Korean beauty YouTubers win global fans -- thanks to their make-up transformations

26 September 2015 / 1 year 1 month ago

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Sep 25, 2015

South Korean beauty YouTubers are reaching out to global viewers with their witty remarks, compelling content and professional make-up skills. What's more, many of their video clips have English subtitles.

The beauty gurus have garnered hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers, teaching viewers everything about hair, make-up and nails to both make-up experts and novices. For instance, Park Soo Hye, better known by her moniker Ssin, is one of the most sought-after Korean beauty experts on the video-sharing site.

She has more than 640,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel and her videos have attracted 50 million cumulative views. On top of natural and basic make-up, many of her hit videos are celebrity make-up tutorials, such as on how to copy the look of Girls' Generation's Sunny in the girl group's Party music video, Sistar's Bora in a summer make-up inspired by the singer, or Big Bang's G-Dragon in the boy band's Bang Bang Bang music video.

What she cares most about when creating videos is to "entertain" her subscribers in addition to being informative, she said. "Compared to other beauty YouTubers, I don't usually mind going overboard to entertain viewers," Ms Park told The Korea Herald. Her videos are even reaching out to global viewers as K-beauty is gaining recognition in the global scene. English comments are a common sight on her channel.

"I put English subtitles on all of my videos last year and the number of foreigners has tripled since," she said. Video-sharing websites - YouTube and AfreecaTV - are becoming the top destinations for young tech-savvy viewers seeking customised mobile content and two-way communication, according to Kang Mee Eun, a professor of communication and media at Sookmyung Women's University.

"With unique and interactive content, some YouTubers are even more popular than traditional TV show hosts among viewers in their teens and 20s here," Prof Kang said. Another well-known beauty YouTuber - Cho Yeon Joo, nicknamed Yeondukong - focuses on daily make-up tutorials. Targeting viewers in their late teens and early 20s, she reviews products from budget cosmetics shops such as Missha, The Face Shop and Innisfree on her YouTube channel.

Said the sweet-faced beauty expert, who has around 270,000 subscribers: "I guess my friendly and girl-next-door image has appealed to viewers." Ms Cho pays attention to viewers' feedback. "I read all of the comments and make videos based on their needs. This way, the subscribers can feel they are communicating with me," she said. Her clips also draw a number of foreigners, many of whom are Japanese.

"The Japanese seem to be highly interested in K-beauty - both make-up brands and tips - probably because we look very similar to each other," she said, adding: "A number of Japanese viewers leave comments on my channel in basic Korean." Park Hye Min is another famous beauty YouTuber, known as Pony, who has garnered around 490,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel.

Her videos come with voice-over narration and English subtitles. Ms Park Hye Min appears to have more global viewers than any other beauty gurus with most comments on her channel written in English. Her book, titled Pony's Secret Makeup Book, is also gaining popularity in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan. She boosted her profile after she took charge of the new look of K-pop girl group 2NE1's CL, whose make-up used to excessively highlight her eyes and made them look somewhat stuffy.

After Ms Park brought out a fresh image for CL's face, highlighting both her eyes and natural dark skin, the singer was even rumoured to have undergone plastic surgery.

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