Raise your hand if you're ready for Chung Ha to have a goth concept. The 22-year-old Korean pop singer has covered the bases for cute and colorful looks since debuting with disbanded girl group I.O.I in 2016. Now that she's been a soloist for a good year and a half, imagine her swiping on black lipstick before taking the stage.
Chung Ha doesn't hate the idea when I suggest it during a recent phone interview. "Maybe for Halloween," she tells me as she sits backstage before a performance in Seoul. "One day, I would love to try it." She even brings up trying out a midnight blue lipstick because she loves dark lip colors, so I swear I'm not the only one who is putting this concept into the universe for Chung Ha.
At the moment, Chung Ha is focusing on the concept for her newest mini-album Blooming Blue, though. True to the season, the music video for its title song "Love U" radiates summer vibes, including but not limited to, Chung Ha's beachy blonde-streaked brown hair and popsicle-stained lips. "[The concept] might remind you of a pool party," Chung Ha says. I dare you to watch the music video and not want to slip on your bathing suit.
Experimenting With Beauty Trends
Some of this summer's most popular beauty trends also dominate Blooming Blue's concept. I have to admit that I screamed internally when I scrolled past a photo Chung Ha posted on Instagram to tease the album of her face speckled with pearls in the formation of freckles. It's exactly the kind of experimental look that gets me excited about covering K-pop for Allure.
For another promo shot, half of Chung Ha's hair was tied up into two mini buns, her cheeks were swept with a lemon-yellow blush, and her lids were covered in a shimmery wash of bubblegum pink. Bold eye shadow, in particular, has been incorporated into makeup as she makes the rounds on South Korea's popular music shows to promote "Love U." Like many K-pop stars, Chung Ha consistently has the same makeup for every performance. For this comeback, colorful underliner is the focal point of her makeup. "I put on different colored eye shadows on my [lower lids]," she says of her everyday look. Today, she notes that it's purple, but she's also done baby blue and fuchsia.
My favorite part of the whole look is the tiny star-shaped rhinestones placed right below Chung Ha's tear ducts. While promoting her last title song "Rollercoaster," Chung Ha points out that she had circular ones on the middle of her lower lids. For her goth concept, she can do tiny half moons on the outer corners of her eyes — just saying.
Because Chung Ha seems so on top of beauty trends, I ask her if there are any happening in Korea that haven't made their way to the U.S. yet. "I’m not sure because we can share everything on YouTube," she says. True. That's how she recently found out about cryotherapy. "I haven’t tried it before, but I really want to," she says. Maybe we should get cryofacials while we're in Los Angeles for KCON LA? (I'm only half-kidding.)
The Impact of "Rollercoaster"on Chung Ha's Look
Throughout our interview, Chung Ha repeatedly refers back to "Rollercoaster." Its bright concept truly helped solidify and define Chung Ha's aesthetic in the K-pop world. Not only was has it been her favorite concept so far, but it's also one that she says fits her personal style best. The glow-in-the-dark makeup was fun, but Chung Ha still isn't over the amount of glitter involved. I thought I loved glitter, but Chung Ha lives for it. She brings it up so many times I start to wonder if it runs through her veins.
With copious amounts of sparkle on her eyes, outfits, and nails for the music video, the concept made Chung Ha feel more comfortable than, say, the cutesy, ice cream-themed concept I.O.I had for its final album. (She names this as the hardest concept for her to pull off.) While in the makeup chair for "Rollercoaster," "I gave a lot of suggestions, like, let’s do glitter here, let’s do glitter there," she says. "I love glitter so much."
Turns out, giving input on her hair and makeup concepts is commonplace for Chung Ha. But that doesn't mean she doesn't like input from others either. "I also love listening to other people’s advice, so I could try new stuff like the freckles," she adds.
Chung Ha does have thoughts on her next concept, though. Surprisingly, the look she has is mind is completely opposite to her favorite look. "For my next concept, I’d like to go very matte with more of a nude tone," she says. "And my hair not colorful, just black or maybe brown — really minimal."
Chung Ha's Go-To Skin-Care Routine
Despite being experimental with her hair and makeup in her professional life, Chung Ha rarely tries out new looks when she's not working. "Because I wear makeup all the time when I'm on schedule and on stage, I give my skin time to rest and breathe," she explains. "I actually don't put on makeup that much in my free time."
Instead, Chung Ha concentrates on giving her skin some TLC with soothing sheet masks. "They're comfortable and easy to dispose of," she explains. Wash-off masks, on the other hand, aren't her favorite because rinsing them off can be harsh on skin, and she's all about gentle formulas.
Cleansing is also a key part of Chung Ha's skin-care routine. "Even if you put so many good products on, there's no use if your skin isn't washed thoroughly," she explains. If she's wearing makeup, Chung Ha starts off with an eye makeup remover before embarking on a three-step process. An oil cleanser kicks things off by gently sweeping away any leftover makeup. (My favorite is the Banila Co Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm, in case you're looking for a recommendation.) Then, she reaches for a foaming cleanser like the Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Foam.
Lastly, Chung Ha like to do what she calls "bubbling it out" with face wash that, well, bubbles. (She didn't mention her go-to, but try the Belif Pore Cleaner Bubble Foam.) "That's about it," she finishes off the list, as if it isn't an extensive cleansing regimen. I tell her some people just use a face wipe and call it a day, so I respect her washing her face three times. "Really?" she replies. "I thought I was really simple because I wear so much makeup."
She thinks the rest of her routine was simple, too. Spoiler alert: It's not. After cleansing comes her toner set. The first one is a cleansing toner. (Allure editors love the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner.) The second is a hydrating toner. Then, she smooths on an essence, a moisturizer, and a sleeping pack — in that order.
If you lost count of how many steps that is, Chung Ha's skin-care routine adds up to nine steps. Occasionally, a tenth is incorporated. "If I would do another one, I would do eye cream," she adds. "But I don't usually do my eye cream. I forget." Same. I'm glad K-pop stars forget to put on eye cream, too.