In a culture where gender roles as a whole are quite strictly enforced, beauty provides a space for gender expression to bend with no questions asked.
Men have become the dominant endorsers of beauty brands in South Korea. The relationship between men and beauty in Korea used to be nothing more than awkward cardboard cutouts of male stars holding products and smiling.
In 2021, all that’s changed.
Within the last couple of years, bands like Seventeen continued partnering with The Saem, NCT 127 joined the Nature Republic family, BTS added to their own VT Beauty line, Jackson Wang teamed up with Armani Beauty, and Kang Daniel continued to endorse Givenchy Beauty. And that’s only scratching the surface.
If you’re a K-pop idol of today, some days you’re performing on an internationally televised music show, and other days you’re catching a 3 a.m. flight. Either way, your lipstick is always popping.
The rise of K-pop stars publicly endorsing makeup has normalized men investing in beauty. Note that cherry popsicle lips may have been popularized by K-pop stars, but has since become a trend among young men throughout the country.
So, who are some of the men who brought these products into mainstream Korean male culture and what are their products of choice? Below, we’ll spill the products that these male K-pop idols can’t live without.
Seventeen’s favorite lip product
According to a makeup artist who worked alongside Seventeen, her favorite product to use to achieve their perfectly tinted lips is Benefit’s Benetint. This happens to be a cheek and lip tint, so take full advantage of this product’s versatility.
It claims to last all day, which is a must for members like S.Coups and Vernon, who keep their lips perfect during a whole day of shooting. No matter how casual the environment, an artist never keeps his canvas empty – just moisturized at the very least.
The popsicle-stain look is a personal favorite among many Korean stars like Seventeen, but they are no strangers to bolder, even experiential lip looks. (Jeonghan in the “Fear” music video, “Anyone”?)
See the product in action here with Korean beauty YouTuber, Min.
Taemin’s favorite lip product
When K-pop giants SHINee were the face of Korean beauty brand The Saem, one of the members, Taemin, showed us what flawless lip work looks like.
The Saem’s Kissholic lipstick is a lightweight matte lipstick. It includes natural ingredients such as shea butter and cacao seed butter for a smoothing and soothing effect. It’s not specifically a lip balm, but these ingredients definitely help create a moisturizing effect.
Rather than going full glam, Taemin shows us more of an everyday type of look. The lipstick adds the perfect finishing touch to Taemin’s subtle glamour with a light coat. There may never have been a better execution of the every day “subtly obvious” makeup look.
While there is a sensual nature to the name and Taemin’s overall expression with this campaign, the color spectrum truly has something for everyone. The most important part of finding your kindred lip product is experimenting with colors and finding the one that speaks to your confidence.
What works for Taemin, might not always make you feel your best. Don’t be afraid to try out multiple shades until you find your favorite.
Kang Daniel’s favorite lip product
Kang Daniel uses the whole variety from Givenchy Beauty, from playful pinks to mature reds. Talk about range. Seriously, take a look for yourself right here. His sophisticated stage presence translates off-stage – we love a bilingual man.
The Le Rouge lipstick collection amplifies his mature presence on and off the camera. It is a stunning matte collection of darker reds and muted pinks for a more mature, business-appropriate look.
While you certainly could attempt to use this lipstick as part of your natural makeup look routine, this beautiful matte lipstick deserves some time in the spotlight.
BTS’s favorite lip product
This one’s for you, ARMYs. A well-known favorite lip product of Bangtan is the NIVEA Lip Balm. Jungkook jokingly promoted this product in their early days, even causing the product to sell out. The BTS golden touch did not come to play even before world fame.
While the main priority of this product is to moisturize, the tinted versions, such as the ones Jimin and Jungkook use (Cherry Shine and Peach), are pigmented enough to add a touch of color to your lips.
If you are a fan of the truly natural “no makeup” look, this is a product that is easy to apply throughout the day and adds a barely-there tint of color alongside thoroughly moisturized lips.
This isn’t just a casual lip product though – if you are like Jungkook, it can be your lip product of choice when going on TV, or if you are like Jimin, you’ll apply some throughout the day while jumping off inflatable slides in the lake.
Baekhyun’s favorite lip product
As someone who is known to often have the boldest looks during EXO’s promotions (the fake lip piercing in “Monster” is a personal favorite), he was definitely the right man for the job. He used the “Rose Bean Latte” color specifically to amplify the cold persona his makeup and hair create for his “night mode” look.
While Baekhyun famously pulls off the natural boy-next-door look, and even prefers it, he is just as famous for iconic and bold makeup, and it is honestly, *chef’s kiss.*
This lipstick itself is incredibly versatile, and could create lips as natural or as bold as you desire. It’s a chic lipstick that lacks the stickiness and heavy nature that other lipsticks do.