When it comes to the visual aspect of K-Pop comebacks, hair styling is just as important as fashion and music sets. Idols frequently experiment with unique hair styles and colors to give their comebacks an edge and create and unforgettable look. In the case of boy groups, the mastermind behind many of your favorite hair looks is hair designer Park Nae Joo.
He’s worked with many of K-Pop’s biggest male acts, including BTS, EXO, GOT7, MONSTA X, and NCT. In an interview, Park Nae Joo revealed the secrets of his work—from how he prevents hair damage to which BTS and EXO members care most about their hair.
Park Nae Joo is the hair stylist every company seeks to get their male idols’ locks perfectly coiffed for music videos, photoshoots, and more. But, in his early days, EXO was the first group he worked with. In fact, he’s been working with EXO since the members were just trainees.
He later started styling BTS’s hair, working with them since the release of their second album. In the years since, it’s no surprise Park Nae Joo has gained a great grasp on all the members and their interest in hair.
The singers are now like my brothers rather than clients.
— Park Nae Joo
According to Park Nae Joo, the BTS member who cares most about his hair is V.
In EXO, Kai and Baekhyun are the most interest in hair styling.
Park Nae Joo says these 3 idols give him a lot of input and ideas on their hair styling.
On the opposite side, he says EXO’s Sehun has little interest in his hair, going with whatever the expert suggests.
Styling hair for such major artists is a complex process, Park Nae Joo explained. First, they have to discuss the groups’ upcoming concepts with the companies’ visual teams, taking into account outfits and more. Next, they brainstorm which hair colors and styles to use, making sure the members will look great individually and together. Even after this, more work goes into matching hair to fashion, hair length, and hair condition.
Idols can have several comebacks a year, and the styling team may decide to dye their hair each and every time. So how does Park Nae Joo keep them from hair damage and loss? The expert stylist says that first, they come up with a long-term plan for which color choices will work best for the idols’ hair conditions over the upcoming year.
Then, after dyeing, Park Nae Joo and his team provide regular step-by-step hair repair treatments. These two strategies keep a star’s hair in its best possible condition over time.
If you’re wondering what hair looks to expect from your idols, Park Nae Joo also shared some of the common trends. For colors, classic blue (Pantone‘s 2020 Color of the Year) is one of the hottest hues.
As for haircuts, the stylist says undercuts are over, it’s all about long, multi-layers, shaggy cuts.