The ideal K-beauty look of pale skin, straight brows, and doe-like eyes may be changing. With edgy images of hip hop girl power flooding TV screens, Korean women are venturing into alternate styles.
From China to America, the international beauty community has been swept up by the K-beauty industry that combines wish-granting formulas with adorable packaging. One quick glance at these products show an evident mainstream beauty trend that every brand caters towards.
While every person has their own unique features and skin tone, the majority of Korean beauty products facilitates the acquisition of moist, glowy and youthful pale skin, tinted lips and enlarged rounded eyes. However, like most trends, they eventually die and are replaced with a newer, better and even more modern look.
Women In K-Hip Hop
As hip-hop music increasingly tops the Korean charts, so does their non-conforming style. While mainstream Korean female actresses and idols are required to look pure, sexy, or cute (or a combination of them all), hip-hop rappers must be strong and confident, whether they are mainstream beautiful or not.
Korean female rappers wear heavier eye makeup and more punchier tones. CL (previously leader of 2ne1) became immensely popular for her rap skills, and as her music and popularity swelled, so did her aesthetic appeal. Despite lacking the ideal physical appearance of mainstream beauty standards, her industry credibility made her a beauty icon and she is now a spokesperson for international brand Maybelline.
But, it’s not just celebrities. The birth and rise of hip-hop competition shows such as Mnet’s ‘Show Me The Money’, ‘Unpretty Rapstar’ and JTBC’s ‘Hip Hop Tribe’, have introduced into the spotlight, previously unknown talents from the underground scene who have not been polished by the K-pop music machine.
The female rapper Jessi was launched into fame from ‘Unpretty Rapstar’ and received huge popularity for her aggressive, realistic personality, and even sparkier rap lyrics. Her tan skin, bold makeup, and sharp features were eye catching and became a physical embodiment of her inner power.
Hip Hop Beauty and Style
The popularity of K-hip hop female rappers spawned two popular beauty terms; ssen unni (쌘 언니) meaning ‘tough older sister’ or ‘bad girl’ and girl crush (걸 크러쉬) meaning a tough looking woman who is admired by other women. This makeup look involves bronzed skin tone, smokier eyes and contouring.
Korean beauty gurus and bloggers are embracing these bold looks. There are hundreds of tutorials online, all boasting a sharper and stronger look than what Korean mainstream beauty used to be. Trending images on social media platforms such as Instagram, show that more and more young women are wearing this makeup style.
Even brands are adapting to these new changes by producing contouring sticks, darker foundations and using advertising models that have more angular features. The show ‘Unpretty Rapstar’ even launched their own makeup line that sells the cool charisma of female Hip-hop starlets.
Music, Media and Future Trends
The culture of media mass consumption in Korea gives a lot of power to entertainers. Everything in a celebrity’s life, from what they do, to what they eat, wear and look like, heavily influences the public, especially young people. As female hip-hop icons grow and challenge popular ideals, young viewers are being titillated away from conforming to tradition.
K-Hip hop is more than just a music genre. It is a lifestyle based on being strong and an individual. While Korean women try to achieve physical perfection, in the hip hop world, imperfections are seen as strengths. As more female artists succeed in the K-Hip Hop industry, they become social influencers that diversify Korean beauty ideals and makeup styles.