I Did My Makeup Like K-Pop Group BTS for a Week – Allure Magazine
Most of the inspiration for my makeup comes from music. After seeing Rihanna wear glittery green lipstick back in 2014, I decided to try the daring shade out for myself — and have continued to take cues from the singer’s beauty choices over the years. More recently, I’ve been into colorful, metallic eye makeup, like Paramore’s Hayley Williams. Needless to say, my makeup M.O. veers on the side of bright, bold, and graphic.
But lately, K-pop has slowly started to trickle into my sources of beauty inspo. For example, while watching music videos, I tend to pay more attention to what’s happening with the group’s hair and makeup than focus in on how intense the choreography is, especially that of BTS. Jimin’s smoky eyes, Jungkook’s glossy lips, and J-Hope’s glowing skin are truly aspirational. (If you have no idea who I’m talking about, you can find out more about the seven members of BTS and their skin-care routines here.) My word choice — “aspirational” — is key here because my makeup style is the exact opposite of theirs.
Gender aside, their makeup stands out of its subtitles and softness in a way that mine does not. Therefore, I admired BTS’s makeup from afar but never really thought about recreating it like Rihanna’s looks — well, that is, until last week. For seven full days, I set aside my purple lipstick and green eyeliner in an effort to challenge myself. The goal was to do my makeup only like BTS, and each day of the week was dedicated to a different member of the group. Spoiler alert: My makeup skills (and life) were seriously tested in the process.
Before I dive into each look, let me break down the basic products I used across the board. For foundation, I stuck with Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude because it makes my oily skin look intentionally dewy and gives it a natural-looking amount of coverage. Instead of looking like I’m masking my skin, it makes it appear as if I woke up with flawless skin like Suga. To amp up my skin’s radiance, I bathed my cheekbones in Ciate’s Dewy Stix. And for my lips, Vaseline’s Rosy Lips replaced my beloved bold lipsticks. (Psst, I may or may not have recently peeped it being applied to the lips of a particularly tall K-pop idol.)
The look: Jimin’s “Blood Sweat & Tears” smoky eyes
I mistakenly believed Jimin’s most iconic smoky eye look would be an easy way to ease into the BTS makeup fantasy. With all the blending, smudging, and layering involved, smoky eyes are harder than they look. Thankfully, YouTube tutorials from Edward Avila and SSIN helped me figure out the proper placement and shades for my shadow. I ended up using gray, black, and smoky lilac shades from the Make Up For Ever Artist Palette Volume 1 – Nudes Palette.
I started off by packing a deep gray shade along my upper and lower lash lines with the Sigma E44 Firm Blender Brush. (This became my go-to smoky eye brush for the week.) Then, I tightlined with the Tarte Maneater Self-Sharpening Liner, a pitch-black eye pencil. From there, I smudged out the liner with the same brush that still had some gray shadow on it. Next, I added some black shadow to the outer corners where my upper and lower lids meet. Then, I extended the shadow outward a bit with the black shadow still on the brush. Jimin and I obviously have completely different eye shapes, so I made this tweak to the eye makeup to make it fit my face better.
To finish off the look, I swiped on exactly one coat of mascara, which pained me. On a daily basis, I put on too many coats to count. It takes me basically all of “Serendipity” to get my lashes to my desired lushness. Much to my dismay, BTS keeps their lashes pretty natural, so I made this sacrifice for the week.
Takeaways: I’d definitely revisit this look. Even though it took a lot of patience, the end product was worth it. Jimin’s smoky eyes made me feel more confident than usual and, dare I say, sultry. Despite being a Scorpio, I can’t say I associate myself with the word sultry often. Boca-Raton-grandma-at-Disney-World is my default aesthetic, so thanks for helping me get in touch with my sexiness, Jimin. I might just post this picture on Tinder.
The look: Suga’s “Young Forever” fake freckles
When I decided I wanted to take on this challenge, I knew Suga’s faux freckles were absolutely necessary. I was so excited to try it out that I actually woke up early. (I value sleep more than most things in my life, so this was a new concept for me.)
After putting on foundation, I dabbed on Glossier’s Cloud Paint in Beam (a creamsicle) with a Beautyblender, beginning at the high points of my cheekbones and going straight across. I even put a smidge atop the bridge of my nose to connect the peachy strip. Then, I randomly started speckling my face in the same area with Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Brow Wiz in Soft Brown to create the fake freckles. I tapped them with my index finger to help them melt into my skin and look more like I grew them myself overnight.
For the eyes, I recreated the same shape as the Jimin look but only used Nars’s Matte Eyeshadow in Blondie (a taupe) and the same liner.
Takeaways: I fooled a lot of people with these faux frecks. Several people around the office (and on Insta Stories) thought the spots were all mine, even though only two of the freckles were truly real. Someone even thought I was wearing less makeup than usual, so my freckles were showing through. Um, no. Honestly, this look made me feel cute as fuck. Suga and I are more or less the same person mentally and emotionally, so I enjoyed channeling him physically, too.
The look: V’s “Not Today” bold brows
Obviously, my V-inspired makeup had to be from this era. It’s all about bold brows, mauve smoky eyes, and the classic K-pop popsicle-stained lip.
As one of the hairiest people I know, my brows are naturally full. I usually just brush a tinted gel through them to help tame them. To really look like V, though, I broke out a brow pencil to use on my actual arches. Trèstique’s Define, Sculpt & Set Brow Pencil in Espresso was incredibly easy to use and bulked up my brows in seconds.
Then, I followed the same technique as Jimin’s smoky eyes — again. (That look turned out to be the perfect template for the week.) Instead of gray and black shadows, I dipped into the eggplant and ash brown shades in the Jouer Springtime in Paris Eyeshadow Palette.
As for my lips, I dotted Sleek Makeup’s Major Matte Lip Cream in Velvet Slipper (a cranberry) on the center of my top and bottom lips before blotting it outward. (Makeup artist Tom Pecheux shared this tip with Allure recently.) Then, I topped it with the Vaseline balm.
Takeaways: No, I didn’t wear the bandana on my head all day. If I did, people surely would have thought I was trying to be a pirate instead of one of the greatest voices of our generation. Honestly, V’s “Not Today” vibes didn’t thrill me. The lips were a fun, non-drying way to use liquid lipstick, but beefed-up brows weigh down my plump baby face. From now on, I’ll keep my brows at their usual level of thickness. (Honestly, Gucci snake brows probably would have been more fitting.)
The look: Jin’s “Wings” glossy pink lids
First, I brushed the shimmery rose gold shade from the palette all over my lids and along my lower lashes. To add some definition to the outer corners of my eyes, I brushed on the matte rosewood shade. Also, I added some glossiness just above the creases of my lids with Milk Makeup’s Eye Vinyl in Bridge. However, my hooded eyes kind of hid the shine in this photo. (I swear it was there, though.) To pull the whole glossy Jin-inspired look together, I swiped some of the M.A.C. Dazzleglass in Sugarrimmed (a glitter petal pink) onto my lips.
Takeaways: I despise glossy makeup. Somehow, it makes my whole face feel oiler than a 99-cent slice of pizza from that gross place people only go to when they are too drunk to care. All day, I looked forward to washing my face. However, I will admit I was into this look on an aesthetic level. All the shimmer, shine, and rosy tones helped my skin look like the makeup version of glass skin.
The look: J-Hope’s “Dope” blue liner
Colorful liner is in my comfort zone, so I felt at home when recreating J-Hope’s look. The first step was rimming my upper and lower lids with Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Liquid Liner in Baltic Blue Sparkle (a shimmery cobalt blue). Then, I winged the liner directly outward — not at an upward angle like cat eyes. Next, I thickened up the lower line in the outer corners with the Urban Decay Liquid Moondust in Vega (a true blue). I, then, completed the all-blue-everything eye makeup with blue mascara, namely the Maybelline Volum’ Express Colossal Big Shot in Boomin’ Blue.
Here’s the most unexpected aspect of the look: I added some blue to the tails of my brows with Make Up For Ever’s Aqua XL Eye Pencil in M-22 (a cobalt blue). I almost missed this element of J-Hope’s “Dope” look, but my work soulmate Sarah Kinonen pointed it out. Bless her.
Takeaways: In a strange twist of fate, Hayley Williams approved of this look after I did an Instagram Live with her. I guess I will be wearing it once a week now. (She knows who BTS is, too. You heard it here first.) J-Hope’s blue eye makeup was seriously a hit. Everyone was pointing out my colorful brows, and I lapped up the attention just as J-Hope would — by dancing. (My signature move is shimming only my legs, in case you were wondering.)
The look: Jungkook’s Now 3 glittery stars
I dived deep into the BTS archives to find this look. The bb of BTS sticks to smoky eyes, too, and I wasn’t about to go there again. You know that weird dance Suga does when he’s excited? That was me when I found this glittery creation.
Sadly, star-shaped glitter is difficult to track down. The In Your Dreams Rainbow Deity Glitter exists, but I didn’t have a chance to buy it. Instead, I got crafty. Flirt Cosmetics’s Chicers, which come in little stars, and Wet n Wild’s Heavy Metals Fantasy Makers Glitter Palette acted as my alternative. At first, I planned to stencil on stars with some glitter and liquid eye shadow, but tried and failed miserably. As a last-ditch effort, I stuck a constellation’s worth of star-shaped Chicers onto my temples and slapped some silver and gold glitter on top. The result was less crisp than Jungkook’s, but I think this fits me more.
On my lids, I brushed Issues (a matte light peach) from Colourpop’s Blow Me Away Palette all over. Then, I added some definition to the outer corners with Centerfold (a matte coral). Oh yeah, I also added some pink to my hair with the brand-new GoodDyeYoung Poser Paste to really commit myself to Jungkook’s look. (You can find out more about the temporary hair color here.)
Takeaways: Was Jungkook’s celestial look my best effort of the week? Probably not. Did it look cool? Sure. Would I do it again? Definitely not. I didn’t let my struggles get the best of me, though. (Insert a laughing Jin GIF here.) When I got to the office, a handful of Allure editors swarmed around me like paparazzi to take pictures of my attempt to look like JK. That truly validated my perseverance.
The look: Rap Monster’s no-makeup makeup for [insert literally any era ever here]
After scrolling through dozens of pictures of Rap Monster on Instagram with Sarah, I surrendered to the reality of the situation: BTS’s leader wears the most boring makeup of the bunch. Therefore, I had to try out some of the most subtle makeup for a change for the final day of this grand challenge.
Before doing smoky eyes of the lowest of keys, I did everything in my power to emulate RM’s radiant skin. Red Earth’s Hydrate Nourishing Lotion acted as my illuminating primer for the day. Then, I smeared the most expensive, dewiest foundation I’ve ever own all over my face — Clé de Peau’s The Foundation — with my fingers.
With my base at peak radiance, I moved onto eyes. First, I covered my whole lid in Peaches ‘n Cream (a cream) from the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette with a wide, flat eye shadow brush. Then, I swept on Puree (a milk chocolate) closely along my upper lash line with the Sigma brush before layering Summer Yum (a warm reddish brown) on top. Next, I extended the brown outward as I did several times this week before bringing the line downward toward my lower lash line. As you probably could have guessed, I brought the whole natural look together with a single coat of mascara. The final touch was a spritz of Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist to further boost the glow factor of my skin
For lips, I switched it up for Rap Monster. To amp up the volume, I lightly lined right outside the perimeter of my lips with Bite Beauty’s The Lip Pencil in 040 (a chocolate brown). Then, I smudged it with my index finger to make it like a natural shadow. Next, I painted the Cherry Blooms Matte Volumizer in Pink Coral onto the center of my lips and blotted it outward to further plump them up.
Takeaways: Weirdly, I got a lot more compliments on this no-makeup makeup than I expected. My guess is it’s because Rap Monster’s look is so different from my usual makeup. My friends and coworkers had to pay attention to the subtleties. Honestly, I was glad the challenge ended there. I felt naked and ready to cover up with gray lipstick and pink underliner once again. I love and respect BTS’s makeup, but I’ll leave singing, rapping, dancing, and smoky eyes — all at the same time — to them.
- Beloved K-Pop Group BTS Told Us Their Ultimate Skin-Care Secrets
- A Member of K-Pop Group KARD Shares a GENIUS Sheet Mask Hack
- Mullets Are Making a Comeback and I Will NOT Stand for It
Now, check out some winners of Best of Beauty’s breakthrough category: