So you’ve mastered the straight eyebrows, poreless skin, and now you’re ready for the next stage in your K-beauty life. It’s time to learn the language. There’s no surprise that in the land of glass-skinned unnis and oppas, there’s a term for everything beauty-related. While you could diligently watch several K-dramas and madly transcribe every conversation the characters have about skincare secrets, that would be too much effort and who wants to think about vocabulary when they’re watching Park Bo Gum? Don’t worry, we’ve done the work and collected 14 essential words to talk like a K-Beauty queen.
Chok chok skin
Think of Song Hye Kyo (or her husband) and then think of their skin. That’s chok chok skin—dewy and fresh like a morning flower. Chokchokhada literally means hydrated.
The Koreans are pros at shortening, then combining words and saejaelyae is testament to their skill/obsession. A mish mash of the words saesang (world) jael (most) yaebbeun (pretty), it literally means the world’s prettiest person. Tell your Korean friend she’s ‘saejaelyae’ and you’ll be in her good books forever.
K-beauty has more lines than the New York metro rail, and the L-line is the latest one to enter the picture. It describes a stronger jawline that looks like a capital ‘L’ from the side. The L-line is considered to give off a refined, elegant look. Think of celebrities Jung Yumi and Park Bo Gum.
If you’ve got a sharp chin with a slim jawline, you’ve got a V-line. The V-line is associated with a youthful look and can be seen on many a K-pop or Hallyu star including actor Hyun Bin or singer Yoona.
1 day 1 pack
In Korean, a sheet mask is a ‘pack’, and the concept of using 1 sheet per day became wildly popular several years ago and is now a mainstay in the Korean skincare routine.
Every girl needs a bit of ‘gwang’ or glow in her life. The Koreans are obsessed with gwang and there are millions of YouTube videos dedicated to showing you how to get more gwang in your face.
Can a few strands of hair make you look instantly Korean? The see-through bangs suggest yes. It’s rare in Seoul to see a heavy blunt fringe since most girls go for a wispy (see-through) one instead as it’s considered a softer, more flattering look.
Much like the dreaded yo-yo dieting, this describes the ups and downs your skin can experience.
This word single-handedly proves Koreans are more into skincare than the rest of the world. Combining three words: subun (moisture) bujok (lacking) and jisung (oily), this refers to skin that’s oily but lacking hydration.
When you apply your makeup very casually with little effort, you can say it was just a bit of ‘toktokchung’. ‘Toktok’ refers to the motion of just dabbing something on.
One of the most often used words in K-beauty, tone-up refers to a brighter skin tone, so a CC cream may give you a ‘tone up’ effect.
This is pancake makeup. Quite the opposite of that natural, no makeup look Koreans love.
A combination of the words ‘work’ and ‘cosmetic’—it refers to the cosmetics you keep at your work desk usually for a touch up or to transition to after work drinks.
The glass skin look for which Koreans are renowned is actually known as ‘yuri pibu’ in its homeland.
Text: Kelly Im