Explainer / BTS make-up for men: a beginner’s guide to flawless K-pop skin in 5 easy steps

BTS appear at the 2021 Grammy Awards in a video link from South Korea. Credit: RIAA
The interest in men’s make-up is growing, fuelled in part by K-pop idols such as BTS proudly experimenting with looks on and offstage. But while flawless K-pop skin might seem like a glossy magazine dream – or Blood Sweat & Tears, to quote a song – to guys who have never worn make-up, it needn’t be.

Breaking the process down into segments and key products, STYLE shows how a poster-perfect, BTS complexion – complete with signature glossy lips and smokey eyes – can be achieved affordably at home, by just about any first-time Boy with Luv.

Step one: the detox

BTS’ RM without make-up. Photo: @jiminsmallhands95/Instagram

First, let’s clear the canvas. Start with an exfoliating scrub containing microbeads to remove dead skin cells, or if your pores are already unclogged, a light cleanser. I used a scrub from Lush to gently strip them away and then a toner to restore my skin’s PH balance, dabbing it on with cotton wool.

Scrubbed and toned; my face is clear and ready for BTS magic. Photo: James Wong

Step two: hydrate

BTS’ Jin regularly uses face masks to hydrate and brighten his skin. Photo: @jin.bts/Instagram

The Bangtan Boys use Korean sheet masks for rehydration. They endorse Mediheal, but Press Refresh by ZitSticka is better for acne-prone skin, like RM’s and Jungkook’s (and mine after a week of neglect). Gents with beards will appreciate that it comes in two parts, and even without a beard this means you can target specific problem zones.

This sheet mask is drenched in exfoliating acids and skin soothers which I decide to target on my T-zone. Photo: James Wong

Step three: the base

BTS’ Jungkook, primed and ready. Photo:

Primer or tinted moisturiser is required as a barrier between skin and product. As it was hot out, I opted for SPF-tinted sunscreen by His that works especially well for Asian skin. Massage on one pump and just like that, “I’m diamond, you know I glow up”, as the boys sing in Dynamite, with the added bonus of sun protection.

Layered with smooth and silky SPF. Photo: James Wong

Step four: the correction

BTS’ RM before getting around to lips and eyes. Photo: @btsnamjoon/Instagram

Use concealer first – I dabbed on a camouflage and matt concealer from Essence Cosmetics to target any blemishes, scars or dark circles. Then I evenly applied aloe vera hydrating foundation.

Still feeling a bit too pale, I dusted my face with a matt bronzing powder for an extra glow.

I might appear lighter than the rest of my body, but after bronzing and with a shirt on, this soon will not be the case. Photo: James Wong

Step five: the eyes and lips

BTS’ V looks Dynamite. Photo: @bstae/Instagram

Jin and Jimin like to rock the subtle smokey eye, so I mimicked this by dipping onto grey and brown from my eyeshadow palette and smudging them along my upper and lower lashes. Then I intensified Black Swan eyes with a long-lasting black eye pencil. 

Finally, to achieve Jin’s confectionery-stained, glassy lips, I applied pink lip gloss, smacking my lips to blot several times.

Now all I need is BTS hair, wardrobe … and a stage. Photo: James Wong

Ta-da! You don’t need a professional make-up artist to achieve skin as smooth and as youthful as a Bangtan Boy’s. If I can do it, any man can.

Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on  Facebook Instagram YouTube and  Twitter.

  • For men who have never worn make-up but want to look Dynamite, here’s how to get a complexion to rival BTS boys Jin, Suga, RM, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook
  • STYLE breaks down the process into five easy steps to prepare and apply make-up like the hottest male Korean heartthrobs