In South Korea, the beauty/skincare industry is one of the hottest outside of K-Pop, with South Korea being a global leader when it comes to new products and trends. With so much the national economy’s emphasis being on both the music and beauty industries, it’s no surprise that beauty brands often select idols as their promotional ambassadors. Male idols as beauty brand ambassdors is a newer industry move that we’re huge fans of. Not only do they represent the growing number of Korean men investing in beauty/skincare, but who doesn’t love seeing their favorite male idol get in touch with their softer side?
For this installment of Idol Beauty, we’ve collected some of the most prominent male idol beauty brand endorsements. Which of our favorite idols are currently making waves in Korea’s beauty industry too?
Cha Eunwoo (ASTRO) – FATION
These days it’s quite common to see Eunwoo’s face on drugstore advertisements all around South Korea thanks to his brand ambassador deal with Korean skincare brand FATION that kicked off earlier this year. Previously, Eunwoo’s hectic schedule was causing him to have severely dry skin (so much so that he even cried about it in front of his fans!), but now he owes his skin’s new soft and balanced condition to FATION moisturizer – a very effective testimonial for their products!
Seventeen – The Saem
Having worked with endorsement models like SHINee and G-Dragon in the past, Korean cosmetic brand The Saem is not new to working with idols. However, they’ve never worked with a K-Pop act as large as 13-member boy group Seventeen! The group has had a contract with The Saem since 2017, and fans that visit The Saem locations can pick up special Seventeen collaboration products, like lip balms, hand creams, mists, and fragrances representing each of the members’ personal tastes. Pretty cute, right?
Kai (EXO/SuperM) – Bobbi Brown
EXO fans have long been lobbying for Kai to become a cosmetic brand model, having once trended his name on Twitter to convince Rihanna to pick him up for her Fenty beauty line. While the deal with Fenty unfortunately never came through, Bobbi Brown answered fans’ wishes by selecting Kai as their brand music for the Asia Pacific market back in late March. As the hashtag #KaiGlow suggests, Kai’s healthy glowing skin perfectly fits the image the brand pursues, especially as Bobbi Brown’s top products are foundations and concealors. His favorite product? The Bobbi Brown serum foundation, which is selling like hotcakes regardless of gender from the moment he introduced it to fans on VLIVE.
NCT 127 – Nature Republic
NCT 127 was named Korean skincare brand Nature Republic’s latest brand ambassadors back in 2020, taking over for SM Entertainment labelmates EXO, who had been the face of the brand for a whopping seven years(!). These days, most Nature Republic stores have at least one NCT 127 cardboard stand-up, so if you’re visiting a location to fill up on their sheet masks and popular sunscreens, be prepared to snap a few fun photos with your favorite member!
Hwang Minhyun (NU’EST) – Lancôme
NU’EST’s Min-hyun, who has actually been famous for his clear porcelain skin since his debut in 2012, is regularly active as a brand ambassador for French cosmetic brand Lancôme, recently participated in the launch of their Genifique virtual flagship store on March 18. What’s his skincare secret? As soon as he’s finished with work for the day, he washes his skin with a foam cleanser, dries his face gently with a face towel, applies a serum, then finishes with a rich cream. While he says his skin tends to be on the dry side, he’s a skincare perfectionist who takes his routine seriously.
Bomin (Golden Child) – Etude House
As one of the current K-Pop generation’s most popular ‘face geniuses,’ Bomin is regularly an endorsement model for a number of different companies. While Etude House is not his first cosmetic endorsement deal (Lilybyred was!), it’s easily his biggest, with his face in the window of every one of their ~300 locations across South Korea. Currently, Bomin models the brand’s latest collaboration with Hershey’s Kisses, a playfully ‘sweet’ line launched alongside Korea’s two most romantic holidays – Valentine’s Day and White Day.
Stray Kids – CLIO
Stray Kids’ brand ambassador deal with Korean cosmetic brand CLIO is perhaps one of the hottest partnerships going on in the industry right now! While CLIO has used male idols in the past, Stray Kids has never actually participated in beauty-related endorsements before, challenging them to show a ‘prettier’ side in contrast to their dynamic, masculine stage presence. We’re big fans of the androgynous looks the members are rocking in their individual ads for the campaign, swapping out the black/grey often used for male idols’ smokey eye looks for pinks, peaches, and browns to enhance their strong yet natural visuals.
Baekhyun (EXO/SuperM) – TIRTIR
When EXO’s Baekhyun signed on as brand ambassador of Korean skincare brand TIRTIR, the idol took the brand from one that was only popular on Korean social media to the level of a global brand! The appeal was partially due to the launch of a special Baekhyun toner and tint set, which continued to sell out for quite some time after their immediate launch. Baekhyun is well-known among Korea’s fashion magazine industry as a model with one of the best skin conditions in the idol industry. His secret? Even if you’re unable to regularly visit your dermatologist, making it a habit to apply toner and lotion liberally and well is key. His favorite TIRTIR product is Ceramic Core Cream.
Sungchan (NCT) – Dr. G
In less than a year since his debut through NCT, Sungchan has created an ‘it boy’ reputation for himself by not only becoming an MC for SBS’s ‘Inkigayo,’ but also teaming up with Korean skincare brand Dr. G for a promotional campaign in ‘Allure Korea’ magazine. (Not too shabby for a 19 year old!) Despite his young age, his skin condition is absolutely flawless – with not a large pore or pimple to be seen! According to the idol, his skin is fairly sensitive, so he prefers skincare products like those offered by Dr. G because they’re less irritating and don’t make his skin dry out very easily.
TREASURE – Ma:Nyo
How can a 12-member group all have amazing skin? Apparently, this is pretty easy if that group is YG Entertainment’s rookie boy group TREASURE! Since their ‘YG Treasure Box’ days to now, the boys have had cameras following them practically 24/7 and regularly surprise fans with clear bare faces. With this in mind, it’s really no wonder how TREASURE became the endorsement models for Korean skincare brand Ma:Nyo (formerly Manyo Factory). The members with the best skin? Doyoung’s firm and moist skin has earned him the nickname ‘Whipped Cream’ from fans. Asahi is also known for his clear and pale skin, as is Jihoon, with his youthful and clean complexion. The boys go well with Ma:Nyo’s brand image, which is centered around the pursuit of clear skin through natural ingredients like Bifida Ferment Lysate and Southeast Asian ‘fish mint’ flowers.
Kang Daniel – Givenchy Beauty
Kang Daniel’s brand power has been apparent since his debut as the face of ‘Produce 101’ project group Wanna One. Such appeal has made him an endorsement model for a number of different products, including toothpaste, energy drinks, beer, perfume, and more. However, when he was selected as French luxury brand Givenchy Beauty’s first male ambassador, it definitely made headlines. Among the Givenchy Beauty products Kang Daniel endorses, perhaps the most surprising is their creme lipsticks, which truly suit his fuller lips. In an interview, he opened up about modeling lipstick as a male idol, sharing that his family enjoys him taking on the challenge so much that his grandfather’s even joked about wanting to pick up a tube himself!
CRAVITY – Black Rouge
Starship Entertainment boy groups are definitely not new to the beauty brand endorsement deal game, with CRAVITY’s senior labelmates MONSTA X having modeled for popular Korean brand TONYMOLY back in 2018. Only a few months after their 2020 debut, CRAVITY also became endorsement models for Korean cosmetics brand Black Rouge. According to Black Rouge, CRAVITY was chosen for their passion, liveliness, and powerful energy, which they felt matches well with the brand’s image. Currently, the CRAVITY members can be seen in Black Rouge advertisements in South Korea, China, and Southeast Asia.
Which male idol rocks beauty brands the best?