Of the various job necessities for being a pop star in South Korea, “should be open to continually coloring your hair” must be listed alongside proficiency in dancing, rapping, singing, and being typically enticing. Frequent journeys to the salon are simply one other strenuous a part of the idol way of life. Through the years, rainbow dye jobs have began to carry significance to the profession trajectory of Ok-pop stars. A brand new hair colour is a sign to followers that one thing massive is brewing, specifically, a brand new single or album is on the best way.

For Western pop stars, a rigorously crafted tweet or mysterious Instagram publish from a recording studio helps tease a brand new album. “They usually spend a while creating buzz over a single or two, releasing music movies, and then releasing their album,” Jeff Benjamin, Billboard‘s Ok-pop columnist, tells Attract. “However Ok-pop needs speedy impression upon launch.”

For Korean pop stars, all they should do is take off their beanie on the airport and expose their newly coloured hair to rally the troops. “Korea sees the one, album, music video, and the primary reside efficiency all usually revealed in 24 hours,” Benjamin explains. “So, unveiling a brand new look heightens that impression.”

Members of EXO or Twice are the truest testaments to this phenomenon: When Baekhyun confirmed up at Incheon Worldwide Airport with flamingo-pink hair again in March, followers instantly knew an EXO-CBX comeback was imminent. Extra just lately, a number of members of Twice shocked As soon as (the official title for his or her fan base) when the group departed for Japan earlier this month with brand-new hair colours. Chaeyoung’s contemporary tangerine look needed to be probably the most outstanding of the bunch. Like clockwork, JYP Leisure introduced a few days later that the woman group is popping out with a brand new album in July.

The idea of ideas

Previous to the massive airport reveal, in depth planning goes into choosing what colour dye is brushed onto an idol’s hair. Chaeyoung more than likely did not get up one morning wanting vivid orange hair.

As talked about in Attract‘s interview with NCT’s Taeyong, Ok-pop stars distinctly change their hair, make-up, and outfits based mostly on the idea or vibe of their new songs or albums. In only one 12 months, they may have their hair dyed practically a dozen completely different colours, relying on how a lot music they launch. Many would argue that BigBang’s T.O.P and G-Dragon helped set this precedent.

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“One of many allures of Ok-pop is the anticipation of change,” says CJ Kim, who, properly, I am not solely certain what she does however I do know she’s labored as a translator and tour supervisor for Monsta X, Seventeen, KARD, and Day6. “Followers know that with new releases an artist’s look might be utterly completely different from the final launch and the largest change is normally hair, whether or not it’s colour modifications or styling.” Cause being? Hair, greater than make-up, is without doubt one of the most evident and visually stimulating methods to point out a change in an artist’s picture, she says.

One of many allures of Ok-pop is the anticipation of change.

And the colours are by no means picked at random. Stylists work intently with file labels for months to strategically resolve on the subsequent hair colour for each member of a bunch. Kim Taejin, a Seoul-based hair designer, who has labored with GOT7, B1A4, and Apink, tells Attract he places collectively a portfolio of seems for the group’s companies earlier than assembly with them a number of instances to pick out the fitting colours and types based mostly on the album’s idea. (I can solely think about how the conferences for Baekhyun’s pink mullet for “Ko Ko Bop” went down.)

Many instances hair colours mirror the album in an overtly visible approach. Benjamin factors out that BTS went brown throughout in April for his or her album, Love Your self: Tear, which has darker themes like heartbreak. “That idea was a stark distinction from 2017’s Love Your self: Her, the place the members’ hair colours included J-Hope’s fire-truck pink, RM’s rose-gold, and Suga going turquoise,” he explains.

BTS Love Yourself

BigHit Leisure

Actually, followers have even speculated that Suga, specifically, dyes his hair based mostly on the colour of BTS’s newest album cowl. Though he denied this principle, he is not the one one to coordinate his hair with an album title or track title. The obvious examples should be Pleasure’s candy-apple pink hair for Pink Velvet’s “Pink Taste” and T.O.P.’s turquoise hair for BigBang’s “Blue.” The Rose’s Woosung additionally just lately shared with Attract that he bleached his hair a bright-white shade that was virtually translucent to echo the title of the band’s latest album, “Void.”

joy and woosung k-pop

SM Leisure and J&Star Firm

With this in thoughts, dramatic new hair colours change into markers for Ok-pop teams’ discography. “Hair colour permits the followers to recollect the album higher,” James Miju, a Los Angeles-based hair colorist tells Attract. “Whenever you see photographs of the artist in a selected hair colour, you already know precisely which period that image is from.”

The individualization issue of a brand new hair colour

The entire idea of coloring their hair, to start with, could be attributed to the necessity for differentiation amongst not solely Ok-pop stars but additionally the typical individual in Korea, David Yi, founder and editor of the lads’s grooming web site Very Good Gentle, tells Attract. “Korea is a really homogenous nation the place everybody roughly seems alike with the identical aesthetics,” he explains. “Put that along with an idol who has the identical stylists and make-up artists, and it is troublesome to face out from the group.” Nevertheless, with a shock of pink or streaks of purple, an idol turns into set other than the remaining.

B.A.P. 2012 SBS The Color Of K-pop

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And Miju agrees. As a result of a majority of Korean artists have black or brown hair, “if all of them stored their pure hair colour, it might be harder to differentiate which artist is which, particularly for newer artists attempting to interrupt by,” he provides. Simply consider all of the instances you’ve got watched a bunch carry out for the primary time and distinctly remembered one particular member. They most likely had a daring hair colour, proper?

Within the case of B.A.P. and Pink Velvet, having each member of the group go blonde helped entice consideration for his or her debut, and once they added a brand new member, respectively. A gaggle-wide transfer like this, often paired with coloured contacts, “created a very completely different visible fashion not usually seen in South Korea,” Benjamin says.

The historic taboo of vivid hair on tv

Though CJ Kim says colourful dye jobs have indicated modifications for so long as she remembers, they weren’t at all times extensively accepted. Again within the 1990s, members of S.E.S. and H.O.T. continuously needed to cover their rainbow hair beneath hats and bandanas as a result of the look was banned on all broadcast stations.

At the moment, we have now women and men expressing themselves with magnificence and now Seoul is probably the most progressive magnificence nation on the earth.

“SBS, MBC, and KBS stated that it was a nasty instance for younger individuals, so anybody who dyed their hair was thought-about to be a nuisance and wouldn’t be capable to present face on TV,” Yi says. “It is so loopy how that wasn’t so way back. At the moment, we have now women and men expressing themselves with magnificence, and now, Seoul is probably the most progressive magnificence nation on the earth.”

Miju provides that with social media the modifications are extra obvious. Because of Twitter and Instagram, you’ll find out a couple of new hair colour the second an idol exhibits up at an airport, regardless of the place on the earth you’re.

The caring and preserving of idols’ scalps

In fact, with all of the bleaching and coloring, followers have a tendency to fret about their favourite stars going bald. As a result of hair colorists typically see the identical idols over and over, “we all know at what level the hair will begin breaking and get actually broken, so we strive to not get to that time,” Kim Taejin says. Relying on the colour, he provides that they could are available in as soon as per week to maintain the hue contemporary.

To stop and treatment any harm to the idol’s hair because of the coloring course of, Kim Taejin says stylists use bond builders and strengthening therapies like Olaplex. For at-home upkeep, “I personally counsel therapies and shampoos particularly for dyed hair so the colours last more,” Kim Taejin provides. Different stylists who work with idols would most likely echo this. Woosung advised me his colorist, specifically, beneficial that he use a purple shampoo to maintain his blonde as platinum as attainable.

Typically idols even use hair extensions, items, and wigs when their very own hair is simply too broken or when the colour they need is just not simply achievable. “That is simply recognized by hair professionals, however the common viewers won’t discover it,” Miju says. They could additionally use a color-depositing conditioner to assist refresh colour in between appointments, he provides.

With regards to touring, I’ve a principle: To save lots of themselves from weekly journeys to a salon, members of Ok-pop teams veer towards extra impartial hair tones once they’re on the street. Yi hasn’t seen this change-up like I’ve, however I can not assist however consider GOT7’s Mark. After selling the group’s newest album with blonde hair, he dyed his hair a blue-black an hour earlier than taking the stage for the primary present of GOT7’s world tour. Followers even seen that his sweat was dripping blue. I have never requested Mark (but), however I am satisfied he did so to keep away from fixed root touchups whereas on the street. The remainder of his group has black hair, so he will not should be the one one caught bleaching his hair each couple of weeks.

Subsequent time you catch your favourite Ok-pop star with pink (or orange or blue or blonde) hair, take into account that their rainbow hair is rarely simply a enjoyable technique to change up their look. Their colourful new coif was extra rigorously calculated than your espresso finances.


Learn extra concerning the magnificence routines of Ok-pop stars:


Now, be taught concerning the shocking historical past of hair dye:

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