KBeauty: Back to the Base-ic

Also known as the Korean take on glowing skin

Hi everybody! I’m back with some more KBeauty info! The KBeauty eye makeup post did a lot better than I expected, so I was super excited about that; thank you so much to everyone who read it, and for those of you who haven’t read it, you can check it out here.

Today we’re going to talk about base makeup, or skin makeup(?). I think one of the most most most important parts of makeup is making a good base. If you have glowing skin with a perfect finish, it makes your entire makeup look so much better.

So without further ado, let’s talk about skin skin skin!

Let’s talk base makeup:


One thing that might surprise you when browsing through the base makeup in a Korean Makeup brand store is the incredibly limited range of shades. You’ll probably find only three shades for the same product. This is because whereas in Western cultures people will match their foundation with their skin, in Korea everyone strives to have the same pale, translucent skin. And something that results from this is the huge range of “brightening” products you are likely to see in Korean cosmetic brands.

“Brightening” products are products that claim to lighten your complexion and make your skin paler. There are so many different kinds of products that do this; moisturizers, toners, essences, serums, sheet masks, facials…etc. If you look through Korean blogs, you can also find a plethora of posts with tips on how to make your skin paler.

There’s several reasons as to why pale skin is so strongly desired, but the two most convincing reasons are

  1. A long time ago, back when Korea had a monarchy, pale skin was associated with people of high social status because they did not have to go out and work, whereas tan skin was associated with people of lower social status because they had to work the farms outside.I personally think that this reason is really outdated and it doesn’t apply anymore; I think the second reason is more convincing.
  2.  A lot of Korean beauty standards are based on Western people’s appearance – big, wide eyes, tall nose bridge, small face… And the pale skin that’s so common in caucasians ended up forming a part of Korean beauty standards.


And along with pale skin, another highly desired trait when it comes to base makeup is a natural, translucent look. Because of this, full coverage foundations are only used for special occasions, and for daily looks, BB creams and CC creams are much more preferred.

Quick Fact: BB cream stands for Blemish Balm and CC cream stands for Correcting Combo Cream. BB cream is better for covering blemishes and has better coverage, while CC cream is better for lighter coverage and brightening complexions while also moisturizing the skin.

Cushion BB and CC products are also very popular in Korea because they provide lighter, more even coverage (although it does depend on the individual products).


Something else I want to talk about when it comes to base makeup in KBeauty is the different kinds of “glow.”

Now, when you think of “glow” you will probably think of highlighters, but I’m talking about the glow of the base makeup itself. There are four widely known types of skin “glow” in KBeauty (in order of popularity) : “물광,” “꿀광,” “윤광,”and “결광.” These translate to “watery glow (dewy)”, “honey-like glow,” “polished glow,” and “texture glow”respectively  (sorry for the rough translations, there’s no perfect translation for these).

Romanisations: 물광: Mul-Gwang, 꿀광: Kul-Gwang, 윤광:Yoon-Gwang, 결광: Gyeol-Gwang


I’m sure you’ve probably heard of dewy skin, it’s a moisturized, watery looking kind of finish.

물광/Dewy Glow   Picture of 이연희/Lee Yeon-hee

To achieve a dewy finish, you use a moisturizing foundation and avoid using mattifying products such as setting  powder. A lot of cushion foundations are great for dewy finishes, and when it comes to tools, damp beauty blenders can provide an easy dewy finish.

꿀광/Honey-like Glow:

Honey-like glow is similar to dewy glow, but it’s much more subdued than the extremely watery finish that dewy flow has.

꿀광/Honey-like Glow   Picture of 이민정/Lee Min Jung

Honey-like glow is the closest look to the glowing looks that are trending right now with the highlighter madness that is going on. It’s way more subdued than the dewy finish, and it’s got a tight, uplifting kind of look.

윤광/Polished Glow:

You might have noticed that the more we go through these, the more subtle these “glows” become. Polished glow is one step before a matte finish, and it’s all about a subtle, almost matte finish with a pearly kind of iridescent sheen.

윤광/Polished Glow   Picture of 포니/Pony

Whereas dewy glow and honey-like glow are achieved with moisture, polished glow is achieved with an iridescent shine. The base for a polished glow finish is a smooth, matte skin finish topped with some powder or a base illuminator that gives you a glow (ex. Cover FX Illuminating Primer).

결광/Texture Glow:

Now this is the least known/popular of the “glow”s, and honestly, I don’t really think this is a real “glow” look, I think if anything, this is closer to a matte look than anything.

결광/Texture Glow    Picture of 설리/Sulli


I translated 결광 directly into “texture glow,” but I’d say that a better translation might be “porcelain glow” because that’s what this look tries to achieve. This is more of a matte look that aims for a smooth surface with a porcelain finish. I personally prefer this kind of look because I think that the other glows are really easy to mess up and would need a lot of fixing throughout the day.

I also have oily skin, which would not mix well with the excess moisture required for a dewy look.


So that’s it for the base/skin portion of my KBeauty series. Wow, this post turned out a lot longer than I expected it to! I hope that this post helped you understand more about base makeup when it comes to KBeauty. Next in this series is most likely going to be Blush/Bronzer! I’m looking forward to writing it, so I hope you’re looking forward to reading it!


And as per usual, I’ll leave the link to a Korean beauty guru on YouTube so you can check out more about the things I write about.

Ssin 씬님

Ssin is a quite unconventional Korean beauty YouTuber. She’s got a chic charm and a funny personality. She makes brutally honest reviews that are trustworthy and she subtitles all of her videos in English. She also does a lot of transformation makeup looks that are pretty amazing. You should definitely check her out.

If you wanna check out a KBeauty style glowy look, check out this video!

Dewy Glow Tutorial



Yours Truly,


Also known as Hey June.





5 thoughts on “KBeauty: Back to the Base-ic

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