Ulzzang is a Korean term meaning “best face.” Generally, it is someone (guy or girl) who is noted for their good looks. It is also someone who takes care of their image and in some way promotes that image. It is not a style. It is a label. The way “pretty” would be considered a label among westerns. But people like to make niches out of everything and have turned the term ulzzang into a style concept.
The internet has played a large role in developing the concept of ulzzang as a style craze. There are ulzzang competitions; ulzzangs use the internet to gain fans and popularity and some ulzzangs even obtain celebrity status and may enter modeling, singing, and acting careers as a result of being ulzzang. This is very similar to a pretty girl being scouted as a model in the west.
From a non- Korean perspective, ulzzang style plays on a cute and innocent look. They also make use of accessories as a big part of their style. Girls and guys who don’t need glasses will wear them as part of their look. The eyes are central to the ulzzang look. Circle lenses that make the eyes look bigger is typical among ulzzangs (though not all ulzzangs use them) as well as false eye lashes. But many girls wear false lashes, Asian and not. Countless people wear colored contacts. These may not be make the eyes looks bigger the way circle lenses do but they do alter the natural appearance of the eyes.
Ulzzang is not at all a foreign or weird concept. It is seen in one form or other in every part of the world.
Japan has their Gyaru girls; there are Chinese net idols, scene kids in Western and European countries and there are style and beauty bloggers who take photos of themselves, and try to promote and gain attention, fans and fame for their look.
While ulzzang may be promoted as a style trend that many girls are following, the concept of being praised for your looks is nothing new at all. And with the internet being so integral to people’s lives, it’s only natural that people will use it their advantage in order to obtain “best face” status.