Korean pop has taken the world by storm. K-pop artists like TS, PSY, Red velvet, and Black Pink have redefined the fashion industry in the country. Their unique, colorful, and tacky clothing is always paired up with similar accessories to complete the look. One distinctive accessory we all have noticed on these stars is a face mask. The artists have been spotted with covered faces at airports, live, and in unscheduled videos.

K-Pop Idols
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Wearing face masks may have different types of reasons for these internationally famous stars. It is imperative for them to keep their personal and starry lives apart but is it so easy? We conducted some research to understand that why your favorite K-pop idols often wear face masks in public places and sometimes, even while performing!

1.    Protection from pollution

One of the foremost reasons for K-pop idols to wear a facemask would be to protect themselves from poor air quality. Korea is very well known for its extremely polluted air due to huge number of vehicles, factory excretions, and a technology driven lifestyle. Despite being one the most advanced first world countries, Korea is densely polluted and has a high carbon footprint. The cities are full of sky scrapers and high rise buildings. Countless vehicles are driven every day. Recently, in 2019, World Health Organization warned the Korean officials regarding the dangerously compromised air quality of the country.

The situation is comparatively worse in certain parts of South Korea. The country stands at a very bad ranking amongst its peers. Covering their faces helps the artists to shield their lungs from respiratory problems and it also prevents spreading or catching of diseases and viruses.

Even for normal Korean residents, wearing face masks is not something out of the ordinary. The panic started from the bird flu contagion and it was considered a social responsibility to wear a facemask in order to prevent the spread of the disease. The current COVID-19 pandemic is no different. In fact, it has been made obligatory to wear face masks in public areas.

So with our understanding and research, the face masks are sometimes used by celebrities for the same medical reasons and to fulfill their social obligation.

2.    Fashion statement

Whatever outfit the K-pop artists don, it becomes a fashion statement. Korean fashion is famous internationally and with K-pop’s fans spread all over the world, any new trend sweeps across the planet. Over the past couple of years since the K-pop industry started to flourish, the artists have fully exploited the opportunity to make fashion statements. Just like their famous logos, military style jackets, dance moves, and short films, wearing face masks became iconic. Members of famous bands like Black Pink and BTS started wearing face masks which soon became a trend and the fans began copying the style.

Fashion statement
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Because of the huge popularity, fashion retailers started manufacturing customized face masks in different colors, designs, and patterns to cater to changing expectations of K-pop fans. The manufacturers started producing different varieties of face masks to get some financial returns on the trend. Masks are regarded as the latest fashion accessory in the BTS community.

3.    Protecting vocals

The K-pop singers are extremely busy performers. They are always booked and have a day of performances planned. Be it getting their songs recorded for a new album or performing live in front of thousands of fans, the singers have to protect their vocal health. This is another reason to wear face masks.

To prevent from dust and allergic particles from entering into their mouths and noses, the artists prefer to cover their faces in order to keep their voices intact. Fans will not like to know that their favorite singers are suffering from allergic reactions. For this purpose, we think using a facemask is an intelligent and smart move!

Not just K-pop performers, but many international stars like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga have also been spotted wearing face masks out in public due to concern for their vocal chords.

4.    Hiding no-makeup faces

Who likes to spend hours on a chair getting their blemishes and dark circles fixed? As important as it is for the K-pop idols to wear makeup on daily basis for their public appearances, performances and engagements, sometimes they don’t feel like it too. Wearing a mask helps them escape the getting makeovers. To hide their puffy faces, blemishes, pimples, or chapped lips, wearing a face mask is the perfect solution. This is a very substantial reason for your favorite, famous K-pop idols for covering their faces.

After long flights, they might not feel like showing their puffed faces, hence a mask covers it all. In countries like China, Japan, and Korea, wearing face masks is very common for general public too. Many girls wear it when out in public if they are not wearing any makeup.

Famous K-pop band Red Velvet’s artist Selugi revealed in a video to her fans that wearing a mask after a flight helps her hide her bare face. This is probably a sign that she has a good and relaxing sleep in the clouds.

Hiding no-makeup faces
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5.    Privacy concerns

Privacy issues come as an accessory with popularity. It is very important for the stars and artists to protect their identity. There is always a chance of breach of their credentials. Artists always try to prioritize their security and keep their private and professional lives apart.

This is especially important in public places like at malls, airports, and restaurants. Also while dating someone, it is important for the K-pop idols to keep their relationships out of the limelight. To do so, wearing face masks helps. It makes it less obvious for the fans or stalkers to figure out their identity and makes it easier for the artists to travel and commute in peace.

Wearing masks also prevents from fans hoarding around asking for pictures and autographs all the time. There is group known as Sasaengs which basically consists of overly obsessed people who call themselves fans but actually are harassers and stalkers. They cross limits to know what their idols are doing or where they are. For example, it has been reported that members of this group book the same flights as their idols to take pictures without consent. They follow and stalk the celebrities to reveal their locations and make their content go viral on the internet.

It becomes imperative for celebrities to avoid such fans. Since K-Pop artists are massively popular, we think wearing a facemask is a good way to spend some time being low-key and without being noticed by fans in public places.

Privacy concerns
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Sometimes, it is not about privacy but just their moods. The idols might not want to be in the limelight for the day or get photographed by fan and press, so they cover their faces. It can feel quite cumbersome to wear loads of makeup every time they want to step out.

6.    They might have skin problems

Another reason to cover faces with masks can be underlying skin problems. They can be as minimal as acne or dry lips. But being a world famous stars, the artists cannot face the judgmental comments and sneaky paparazzi every day. Just like normal humans, your favorite singers and actors also go through bad skin days. As such, face masks are their savior as they not only help them in covering the imperfections, but also protect the skin from pollutants and allergies.

Living in heavily populated and polluted cities causes a lot of allergies and respiratory problems. Wearing face masks can be very good for health of the artists and keep numerous diseases and dermatological problems at par.


If we see this from another perspective, wearing masks can get more eyes on them. There have been many instances where the artists had full makeup on and still they were photographed wearing a face mask. Acts like this also add to the publicity. All the K-Pop artists are products of their agencies, wearing face masks provides a merchantable quality to their existence.

However, the purposes of wearing masks have been changing. It might have just started as a way to protect their health, but soon grew into much more.

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It has now become a fashion statement and a distinctive go-to look for the artists as well as fans. Not only does wearing face masks assist the stars in keeping their personal errands private, but also helps them in travelling with ease and safety. They can peacefully sleep during long flights and escape the long makeup sessions by just putting on a facemask before heading out.