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Beauty Secrets from Korea’s Skin Goddress Go Hyun-Jung


BEAUTY, Beauty Articles, Featured | by — February 1, 2012


Happy 2012!

To kick off the new year, here’s a very special treat that mum and I prepared over the Christmas break.

Go Hyun-Jung, a Korean actress best known for her luminous and youthful skin, published her skincare secrets in a “beauty documentary” titled “Go Hyun-Jung’s Texture” in 2011, the same year she turned 40.  The book (a bestseller that sold out in just two days of its launch), covers Go’s beauty philosophy as well as her tips for leading a healthy lifestyle. The beauty tips in this book written in Korean, have been translated and summarized into this post together by me and my mum over Christmas.

Go’s beauty tips affirm my philosophy that beauty is as much about rituals as it is about specific products and brands.  So many people ask me for “miracle” product recommendations and are surprised (almost disappointed) when my response is that cleansing and exfoliating are the foundations of clear skin.

I hope you find these beauty tips helpful in your quest for clear skin!

* * *

1. Know Your Skin Type & Treat Your Skin from the Inside Out

  • If you are prone to problem skin, keep a food diary and observe the effect different foods have on your skin.
  • Go avoids salty and spicy foods to keep her skin clear, and alternates her diet with plain / bland food to re-calibrate her skin from the inside.
  • Interestingly, she does not stick by the “8 glasses of water per day” rule.   She simply encourages “following your thirst” and drink when you feel you need to do so.
  • Her favourite beauty foods are raw salads, fresh apple / blueberry/ carrot juice, grapefruit tea (which suppresses her appetite & keeps her regular), honey, and she takes organic Vitamin B and C.

2. Cleansing is the Key to Clear Skin

  • Wash your hands before applying any makeup or skincare.  Also try to avoid touching your face except when cleansing or applying makeup
  • When washing your face, mix foaming cleanser with warm water and work up a foam the size of an egg. Start from behind the ears and the jawline, and once the cleanser is warmed up, move towards the centre of your face.
  • It takes her 15 minutes to cleanse her face, partly because her skin has very fine hairs (like peach fuzz).
  • To treat skin breakouts naturally, wash affected areas with salt and lukewarm water to sanitize the area and prevent the breakouts from getting worse.

3. Skincare Commandments

  • Whilst she cleanses her face from the jawline moving to the centre, she applies skincare (Eg. serums, toner) from the centre and outwards.
  • For neck cream, she starts from beside the jawline down to the decolletage in an outward ‘C shape’ motion.  (Imagine yourself applying neck cream in the shape of the Chanel double ‘C’ logo)
  • Apply skincare once it is warmed up in your hands, and press both palms onto your face to improve absorption of all the skincare layers.
  • She discards skincare after 2 months of use for hygiene reasons – a steep contrast to the 12 months we’re usually told by other beauty experts.
  • Hand cream should be applied up to the elbows, and neck cream all the way down to your decolletage.
  • It takes her 20 minutes to apply body lotion, leaving no areas un-moisturised.
  • Apply toner with your hands, not cotton pads to reduce redness.
  • She has a two step facial mask routine, starting off with a cleansing mask followed by a nourishing mask.

Go Hyun-Jung at her book launch in 2011

4. Makeup Philosophy

  • Go prefers using her fingers to apply foundation.  Unless the sponge is brand new or the brush is fresh and clean, she avoids using them for hygiene reasons.
  • Brows: Her philosophy on makeup is centered on beautifully shaped brows.  She believes that an hour spent at a brow bar pays off for an entire month, compared to a professional makeup artist where makeup only lasts for moments.
  • Primer: Before applying base makeup, she applies a generous amount of hydrating cream to avoid looking tired by the afternoon.
  • Foundation: The secret to natural looking skin is not to apply foundation all over the face.  She applies foundation only on the shadows of the face (under the eyes, under the cheek) and keeps the high points of the face sheer.  Avoid foundation around the nose to prevent caking.   Even when filming, apparently she never has a full face of foundation.
  • Lips: Her typical lip routine starts with BB cream & lip balm in the morning, followed by lipgloss in the afternoon and lipstick/liner in the evening.
  • Sunscreen:  Apply a matte sunscreen on your forehead and nose, and a dewy formula on cheeks and other dry areas.
  • Contouring: Using 2 different shades of foundation, a sheer application on the high points of the face, and using both matte/dewy formulas not only contours the face but also creates natural highlights without the need for a separate highlighter.
  • Eyes: For natural looking eyes, use only eyeliner and mascara, and matte powder under the eyes to prevent smudging.
  • Blush: She doesn’t apply blush!

5. The Bathroom is Her Sanctuary

  • Go apparently spends more time in her bathroom than any other room in her house, including daily home spas with drops of essential oil.
  • In addition to that, she soaks her hands and feet in warm water with half teaspoon of salt to relax and relieve tired hands and feet.  She also likes to use grapefruit oil to massage her calves.
  • Drink a cup of tea or water before having a bath to prevent dehydration.
  • To reduce puffiness in the face, soak a face towel in ice water and cover your face with it after twisting it dry.
  • She applies body oil after body lotion & applies it from the legs and moves upwards.
  • As for hair, she finishes off with a cold water rinse, lets her hair dry naturally if she’s staying indoors & ties her hair back in different positions to prevent hair loss in concentrated areas.

6. Include Facial Stretching in Your Exercise Routine

  •  Go’s exercise routine not only involves stretching her body but also her facial muscles.
  • The most effective way to do facial stretching is to coordinate it with your breathing.  Expand your facial muscles  & jaw on the exhale, then when inhaling, contract all facial muscles including your eyes, nose and cheeks.
  • Although she believes that laughter is the best exercise for the face, she also exercises her lip and cheek muscles by pronouncing  “Ma Me Mi Mo Mu” 10 times – much like the phrase used in singing exercises.  This is apparently common practice among most Korean actors.

7. The Miracle Angle

The best angle for photographs is 45 degrees above your face. But if the camera is directly in front of you, then tilt your face 30-45 degrees with your “good side” facing the camera.  This ensures your neckline and jawline is emphasized and creates the appearance of a slimmer face.

 * * *

Sources: Yonhap News, Drama Beans, Hanbooks.com

I purchased this book from HanBooks.com

47 Responses to “Beauty Secrets from Korea’s Skin Goddress Go Hyun-Jung”

  1. Jamilla says:

    She looks absolutely amazing!!

  2. Marianthi says:

    Thanks for the wonderful work (both you and mom!).
    I wish her book was available in English, I am interested after reading this detailed post!

  3. Lilpil says:

    wow, she’s 40!???? I don’t believe there was no surgery involved…

    some greats tips but 15minutes to wash the face?!!! dedication!

  4. Beauty Box says:

    This is such a fantastic post! I am fascinated by what Korean/Japanese celebrities do to achieve their youthful looks despite being over 40.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Wow. I spend more time on beauty care than anyone else I know O_O but 15 minutes just to wash the face? I don’t think I could wake up early enough to follow that beauty schedule and still have a life LOL!

    • akisa says:

      I thought exactly the same thing too! But I have a feeling it doesn’t involve just one cleanser for the entire 15 minutes. I think she uses double cleansing method followed by a deep cleansing mask to remove all traces of makeup & impurities.

    • akisa says:

      it’s just my guess based on an advertisement I saw of a skincare range she endorses.

  6. BBD-Lite says:

    Wow! Her face just speaks for itself – soooooo flawess. Thanks so much for translating ~

  7. shairaseju says:

    thanks for translating her beauty book! ^^

  8. DandalanDan ^^* says:

  9. ayesha says:

    Is there any way to get a translated copy of the book?

    • Yishan says:

      Sorry I’m not aware of any translated copies out there. I only translated the beauty sections to share with fellow beauty enthusiasts, translating the whole book would be inappropriate.

  10. kitchy says:

    I was randomly googling Korean beauty secrets, and came across this post.
    I’m so glad that both you and your mum took the time to translate.
    Thank you!

  11. Jay says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! I was just wondering how you wash your face with salt and lukewarm water? I want to try but I’m scared of overdrying my face!
    Do you wash the whole face or just use a cotton ball and hold it against the infected area? :S

    • Yishan says:

      Hi Jay! She didn’t describe it in detail.. My routine is that I wet my face first, sprinkle on some salt on my palm and press the salt crystals onto the acne area. The salt will melt as you pat it in, then I wash it all off after it’s all melted. This method doesn’t dry my skin as I wash it off once the salt has done its job.

      • Jay says:

        Fantastic! I’ll definitely try your method. Do you use a special type of salt or just table salt?

        • Yishan says:

          Hi Jay, I know some people like to use sea salt, but I just use regular salt. I also find it’s best to use fresh salt (ie. directly from the packaging). It doesn’t seem to work as well if I use salt that’s been left in the open (ie. poured onto a dish). Hope that makes sense.

  12. hervyvore says:

    Hi Yishan,

    I tried last nigh your salt scrub and i felt better…iave acne scars on my cheeks…do you have other tips for that?or other regimen?

    thanks for this.

    • Yishan says:

      That’s great news! What type of acne scars do you have, just pigmentation or deep holes? If it’s just pigmentation, I recommend a whitening serum. The best I’ve tried so far is Dermalogica Chroma White – expensive, but it works the fastest. Paul & Joe whitening serum is cheaper, but works slower. If it’s holes in the skin then you’d have to look into laser re-surfacing which I’m not so knowledgeable about..

  13. hervyvore says:

    its a pigmentation and bit holes,,im from the philippines. Im trying to search that later..hope i can find. Thank you so much for the help hope i can send to you my picture.

  14. Sarah says:

    This is so interesting! Thanks for taking the time to translate it for us. 🙂 I’m waiting on a Japanese skincare book to arrive in the post; I wonder if there will be any overlap in the advice?! (Luckily for me, as my Kanji literacy is limited, it is already translated into English.)

    Thanks again for hosting tonight’s #bbloggersoz – it was thought provoking! 🙂

    • Yishan says:

      thanks Sarah! Which Japanese skincare book did you order?

      • Sarah says:

        It’s something like “Skin Revolution” – when I receive it I’ll be able to let you know if it’s any good, and confirm the title!

        Currently I use some Japanese inspired skincare products made in Sydney, okoii. Have you heard of them? They also include tips on how to apply toners and what not on their website which is also interesting. I must say my skin is much better since following their regimen (don’t worry I’m not a sales rep lol!). I talk about their products a lot on my blog if you are ever curious/have spare time.

      • Sarah says:

        Hi again Yishan – I can confirm for you that it is called “The Japanese Skincare Revolution” and it is written by Chizu Saeki. Saeki san is reportedly quite highly regarded in Japan. Hope you are having a great weekend! 😀

  15. rosemarie ramirez says:

    ….omg…very hard to do..

  16. Jen says:

    Thank you so much for your post. I’ve been very curious about her book but unfortunately I cant read Korean :(. Did she mention anything about her diet and any particular product that she recommends? I think diet is also a very important part to maintain good skin and beauty :).

  17. Fuchi girl says:

    Any Korean skin care products that you can recommend?

    • Crystal says:

      Perhaps you would be interested in Re:NK? This brand is currently being used by KoHyunJung and she is the representative of this brand too 😀

  18. […] more effective than cure when it comes to breakouts.  At the first signs of a breakout, I followed Go Hyun-Jung’s tip to wash my face with salt water.   In just 2 days they disappeared without kicking a […]

  19. Crystaluvkhj says:

    I’m planning to place an order for this book on HanBooks.com but i dont really understand how to fill in the form.
    I do not know the shipping options. Can you like explain to me?
    Pls email me @ yyycryst@gmail.com
    Much thanks for your help!

  20. Nik says:

    Wil pls somone tel tht r all dese methods r gud for indian skin??

  21. Nik says:

    Cud u pls tell all dese methods work on indian skin n whch cleanser shud i use??i hav acne n pimples

  22. Marie says:

    Thanks for taking the time to translate and share this information!

  23. Rashmi says:

    thanks for the post. I was watching Korean drama was impressed by the flawless skin and therefore thought to search Korean secrets……..

  24. azula says:

    Thank you so much for the translation, I have a book but for collecrion purposes only beacause I’m a fanatic of Ms. go! 🙂 happy new year!

  25. Yifan says:

    I just came across the article of yours. I’ve been suffering from acne for almost 2 years now and I’m very intrigued by the salt water cleansing technique. I also read in your article that you use the salt water to help with your acne. Is it suitable for sensitive skin? Should we be using regular salt or sea salt? Also what is the salt/water ratio?

    • Yishan says:

      Hi Yifan, I used regular salt and only patted it in the acne area, not the whole face. It helps to reduce the severity of acne that’s on the surface, but if you have cystic acne you’ll need something more heavy duty like salicylic acid combined with using Nexcare Acne stickers.

  26. Jun says:

    I have been using your tips here and some from Chizu Saeki. My skin has improved
    so much. I have been using cold water only, and I’ve noticed whiteheads which I never
    got before using just cold water. I have three questions:
    Is it ok to foam cleanse and apply a lotion mask with only cold water?
    Is it ok not to oil cleanse if I never wear make-up? I notice alot of korean brands have
    oil cleansing in their routine, but you didn’t recommend it.

  27. jack says:

    Can you recommend the best south Korean plastic surgeon?

    • Yishan says:

      Hi Jack, thanks for your comment but unfortunately I’m not best placed to recommend any since I’m not based in South Korea and haven’t done any research on this.

  28. Christine says:

    Hi! I just stumbled on this page while browsing the internet about Asian skincare regimens. There is a part where she says to apply toner with hands.. I wondering how that is possible? The toner I have is not viscous and would just run off my hands like water. How would this be possible without a cotton ball or pad?

    • Yishan says:

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks for stopping by!
      For more watery toners (eg. SKII Facial Treatment Essence), I do know of people that pat this onto their skin with the palm of their hands. Perhaps try a moderate amount & spread it in your palms before patting?
      Personally I use a slightly viscous toner such as Clarins Extra Comfort Toning Lotion, as the Aloe Vera content makes it easier to spread on my palms before patting it on.
      Hope that helps.


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