How Korean men keep their skin and makeup on point

by Marianne Raterta, contributor

When we think of K-beauty, the usual imagery is of porcelain-colored women with glowy chok chok skin, rosy cheeks and stained lips. Online beauty gurus like Pony and Jenn Im come to mind, or maybe even the ageless Sandara Park! With so many beautiful women dominating the scene, it’s easy to forget that looking good is serious business in South Korea, even for men. You don’t have to look very far for great examples though because any one of the male K-idols will have you turning green over how absolutely perfect their skin looks!

Song Joong Ki (via and Henry Lau (via

Song Joong Ki (via and Henry Lau (via

Top Hallyu star Song Joong Ki captured hearts around the world starring in dramas such as Sungkyungkwan Scandal, The Innocent Man, and the smash hit Descendants of the Sun. The secret to his alabaster complexion? He washes his face every night with milk! He reportedly even avoids heaters to prevent his skin from drying out. Ever diligent with his skincare, he always applies sunscreen and uses a mask daily.

Henry Lau of Super Junior-M looks young and fresh even in his mid-20s, thanks to a cup of warm tea every morning as soon as he wakes up.

Sungyeol (via and Jaejoong (via

Sungyeol (via and Jaejoong (via

Sungyeol from INFINITE also credits his radiant skin to a particular beverage: he drinks Chinese cabbage juice everyday as part of his skin care.

JYJ’s Jaejoong is currently serving in the army so his spartan regimen fits right in. He says he only uses water to wash his face, and uses cleanser only when completely necessary!

While we’re pretty sure that the 10-step Korean skin care routine probably fits into here somewhere, chances are that these guys already have perfect skin to begin with. So what do regular guys do to get their skin looking just as good as an idol’s? We got a chance to chat with Edward Avila, a Filipino K-beauty YouTuber based in South Korea, who gamely shared some male K-beauty secrets!

What skincare and makeup products do Korean men like to use?

From what I’ve seen they like to keep it simple: generally, a foam cleanser, skin (which is what they call a toner), emulsion (a sort of light lotion), and sunscreen. The main makeup products they carry (if any) are a simple BB Cream and maybe an eyebrow product.

Do you see any makeup trends among Korean males?

Generally Korean men keep their makeup simple, focusing on just base makeup and eyebrows. I have seen some get into contouring the jawline but other than that, less is better for most guys.

How does male idol makeup differ from everyday makeup?

"Idol makeup" tends to differ depending on the look and concept. It can be anything from a heavy smokey eye to a no-makeup makeup look. It could be light enough to pass for everyday makeup, or more complicated and involving more products, brushes, application, etc.

Who's your inspiration when it comes to Korean-style makeup?

A lot of my inspiration comes from the looks that Monsta X members often sport. Perfected skin, defined eyes, and just bitten/pinky lips. Pony is also always inspiring with her East-meets-West makeup looks, as they are much more fun than most of what you see on the streets of Seoul.

Do you think products have to be gender-specific or marketed towards a specific gender only?

I feel that products should never be for just one gender. In shops here in Korea, sales associates often try to direct me towards the men's section but with my knowledge of cosmetics and what I do on YouTube, I make sure to be open to trying different products or go in knowing exactly what I want. Products don’t always work the same way for everyone so it’s important to know what works and doesn’t work for you.

How do your favorite male K-idols keep themselves looking ready for the spotlight? Talk to us in the comments section!

Images courtesy of Edward Avila