One of the most fascinating things about K-pop is how aesthetically pleasing it is. From music video sets to the fashion, the world of K-pop and its idols know how to turn a look exceptionally well and keep us staring at all their pretty faces for hours. But one thing that sets idols apart is that K-beauty is deeply embedded in their culture, and this goes for both men and women. It’s not only the girl groups that go the distance with their makeup to achieve a full conceptualized look; boy groups do it, too. And recently, the guys have been painted so well that for myself, a fan of K-beauty who happens to be a guy, it’s been delightful and inspiring to see the variations of fierceness they’ve been able to pull off.
Be it at a red carpet, at an airport, or on a live show, male idols are bringing attention to their faces through means that lie beyond their natural beauty. The world of makeup, which has traditionally been categorized as a “woman’s” accessory, is finding a whole new space of existence now that today’s male K-pop idols are challenging that archaic standard. Makeup is an art form, and just like there are no rules in art, neither is there in how makeup is utilized and by whom.
While female idols generally focus their application on the face as a whole (eyes, cheeks, lips, etc.), the majority of male idols target one specific area: the eyes. Taking into consideration that makeup is a tool, male idols use it as such to emphasize several key aspects of the eyes. Temperature, size, and impact are the three elements that idols tend to play with most. While some guys like to keep it subtle, others have a far more severe approach.
GOT7’s Bambam is one idol who see-saws between serving intense pops of color and keeping things relatively subtle. For the most part, BamBam likes to stay in the lighter end of the spectrum. By applying a light amount of eyeshadow (in this case, a deep coffee color), it gives his eyes a nice depth without over-exaggerating the lids. It’s like a natural look with a bit of oomph for good measure.
In EXO’s Baekhyun’s case, you have a heavier approach to this, and it really boils down to his double eyelids and the tricks makeup artists have used over the years to emphasize them. Baekhyun’s eyes really pop because a stronger liner and darker eyeshadow were used to make them look wider. It’s a technique that works particularly well on stage and looks even more captivating with light colored lenses.
Finally, there are those moments in which all of the above are blended together to deliver severe looks that could stop you dead in your tracks. Thanks to Monsta X’s Jooheon, I’ve found my newest makeup inspiration. Some of my absolute favorite eye looks on both men and women are the ones that feature dynamic colors, and Jooheon did just that in Monsta X’s recent comeback promotional photos.
Whether it’s natural makeup or makeup that is worn to make a statement, it’s great to see these guys embracing it as a form of self-expression, not just for the cameras, but in their day to day lives as well. It’s also another way to elevate their image and add yet another wrinkle into the already extraordinarily elaborate world of K-pop.
Does your favorite male idol rock bold eye makeup? Let us know in the comments section below!
Cover Image: Allure; Monsta X (Starship Entertainment/Mercury Records)