The 35-year-old solo artist got her start as a backup dancer for BoA (a.k.a. the queen of Korean pop) before moving on to become the leader of girl group After School (billed at the time as the Pussycat Dolls of Korean pop). She took on the role of lead dancer and occasional rapper, favoring thigh-highs and plaid, apropos the group name. But after "graduating" from After School in 2012 and launching her solo career with two mini albums (an eponymous release in 2011, and Who Are You? in 2013), Kahi ditched the youthful schoolgirl look for something, well, way more badass. (Just check out her stick-straight bleached hair and pantsuit on her 2013 single "It's Me.")
"When I was singing and dancing, my makeup was usually heavy and dramatic," Kahi tells Refinery29. "Even when I wasn't on stage, I liked to wear heavier eye and face makeup — contour and all!" These days, Kahi's makeup routine is more minimal. "As I focus on acting, I prefer a natural look," she says. "Also, I'm older and I'm more comfortable in my own skin."
We asked the star to tell us all about her beauty routine — what she swears by, what she's been using for years, and what she's really into now, as she's expecting her first child. Our favorite part? Most of the products are totally accessible to us here in the States.
Click through to discover the beauty essentials Kahi can't live without.