The Korea Herald


How North Korean women do their makeup: defector actress (Video)

By Rumy Doo

Published : Jan. 9, 2018 - 15:59

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Snow-white skin and a round, full-moon face -- these are the elements of a beautifully made-up North Korean female face, according to actress Kim Ah-ra.

Kim, who defected to the South in 2009, featured in a YouTube clip by beauty vlogger Min Sae-rom on Friday to give a tutorial on North Korean women’s makeup.

The two applied makeup to their faces using a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s wife Ri Sol-ju as a reference. 

Min Sae-rom (left) and Kim Ah-ra (YouTube) Min Sae-rom (left) and Kim Ah-ra (YouTube)

North Korean music groups lead the trend in cosmetics, much like K-pop girl groups do here, Kim says in the clip. She also noted that makeup fads that swept the South in the 50s are now catching on in the North.

“North Korea tends to follow fads that have already passed by in the South,” she said.

One key characteristic of today’s North Korean makeup is to use pale powder all over the face, Kim explained. Highlighter is applied to the cheeks and forehead for a “whiter” complexion, she added. 

Min Sae-rom (left) and Kim Ah-ra (YouTube) Min Sae-rom (left) and Kim Ah-ra (YouTube)

For her eyes, Kim added shadow to her crease and rounded off her eyeliner at the end for a soft look.

“People did not favor the smoky look in the past, but these days, many are applying fake eyelashes and going for a stronger (eye) look.”

It is important for the eyeshadow shade to differ from the color of the hanbok, or traditional Korean costume, Kim said. “If you wear a pink hanbok, you apply blue to your eye. If you wear blue hanbok, you apply pink colors on your face,” she explained. 

Kim has been working as an actress and entertainer in South Korea since 2011.

The clip has reached over 100,000 hits as of Tuesday.

YouTuber Min, who goes by the nickname Gaeko, has over 100,000 followers on YouTube.

By Rumy Doo (