All about K-Bridal Beauty: Sheer and natural but HD-ready

Header image via Tricia Gosingtian of

When I was researching on international makeup schools to apply to, one of the best advice shared with me was to look at the makeup trends popular in that area. Specifically, I checked on the kind of makeup that brides wore - it said a lot about what people thought would look most beautiful for such a special day!

Here in the Philippines, the look that many brides go for is very Western. We want on-fleek base with contouring to slim down our faces and highlights that POP. We want big beautiful eyes, strong brows, and colors that “will show up on-photo” - I have heard so many makeup artists say this! When done right, a good Pinoy bridal face definitely looks majestic, but I preferred to build my basics in another style.

My initial impressions of K-Bridal Beauty were not far off the mark; as light as they do their daily looks, they do bridal even lighter! They have two general classes of wedding makeup: 촬영 (photo shoot) and 결혼날 (wedding day.)

Left: photo shoot makeup / Right: wedding makeup

Left: photo shoot makeup / Right: wedding makeup

I created these looks for the MUFE Academy Seoul Wedding Makeup Demo 19th Promotion. On the left is Photo Shoot Makeup and on the right is Wedding Day Makeup. Notice how both are lightly done but the shoot makeup has more obvious coloring and the ceremony makeup uses only natural colors.

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K-Bridal Photo Shoot Makeup

Filipinos have this superstition that the bride cannot be seen in her gown before the wedding day, but Koreans actually prefer to take their prenup photos in their white gowns… and yes, with the groom present! It’s all very pose-y and editorial, which I think is a very Western thing they adapted. It's not unlike the prenup shoots we have here in the Philippines, and it's actually quite practical since you can dedicate more time to taking good photos without making guests wait at the reception!

Photo Shoot Makeup is used for this pre-nup shoot. Because the photos are meant to be a little more dramatic, brides normally have more accessories (even flower crowns) and color on themselves during the shoot as compared to the wedding. As our Filipino MUAs would say, they use more color to pop up on photo! Still, “heavy” makeup for them is so far from what we consider heavy. The emphasis is still to keep the base fresh; they would never carve a jawline and noseline the way we do. Instead, everything is kept soft, barely visible to the naked eye.

Their advanced technology demands HD makeup as the only way to go. This means the makeup artist must ensure your makeup is perfectly applied and blended, even with x200 zoom (exaggeration) on an HD camera! While this seems like a given, standard makeup artistry doesn’t make this promise because anything that looks good in conversational distance is the norm.

Description: “Chic Makeup”

  • Bride-directed: uses more color and accessories (like jewelry, headpieces, veils)
  • Minimal contouring
  • Can use up to medium shade on the eyes
  • Can use up to medium lashes (in volume and length)
  • Chok chok (촉촉) or moist lips in berry tones
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K-Bridal Wedding Day Makeup

I was pretty shocked to learn that Koreans don’t usually wear a hanbok (traditional Korean garb) to their weddings. They seem like such a traditional culture but younger couples (at least) think Western practices are very trendy. They're more likely to don a white gown and a suit for their weddings.

They are not a predominantly Catholic country, so Korean weddings are very quick! They valuespeediness and easily get impatient so nobody really likes a long wedding. An hour-long ceremony is already considered too much since they usually just do the march and exchange vows. Even bridal makeup, which can take at least 1.5 hours here must be completed within 45 minutes there! I’ve been told that brides can and do hulk out on “slow” makeup artists, since their timelines are so short and nobody can be late - yikes!

While many people normally go for heavier makeup on the day of the ceremony, Koreans actually go sheerer on the wedding day. They want to look naturally flawless in the eyes of their family and friends, so they prefer to play around with color only on the photos that they keep for themselves. To achieve this look of natural perfection, they focus on multiple, microscopic layers of foundation. They use only dense sponges, never a brush, and take about 30 minutes on the base alone. This allows the artist to cover up imperfections while still giving skin that translucent, real-like glow.

Description: “Clean Makeup”

  • Not strong or obvious, looks like skin
  • Zero to minimal contouring – shade contrast with skin tone should be barely visible
  • No glitter or glow makeup – highlight with a pink tone powder
  • Soft pinks or peaches on the eyes with smudged but fine eyeliner
  • False lashes are thin and not too long, or use accent lashes
  • Two-tone gradient lips using soft pinks or peaches
  • Blend makeup until the arms for a more natural look
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K-Bridal Pyebaek Makeup

Though many Korean couples opt for a Western-style wedding with the white gown,wealthier couples (usually from more traditional families) will sometimes do a two-part traditional pyebaek (폐백) ceremony wearing a hanbok, followed by a white-gown march. Pyebaek makeup simply features three peso-sized red dots on the forehead and cheeks of the bride, to drive away evil spirits and keep her pure. What most brides just do is to place stickers so it's easier to prepare for the modern ceremony. Some brides forego the forehead stickers oreven all three and attend the pyebaek in their wedding day makeup.

A Genetic Advantage?

I’m sure many of you are rolling your eyes at this moment, thinking that Koreans can afford to go for a natural look because they have amazing skin. They definitely have higher standards thanwe do when it comes to what makes up good skin, but that doesn’t mean that they all look perfect.

Koreans immediately run to the dermatologist for every little problem with their face. They have no problems layering a 10-step routine and invest in good products that can deliver actual results. They make every effort to take care of how they look, so they take pride in being able to show off their “hard work” with very little enhancement.

image via Tricia Gosingtian of

image via Tricia Gosingtian of

Why try K-Bridal Beauty?

Who wasn’t floored by Tricia Gosingtian’s minimalist bridal makeup? This particular interpretation of a bridal look is amazing! I love how a K-bridal face goes so, so well with a classic white gown. After all, a white gown is meant to indicate purity, so a fresh face is the perfect pairing for that aesthetic.

I find that many Filipinas tend to want sharply defined brows and contoured faces because we want to feel special, or different on our special day. There's nothing wrong with that but I find this too strong for a bridal look. And I’m not saying that a vogue face is the opposite of pure, nor is it slutty, but it’s a little too editorial (and mismatched) for bridal IMHO.

My take is: eff that! On my day (if I do decide to get married,) I want to be the goddess version of me. I know I can’t do that with a mask, a face that looks so different and doesn't feel like my own, so bring on the K Bridal sheerness!

If you want to bring pegs to your makeup artist to try K-bridal beauty, just search “웨당메이크업” (wedding makeup) on Google. Or simply hire me!

You may send inquiries through +63917 134 5217 or kristelyapmua [at], and find her portfolio on Instagram @kristelyap_makeup.