The unprecedented growth of K-Pop on a global scale has had an outstanding impact on world culture. As a matter of fact, K-Pop is one of the most influential cultural forces in the world right now, not just in entertainment but also in realms of fashion, beauty, literature, and so much more. As a K-Pop fan, first and foremost, and a Hallyu Journalist at that, it is impossible for me not to be influenced (and quite easily) by K-Pop. One of the most evident ways this influence manifests itself is through my shopping cart. So, here are 5 of my favorite K-Pop-inspired buys of 2023 that I guarantee you will love, too!
I have been a dedicated K-Pop fan for over a decade now, and yet, Hwang MinHyun’s lightstick – the adorable Hwangdobong is my first-ever lightstick. Ever since his time as a member of NU’EST/WANNA ONE, Hwang MinHyun has always been an artist who consistently impressed and inspired me. However, it was with “Alchemy of Souls” that I officially entered Hwangdo land, and I have never looked back since.
Exploring Hwang MinHyun’s multifaceted talents, playing his discography on repeat, and swooning over his ethereal visuals had a fresh novelty and rush to it, almost as if I had turned back time to when I first found K-Pop. From his nuanced and refined acting skills to his rich, velvety voice, commanding stage presence, and above all, his endearing personality – everything about Hwang MinHyun evoked my greatest admiration and respect anew.
So, when his official lightstick was finally revealed, let’s just say, it called my name. I may be biased, but the Hwangdobong is easily one of the prettiest K-Pop lightsticks I have ever seen. The minimalist yet colorful aesthetic, the immaculate “Animal Crossing” vibe, and how perfectly it suits Hwang MinHyun – there’s simply no denying that the design popped off. At the same time, the duality between Hwang MinHyun’s dark and enigmatic concept for his debut mini album “Truth Or Lie” and the peachy glow of the Hwangdobong, is iconic, to say the least. To top it all off, the Hwangdobong is a gorgeous home decor highlight that instantly draws attention too!
If I had to make a list of material things I would not want to live without, perfumes would most definitely be in the top half. It is always fascinating when K-Pop idols reveal their favorite fragrances and we have quite a few articles where you can find out more about them.
So, when f(x) member and top actress Krystal Jung attended the launch event of Lancôme Idôle, looking stellar like a goddess, I knew I had to give it a try. K-Pop fans would know that Krystal is an OG style icon, the one you look to for fashion inspiration, and the one you can always trust when it comes to endorsements. So, knowing Krystal enjoyed this perfume was all the convincing I needed. It certainly helped that I also received a sample for Idôle, right while I was contemplating the purchase, and needless to say, I fell in love.
The notes for Idôle by Lancôme include four roses, jasmine, and a chypre accord. Chypre can be described as a fresh, woody, mossy note. Now, I’ve never been a fan of the rose note in fragrances, and if you’re like me, it can trigger a migraine, but when I tell you this is the most subtle yet striking, fresh, bright rose, there’s not a single word of exaggeration in there. It quite literally smells like a bouquet of roses bathed in morning dew.
As a bonus, this perfume is a huge compliment magnet, so if you’d rather not be the center of attention, pass on this one but if you love hearing that you smell heavenly, Idôle is for you. As for longevity, it might as well be eternal and with strong projection too! It is also blind buy safe so if you can get your hands on it, don’t hesitate!
This lip gloss has to be one of my top favorite K-Pop inspired beauty buys of 2023. Earlier this year, the “WonYoung Lip Combo” went viral all over the internet with influencers pairing the rom&nd Juicy Lasting Tint in the shade “Bare Grape” with the rom&nd Glasting Water Gloss in the shade “Meteor Track” for “doll-like” lips. While the aforementioned lip tint shade was not for me, the lip gloss was right up my alley.
You may think hoping to achieve the same look as Jang WonYoung is a tall order but with this lip gloss, it is impossible to fail. Now, does WonYoung use these exact products? I’m not too sure but for someone like me who not only adores her but also objectively acknowledges her stunning beauty, there was no way I wasn’t going to try this viral lip combo.
Needless to say, I was not disappointed. The Glasting Water Gloss is the most lightweight, non-sticky K-beauty lip gloss in the market. Along with the glossy effect, you also get the tiniest glitter particles that shine like diamonds against the light. The formula feels more like a hydrating lip oil on the lips rather than a lip gloss, so don’t worry about it getting everywhere at the slightest gush of wind. However, there is a slight cooling effect on the lips and a soft (almost unnoticeable) minty smell to the product, so if you’re sensitive to fragrance, this one might not be for you.
The Glasting Water Gloss looks gorgeous on bare lips or simply paired with a lip liner, but if you like the look of fuller, pouty lips, just pair it with your favorite lip tint, and what do you know, Jang WonYoung’s viral lip combo will work wonders for you too!
Remember the list of things I wouldn’t want to live without? Right up there with perfumes, we have books. In recent years, translated literature has been of special interest to me, even more so as I started exploring Korean literature, partly thanks to book recommendations by some of my favorite idols. Inspired by my experience, I started Kpopmap’s monthly editorial series “Booked & Busy”, discussing K-Pop idols’ book recommendations, Korean literature, and more to promote reading and K-Lit to the vast and expansive K-Pop audience.
In the month of October, we had our first exclusive “Booked & Busy” feature where mimiirose members Yoon JiA & Inn HyoRi revealed their own book recommendations for fans and shared their personal stories and thoughts attached to their books, exclusive pictures, and more. You can read the article below:
One of the books mentioned by Inn HyoRi was “Almond” by Sohn WonPyung, which happens to be one of the most popular Korean novels among K-Pop fans. It is also recommended by BTS’ Suga, Jin, RM, and j-hope as well as SUPER JUNIOR’s RyeoWook, and everyone who talks about this novel has nothing but good things to say.
While this book, translated to English by Sandy Joosun Lee, had been on my TBR (To Be Read) list for quite a while, I always hesitated to pick it up because of the trigger warnings associated with it (you can read about these triggers here). However, in all honesty, perhaps it was my sentimental attachment to my first exclusive “Booked & Busy” article and how strongly Inn HyoRi felt about the book that convinced me to finally give it a try. I’m halfway through it as I’m writing this article, and lest it become a book review entirely, I will only say that every tear shed makes your heart just a little bit stronger. So, expect to come out of this, having healed inner wounds that you didn’t even know you had.
P.S. We hope to bring you more exclusive “Booked & Busy” articles in the future, so let us know who you’d like to see!
5. “Beyond The Story: 10 Year Record Of BTS” by Kang MyeongSeok & BTS, translated to English by Anton Hur, Clare Richards, and Slin Jung – BTS
BTS’ best-selling biography “Beyond The Story: 10 Year Record of BTS” is not only a significant milestone in BTS’ history but also an irreplaceable part of ARMY’s. Having rooted for them since their debut, there was no doubt in my mind that this book would be one of the most emotional reads of the year, and it sure delivered.
To relive the BTS timeline while diving into the deep, intricate feelings of the members, being privy to challenges that we can only imagine, and having the opportunity to get a glimpse of their psyche as they went from dreamers to the ultimate dream is a journey in and of itself and one that you will not want to end. This might be why I still haven’t finished reading this book or, more precisely, am holding myself back from doing so. Reading “Beyond The Story” is like my weekly delight, especially with the dawn of sweater weather, and I have no intentions of rushing it.
If you’re an ARMY, I’m sure you have already read this book, but if there’s anyone still contemplating it, especially because of the size of the book (I say this because I am genuinely intimidated by larger books, so I know it can be a deterrent), rest assured because the writing, and for English readers, the translation is not only outstanding but also seamless, clear, and accessible.
If you’re not an ARMY or even a K-Pop fan but are intrigued by the larger-than-life global phenomenon that is BTS, you need to pick up this book, and after flipping through a couple of pages on a lazy Sunday, you might begin to understand how or even why BTS became BTS. Either way, you do not want to miss this one.
So, there we have it! Those are my top 5 K-Pop-inspired buys of 2023. What were some of your K-Pop-inspired purchases this year? Do we have anything in common? Tell me in the comments section down below!