If our beauty and fashion forum had an FAQ, the first question on the list would be “How do I get flawless skin like the Korean celebrities?” Team Soompi set out to find the answer. Preliminary research pointed us straight to Jenny House, a makeup and hair salon that is so popular with stars that it publishes a monthly magazine touting all the latest VIPs who have walked in and out its doors.
Who Goes to Jenny House?
We were graciously granted an interview with the salon’s director and chief stylist, Kim Hyun Sook. When we asked which celebrities frequented Jenny House, she initially passed us her magazine’s February issue, which was as thick as a phone book, and told us to look in there for the answer. As we flipped through the magazine, which included pictures of Son Ye Jin, Park Shin Hye, Lady Gaga (no joke!), and the girls of After School, she thought about it some more and said that recent visitors also included Lee Min Jung, Son Dambi, and Min Hyo Rin.
Autographed drama and movie posters near the elevator
Guys, don’t feel left out! We saw many guys at the salon, and the magazine’s client list also included MBLAQ, Joo Jin Mo, and Park Jung Chul. And if you’re more of a sporty type, well, that’s no reason for you not to maintain your physical appearance — soccer star Park Ji Sung is a regular client (and one who never neglects to give gifts to the staff).
Okay, let’s get it out of the way: what’s it like to do the hair and makeup of idol groups such as After School or MBLAQ? Kim says that while you would think they would be difficult to deal with, because of their young age, their youth actually serves them well, because they are so eager and direct. She says that you can see how genuinely passionate they are about their work, and how much they want to be good at what they do.
Kim Hyun Sook
Kim herself is strikingly attractive, with a youthful complexion that advertises her own skills. She worked in Hollywood for eight years, so she’s a pro at making celebrities look perfect on set. She told us that it usually takes a full hour to prep a star’s complexion alone for a CF, photoshoot, or drama. An hour just for the skincare and skin makeup? What could they possibly be doing? Well, Kim very, very, very generously offered me the chance of a lifetime — she gave my skin the VIP treatment, so I could report my findings back to you! (And it really is VIP — she charges about $300 an hour! Yikes!) I was totally shocked, but of course, I said yes!
Kim Hyun Sook applying makeup
I had never had any kind of professional makeup done before, so I felt pretty uncomfortable at first. However, Kim was very kind and had a nice and normal manner, especially for one of Korea’s top makeup artists!
My skin is dry to begin with, and two weeks without moisturizer in Korea’s cold climate had left me in pretty bad shape. So Kim and her assistant prepped my skin with an unbelievable amount of moisturizer. You may not need the same, but based on what they did for me, I would still guess that you would want to use more moisturizer than normal. I’ll break it down for you. Keep in mind that this is only the skincare routine:
– Orbis oil cleansing liquid (to remove my existing makeup)
– Light lotion
– Moistened cotton swab to exfoliate lips
– Lip balm
– Under-eye cream
– Elizabeth Arden face cream (lots of it, applied very slowly, to allow it to sink in)
– Clinique face mist (which is then fanned and patted dry)
– Moisturizing gel for under the eyes and other dry spots
How did I look? Incredibly oily! Personally, I would never consider applying makeup right over all that moisturizer, but that’s exactly what Kim and her assistant did. First they applied the Jenny House brand Secret Jewel Beam Stick. It’s a beige-toned pearly highlighter. To be honest, I really loved this product, because the highlighters I’ve tried before tend to be too pink or too yellow. Secret Jewel Beam Stick has a really neutral beige shimmer that went well with my skintone. Kim applied it to all the places the light normally hits the face — the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, then in a C-shape around the outside of the eye to right underneath the browbone. She told me it would hide my eye wrinkles. (Thanks!)
An assistant applying lip balm
Kim says that the highlighter should be applied before the foundation, because it will give a more natural and luminous look. So then she got to the foundation, which was Jenny House Secret Skinny Foundation. It comes in stick form, but it’s a liquid that disperses hygienically, with a few clicks. She applied a tiny amount of foundation with a sponge — much, much less foundation than I normally use. I was pretty amazed that she managed to find the right color match so quickly (it takes me forever), but she was spot on. I guess that’s why she’s a pro! Then she patted on some creamy orange-toned under-eye concealer — you may already know that orange is meant to counteract the blue shadows underneath the eye. Then she dusted some shading powder just around my jawline, and underneath my cheekbones. The final touch was a bright pink lipgloss.
The result? Very glowy and fresh — when I went out that same evening, I received several compliments on my complexion. And the bright pink lipgloss in favor of my usual nude lipliner/lipstick made me feel a lot younger! The lipgloss, of course, didn’t last through a single glass of iced tea, but the rest of the makeup held up throughout the night — I couldn’t believe it, with all that moisturizer and without the use of any primer, but there was no creasing or smudging.
Update: I included some pictures for those who expressed that they were interested in seeing the result! Unfortunately, the whole makeover thing was really spur-of-the-moment, so there wasn’t any thought of doing before-and-after photos. But I took photos by myself after — literally eight hours after, and the lighting isn’t great, but it might be better than nothing!
Everyday Tips and Making an Appointment
Kim gave me a couple tips to pass on for people who don’t necessarily have the time to slather on seven types of moisturizers every single day. First, ditch the BB cream. Seriously! Kim says BB cream is everywhere in Korea these days, but her personal opinion is that the stuff doesn’t work. Kim says that the true way to reach celebrity skin is foundation. If you apply foundation with skill, it will look like a second skin. Second, don’t apply a lot of it; just a tiny bit, and don’t cake your face with other kinds of makeup, either. Use lots of moisturizer, then a tiny bit of foundation, and lipstick. That’s the fast, easy way to go. Points noted!
The makeup room
To be treated at the Jenny House Salon, call ahead, and early: They have a long waitlist. Aside from makeup, they also do hair, skin treatments, and nails.
Jenny House Salon
Chungdam Building, 3-4 FL
Update: Secret by Jenny House is the salon’s official makeup brand. It is available for sale at lotteimall.com, but I’m not sure about the S&H outside of Korea. These are the two products that I noted in this article: Secret by Jenny House Jewel Beam Stick and Secret by Jenny House Skinny Foundation.