K-Beauty Trends Viewed Through the Lens of Beauty Influencers
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K-Beauty Trends Viewed Through the Lens of Beauty Influencers
  • By Hwang, Jee-seon
  • Accepted 2023.10.20 16:26
  • Comments 0
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K-Beauty Influencers
Hwang Jee-seon* Peking University Yenching Scholar
Hwang Jee-seon* Peking University Yenching Scholar

 

*Hwang Jee-seon participated in writing the Global Beauty Influencer Report while studying at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Seoul National University. Currently, she is studying at Peking University as a Yenching Scholar. 

The importance of K-beauty around the world cannot be overstated. A beauty influencer is a person who creates beauty-related content on social media and has a large number of followers. Beauty influencers have established themselves as market leaders in the K-beauty industry.

These influencers let their followers in on the rapidly changing trends in K-beauty makeup and cosmetics, the latest of which include natural and glowy skin makeup, brow lamination, overlined lips to make lips look fuller, and aegyo-sal makeup. With the popularity of personal colors, many of them have also created content related to determing one's personal color and choosing makeup products that suit oneself.

In addition to introducing trends, influencers work with brands to launch products based on the influence they have over their followers. These collaborations are a step up from so-called ‘markets’ where influencers showcase a brand's existing products and negotiate with brands to get exclusive deals for their followers. These collaborative goods, often launched via the influencers’ social media channels, typically include special promotions for their followers, and sell out rather quickly.

Beauty influencers also make extensive use of YouTube's shorts, a relatively new feature of the platform. More and more beauty influencers are covering easy beauty-related tips by shortening 5- to 15-minute YouTube videos into shorter videos that are about a minute long. This allows their content to gain broader exposure more quickly by catching the subscribers’ attention more swiftly.

With the growing popularity of K-beauty, the number of Korean beauty influencers with a large number of followers is also rising. They have a strong presence across multiple social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Here are some of Korea’s beauty influencers with more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube, the social media platform where the majority of beauty influencers are currently active.

 

PONY Syndrome (5.94M subscribers) 

A professional makeup artist, PONY creates content that covers a wide range of makeup based on her expertise. Her makeup tutorials cover various trends, often with an emphasis on certain colors or ambience. She has done cover make-up videos of famous celebrities, including Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner. With the largest number of followers of all Korean beauty influencers, she has also launched her own beauty brand, PONY Effect. 

ⓒPONY Syndrome
ⓒPONY Syndrome

 

RISABAE (2.26M subscribers) 

RISABAE is most well-known for her cover makeup, through which she transforms herself into popular celebrities. She also does makeup tutorials that cover specific themes, from idol- or actor-themed makeup to Gen MZ makeup, and black and white makeup. In her ‘Back To Basic’ videos, a series of makeup tutorials for beginners, she offers step-by-step how-tos for different parts of the face, from the eyes, the brows, to the lips, as well as face contouring. RISABAE actively communicates with her subscribers through her ‘Komhwarang’ series, where she becomes a makeup mentor for her subscribers who are struggling to find makeup styles that suit them. ‘Hang in There’, another popular RISABAE series, covers experimental gigs that deviate from makeup traditions. 

ⓒRISABAE
ⓒRISABAE

 

HYOJIN (1.8M subscribers) 

Jo Hyo-jin primarily creates content that highlights the differences in her face before and after putting on makeup. Her subscribers love her sense of humor and dialect, and some of her videos are shot in ‘banmal’ mode, where she talks more informally— like a friend—to her subscribers. Her focus is on daily, easy-to-mimic makeup styles rather than professional, ‘transformation’ makeup. Many of her videos address skin concerns, introducing makeup that can help cover pores or blackheads. She is most popular for her face contouring makeup, based on which she launched contouring products in collaboration with Etude. The so-called ‘shade contouring’ product, released in warm and cool undertones, received rave reviews. 

ⓒHYOJIN
ⓒHYOJIN

 

SSIN (1.47M subscribers) 

SSIN is a beauty YouTuber who has built a strong subscriber base based on her sense of humor and one-of-a-kind videos. Among her unique content are ‘one-brand makeup from street side shops’ and ‘one-brand makeup from department stores.’ She reviews the pros and cons of different makeup product categories by brand, from spatulas and contouring products to mascaras, helping her subscribers in making a purchase decision. Her content is not limited to makeup products, however. Her underwear reviews are also very popular, based on which she collaborated with the brand Skullpig to launch a series of leggings. 

ⓒSSIN
ⓒSSIN

 

CALARYGIRL A (1.25M subscribers) 

CALARYGIRL A creates makeup tutorials that her subscribers can easily follow on a daily basis. She also reviews unique, special occasion makeup-related products that her subscribers may be interested in. Some of her more popular series include ‘The most expensive cosmetics in the world’, ‘Nail art: world-famous parlors, DIY nails, nail product reviews,’ ‘World’s hair salons,’ as well as ‘I went because you asked.’ Based on the popularity of her CALARYGIRL A channel, she has also created a CALARYGIRL B channel, where she posts more day-in-her-life type of content. 

ⓒCALARYGIRL A
ⓒCALARYGIRL A

 

LAMUQE (1.23M subscribers) 

LAMUQE is best known for her occasion-specific makeup tutorials. Her 'LAMUQE Plastic Surgery' series is designed to offer transformative makeup tips to subscribers who are conscious about their appearance. She also launched her own beauty brand ‘EQUMAL’ based on her expertise and strong following. The brand specializes in cosmetic products that capture the latest beauty trends, including the ‘Live brow micro pencil’ and the ‘Live brow texturizer’ that help emphasize the brow’s texture, ‘Over-classic eye palette’ for natural-looking eye makeup, and the ‘Non-section glowy tint’ for glossy lips. 

ⓒLAMUQE
ⓒLAMUQE

 

LeoJ Makeup (1.05M subscribers) 

LeoJ does more than introduce makeup trends; he is known for leading the gender-neutral makeup trend. His most popular content includes the ‘these days’ videos, namely ‘cushion these days,’ ‘eyeline these days,’ and ‘foundation these days.’ He creates a lot of collaboration videos with other influencers or celebrities, including RalRal, Umjirella, Hani from EXID, Jihyo from TWICE, and CHUU and Heejin from Loona. He has also launched products jointly with other brands, including LeoJxFilliMilli Makeup Brush and LeoJxETUDE Cool Tone/Warm Tone Palette. 

ⓒLeoJ Makeup
ⓒLeoJ Makeup

 


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