Top Korean makeup artist Jung Saem Mool on the changing face of K-Beauty and the latest makeup trends to try
One of the greats
The entry — and subsequent staying power — of BB cushions, dewy finish foundations, and lip tints within the beauty industry tells us all we need to know about the K-Beauty movement in 2019. Namely, that it shows no sign of abating. In fact, it seems the takeover has extended its reach beyond Asia, and has made its way into the Western market, as observed by top celebrity makeup artist, Jung Saem Mool.
"K-Beauty has gone global," she tells Buro. Singapore, her eyes gleaming with pride behind her signature black, thick-framed glasses. Spare her cherry red pout, she is bare faced, channeling her brand's philosophy: inspiring natural beauty. "As we begin to reach such a scale, we have had a lot more to consider, product-wise. For us at Jungsaemmool Beauty, we are looking at developing a wider range of foundations."
It is a sound move as any, considering the recent launch of Jungsaemmool Beauty in diverse Singapore. Braving our relentless heat, the lady of the hour makes a visit to share her beauty expertise — from the one product she deems essential in a makeup routine to many a faux pas that us plebeians need to stop committing (eep). Start taking notes.
What inspired you to become a makeup artist?
I thought of becoming a fine artist first, like my mother. But as I grew up, my family began to experience financial difficulties that made it hard to pursue this line of work. As I was looking for part-time jobs, I stumbled upon makeup art. I then discovered that makeup actually originated from fine art, and the rest, as they say, is history. [Laughs]
Do you remember when you started playing around with makeup?
Right around the time I graduated high school. I'm the type of person who loves all sort of makeup trends out there, and I love trying them on faces that I believe would suit them. Like, for instance, I wouldn't really put eyeshadows on myself because I wear glasses, but I would definitely craft unique eye makeup looks on other people.
How did your beauty line come about?
I never actually thought of making my own brand until much later in my career. [Laughs]. Though lots of makeup companies I worked with did suggest it, I felt that there was already so much going on in the industry — I didn't think I'd be able to able to bring something unique to the table. But as I began to work on more faces and media events, I realised that I was using more international labels than Korean ones because Korean makeup brands didn't carry the colours that I want to use in my looks. That was the catalyst to the creation of Jungsaemmool Beauty, alongside me wanting to communicate the different methods and tricks needed to achieve K-Beauty style skin and makeup. I was getting so many questions about it!
What was the first product you conceptualised for Jungsaemmool Beauty?
The Essential Star-Cealer Foundation. I wanted a product that was a foundation, concealer-slash-under-eye-brightener all at once, and so this handy little palette was born. The foundation provided is sheer and light, which balances out the thicker, more even coverage of the concealer. But mix 'em all together and you'll get this amazing, one-of-a-kind texture.
Is there a product you think all women should wear before leaving the house?
It differs based on the person! I mean, my translator, for instance. [Laughs] It's always eye makeup for her, and for me, it's lipstick. It comes down on what the person intends to show, what they want for people to focus on.
Do you have a golden rule for makeup application?
I have so many! I guess the most important is to study yourself — and your features — carefully before beginning makeup application. You have to know yourself and your face before you can figure out what you'd like to enhance and/or reduce. I feel that every morning, every woman should begin the morning by looking really hard in the mirror. Check how your skin is doing on that day, look at what your eye shape is like, or how your lips are holding up before improving on them. To do anything that is not suited for you is a mistake.
It's obvious when someone is just going with the trends though it doesn't necessarily look good on them.
One of the key mistakes a lot of woman make is to try on a lot of things they deem trendy without studying themselves to see if it'd be suitable first. They put on shapes and colours that don't fit them! [Laughs] It's not the end of the world if you commit such mistakes though; you fail first and then try other things.
Any K-Beauty trends you predict will blow up in the later half of 2019?
Very natural, sheer skin. The re-emergence of "no make-up" make-up, basically. I also feel that there will be lots of variations in red lipstick — oh and glitter, too! Think glitters in variety of sizes to complement eyeshadow looks as the holiday season is approaching.
You're a highly sought-after celebrity makeup artist in Korea. What are some of the favourite faces you've worked on?
I've loved everyone I worked with! Okay, but most particularly IOI's Jeon So-mi and Do-yeon. There's also Kim Hye Ja. She's a Korean actress who won an award in one of Korea's biggest award shows, and I did her makeup for that day. It was a proud moment for me.
Who would be your dream client to work with?
Hmm, I never considered this! [Laughs] Wait, I know. Beyoncé!
Speaking of dreams, are there products you want create but haven't gotten around to them yet?
Other than a wider ranges of foundation? Perhaps more products for our men makeup range. We've actually launched a specific base product for men. And while our other liners and brow products can be used by men too, it'd be interesting to expand.