Why Do Korean Men Wear Makeup

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Wondering why you see so many Korean men sporting makeup? It’s not just a fashion trend—makeup has become an intrinsic part of South Korea’s male grooming culture. This article digs into the reasons behind this phenomenon, from the influence of K-pop to social pressures and economic benefits.

Ready for a cultural beauty scoop? Stick around!

Key Takeaways

  • Korean men wear makeup for various reasons, including the influence of K – Pop idols, high beauty standards, military service, tough job market and economic benefits.
  • K-Pop idols have had a significant impact on Korean men’s makeup habits by pushing boundaries and encouraging self-expression.
  • In Korean society, physical appearance is seen as a measure of success and social status, leading to pressure for men to meet these high beauty standards through the use of makeup.
  • Military service plays a role in the popularity of makeup among Korean men as they find ways to express themselves during their service.
  • The competitive job market in South Korea has led to increased interest in makeup among men as a way to enhance their appearance and stand out from the competition.
  • Wearing makeup has brought economic benefits by creating a booming market with more job opportunities within the beauty industry.
  • By following popular trends and using specific techniques, Korean men achieve the coveted “chok-chok” look—a radiant and dewy complexion that reflects their desire for healthy-looking skin with a youthful glow.
  • The rise of male beauty products is empowering men to take care of their skin and enhance their natural features while challenging traditional gender norms.

Reasons Why Korean Men Wear Makeup

Korean men wear makeup for various reasons, including the influence of K-Pop idols, high beauty standards, military service, tough job market, and economic benefits.

The influence of K-Pop idols

K-Pop idols blaze trails with their unique beauty trends and have a significant impact on Korean men’s makeup habits. These famous faces are renowned for pushing the envelope, experimenting with full makeup looks that include foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick and even daring hair colors.

This daring self-expression has sparked an influential trend that encourages other Korean males to embrace makeup as part of their daily routine. The irrepressible charm and charisma of these performers captivate fans worldwide, prompting many to emulate their polished appearances.

In fact, the K-Pop industry’s influence extends so far that it has played a key role in shifting societal norms about masculinity and beauty across Korea.

High beauty standards

Korean society has long upheld high beauty standards for both men and women. In Korea, physical appearance is often seen as a measure of success and social status. As a result, Korean men feel pressure to meet these standards by taking care of their skin and appearance through the use of makeup.

The expectation is to have clear, smooth skin with a healthy glow. This emphasis on beauty has led to the rise of the “chok-chok” look, which refers to a radiant and dewy complexion that many Korean men strive to achieve.

By embracing makeup, they are able to enhance their features and improve their overall appearance in order to fit into society’s beauty ideals while boosting their self-confidence.

Military service

Military service is mandatory for Korean men, and this plays a significant role in the popularity of makeup among them. In fact, K-beauty has become so ingrained in Korean culture that there are even designer camouflage options available for servicemen who want to incorporate makeup into their appearance.

While serving in the military, Korean men still find ways to express themselves through beauty products and grooming routines. The influence of K-pop idols and the desire to enhance their appearance contribute to why many Korean men continue to wear makeup during their military service.

Tough job market

In the competitive job market of South Korea, men often face immense pressure to look their best. This has led to an increased interest in makeup among Korean men as a way to enhance their appearance and boost their confidence.

With limited opportunities and fierce competition, wearing makeup has become a strategy for standing out and making a strong first impression. Whether it’s concealing imperfections or highlighting features, Korean men see makeup as a valuable tool in navigating the tough job market they are up against.

Economic benefits

Korean men wearing makeup has also brought about economic benefits. The rise in demand for male beauty products has created a booming market, with cosmetic companies specifically targeting the male demographic.

This increased interest in skincare and grooming among Korean men has led to a wider range of options and products tailored to their needs. As a result, there are more job opportunities within the beauty industry, from product development to marketing and sales.

Furthermore, the popularity of K-beauty around the world means that exports have increased, contributing to the country’s economy. So not only does wearing makeup provide personal benefits for Korean men, but it also stimulates economic growth.

How Korean Men Do Their Makeup

Korean men achieve their desired look by following popular makeup trends and using specific techniques to achieve the coveted “chok-chok” appearance.

Korean men have embraced makeup as a way to enhance their appearance and achieve the popular “chok-chok” look, which refers to a radiant and dewy complexion. One of the trends in Korean men’s makeup is to focus on flawless skin through products like BB cream and cushion foundations.

They also use eyebrow pencils to define their brows and add subtle color to their lips with tinted balms. Another trend is using highlighters and illuminators to create a natural glow.

Korean men prioritize skincare, so they often incorporate moisturizers, essences, and sheet masks into their daily routines. Overall, these popular makeup trends reflect the desire for healthy-looking skin with a youthful glow among Korean men.

Techniques for achieving the “chok-chok” look

To achieve the “chok-chok” look, Korean men employ various techniques that focus on achieving a radiant and dewy complexion. One technique is to incorporate a skincare routine that emphasizes hydration and moisturization.

This includes using toners, essences, serums, and moisturizers that are specifically formulated to deliver intense hydration to the skin. Additionally, Korean men often use sheet masks regularly to provide an extra boost of moisture.

Another technique involves applying light layers of makeup products such as BB creams or cushion foundations with a damp sponge for a natural-looking finish. These products not only even out the skin tone but also provide a subtle glow.

The Impact of K-Pop on Men’s Beauty Ideals

K-Pop has played a significant role in shaping men’s beauty ideals, challenging traditional masculinity and prompting the rise of male beauty products in the industry.

Embracing makeup and breaking gender norms

Korean men are embracing makeup like never before, challenging traditional gender norms in the process. In South Korea, where societal expectations for masculinity are deeply ingrained, wearing makeup was once considered taboo for men.

However, thanks to the rise of K-pop and changing attitudes towards beauty, Korean men are now freely expressing themselves through cosmetics. Male idols in the K-pop industry have played a significant role in popularizing this trend by confidently rocking full makeup looks on stage and off.

By embracing makeup, Korean men are breaking barriers and redefining what it means to be masculine in their society.

The increasing acceptance of male cosmetics is not just about vanity – it’s also about self-expression and self-confidence. Many Korean men use makeup as a way to enhance their appearance and boost their self-esteem.

Whether they want to hide blemishes or achieve that sought-after “chok-chok” radiant complexion, these men view makeup as an essential tool for grooming and personal care. By embracing new beauty practices that were once reserved solely for women, Korean men are challenging stereotypes and empowering themselves to express their individuality through the power of cosmetics.

The rise of male beauty products in the industry

Male beauty products are taking the industry by storm. More and more men are embracing skincare, makeup, and grooming products to enhance their appearance and boost their confidence.

This rise can be attributed to changing attitudes towards masculinity and a growing desire for self-care among men. The availability of male-targeted beauty products has also contributed to this trend, with brands now catering specifically to the needs of male consumers.

From moisturizers and cleansers to concealers and beard oils, there is a wide range of options for men looking to take care of their skin and enhance their natural features. So whether it’s achieving a flawless complexion or maintaining a well-groomed beard, male beauty products offer an array of possibilities for those seeking an extra boost in their daily grooming routine.

How to Get K-Pop Makeup

To achieve the trendy K-Pop makeup look, start by applying a light, dewy foundation for that coveted “chok-chok” glow. Next, define your brows with a crisp arch using an eyebrow pencil or powder.

Add depth to your eyes with neutral-toned eyeshadows and finish off with a thin line of black eyeliner. For a youthful touch, swipe on some tinted lip balm in a natural shade and apply a subtle highlighter to accentuate your features.

Don’t forget to blend everything seamlessly for a flawless finish!

Tips and step-by-step guide

To achieve the K-Pop makeup look that Korean men love, start by focusing on skincare. Cleanse your face thoroughly and apply a toner to balance your skin’s pH levels. Then, use a lightweight moisturizer to hydrate and create a smooth canvas for makeup application.

Next, choose a BB cream or foundation that matches your skin tone and blend it evenly across your face using a sponge or brush. Conceal any blemishes or dark circles with a concealer, and set everything in place with a light dusting of translucent powder.

Add definition to your features by lightly filling in your eyebrows and applying mascara to enhance your lashes. For an extra touch of radiance, use a highlighter on the high points of your face – cheekbones, nose bridge, and cupid’s bow.


Korean men wear makeup for various reasons, including the influence of K-Pop idols, high beauty standards, military service, the tough job market, and economic benefits. They use makeup techniques to achieve the popular “chok-chok” look and embrace individuality in beauty.

This trend has broken gender norms in South Korea and is spreading globally due to the impact of Korean beauty culture and social media. Embracing self-expression through makeup has become a way for Korean men to enhance their appearance and boost confidence.


1. Why do Korean men wear makeup?

Korean men wear makeup because embracing individuality in beauty and self-expression are becoming more accepted due to changing attitudes towards gender norms in South Korean society.

Kpop idols have a major role as they influence fashion and beauty, encouraging gender fluidity, setting new male skincare routines, and promoting the use of products like BB cream among Korean men.

3. How does social media contribute to this trend?

Social media plays a significant part by spreading beauty trends globally highlighting the popularity of male grooming, hairstyles, even breaking stereotypes showcasing acceptance for makeup for men in Korea.

4. Are these changes being reflected only in South Korea’s culture?

No! The Global impact of Korean Beauty culture is notable; shifting perceptions of masculinity worldwide & influencing male grooming trends broadly beyond Korea’s boundaries.

5. Is there any historical context or cultural influences behind why Korean Men are into cosmetics?

Yes, traditional masculinity norms in South Korea are evolving under diverse cultural influences significantly impacting how Korean Men perceive beauty standards today also marked by the rise of Male Cosmetics within Korea’s own Beauty Industry

6. Has the societal perception about men using makeup drastically changed?

Absolutely! Social acceptance around make-up for men has remarkably transformed accompanying a shift away from traditional views on Gender Norms making it less taboo than it was earlier across different spheres within modern South-Korean Society.

Why Do Korean Men Wear Makeup
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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