Emma Beauty is a “Beauty Creator” on NaverTV, one of the biggest online channels and search engines in Korea (think Youtube + Google = Naver). Her channel features product reviews and makeup tutorials and follows her life behind the scenes as a model. Primarily a beauty model, she’s worked with Laneige, Estee Lauder, Espoir, Etude House, Stila, Jung Saem Mool, and Lanvin Paris. And recently, she’s become the global model for the Watsons K-Beauty Line featured all over Asia. Read on for her holy grail lip care product, skincare routine, and her insights into Korean beauty trends.
Beauty Backstage – Emma Beauty
What’s the first time you got interested in beauty?
I went to an art school for middle school to high school for traditional Korean dance and also ballet and modern dancing. There was a makeup class, and that’s when I started getting into beauty and makeup. I’ve really only been a beauty creator for the past 2-3 years. Before that I was a dancer, and when I was teaching at a dance academy, my friend who worked at a beauty creator company recommended the job. So I just started it as a hobby because of her.
How did you get into modeling?
During college, I did it as a freelance work to make some money. It was so fun and interesting, and from there I started pursuing it and the scale got bigger, so I got to pursue it more as a career.
What has been your favorite shoot or job?
My favorite project has been for Watsons (shot by JK Media & Entertainment). It was my first time being a global model in multiple countries. To see it in China and have people show so much love was like a dream come true. I really loved how the photos came out as well.
The model business is so hard.
I really wanted to be an international model. This was my dream, and it came true because of this project! The Spring’s Watsons campaign is coming out, and it makes me so happy.
Can you describe your routine before a casting or shoots?
I need to make sure my foundation will go on well. So first I do a waxing-type pack 2-3 days before a shoot to remove all face hair. I also remove all the dead skin with a peeling gel – Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel (Mild). This is the best one I’ve used because there’s no scarring, it’s very soft and gentle, and it does the job.
I also like sleeping masks before a shoot to get hydrated. Also the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is a must. The day of the shoot in the morning I want to get the most hydration, so I refrigerate my face masks. Since it’s so cold, it brings down any swelling. But before a shoot, I can’t really change my skin dramatically.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Contagious, happy, energy
I love being around happy people. I actually make content to be happy and spread that happy energy to help people. People send messages to thank me, I love it.
Is there anything you do when you feel stressed?
When my skin condition isn’t doing so well, I don’t try new products. If my skin is dry, I add a lot of hydration and remove dead skin, similar to my pre-shoot routine. I also do a product diet. I just use 1 product and apply many layers.
How is Korean skincare received internationally?
I think in East and South East Asia it is very popular because of K-Pop and K-Dramas. They care about cosmetics and how the stars do it, so Korean cosmetic companies are focusing on Asia. But in Korea, it’s European products that we love, in the same way Asian countries love Korean products and culture.
If you weren’t a model, what would you do?
I think I still would’ve been a dancer.
What is your skin type?
Dry combo. My T-zone is oily, and U-zone is very dry. I take care of my U-zone and T-zone differently.
It’s best to give hydration to the dry areas, so I do the U-face first. I look at the direction of my skin, and apply product from the center to the outer edges of my face. Your skin also has its own lines, texture, and direction. Apply according to the direction of your skin, so your makeup doesn’t get messed up with all the different lines and textures.
What is your daily skincare routine?
First, I remove dead skin with Clinique Clarifying Lotion Twice A Day Exfoliator 2. After cleaning, I put lots of toner on – doing 7 layers of toner has been really good for my skin. With a toner or Laneige Water Bank Moisture Essence, I apply multiple layers on my skin and feed my skin hydration – like watering plants. Then eye cream. I apply Chanel Blue Serum Eye on the areas that dry up the quickest and get wrinkles – my eyes and smile lines. Then I apply Sooryehan Hyo Bidam Fermented Cream generously on my dry U-zone. For my T-zone, I use Herb IR Cream Level 3, which I bought at a skincare clinic.
Do you change your skincare routine from season to season?
Of course. As each season transitions to another, there’s a lot of dead skin and turnover. For example, in the summer, my skin is more oily, so my makeup and skincare both change. Winter – it gets cold, it gets dry, so I include more oils in my skincare. For my makeup finish, I want it to be more dewy not matte.
What are your favorite brands and why?
That’s sooo hard to answer. I have so many brands I like. I guess if I have to name a few… For skincare, Clinique. It’s good for sensitive skin. The ingredients are gentle and natural. It’s very good for my skin and doesn’t leave any scars. For Korean brands, Laneige. They have very popular makeup lines. It’s hard for me to choose. Also Espoir foundations – the colors are very different and have many tones. For western brands, NARS and Dior.
Do you do any beauty treatments?
Before I didn’t, but since I have so many shoots and have to remove and reapply my makeup a lot, my skin has become sensitive, so I have to go. Some skincare concerns like acne or minimizing pores are best done at the clinic versus at home. Cleansing is also much better at treatment centers. Once a week, I go to a clinic whose specialty is dealing with acne.
What should people be doing in their skincare routine?
Removing dead skin on your lips is so important! I like lip balm, and I really love the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. It ends up removing itself. The condition of my lips has gotten so much better!
Also people think your skin before you sleep is important, but I think your skin before you do your makeup is more important. It’s setting the stage for the rest of the day. That part of the day is important – you’re out, at work, and in the strong sunlight.
What is your everyday makeup look?
Soft makeup. Koreans don’t like very strong makeup. I like looking alive – pink, coral, a FRESH spring look. A soft, innocent look is what Koreans like, so for business and projects, I do that. For beauty models, it’s important to have a face that they can change for the concept. If I do a more smoky look as my first impression in business and beauty, it can make it seem like I can’t do other looks, so it’s better to look soft.
What feature do you like to highlight in your makeup?
I like to highlight my blush and cheeks. I love blush because it makes me look very young and brighter. Vibrant, popping blush colors are my favorites. I put some blush on my chin to look younger and brighter as well. My favorite department store brand is Jungsaemmool Essential Tinted Paste (Peach), and for road shops, I like Skinfood Sugar Cookie Blusher #6 Winter Cherry and Laneige Pure Radiant Blush Coral Blossom.
What do you do for an event or night out?
I add more depth to my eyes for when the lights come on at night. I put on pearl or sparkling products for my eyes to sparkle at night with Bobbi Brown Luxe Eye Shadow or Clio Prism Air Shadow. I usually love the soft look. Smoky look is for when I go to a party and when I just want to. I actually really like strong smoky sexy deep looks. With red lips and dark eyes.
Are there any foods/drinks that help you look or feel your best?
Healthy food doesn’t taste good. When I’m depressed, I like strawberry tarts. Sweet desserts. Strawberry flavored.
What is an up and coming trend in Korean skincare?
Foundation that deals with air pollution. Brands are aware and doing more matte foundations because if it’s dewy, you can see all the dirt. Semi-matte is nice and long -lasting. Then use a powder finish to keep away the dirt.
How does the air pollution impact your beauty routine?
I started using a semi-matte foundation (Espoir Pro Tailor Foundation Be Silk or Giorgio Armani Face Fabric) instead of a glow and dewy. one I also really consider cleansing very important. Foam cleansers are so bad and stripping. Gel cleansers and makeup removers are key. I use Clean Start Dtoxeed Cleansing Water first. Then I roll NISL Barrier Gentle Gel Cleanser 50 times around my affected area. Or use a Pore cleansing brush. For makeup removers, I use Aritaum 뽀오얀미소발효 Lip and Eye Remover
What’s next in Korean makeup trends?
Hologram finish was before. Now I think it’s violet-colored products. Violet hair color, using a point with that color and pantone.
Korea doesn’t use stronger colors yet. They like to look at it, but they don’t like trying it on their face. Koreans always love pink and coral colors. Coral colors are the best for Asians and are the most trendy. Brown is used to add depth and definition. These are trends, but I don’t think it will change completely. It will just cycle because Koreans at their core are different from Westerners. Makeup – they want to be strong like Westerns, but no matter what it will have a different effect, so it’s hard to get Koreans into all the American or Western trends.
Favorite brand: Laneige. The quality is very good
Makeup bag essential: Cushion foundation and lipstick
Favorite place in Korea: Garosugil. No people, quiet, and good cafes
Favorite musical artist: Currently into calm, chill music
Next travel destination: Guam (May 2018)
Favorite snack: Potato chips and almond chocolate