When I first heard the term “makeup spatula,” I was sitting down with makeup artists from Jennyhouse, a beloved full-service beauty salon in Seoul, South Korea, in 2019. Fast-forward, and makeup spatulas are 2022’s biggest K-beauty foundation application trend. But let’s rewind.
Back then, makeup artist Hyemin Jo told me that most of her work is focused on creating super smooth, glassy skin that looks as natural as possible on her clients, like actor Song Jihyo. To do so, she uses a super thin layer of the smallest amount of foundation. Of course, I had to ask what tools she uses. A brush? Sponge? Nope. “A spatula, then a sponge,” Jo revealed.
While I processed this information, Jo brought up a picture of what the stainless steel spatula looks like. It reminded me more of a metal painting knife that Bob Ross would reach for rather than something you’d flip a pancake with. It looks like the bluntest, non-serrated butter knife in your utensil drawer. Jo went on to say she uses it to spread foundation evenly onto skin before blending it out with a sponge or brush.
Today, makeup spatulas are no longer a tool solely in the kits of professional makeup artists. Thanks to the Piccasso Makeup Spatula, which is now sold (and often sold out) at K-beauty retailer Olive Young, achieving the same sheer, second-skin-like foundation effect is now accessible to everyday makeup lovers in Korea. Plus, TikTok has recently brought the application technique to an international stage. Just recently, creator @jennypysh_ posted a video of herself trying it out, and her video has already racked up more than 1.1 million views.
Want to know how you can wield a makeup spatula yourself for the most natural-looking foundation ever? Allow me to share the basics of Korean makeup spatulas.
The Right Tools
Although you can shop the Piccasso Makeup Spatula right now on Olive Young’s international website, it’s only a matter of time before Sephora and/or Ulta starts selling it — mark my words. Stateside, similar makeup spatulas are hard to find as many are not quite the same shape or length. Some of the closest matches I was able to track down can be found below.
You’re probably wondering if you could use a silicone mask applicator or a literal butter knife instead. Well, Korean makeup artist Ssin already tested that out so you don’t have to. Turns out, neither spread foundation on as effortlessly and evenly. Also, the right spatula needs to have a longer edge than that of depotting and mixing spatulas that are on the market here in the states.
No matter which one you use, makeup spatulas work best with liquid foundations. The Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is the one of most popular options among pro artists in Korea. Pircilla Pae, a Korean makeup artist based in Los Angeles, is also a fan of Clé De Peau’s Radiant Fluid Natural and Matte Foundations for this particular purpose. “They blend so easily,” she says. I recommend the Best of Beauty-winning Nars Cosmetics Light Reflecting Foundation for the task.