Makeup artists in Korea are a little different than their counterparts in the U.S. For one thing, they’re also skin experts. The general belief is that in order to highlight someone’s skin, you need to know how to make it look healthy underneath the makeup. One of the people who drove this skincare-as-makeup movement is the incomparable Kim Chung Kyung.
Also known as Liz Kim, she’s been one of Korea’s top makeup artists for over 30 years, working with the biggest celebrities in Seoul. She’s best known for her “nude makeup” look, a sort of Korean take on no-makeup-makeup that she helped popularize way back in 1996. She has also spent years learning everything there is to know about skincare — especially which ingredients really work to highlight someone’s skin. That’s because she’s a huge believer that healthy skin is the first step to glam makeup.
So it makes sense that the very first product to launch in the US from her popular Liz K line is a skincare product, not a makeup one. The Super First C Serum Vitamin C 13% is a product packed with, you guessed it, Vitamin C — an anti-aging and brightening superstar. Also featuring a vitamin-rich succulent extract, skin-fortifying CoQ10, and cell-regenerating Epidermal Growth Factors, it’s the secret weapon for us non-celebs to achieve our glowiest, healthiest skin ever.
To learn more about this amazing woman and her best skin secrets, we chatted with Kim herself about everything from the superstars she works with, her impressive career, and of course, her amazing serum.
Why did you decide to create skincare products?
I felt that using all that I have learned — my own tricks of the trade and beauty secrets from celebrities — I could help others by creating products that would let them express their own beauty without needing any professional skills.
Why did you create the Super First C Serum?
I’ve had many opportunities to meet with product developers and researchers who are closely involved with various overseas beauty brands. Through them, I learned that Vitamin C is one of the most potent ingredients we can use in our skincare, but that it’s difficult to use in products because it is so vulnerable to heat and light.
Still, I thought Vitamin C is too valuable an ingredient to give up on. So I did my research on how to make an effective serum using this powerful ingredient. Launching the Super First Vitamin C serum was an unforgettable moment in my life. I am very happy to be able to share this valuable ingredient with everyone.
What makes Vitamin C so important for the skin?
Vitamin C is a multi-tasking ingredient: It helps the skin produce collagen, which keeps it plump and it brightens, softens, and improves skin texture. So, if you use Vitamin C every day, you can make your skin healthier as time goes on.
Many products use more stable derivatives of Vitamin C because the pure form of the ingredient is so hard to stabilize, but our Super First Vitamin C Serum is different. The serum successfully stabilizes pure Vitamin C, thanks in part to an ingredient call fullerene, which is very effective in removing the active oxygen generated from light.
Our serum is special thanks to its antioxidant and anti-aging properties that not only brighten but work to improve elasticity, detoxify pores, relax fine lines, and improve skin texture. I am very confident in saying that once you try our serum, you will definitely see the difference in your skin.
What inspires your makeup looks?
I always try to look around wherever I am because inspiration comes from many different places. Sometimes, it’s like I suddenly feel a light pop up in my head with a new fresh idea and I’ll stop to sketch or write down my thoughts.
I also love painting. I go to see a lot of exhibitions and watch old classic movies when I can at home. Even if the movie was made in the ‘50s or ‘60s, the makeup on the actress still looks great and relevant. I don’t stop there, but rather think about how I can transform these looks to feel even more current.
I also watch makeup shows, whether they’re on TV or a YouTube. They might have less experience than I do, but there are still many things that I can learn from them.
What is your best beauty tip?
I apply a few drops of the Super First C Serum on the whole face before using any base makeup. A few years ago, I was on a TV show and recommended using a facial oil if dryness didn’t improve with use of a traditional moisturizer. After the show, the facial oil became super popular.
What’s your favorite part about being a celebrity makeup artist?
In 1996, I was the first person to do ‘nude makeup.’ Back then, Korean women were using heavy, exaggerated, thick makeup, but I took a more minimal approach to help women display their natural beauty. The most rewarding part of my career as a makeup artist is to be able to share the know-how that I’ve gained from my experience. Seeing people go for a ‘Kim Chung Kyung’ style is amazing.
Now that you know the woman behind the magic, check out her game-changing Vitamin C serum and watch your skin light up.