From blind dates to first dates in, er, a war zone, there’s a makeup look that’s appropriate for just about any situation (at least in a K-drama). Take a cue from our favorite Korean drama heroines and discover who you’re most like when you get first date makeup ready.
First dates. Exciting, thrilling … nerve-wracking.
I used to spend hours trying to decide what to wear, conscious that first impressions are powerful, despite the well-worn clichés my mother would throw at me like “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I describe my style as “classic,” which is usually just personal code for “lazy.” In fact, I’m so lazy I now have a specific “First Date” outfit that I wear to every single first date so I don’t have to work my poor little brain cells trying to come up with an acceptable look.
But lately, Korean dramas have changed my perspective on first dates. There’s something about the ritual of selecting an appropriate outfit and deciding on a makeup look that ratchets up excitement. And it’s fun to watch my favorite heroines indulge in anticipation of a pleasurable outing by taking care over their makeup and skincare before the big date. Here, some of my favorite first date looks from Korean dramas.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo: Sweet and fresh first date makeup
This slice-of-life drama was such a sweet and empathetic look at the travails of its titular heroine that it’s one of my favorite dramas of all time. Kim Bok Joo was so endearing and honest and we cheered for her as she navigated the storms of unrequited love. She proved that you could be both strong and feminine, and her first date makeup is fresh and pretty, highlighting her large eyes and doll-like features.
While actress Lee Sung Kyung appears to be using Laneige products, I’d suggest this moisturizing cream from Nature Republic. At a fraction of the price, it’s one of my go-to moisturizers for making my skin feel bouncy without breaking it out.
If you’re looking for an all-day glow, I like facial oils, such as this one from Too Cool for School. In use in beauty regimens in Asia and the Middle East since ancient times, facial oils are seeing a resurgence in popularity, as they deliver hydration without clogging pores.
Bok Joo’s eye makeup is very light, focusing more on a doll-like flush on cheeks and lips. As one of the faces of Laneige, Lee Sung Kyung has used its two-tone lip bars in her dramas (No. 4 Milk Blurring, to be exact) and has recently selected No.12 (Maxi Red) as her personal favorite. For a youthful blush, try A’Pieu’s Creamy Cheek Chok blusher, formulated with milk extract and cacao seed butter.
High Society: Dramatic impression first date makeup
And then there are the first dates you want to be a disaster. If you’re ever set up by well-meaning friends/parents/coworkers and want to make a strong impression on your first date, then take a page out of Uee’s makeup book. Her character Jang Yoon-ha chose to play out a bad-girl persona on her first date, and her makeup is killer here with smoky eyes and nude-peach lips. This is actually my personal favorite because it’s so different from your typical Korean makeup look and highlights the inner bad girl we all have (don’t deny it!).
Eye makeup sets the stage for drama here. I recommend Banila Co.’s Seoul Fox Tail dual eyeliner for an intense line that doesn’t budge throughout the day or date. It has both thick and thin edges that you can customize to create the winged eyeliner of your ambitions.
For those with warm skin tones, The Saem’s Vintage Eyeshadow palette is a lovely set of colors that can create a smouldering or subdued smoky eye. As for those with cool skin tones, Etude House offers this sophisticated palette that can help you create different types of looks. To up the drama, try these lashes from The Face Shop as well as this waterproof mascara from Innisfree.
Descendants of the Sun: First date makeup in the field
Korean dramas really do tease with slow-burn romances, but DOTS was a roller-coaster ride from the get-go, from the dream pairing of superstars Song Hye Kyo and Song Joong Ki to their real-life engagement announced earlier this summer. Accustomed to Korean dramas where kisses usually happen only after Episode 6, I wasn’t expecting Song Hye Kyo’s Kang Mo Yeon to accept Song Joong Ki’s Yoo Shi-Jin’s offer of a date in the very first episode. Then again, it is Song Joong Ki.
I won’t spoil how the date went, but I’m loving Song Hye Kyo’s mature, understated makeup, very appropriate for a time-constrained doctor. This look is for you if you want to accentuate your skin rather than makeup, or if you’re heading to your date straight from work. I love COSRX’s One Step Pimple Pads for removing the oil, sweat, and dirt that builds up on my face during the day. I follow it up with Laneige’s Fresh Calming Serum, perfect for moisturizing my combination-to-oily skin without breaking me out.
For this look, all you need is a swipe of subdued lipstick, like 3CE’s rose-pink lipstick, and a bit of Skinfood Peach Cotton Multi-Finish Powder to smooth out your complexion, a quick makeup staple I’ve been loving to transition me from work to play.
What’s your favorite first date makeup look in a Korean drama? Comment below!