What is Ulzzang?
Ulzzang literally means "best face" in Korean, and it's been a huge fashion trend for years! It refers to the fashion trend where ladies look their best when it comes to pictures through the use of makeup, hair styling, contact lenses, and sometimes even Photoshop or the right filters. As beautifying as Ulzzang makeup may be, many people are quick to criticize those who use this fashion trend. Some say that the makeup and styling of Ulzzang makeup makes people not look like their true selves, and therefore, ends up deceiving others. This has led to numerous backlash against ladies who end up looking so different from how they look in real life.
However, at the root of it, Ulzzang is a harmless fashion trend that only serves to make people feel great about their appearance through the use of various techniques. The Ulzzang look has often been used to gain quick followers online, and it's always been quite effective. And in the age of social media, a few followers who appreciate your looks isn't so bad, right?
To do the Ulzzang look, you'll need to prep your skin. Cleanse and moisturize your face to provide an even canvas to work with. You may even exfoliate first to smoothen the skin, and then prep it with some moisturizer. You can also exfoliate your lips to help your lipstick apply on evenly.
Next, you'll need some makeup. It may seem like a lot of makeup, but we'll only be using a little bit. Don't be too heavy-handed, as you only want an even application, not a thick one. If you have any imperfections, these can be remedied using Photoshop or good lighting.
Now to start off with the makeup, apply an even layer of pore-filling or smoothening primer. This helps the makeup stay on and keeps your skin looking nice and even. Next apply a thin layer of foundation using a kabuki brush or a dampened makeup sponge. To get the Ulzzang makeup look, you'll want your foundation to be on the dewy side, just to give your skin a glowing look as opposed to a flat matte one. Dewy, healthy-looking skin is incredibly in-fashion in Korea. If you have any blemishes that foundation can't cover up, apply some high-coverage concealer on those areas using a small brush, and then blend out the edges.
Moving on to the eyebrows, you want your eyebrows to look thick yet natural at the same time. This has always been the popular fashion in Korea. Thick, straight eyebrows give off a youthful and innocent vibe, which is the foundation of Ulzzang makeup. Using an eyebrow pencil that's about two shades lighter than your hair color, lightly draw on some hairs on the sparse areas of your brows using feathery strokes. Try to fill in the bottom of the arch of your brows to help make your brows look a little straighter. To blend in the hairs with the strokes you drew, apply some eyebrow mascara in the same shade as your pencil.
Next, we move on to the eyes! If you intend to wear some contacts, now would be the best time to apply them and allow them to settle in. Once done, apply some powder onto your eyelids with a fluffly brush to help the other eyeshadows blend better. Then, using a smaller flat brush, grab a dark, satiny eyeshadow and apply it onto your lashline while also creating a wing shape. Blend out the edges so the line doesn't look so harsh. Then apply a bit of brown eyeliner as close to the lashline as you can. You can also apply a dab of highlighter onto the center of your eyelid and in the inner corner to make your eyes look more awake.
For the bottom lashline, apply a slightly lighter shadow in the same way and blend it out. Then, curl your eyelashes and apply some mascara. If you want thicker lashes, you may want to apply some wispy false eyelashes. Remember not to get the super thick lashes, as it may end up looking more glam than Ulzzang!
Now we move on to blush. Ulzzang makeup doesn't really follow the same makeup fashion trends as the west, so there's no countouring needed here. Instead, you emphasize the apples of your cheeks, making it look like you're naturally blushing. For this, the best blush would be a cream one, so it melts into the skin naturally.
First, apply a little cream blush to the back of your hand. Then using a flat foundation brush or your finger, get a bit of product, making sure the brush or your finger is evenly coated. Then apply this to the fleshy part of your cheeks (the part that protrudes when you smile) in a light dabbing motion. Blend it out towards your temple, and make sure it blends out into your concealer. You don't want to look like you applied a circle of blush onto your cheeks! You want it to look like a light dusting of color. Once done, you can powder your face with a bit of translucent powder to set your makeup.
Now it's time to apply makeup to the lips! Ulzzang makeup has the signature lips that make it look like you just ate an ice pop. The color is concentrated in the center, and you blend it outwards. To do this, apply a tiny bit of lip balm onto your lips and let it absorb for a minute or two.
Then apply a tiny bit of foundation on the edges of your lips to make the ombre-effect more visible. Next, apply your favorite pinkish red or coral lipstick onto the inner part of your lips only. Then blend it outwards using gentle patting motions to buff out the edges. Remember to blend out harsh lines! Unlike the full-lips, full-lip liner fashion in the west, Ulzzang makeup focuses on soft colors that blend out.
And you're done with the makeup!
Next we move on to the hair. There's really no rule of thumb for Ulzzang hairstyles, but it is in fashion to make it look like you spent minimal effort in preparing your hair. Keep in mind that Ulzzang fashion is focused on looking young and carefree and pretty at the same time. So if you already have nice, shiny hair, just let it loose. This helps your hair look like it's gently framing your face, and that's always very pretty. However, you can always take the time to give your hair some volume using a blow dryer or a hair iron.
If you want to tie your hair, you can do that too, but make it look loose and effortless, with a few curls still framing your face. You don't want to pull your hair back too much as you'll end up looking just a little too done up.
Lastly, you'll need the perfect clothes. There's really no rulebook for Ulzzang fashion, because the whole point of the look is not to look curated and perfect; instead, you want to look effortlessly casual, while being cute at the same time. You'll basically have to rely on your own fashion sense for this one.
However, if there's one guaranteed Ulzzang fashion tip you'll need, it's this: wear loose clothes in cute, pastel colors. Loose clothes make it look like you just jumped out of bed. It also emphasizes the youthfulness of the Ulzzang look, and makes you look petite. Some options include a big jacket, a loose button-up shirt, pajama tops, or a big fluffy sweater. For your bottoms, a pair of shorts or some jeans with sneakers will do.
You can also go with the more feminine route with a cute dress and a cardigan. A skater-style skirt and a crop top looks good too. If this is the look you want, use schoolgirl uniforms as your inspiration. Schoolgirl fashion is incredibly popular, and more so for those who love Ulzzang fashion. It's basically pairing a skater skirt with a cute, loose top (cropped or tucked in look great!) and topping it off with a pair of sneakers with a pair of cute heels and high socks or tights.
Finally, it's picture time! To get the perfect Ulzzang picture, you need some great lighting. Natural lighting is the best, so you may want to do an outdoor photoshoot. The best time would be around morning or a few hours before sunset, as this is when the light is softer and less harsh.
If you don't want to do an outdoor photoshoot, you can always do one at home with a ring light or a lamp. To diffuse the light of the lamp, you can cover it with a white handkerchief, so it doesn't look too harsh on the face. As much as possible, make use of two lamps facing your face, so you don't cast any shadows. With the right light, you can selfie away with cutesy poses like sticking your tongue out, poking your cheek, or even pouting.
Now, you may want to ask a friend to help you out with this Ulzzang fashion shoot. And if that's the case (and your friend has some experience in photography), just tell them you want to look cute for your photos and they should already know what angles to use. However, if your friend has no idea, ask them to position the camera a little bit above your eyes and pointing downwards to draw more emphasis on your eyes. Also ask them to take the photo a little to your side, and not facing your straight on.
However, if you want to showcase your Ulzzang outfit, ask them to take a photo of you in a place with a nice background. A bedroom with some posters on the wall or a bed with nice bedding would be nice. You can also take photos on the couch or in the kitchen. Basically, you want to set up a story. Do you want a fashion shoot where you're casually drinking a cup of coffee in the kitchen? Or maybe you want to make it look like you just got out of bed? Perhaps you just want to strike a pose in front of a wall with a nice pattern or a work of art? With digital cameras, you can take unlimited photos and just delete the ones you don't like!
Edit to Perfection
Now when it comes to editing the photo, you can use Instagram filters or Photoshop to do this. With Instagram filters, you just pick out a filter that softens the photo and de-saturates it. Cooler-toned filters work great for this. On the other hand, if you have Photoshop skills, you can adjust the saturation of your photos and even add in a soft-focus filter to make you look absolutely ethereal.
Now that your Ulzzang makeup and fashion look has been photographed and edited, you can post it wherever you like! You're sure to get a ton of likes on Instagram, and maybe even more compliments on Facebook. Who knows, you might even be considered for a fashion shoot or even a modelling stint.
Ulzzang fashion isn't that hard to pull off when you have the time and patience to set it all up. Sometimes all you really need is a good photographer or your own selfie-taking skills, a great hair and makeup day, and you might accidentally take an Ulzzang shot! Just remember to have fun with it!
- Images from pinterest.com