BLACKPINK In Your Makeup Area
The group’s influence extends to beauty.
BLACKPINK has a huge influence on K-pop and K-makeup. “Lots of people are copying BLACKPINK’s makeup, fashion choices and more since they’re so popular,” says Debora, an Indonesian YouTuber and creator who makes videos on topics related to Korea including its culture, trends and cosmetics. “There were lots of videos of ‘Pink Venom’ makeup tutorials and dance covers on TikTok when the song was released.” Every time a poster or other teaser for “Pink Venom,” the single that preceded BLACKPINK’s latest album, BORN PINK, was released on social media, there was a flurry of interest around the group members’ makeup.
Beauty creator Jooshica, for example, made a makeup tutorial video for one of the posters, and the video racked up 1.48 million views by September 22. There was even a “BLACKPINK ‘Pink Venom’ makeup filter” on TikTok, as well as a “Pink Venom” makeup challenge. The total views for TikTok videos associated with keyword phrases about the makeup in “Pink Venom” and BLACKPINK in general, like “blackpink pink venom,” “blackpink filter,” “blackpink outfits in pink venom,” “maquillaje pink venom” (Spanish for “makeup”) and “pink venom makeup,” surpassed 132.7 million as of September 22.
On August 31, BLACKPINK member ROSÉ was selected to be the global ambassador for skincare brand Sulwhasoo. The company included frequently used K-pop ideas, like fictional universes, in ROSÉ’s ambassador film, and they collaborated with a YouTube channel that analyzes K-pop music videos, who put their interpretation of the film into a video of their own. “To touch upon the meaning behind the brand’s name and corresponding philosophy—the spirit of a flower blooming in the snow—we wanted to show the start of our journey and where we’ve come along the way by using concepts like Mother Earth, snow and flowers in a beautiful way,” Bae Yuri, a member of the BA team taking charge of Sulwhasoo’s brand ambassador, says. “We wanted to build up popular excitement by spreading through, and being active on, channels and platforms that cater to the interests of our target customers, like music, trends, hip places and art and culture.” The two videos they made to promote the campaign went viral on social media, with the brand manifesto film having been viewed 2.89 million times and the brand ambassador film 1.07 million times as of September 22. Bae notes that they hope ROSÉ will help them in their goal to “maintain the brand’s intrinsic core but foster a more modern and sophisticated brand image.”
K-pop stars like BLACKPINK can use social media to help promote beauty brands around the world while maintaining their core image. According to Opensurvey’s Beauty Trend Report 2022, 42.9% of consumers in the United States are aware of K-beauty products or have purchased them, with social media being the single most common source for details, at 40.4%. These consumers found information about K-beauty through YouTube (57.3%), Instagram (56.5%) and TikTok (41.5%), and BLACKPINK holds a special position when it comes to social media presence among K-pop artists, their YouTube channel having more followers than any other artist in the world (82 million). Member LISA has over 82.72 million followers on Instagram, giving her more reach on the platform than any other Korean celebrity. The group also has the third-most followed Korean account on TikTok (34.3 million).
“I mostly come across K-pop and K-pop makeup tutorials through the TikTok algorithm,” Debora says. “Thanks to the Korean wave, there’s lots of K-pop makeup videos, too.” The makeup that K-pop artists like BLACKPINK wear affects global trends rapidly as they quickly spread through social media. According to the Foundation of Korea Cosmetic Industry Institute’s 2020 Cosmetic Trend Report for Indonesia, Korean-style makeup has become a trend in Indonesia thanks to the rise in popularity of the Korean wave, riding on the backs of Korean dramas and K-pop. “Whereas local Indonesian cosmetic brands typically sell gray eyeshadow, I changed most of the cosmetics and colors I was buying after watching K-pop makeup videos to copy those styles,” Debora says. “There’s lots of Korean cosmetic brands imported through [Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce platform] Shopee, too.” K-pop artists not only create influential music and music videos but also influence the makeup styles that their fans wear, and their fans’ style in turn changes the trends in their countries.
Two series of posters for “Pink Venom” were released, with one emphasizing pink and the other black. In the first series, the members of BLACKPINK wear pink eyeshadow and pink blush on their cheeks for a softer look, while in the second they have smoky makeup on with strong black eyeliner and complete the look with lip piercings. “I wanted people to see that BLACKPINK can wear sweet colors and still pull off a strong look,” Lee Myung Sun, the director at WOOSUN, who take care of BLACKPINK’s makeup needs, says, explaining how the makeup helps sell both the intensity and beauty of “Pink Venom” in its posters, music video and other media.
The group members’ piercings are a condensation of the “black” and “pink” halves that make up BLACKPINK’s image. For the “Pink Venom” music video, JISOO has a pronounced ring at the center of her lower lip, JENNIE a thinner one and ROSÉ has studs that line her lips. Later, in the “Shut Down” music video, LISA wears a ring on either side of her lower lip. “It was LISA’s idea to have piercings on both sides,” Lee says, adding she “thought LISA would look cool if we made good use of the reference she gave us.” By following the members’ ideas and using unique accessories, BLACKPINK was able to showcase an expanded fashion palette. “K-pop artist ROSÉ from BLACKPINK … continues to have an unrivaled record,” Bae, at Sulwhasoo, says. “Sulwhasoo paid attention to how ROSÉ has been pioneering and ambitious in pursuing her dream to become who she is as a talented artist today, which, Sulwhasoo recognized, was in line with its pioneering spirit.” All eyes are on K-pop juggernaut BLACKPINK, who simultaneously expresses strength and beauty through their music and performances and are able to accommodate a wide variety of styles. These successful superstars are tough on stage but also set makeup trends that anyone can use in everyday life. In a sense, this is the very source of the group’s global influence.
BLACKPINK is connecting with fans around the world who love their makeup and style choices, and they do so by continuously trying out new styles and expanding the spectrum of makeup that suits them, all while maintaining their core image. BLACKPINK already had considerable influence on makeup styles around the world with their neutral makeup and double-winged eyeliner. Lee says she’s “trying different styles of makeup to emphasize each member’s visual appearance and individual characteristics.” There’s also a clear difference between the kind of makeup BLACKPINK wears depending on whether they’re in a music video, performing their songs on TV, appearing in an event like a fashion show or making an appearance on a variety show. “The makeup they have for events and variety shows shows their natural beauty,” Lee explains, while “natural makeup would get lost in the flashy lighting and backdrops of music shows and music videos. I think the most important thing is to not overdo it while also making sure it’s still distinctive enough in the lighting.”
BLACKPINK was wearing neutral makeup when they walked the red carpet at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in the US on August 28, while sporting bold, smoky pinks, purples and the occasional khaki in the “Pink Venom” video. This gives people looking to BLACKPINK for makeup inspiration even more options. “Natural makeup is popular in Indonesia these days, and JISOO wears it a lot, so I wanted to try copying her,” YouTuber Debora says. “The natural look where it almost looks like she isn’t wearing makeup is so pretty.” BLACKPINK fans can choose any of the group’s many makeup styles to emulate for themselves and show their love for their favorite artist at the same time.
Because they have adopted the duality of a black–pink image, the group maintains a consistent style. They look good in neutral makeup that emphasizes their natural features, fierce smoky makeup and everything in between the extremes of black and pink. In that sense, BLACKPINK’s makeup is the ultimate visual proof of everything they stand for. Their tagline, “BLACKPINK IN YOUR AREA,” is branded into the minds of many listeners as the group has widened their area of influence. The same group that pairs hanbok and sounds of the gayageum with old-school hip hop fashion so effortlessly expresses black and pink and an entire spectrum in between, giving people the opportunity to express themselves in more varied, more daring colors.