharing three trends set to takeover next year, here are the looks and the how-to if you're aiming to catch the 2018 K-beauty train early:

1. The intense red lip with a minimal twist2018 Korean beauty trends

While it says minimal, there's actually a fair bit of work that goes into pulling off that barely-there makeup look (anyone who tells you otherwise is lying). Once you've prepped your base — the Innisfree My Cushion is a great lightweight yet full coverage option, FYI — highlight the centre of your face with a light dusting of shimmer. Then draw contour down the sides of your nose ridge, as well as both sides of your chin to give your face more definition, making sure to buff out the strokes well.

Give your eyes some depth with a taupe-nude shade, or a more rust-toned colour if you want a pop, concentrating the eyeshadow on the outer corners. Now wield your eyeliner, making sure to stick close to the lashes and elongate your peepers by extending past your eye line. A few coats of mascara later, apply the finishing touch using a creamy lip pencil in a bright scarlet hue for a full, luscious red pout.

2. The sensual and smoky jewel-toned eye

2018 Korean beauty trends

For hot dates and dinner functions, a good smoky eye is de rigeur. Amorepacific has switched up the classic browns with a dusty blurple (you know, blue-purple) that gives a richer dimension, and will make your eyes pop like you wouldn't believe. And with a look that's strong on the shadow, start with your eyes first so you won't have to deal with fallout ruining your foundation. But for the sticklers who want the exact blurple shade — which is Hera's Shadow Duo in Cashmere — you'll have to hold on to your horses as the brand has yet to retail in Singapore... although word has it an imminent launch is in the works. In the meantime, pick up a dupe and go in over your entire eyelid, making sure to blend the colour to get a gradation effect going from dark to light. Sweep a shimmering taupe shade along the brow bone and blend the two colours well because the last thing you want want are harsh edges. 

Now rim your eyes with a blue-black liner to pull the look together, and be sure to define your brows in order to balance out the strong eye makeup. As for the base, you'll want to keep it light with a sheer to medium coverage, followed by some highlight on the high points of your face. Throw in just a bit of contouring with a light hand along the hollows of your cheekbones and your jawline, then slick on an MLBB lipstick as the last step.

3. The your-face-but-better coral makeup

2018 Korean beauty trends

Riffing off the monochromatic trend — which, let's face it, is kind of a lazy girl hack to looking good without having to try hard — the Korean beauty take on it plays with coral as the hero colour for the look. A universally flattering shade, go with either a soft pastel or a mid-toned coral for the eyes, and don't worry about being super precise with it as you'll be blending out the edges until it fades into the skin.

Be sure to keep the rest of your face fresh and natural looking with a thin layer of foundation, since we're going for a 'my-face-but-better' look after all. And in the interest of saving time (or if you happen to be serial repeater of putting on makeup in the cab), using a multi-purpose product like the 101 Stick Mini in Red from the new Etude House Selfie Kit not only tints your lips a healthy coral, dabbing it on the cheeks and blending it out gives you that just-pinched flush. And if it so happens to fake that post-workout glow even if you hadn't hit the gym in yonks... well, #makeuphack right there, ladies.

Available at all Laneige, Innisfree, Mamonde, and Etude House counters and stores

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