The K-pop world is absolutely no stranger to high-octane visuals—think dreamy make-up pulls, ferociously loud heads of hair and gravity-defying manicures. After all, a big part of every idols’s on-stage formula has to do with not just their magnetically choreographed performances and their stylishly congruent outfits but also their impeccably made-up beauty looks. Some might trace its evolution from all the way back in the mid ‘00s, when we first saw caricatures of heavily smoked liners and rainbow-inspired manes, right up to the present where ethereal face adornments and intricate talon work take the forefront in the scene.
Often, visuals are key in channelling the nuanced message of a particular concept. See (G)I-DLE’s all-blonde pull for their latest comeback ‘Nxde’, as they emulated their muse, Marilyn Monroe, or Beomgyu from TXT wearing a line of broken hearts on his neck for their ‘Good Boy Gone Bad’ music video. At other times, a fresh hair and make-up look is the possible harbinger of an exciting new comeback; one only needs to recall Sunmi debuting her wavy coral tresses on her Instagram account, prior to the release of her music video for ‘Heart Burn’ earlier in summer. But for the most part? New, experimental aesthetics are the ultimate way to capture the hearts of their fans—considering the rare, almost ephemeral quality of these outstanding beauty moments.
As we round out 2022, we took the liberty to shortlist the top 22 beauty pulls in the world of K-pop—from Taeyeon’s cascading face embellishments to BTS’s Suga’s long, luscious hair and Jessi’s Y2K-inspired pigtails embedded with flowers. See Vogue Singapore’s full round up, below.
1 / 22
Chungha's bejewelled lids and claws
Right in line with her ‘Sparkling’ music video, Chungha paints a winged graphic liner using silver jewels and doesn’t forget to dial up on the sparkle for her talons as well.
2 / 22
Key's gold-dusted mien
Key of Shinee makes his brilliant mark with swathes of gold dust thrown over his head of hair and mien—perfectly matching his divine outfit choice in the music video for ‘Gasoline’.
3 / 22
Shuhua goes blonde
As (G)I-DLE‘s maknae (youngest member), Shuhua had always been known to stray away from having her hair dyed—wishing to keep her natural tresses as they are. But earlier this year, in order to fully convey the concept of ‘Nxde’, their latest song, the girl group member voluntarily made the decision to go blonde.
4 / 22
Winter's layered talons
Winter’s 3D talons throughout the ‘Girls’ music video from earlier this year are worth a mention; each frame shows her sport a new maximalist manicure that melded well with her metaverse persona.
5 / 22
Yena's smiley-inspired mien
Alongside her chirpy tunes for ‘Smiley’ with Bibi, the former Iz*One member adds a playful twist to her look by drawing mini smiley emojis on her cheeks.
6 / 22
Gaeul's platinum blonde hair
The IVE rapper seemed to have found an aesthetic that her fans unanimously loved, after first debuting the fresh blunt bob in platinum blonde at the 2022 Dream Concert.
7 / 22
J-hope's goth aesthetic
For his highly-lauded solo stint, J-hope wears a fiery set of lids matched with a black manicure to channel the darker mood of ‘Arson’.
8 / 22
Solar's rouge lip
Mamamoo’s Solar leans into the femme fatale aesthetic with her dark rouge lip, mired by her sleek liner and messy updo.
9 / 22
Dawn's undereye blush and freckles
As if it was inspired right off TikTok, Dawn matches the undereye blush with a face of freckles, without forgetting to add a few sequins around his eyes and lips.
10 / 22
Seulgi's sultry make-up
For her solo debut, Red Velvet’s Seulgi exudes a darker aura—much unlike the group’s usual aesthetic–via her sunset eyes, nude lip and vampire manicure.
11 / 22
Jiwoo's dark graphic liner
In outerworldly fashion, Kard’s Jiwoo wears a surrealist liner that contrasts against her platinum blonde hair and pale skin.
12 / 22
Jessi's Y2K-inspired pigtails
In her music video for ‘Zoom’, Jessi’s half-up pigtails sees a colourful transformation imbued via an array of Y2K hair accessories such as mini clips and scrunchies.
13 / 22
Hyuna's pearly lids
Hyuna gives her edgy aesthetic a flirty twist with her pearl-lined lids and dusty pink pout.
14 / 22
Chaehyun's dripping jewels
Keeping it minimal yet distinctive, a line of metallic tears drips down from Chaehyun’s left eye in the music video for Kep1er’s ‘We Fresh’.
15 / 22
JayB's long hair
JayB’s softly tousled tresses had him looking suave for GOT7’s highly-anticipated comeback with ‘Nanana’.
16 / 22
Taeyeon's cascading face jewels
Although it’s difficult to pinpoint just a single standout beauty moment in her ‘Invu’ music video, Taeyeon is a futuristic vision with her bejewelled mien and metallic hair piece.
17 / 22
Jennie's ribbon braids
For Blackpink’s long-awaited comeback, Jennie wore a fun and flirty head of braids and ribbon accessories.
18 / 22
IU's layered haircut
Much unlike her usual long, straight hair, the South Korean soloist sported a fresh cut for ‘Gandara’, her unexpected collaboration with Jay Park.
19 / 22
Suga's Fuuji Kaze-inspired hair
Sending most of his fans into an utter frenzy, BTS’s Suga uploaded a photo of himself with an extremely different hairstyle from the rapper’s usual style—taking inspiration for his luscious curls from what seems to be Japanese singer Fuuji Kaze’s album art.
20 / 22
Nayeon's Euphoria-worthy make-up
In her ‘Pop’ solo debut, Nayeon conveys a mood of ecstatic joy with her graphic glitter eyeliner matched to a fun infusion of the word on her pout.
21 / 22
Sunmi's coral locks
For her summer hit ‘Heart Burn’, the veteran K-pop soloist effortlessly pulls off a head of wavy coral tresses—perfectly imbuing her music video with the mood of the season.
22 / 22
Beomgyu's broken hearts
The troubled teenager sits at the core of TXT’s ‘Good Boy Gone Bad’ music video, and the make-up each member sports is a stylistic choice meant to emulate the song’s message. For Beomgyu, he carries the heartbreak quite literally—with a string of broken black hearts drawn down his neckline.