It’s very easy to see what’s popular in Korea. Hive mentality is very much a thing there in that what is popular is extremely popular and you don’t see much else of other things. Whatever the trend is, 90% of the population will be sporting this look and so in this sense, it actually is easy to judge a book by it’s cover.
Here are the things I like and dislike with the current (2016) K Beauty trends:
LIKE Contouring. My impression of Koreans was that they don’t contour, simply because their complexions look hyper-bright and don’t seem to give off a muddy look. I was wrong, they do use contour and for the most part, common people do it very well, i.e. discreet enough not to look striped or sculpted.
East Asians tend to have flat-ish facial structures. Our ocular and nasal spaces have very little definition and cheekbones aren't very well defined. Moreover, the V line is coveted as a scarcity against the common wide and flat face. Regular contouring is too obvious so you need a really light hand, which Koreans in general seem to master.
DISLIKE Pearlface, that is more like Ghostface. Pearly pale complexions are idealised here. I don’t believe in the worn argument that Asians want to be Caucasians, rather, I just think pale skin harkens to aristocracy and that’s why people strive for this look.
I don’t mind a bright face but people literally walk around with faces up to 4 shades off from their necks. I already have a darker neck so I will never get on this trend. Holy has a lot of redness on her bare side, but even so I think she still does her foundation a little light. The average Korean tends to miss the mark more widely and the best description I have is they look like they just spread one fourth of a Chin Chan Su tin on their face.
LIKE Korean glow. No explanation needed, everyone knows this. However...
DISLIKE Slathered Oil. Koreans tend to not be grimy- I envy them for that. Their skin types are generally closer to normal rather than really dry or really oily. With ‘glow’ (촉촉) being coveted here, most people go overboard and sport a greasy look. Unlike contouring which is more skilfully done, glow is overdone.
LIKE Soft edges. People love the ombre look, and I must say I do too. Putting color just in the centre of the mouth makes one look really youthful, and it goes well with the equally trendy and youthful-looking straight brow.
DISLIKE Highlighter lip colors. The combination of ghost face and fluorescent pink is kind of scary. While I normally let live, this is one of those times where I feel bad for people who blindly follow trends and are unable to judge their own looks.
To be fair, I think most Filipina girls don’t choose their lip colors well either. Pinays love to go for a bright pink thinking it will make them look white somehow (?). To me, if you’re tan, putting on bright pink lips is certainly a look but not one that makes you look whiter. If you’re not self-aware of this fact, your whole face will be a mess.
LIKE Lenses. LENS SHOPS HERE ARE CRAZY. You can have anything you dream of, no matter what grade your eyes are. Stacks of lenses in all price ranges can be found, and the optician actually has fake brown eyes to see how the samples would look on you. Fashion lenses are quite common and people tend to choose designs + colors well-suited to their faces.
LIKE "Eyebags." Liz once posted about eyebags as a K Beauty trend and people laughed so sarcastically about it. It annoyed me, seeing as it was coming from such a place of ignorance. Though she explained what it was, people kept talking scoffing about wanting to donate their dark circles WHICH IS NOT THE POINT OF THIS LOOK. Yes, you use shadows, not to imitate dark circles but rather, that chubby little puff under the eye that’s often seen “cute” in people smiling with slanted eyes.
Done well, this actually suits a relatively flat East Asian face. You can’t really set your eyes any deeper than they are but giving the eye area more detail makes your face more interesting. I like how it emphasises the eyes versus a faded or, heaven forbid, all black liner on the lower lashline.
LIKE Eye Detail. I like everything! I like the fashion lenses, eye shadow colors, crazy eyeliner designs, false lashes. Overall I’d say Koreans do eyes well. They realistically work with what they have to prettify what is already there. And when they want to create illusions of Caucasian features, they're not afraid to go all in.
I would say Koreans do their eyes really well. This I LOVE.
Here's PONY with a pretty stanard, but really beautiful Korean eye makeup.