A save vs. splurge guide to unlocking Irene & Seulgi's Monster-level beauty looks
There was a time, in K-pop world, when subunits weren’t quite as welcome as they are today. Before the commercial success of Sistar 19 and Orange Caramel, Super Junior’s multiple subunits had to stumble. EXO, despite the success of EXO-CBX and EXO-SC, didn’t quite hit the jackpot with the initial division between their Korean and Chinese sub-units. There was a time when subunits were more controversial, less celebrated and ultimately, less successful.
Thankfully, the world has shifted on its axis. Subunits are recognized as a notch on a group’s belt rather than a catalyst for fanwars, a sign that a group’s members can challenge concepts that transcend the limits of their original branding and still make it. Today, the subunit is respected. It is supported. It is asked for—a fact that Red Velvet’s fans who have hoped and prayed and begged for an Irene and Seulgi subunit have known to be true for years.
Just a couple of weeks ago, that long standing wish was finally granted. Confirmation of a subunit began to spread around the Twitterverse, this cryptic teaser was dropped and by the end of June, this breathtaking appetizer (a “mood sampler,” as they coined it) was available for our viewing pleasure.
Red Velvet – IRENE & SEULGI | Mood Sampler #1 The Rooms(EDT)
— Red Velvet (@RVsmtown) June 28, 2020
And it was perfect. No, really—from the laid-back lounge music, to the rough-but-not-really cinematography to the set, this mood sampler marked the most excited I’d been for an SM Entertainment release since SHINee’s Story of Light comebacks. But above all the poised, scatty perfection of this teaser, one thing unapologetically held my attention captive: the beauty. And I’m not just talking Irene and Seulgi’s faces (because that’s a no-brainer). I’m talking about the makeup. The hair. The pin-straight locks and the smokey eyes and the cat eye liner and the red lip.
From the get-go, it seemed Monster was full of classic beauty equations—a road less traveled in girl group comebacks this year—and it worked.
The Slicked-Back Hair + Bright Red Lip
Think of the red lip as the beauty equivalent of the little black dress. Sultry, commanding—it's essentially all the things Irene & Seulgi's debut was. A stark contrast against the otherwise neutral beat, Irene's choice of red is a bright, punchy shade. Paired with center-parted, slick locks, the look lends a strong edge to Irene's angelic visuals.
Take the look for a spin with these bright red mattes (all available online!):
COLOURETTE Velvetint in Plus One, P349
ROM&ND Zero Velvet Tint in Joyful, P680
SMASHBOX Be Legendary Matte Lipstick in Infrared, P1150
NARS COSMETICS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square, P1450
The Smokey Eye + MLBB Lip
A running theme in Monster‘s many makeup looks is the heavy focus on Seulgi's eyes. Her monolids are, after all, one of her defining traits (she jokingly dubbed herself the first female idol from SM Entertainment to debut without double eyelids.)
True to every beauty guru's advice, Seulgi's smokey eye steers clear of black eyeshadow. Instead, the look is built up with browns and topped off with a sharp, generous sweep of eyeliner. A subtle kiss of color, care of an MLBB lip, balances out the moody eye look.
Our picks for nailing that dark-eye-soft-lip combo?
DETAIL Ecru Squad Palette, P699
L.A. GIRL Gel Liner in Dark Brown, P319
HUMAN NATURE Mineral ColorCreme Lipstick in Coral Kiss, P395
ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Sultry Eye Shadow Palette, P3070
K-PALETTE 1-Day Tattoo Real Lasting Eye Pencil in Super Black, P795
RMS BEAUTY Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain-Teaser, P1750
The Cat Eye Liner + Dramatic Lip
If (makeup) looks could kill, this one would dispose of my body—and I would say thank you. It's been a hot minute since I've felt the insatiable impulse to check items out of my cart upon seeing a particular beauty look, but this moment in the Monster music video changed that. I don't know about you, but the dramatic brown lip and ultra sharp liner have me wanting to live my best Seulgi-loving life. In case you find yourself feeling the beauty-copping urge, here's a starter pack to achieving this look:
MAYBELLINE Hypersharp Powerblack Liquid Eyeliner in Black, P399
COLOURETTE Colourtint in Jordyn, P299
TARTE Tartiest Clay Paint Liner, P1950
SISLEY Le Phyto-Rouge in 14 Beige-Copacabana, P2210
Don't see your favorite beauty look from Irene & Seulgi's debut MV? Let us know which look you're going to be saving for post-lockdown (or sporting indoors, because why not, right?).
Stream the Monster mini-album on Spotify, or stream the music video below!
Art Alexandra Lara