Traditional Korean Hairstyles and Accessories Modernized by Celebrities

Traditional Korean hairstyles ranged from cute to neck-strainingly fabulous.

Even if you’re not into historical K-dramas or the fashion scene, these throwback styles are amazing.

Here are some ways to enjoy chic and adorable hairstyles with Korean tradition!

Lingua Asia Traditional Korean Hairstyles Reinterpreted by Korean Celebrities

Korean celebrities (models and K-pop idols) have been rocking traditional hairstyles and accessories from the Joseon Dynasty, with a modern twist. They go great with pretty much anything.

1. Daenggi Meori (댕기머리)

Lingua Asia Jung Hoyeon with Daenggi Meori
Jung Hoyeon with Daenggi Meori at the 2022 SAG Awards
Her custom gown and ribbon were crafted by Louis Vuitton!

Daenggi Meori (댕기머리) literally means “Daenggi (pigtail ribbon)” + “Meori (hair)“.

This timeless look includes a long-braided hairstyle with a daenggi to seal the ends.

In the old days, these weren’t gender-specific, but a sign of youth or marital status. Children, bachelors, and bachelorettes sported Daenggi Meori, until their wedding day.

After marriage, Korean men switched to a top knot bun, and women wore a low bun. They both put their hair up in the past.

Daenggi Accessory

Lingua Asia Rosé with Daenggi
Rosé of BLACKPINK at the 2023 Met’s Sulwhasoo Event in New York

If the old-school Daenggi Meori style feels too much, you can try this cute half up ponytail with a daenggi ribbon!

The ribbon worn by Rosé was handmade by @maison_de_yoon.

2. Saeang Meori (새앙머리)

Lingua Asia Deok-im with Saeang Meori on The Red Sleeve
Lee Se-young (Deok-im) killing it with Saeang Meori on The Red Sleeve
📺 If you haven’t watched the Red Sleeve yet, you’re missing out! It’s a really fun show based on a true story.

Saeang Meori (새앙머리) is braided hair that’s folded upward, then downward with the ends tucked under. Or you can fold the long braid up twice, and tie it with a daenggi ribbon.

I’ve honestly seen this style only in historical dramas.

Young apprentice court ladies, and royal/noble unmarried women wore Saeang Meori during the Joseon period.

Just because no one has tried this recently, doesn’t mean you can’t!

3. Jjok Meori (쪽머리)

Lingua Asia Shin Se-kyung with Jjok Meori on Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung
Shin Se-kyung with Jjok Meori on Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung

Jjok Meori (쪽머리) is a low-braided bun with a binyeo (Korean hairpin used for fixing a chignon).

In the past, this hairstyle meant that either a girl had reached the age of 15 and had her coming-of-age ceremony, or got married (sometimes before turning 15).

Jjok Meori was decorated with a binyeo hairpin on a daily basis, and corolla or jokduri (traditional Korean coronet) for ceremonies.

You can still see Korean women in hanbok with elegant jjok meori during their baby’s baek-il or doljanchi!

Binyeo (비녀) Accessory

Binyeo is a Korean ornamental hairpin that’s perfect for fixing chignons. It’s comfortable and pretty.

There are so many charming hairpins with simple or glamorous designs!

4. Cheopji Meori (첩지머리)

Lingua Asia Cheopji Meori on Under the Queen's Umbrella
Royal concubines with Cheopji Meori on Under the Queen’s Umbrella

Cheopji Meori (첩지머리) is a hairstyle using, you guessed it, Cheopji.

Cheopji is more than a Korean hair accessory for decorating chignons and keeping hair neat and tidy.

It also displayed one’s social status based on its design and material.

During the Joseon Dynasty, queens used gilded dragon-shaped cheopji, concubines wore gilded phoenix-shaped cheopji, and court ladies wore frog-shaped ones.

Cheopji Accessory

Lingua Asia Jung Hoyeon with Cheopji Accessory
Jung Hoyeon with Cheopji at the 2022 Emmy Awards
Her dress and cheopji accessory were also crafted by Louis Vuitton!

What a beautiful way to wear cheopji with a modern dress!

5. Eoyeo Meori (어여머리)

Lingua Asia Eoyeo Meori

Eoyeo Meori (어여머리) is a super glam wig hairstyle, worn by court ladies and women of royal/noble houses during the Joseon Dynasty for good reason. It definitely makes you look super mean, important, and most of all, fabulous AF.

They wore a cotton jokduri (coronet) on top, and put a large wig around it, then decorated it with jade plates and hairpins inlaid with jewels.

According to actresses on historical dramas, these things are HEAVY, causing neck pain and hair loss while filming.

A single Gache (Korean braided wig pronounced gah chay) weighs 6.6 to 8.8 pounds (3-4 kg). After adding extra wigs and accessories, it’s close to 11 pounds (5 kg). There are actually historical records of people breaking their necks because of these bad boys.

Gache were considered extravagant, so they were prohibited by King Yeongjo (1694-1776), and completely disappeared during the reign of Sunjo (1790-1834). They took over a century to die out, because they look so glam that women defied the king to wear them.

Modern Hairstyle

Lingua Asia Jennie at Chanel FW 2022 Show
Jennie of BLACKPINK at Chanel F/W 2022 Show

Instead of risking hair loss or your life, you can perhaps try this modern Eoyeo Meori style by Jennie.

It’s a painless way to look stylish, and adorable!


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