Of bejewelled locks, cheekbones and all gold everything
What has kept you sane this year? Be honest.
At the risk of spotlighting the (already obnoxious) fangirl in me, I'm going to go right ahead and admit that the only thing that has kept me afloat—through the cabin fever, constantly being in close proximity with the same people for nine months, work-from-home stress and general disappointment at this shit show of a pandemic—is K-pop content. Or rather, the sheer abundance of it. The comebacks, the photo shoots, the fan cafe posts, the selfies, the reality shows, the Instagram lives—K-pop is the gift that kept on giving, even as the rest of the world was crumbling.
Now that Christmas is right around the corner and we’ll finally have an excuse to get all dressed up, I’m making a case for turning to K-pop for inspiration yet again. With all the comebacks and content we got this year, there has been a wealth of beauty moments to keyboard smash over on our stan accounts. Here are some major show-stoppers to take for a spin irl (or over Zoom).
Sowon’s Royal Flush
GFRIEND’s Sowon has been serving visuals since their debut, but this look from her ?:Song of the Sirens concept photo is easily a standout. This mid-2020 comeback set the scene for GFRIEND’s exploration into a moodier concept—a darker and more grown-up version of the fantasy themes they served in 2019. While the group had striking makeup all around—just-cried pink under-eyes, silverleaf eye makeup and a fiery red mane with brows to match—Sowon’s rhinestone-festooned cheekbones win my vote.
Taeyong’s Bejewelled Hair
Speaking of rhinestones and visual serves, we can’t not talk about Taeyong of NCT. I’ve kept tabs on his hair and makeup trajectory since the fever dream that was Baby Don’t Stop, and this one might just come in as a close second for my favorite Taeyong looks ever. Faux pearls, jewel appliqué and a subtle sweep of glitter transform this otherwise simple hairstyle into a holiday-ready, Frozen-esque daydream.
Jennie’s Abstract Liner
Jennie of BLACKPINK has had some great beauty moments this year (the Instagram e-girl hair, the overextended under-eye shadow, the timeless HERA beat), but this particular look from the Ice Cream music video is an easy choice for those looking to let a little color in. A tip: instead of using liquid liner, give water-activated liners like the ones from local brands Hue Obsession and Sundays Moderne Beauty a shot.
Kai’s Dramatic Edges
As soon as SM Entertainment confirmed the rumors surrounding Kai’s solo debut, mankind (read: me) began to prepare to have their eyes baptized with the visual spectacle that was about to unfold. Kai, naturally, did not disappoint. Aesthetically, Mmmh gave us all we prayed for. The skin! The nail polish! And most of all, this swirly-edged ‘do.
Jihyo’s Golden Moment
Choosing a single photo to reference for Jihyo, who is blessed with the gift of perpetually looking good, wasn’t easy, but this golden hour moment from TWICE’s Allure photo shoot was just too good not to include in this list. Granted, it’s a little extreme, but what else are special occasions for? Skip the liquid liner and the bold lipstick. Instead, let the ultra-warm inner eyes and cheekbones channel all the Christmas cheer.
These weren’t the only beauty highlights we’ve gotten to witness this year. Click through to read up on beauty lessons we picked up from Irene and Seulgi’s Monster, or a round-up of our favorite quarantine beauty trends we plan to carry with us to 2021 and beyond.
Art Matthew Fetalver