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Singer DUVV on What She Learned About Beauty and Music From Living in Korea

If you haven’t heard of the singer DUVV yet, get ready to see her name everywhere. After bursting onto the club scene in Seoul, she’s back stateside and putting the finishing touches on her next EP, a self-produced electronic project called ACID. In this exclusive interview, the singer shares what she learned about beauty from her time in Korea, how the experience affected her music, her must-have natural skin care products and more!

How did you end up living in Korea?

So I’ve been there two times before and I went there this time to work on my most recent project, WITH YOU IN MIND, which I released last August. My first time going there was in a study exchange program and that’s how I met Nicole, [Soko Glam’s Marketing and Communication’s Manager]. We were at the same university. I didn’t know I wanted to do music at that time, so my first experience in Seoul was as a student.
I visited again two years ago for like a month to see if doing music there was a realistic thing to approach. The response I received was really supportive so I decided to come back. I’d never lived there for that long before. Living in Seoul was amazing, and though I had been there before, I had a lot of new experiences.

What was the kind of response you got to your music?

The response was supportive. I was happy to work with some amazing producers out there, and I learned a lot from them. The year was lovely. One great memory I have stemmed from working on a song with BRLLNT for his most recent EP GIRL. We were performing it live, and during the intro there are some ad-libs, and the audience loudly sang along. It surprised me at first! It was touching to have a crowd sing along in that way.

Were there any beauty revelations that you discovered while in Korea?

I noticed how much people pay attention to their appearance. It obviously has its pros and cons, but taking care of your skin is a good thing. I don’t really use serums, toners or skincare products that have a lot of ingredients, so I wasn’t too informed about Korean beauty products. I did, however, pick up on the way makeup is applied in Korea. In the States, I was familiar with rubbing your makeup in, but in Korea, I saw an emphasis on patting things in. Some of the Korean makeup styles are saw are more natural inspired looks, which I liked, because I don’t really contour heavily or wear dark colors around my eyes.

Do you have any beauty tricks? Or things that you do to treat your own skin?

I try to steer clear of chemical-based products when it comes to skin care. I use vitamin E oil on my eyelids for a dewy look. I notice that when I apply a small amount of eyeshadow and follow up with a bit of vitamin E oil, the pigment becomes more vibrant. A little goes a long way. I also like to apply it on my lips in lieu of lip gloss.

You also sent us a list of products that you love. What do you use coconut oil for? Why do you love it?

I use coconut oil as my body moisturizer. I like to use products that provide nutrients to the skin. Coconut oil isn’t too heavy, and it is easy to spread.

What do you use the shea butter for and why do you love it?

I use shea butter as my body moisturizer as well. Sometimes I use both shea butter and coconut oil to maintain moisturized skin on those cold weather days. I love it because it’s thick, rich, and healthy for my skin. I also use shea butter in my hair.

How do you use the tea tree oil?

I use tea tree oil to help me with healing any broken skin, scars or uneven complexion. It’s important to remember that tea tree oil is a strong essential oil, and it’s best applied when diluted. If I want to use it as part of my hair conditioning routine, I make sure I use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. It helps me maintain a healthy scalp. I also like the smell of the oil, so sometimes I’ll apply a very small amount on my neck and follow up with a few spritzes of rose water.

What about the sea buckthorn seed oil?

Sea buckthorn seed oil is a recent discovery. I really love using this as my facial moisturizer. I felt that coconut oil and shea butter weren’t the best oils for my face. Sea buckthorn oil is light enough that it doesn’t clog your pores, but it has enough body to leave your skin feeling plump and moisturized. It has anti-inflammatory healing properties that help with scarring.

How did you discover the Korean face cloth? How do you use it?

I discovered the Korean body scrub cloth when I went to Korea. I tried it out in recent weeks but it is too harsh for me. I prefer to use cotton washcloths when I shower. It’s enough of an exfoliator for my skin. It’s not too harsh, so you can use them daily.

Why do you love using the rose water and how do you use it?

I love using rose water because it’s a refreshing, all-natural mist that you can end your facial routine with. It feels soothing. I sometimes use it when applying powder makeup to make sure my face isn’t too matte.

It’s so interesting that you were really influenced by the makeup there. Are there any products that changed the game for you? Or was it just the style?

I don’t do a lot with makeup. I don’t do a lot with my makeup, so I liked how light the makeup style was. I stuck to my products for the most part since my shade of foundation isn’t found in stores there.

What about the Missha eyeshadow though? I know you mentioned that to me earlier.

I don’t know much about eyeshadow. I picked it up to try something new, but I don’t use it often. I have a shade of scarlet that I apply to my eyelids before applying vitamin E oil. I usually go for subtle makeup looks so it serves its purpose. I usually apply a small amount with my finger.

Why do you love the Cover FX foundation?

I love Cover FX powder foundation because it matches my skin tone and is activated by water. So after applying powder, I spritz water on my face for a natural, dewy look. It blends really well. I also stick with Cover FX because the powder is mineral-based, and both the powder and liquid foundations are free of parabens, sulfates, talc, mineral oil, fragrance and more.


So what are your future plans for your music?

I’m working on my next EP which is called ACID. It is a more electronic project, and it’s HEAVILY influenced by my experience in Korea. When I was there, I was often in the clubs. A lot of my friends were DJs, so I would just run behind them and go to parties. Those spaces had a rhythm to it, and I wanted to make music that matched that. My music can sound a little awkward in the club because I didn’t really have those spaces in mind when writing. Going to clubs affected how I sang, which was really cool. So ACID is a little bit more uptempo and heavy bass. I keep some of my experiences in the back of my head when I’m writing it.

Are you planning on doing any tours or traveling soon?

I would love to tour off this EP because I feel like I really learned a lot from my last project. There were growing pains for real. This is also my first self-produced project, aside from one track that’s produced by Seoul-based producer swimrabbit. I’m really happy about it because even though I don’t have the same technical level as people I’ve worked with before, I have an idea of how I’d like it to sound in my head, so I’m just working to get that out. So I would love to tour, but as of now I’m just working to finish it.
Top photo: Mingu Kang

+ What was your favorite part of our DUVV interview? Are you excited for her new EP? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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