K-beauty trend: How to get Squid Game star Jung Ho-yeon’s natural look
Less is more. Say goodbye to 12-step K-beauty skincare routines and hello to a more pared down approach, with a focus on natural ingredients and bare skin that looks good with little to no makeup.
In the world of Korean dramas, flawless glass skin and fair complexions CC cushioned to pore-less perfection is what viewers have become accustomed to.
So it was a bit of a surprise that one of the female leads in Squid Game, one of the most-watched K-dramas to date and Netflix’s most popular show ever, looks like she has nary a swipe of make-up on her face. Her beauty look in the survival drama comes complete with freckles and – gasp – an uneven skin tone.
Of course, Squid Game isn’t your typical K-drama, and model-turned-actress Jung Ho-yeon’s role as a North Korean defector playing a series of deadly children’s games for cash isn’t a glamorous one. But still, the show’s insane popularity worldwide and how its breakout star Jung became unfathomably famous almost overnight (with 23.3 million followers on Instagram and rapidly counting, she’s now the most followed South Korean actress by far) could mean interesting changes in an already-shifting K-beauty industry.
First off, even though she looks a little unkempt in her first acting role in Squid Game, 27-year-old Jung is an undisputed glamazon; an international modelling veteran who has walked for top fashion houses at the world’s most-watched runway shows.
And yet, the off-duty looks she showcases on her social media are always fresh and natural, with minimal make-up and dewy bare skin. Her refreshing beauty is a departure from the sweet and flawless prettiness of the Korean actresses we know and love. Instead, she showcases an edgy and natural charm.
For those of us who want to score fresh, dewy skin like Jung, clean K-beauty products with a natural bent, featuring botanical or traditional Korean herbal ingredients is a good place to start.
CNA Lifestyle lists some products that are at the forefront of this new K-beauty wave.
GLOW RECIPE WATERMELON GLOW HYALURONIC CLAY PORE-TIGHT FACIAL, S$62 FOR 60ML
A multi-tasking mask that unclogs pores, exfoliates and hydrates from a forward-looking K-beauty label which prides itself on its antioxidant-fruit extract ingredients and gentle clinically-proven actives. A focus on self-care and minimalist, recyclable packaging is a fresh bonus.
OHIOHOO OH NO RED SERUM, S$53 FOR 50G
A calming and hydrating serum for sensitive skin from a popular brand founded by a Korean influencer, this serum has parsley extract, houttuynia cordata extract & centella asiatica extract to soothe skin and maintain skin balance.
DR JART+ CICAPAIR ENZYME CLEANSING FOAM, S$31 FOR 100ML
A pioneer in the modern K-beauty movement, Dr Jart+’s Cicapair range for sensitive skin is a cult favourite, containing a blend of probiotic ferments for skin microbiome balance, along with blends of centella asiatica, or cica, a plant with healing properties that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
BENTON LET’S CARROT MULTI OIL, S$13.90 FOR 30ML
Carrot seed oil, which has been used in K-beauty for years, is having a moment, with several brands touting the benefits of the humble vegetable which contains vitamin A and plenty of antioxidants. Korean clean beauty label Benton has a carrot line with three products – a toner, moisture cream and multi oil.
From Shopee and Lazada.
INNISFREE JEJU CHERRY BLOSSOM JAM CLEANSER, S$18 FOR 150G
Perennial K-beauty fave innisfree continues to innovate and add to their range of products inspired by Korean nature, and this pH-balanced gel-to-foam micellar cleanser, formulated with Jeju King Cherry Leaf extracts and natural betaine extracted from sugar beets, is their latest.
BELIF SUPER DROPS PHA 5%, S$108 FOR 30ML
Another trend in K-beauty is the use of gentle acids which strike the right balance between efficacy and being non-irritating to skin. K-beauty brand belif’s latest is serum drops you can incorporate into your regimen, which contain PHA 5%, a chemical exfoliant with moisture-retaining benefits which is a new alternative to harsher AHAs and BHAs, and is gentle enough to be used daily and suitable even for sensitive skin.
Available at official belif stores on Shopee, Lazada and Zalora.
SU:M37 SECRET ESSENCE, S$172 FOR 150ML
The probiotics trend in skincare is still going strong, and products that maintain skin’s microbiome health are still popular among K-beauty aficionados. Tapping on natural fermentation technology, this best-selling essence infuses probiotics into your skin for improved radiance, texture and elasticity.
From Su:m37 counters.
SIGI SKIN BRIGHT SKIES GENTLE GEL EXFOLIATOR, S$52 FOR 30ML
Proudly local clean beauty brand Sigi Skin takes cues from K-beauty innovation and formulation, with all products made in Korea. Their latest Bright Skies Gentle Gel Exfoliator rides on the gentle acids trend with food-derived AHAs, skin barrier-protecting botanicals and natural actives such as goji berries, pumpkin and spinach extract to deeply exfoliate the skin without the use of physical abrasives.