The hand-on-face photo pose is the South Korean version of arm-on-hip. A hand (or wine glass, or whatever’s around) strategically placed along the jawline creates the illusion of a smaller face. And, if you don’t already know, having an adorably little oval face with a V-shaped chin is an obsession here — being complimented on it is tantamount to being told you have beautiful eyes or a gorgeous smile. It can also double as a pickup line. Plus, many celebrities show off how small their faces are by holding objects next to them for scale.
Face sculpting is a worldwide phenomenon, but in Korea, it goes beyond makeup. To achieve the coveted V-line, Korean women regularly get facial massages to try to alter their face shapes. Another super popular method for achieving a small face is Botox, which you can use to atrophy bulgy jaw muscles for a more streamlined chin. Recently, some women have taken destiny into their own hands by (cringe) hacking up their jawbones.
However, when it comes to contouring for East Asian visages, Korea is onto something. It took me several attempts to realize that Kim Kardashian-style contouring doesn’t work on my features. Trying to add shadows that don’t naturally blend into the face’s landscape just ends up looking like war paint.
If you’re looking for a softer, more natural look than the chiseled fierceness of Kimmy K & Ko. — no matter your face type — read on for a breakdown on how to contour, Gangnam-style.