K-beauty trends may come and go, but if there’s one indicator of what’s hot at the moment—it’s the looks that our beloved K-pop idols are serving on the stage. Back in the good ol’ days of K-pop’s second gen idols, the exaggerated aegyo-sal and two-toned ombre lip was all the rage, but today, we’re going for a more subtle approach with a semi-smoke. As seen on the likes of the hottest girl groups like Aespa and IVE, we like to think of this semi-smoke as the distant younger cousin to the traditional smokey eye.
But what makes this semi-smoke so popular among the current generation of K-idols? In our opinion, it completely changes the definition and depth to the eyes all while maintaining an otherwise natural (and age-appropriate) look. For the girls that struggle with doing eye makeup, this is a relatively easy way to add a little ‘ooph’ to your daily beat, and if you need a little step-by-step walkthrough of it, IVE Wonyoung’s makeup artist dishes all of her tips and tricks to nailing the subtle under-eye smoke.
Below, we take you through exactly how you can emulate the latest trending K-pop makeup look, and we promise, it’s not rocket science.
It’s Free Game
Go through the motions of your usual makeup routine, and leave the eye makeup relatively light; we suggest contouring the shape of your eye socket add some depth, and sharpen up your eye shape with some liquid liner. Most of this semi-smoke will be concentrated on the lower lash line, so to keep things balanced—it’d be best to keep your eyeshadow natural, so the completed look won’t look too heavy and contrived.
Fill In The Lash Line
Grab yourself a taupe-brown eye shadow (preferably a cool tone brown, so it matches the shade of your natural contour), and a flat eyeshadow brush to apply the eye shadow precisely; we’re not going for the raccoon-slash-indie sleaze look here so it’s all about getting the placement exactly where it needs to be. Using the flat brush and brown eyeshadow, fill in your lash line and stay close to the roots of your bottom lashes to avoid smudging and bring the line all the way into the inner corners of the eye.
What We Do In The Shadows
With the same brush and eyeshadow, fill in the outer triangle of your lower lash to create a shadow effect in the outer corner of your eye and diffuse the edges for a seamless look.
It’s not a K-beauty look unless you’ve got your aesyo-sal on point, so grab your highlighter of choice and dab away. You’d want to focus it on where the apex of your under-eye fat would be, and blend out the edges to create a natural highlight.
Optional: Go Big Or Go Home
If you really want to go for the stage-ready stare, go back with a light brown gel eyeliner and line the first 1/3 of your inner lash line to clearly define and lengthen the eyes, giving a more rounded finish as seen on IVE’s Liz. The end result? Enlarged doe eyes, and a killer stare, ready to slay.