If French be the language of love, then Korean is the unequivocal language of beauty. From head to toe, the Koreans have a word to describe every beauty-related phenomenon. While you could Netflix the latest K-drama to learn the lingo, we’ve decided to save you a little time by handpicking 10 uniquely Korean words and a few choice phrases so that you’ll be speaking like a K-beauty queen in no time.
K-beauty has more lines than the New York metro rail. The S-Line describes the curvaceous female form with an ample bust and derriere creating an ‘S’ from the side. A popular variation of this is the coke bottle figure, denoting a similar hourglass shape.
Unsurprisingly, the men in Korea aren’t safe from having their figures distilled into an alphabet either. The M-line refers to the classic broad shouldered form and defined chest that gives the appearance of an ‘M’.
Moving upward toward the face is the much-coveted V-line, referring to a sharp chin and delicate jawline. In fact, in Korea, people will go to painstaking lengths to achieve this look, even going under the knife in what’s called ‘V-line surgery’.
If you think our neighbours across the ditch have a penchant for shortening and mashing up words, you haven’t met the Koreans. Combining three words: subun (moisture) bujok (lacking) and jisung (oily), this refers to skin that’s oily but lacking hydration.
Nope, this doesn’t mean what you think it does. Refund makeup refers to a style of makeup that’s seen to be aggressive and likely to be found on people with ‘character’ who ask to see managers and for refunds.
Again with the shortening of words, this acronym stands for ‘my lips but better’ and refers to a shade of lipstick that closely resembles your natural colour, but with a little added vibrance.
For non-Koreans, this is a bizarre phenomenon. While the rest of the world tries to conceal their eye bags, Koreans emphasise them as they are considered cute. These small pouches of fat beneath your eyes are meant to make you look younger and more approachable, so it’s common to see women apply makeup in a way that emphasises their aegyo sal.
Chok Chok Skin
Dewy skin was always the ideal in Korea long before it made its way over to our Western shores. Chokchokhada means ‘hydrated’ so chok chok skin refers to that fresh, plump complexion we’re all seeking.
8 Head Body
At first glance, this sounds like a monstrous Greek mythological creature, but it actually means a well-proportioned body. Koreans believe that it is ideal for a person’s height to be eight times the length of their head.
Every country has its ideal of masculine beauty and Korea’s can perhaps be best summarised by this single phrase. Its literal meaning is man with flower beauty and refers to the porcelain-skinned delicate handsomeness common among Korean leading actors. No rugged warrior types in the land of Gangnam Style.