Interview with Ko Won Hye, the #1 Makeup Artist in Korea

Interview with Ko Won Hye, the #1 Makeup Artist in Korea

20th Sep 2019

We all know that great makeup starts with beautiful skin. During our last visit to Korea in May this year, I had an amazing chance to talk to Ko Won Hye, the No 1 makeup artist in Korea and mentor of Lagom cosmetics.

With over 30 years in the beauty industry, working with a number of celebrities, artists, actors, and actresses, the amazing Ko Won Hye (@kowonhye), talked to Skinsider about her career and shared tips for flawless makeup.

Ko Won Hye, no 1 makeup artist
Ko Won Hye, no 1 makeup artist

Ko Won Hye on her career

Karolina: Thank you for finding time to talk to us. Tell us how did you start your career as a makeup artist?

Ko Won Hye: It’s been 30 years since I became a makeup artist. I am very proud I can do my job. First, I studied art at school and I truly believe this shaped me and encouraged me to choose my career in the beauty industry. I love this job as thanks to it I can make myself and other people look and feel beautiful. I really think this is the best job for women. Also, thanks to my job I have a chance to travel, meet people and explore the world.

I love my job and every time when someone asks me during interviews if there is anything challenging in my job, I simply can not answer this question as I love my job and every part of it.

Karolina: This sounds so amazing to spend 30 years in one job and still love it.

Ko Won Hye: Yes, 30 years passed like a second. If I had to choose my job in another life, it would definitely be a makeup artist again.

In my profession, I am dependant on people hiring me. Hence, as long as people will want me to be their makeup artist, I will continue doing my job. This is my passion. This is my life.

Ko Won Hye and Soo Joo
Ko Won Hye and Soo Joo; Photo: @kowonhye

The exciting part of the job

Karolina: What was the most exciting moment in your career as a make-up artist so far?

Ko Won Hye: As a make up artist, I am proud to show the beauty in every person. As I work on the film sets with a bunch of people who support me, I am extremely excited to work with talented people. I feel a little bit like a doctor (laugh). Not like a plastic surgeon, but a doctor who with their assistants brings beauty and helps people look great and feel better.

On working with celebrities and stars

Karolina: You are now one of the most recognized makeup artists in Korea. You work with celebrities and well-known actors and actresses. What is the most challenging part of your job when you are selecting a makeup look for the TV set or public event?

Ko Won Hye: Actually, this is not a difficult part for me. It is not a challenge but rather a matter of experience to match the makeup to the situation or event. It is important to consider if it is a broadcast or party. I need to take into account the natural or artificial light, part of the day and then I have to decide what makeup to choose. I love this part of my job as it allows me to be creative. People, celebrities I do makeup for, trust me and allow me to use creativity. Thanks to this approach we can achieve amazing results.

Ko Won Hye and Hanee Lee
Ko Won Hye and Hanee Lee; Photo: @kowonhye

Karolina: What is the most challenging part of makeup you think everyone should get right?

Ko Won Hye: The first thing you should consider when you do your make up is the shape of your face, skin type, and skin shade. Instead of following fashion trends observe and learn your face. Think of the look you want to achieve, eg. natural or evening look. When you do that look for inspiration or get a piece of advice from a professional.

Makeup mistakes

Karolina: What is the number one makeup mistake you see people are making?

Ko Won Hye: As mentioned previously, one of the most common mistakes is people follow fashion trends without knowing their own skin and what works for it. They will choose the wrong shade of foundation.

Ko Won Kye in her makeup studio
Ko Won Kye in her makeup studio; Photo: @kowonhye

Tips for Europeans

Karolina: Europeans differ from Asian people. What would be your advice to keep the makeup fresh and always natural?

Ko Won Hye: Actually, sun cream is very important to protect your skin. No matter what is your skin colour, a good sun cream is a priority. It will keep your skin protected. It will slow down the ageing process. After that you should focus on using the right skincare. Hence, if your skin is oily or combination, use a lotion instead of a thick moisturiser. How you apply cream may have a significant impact on how long your foundation last on your face. But to learn that you need extra training.

Karolina: Do you have any other tips for European women?

Ko Won Hye: European women opposite to Asian women, have facial hair. If you really want your skincare to be effective and your makeup to look amazing and flawless, you should consider shaving or waxing your face.

Ko Won Hye at the makeup class
Ko Won Hye at a makeup class; Photo: @kowonhye


Karolina: Do you think skincare has an impact on the quality of the makeup and its longevity?

Ko Won Hye: Skincare products are extremely important to achieve great makeup. The right skincare products will create a right basis for flawless and long-lasting makeup.

Karolina: Do you think that using products from the same product range, i.e. brand can have a positive impact on the makeup or do you think it is worth mixing skincare products and makeup products from different brands?

Ko Won Hye: I believe it is better to mix the products from different brands and not to use the same products for a long period of time. This way you do not allow the skin to get used to the products that much and therefore you are getting the most of each product.

Ko Won Hye on becoming Lagom ambassador

Karolina: What was the reason for you becoming a mentor for LAGOM cosmetics?

Ko Won Hye: During my career, I was approached by a number of brands with a request to become an ambassador/ mentor for the brands. They were great but at the same time, I did not feel it would be right to be their ambassador. I came across Lagom over 3 years ago. When I used the products I fell in love. The clean packaging and simple and powerful formulas won my heart. The motto of the brand is “not too little, not too much”, which resonates with the rules I follow in my life. Also, my astrological sign is libra and when I saw the scale on the packaging, I literally thought it is a sign (laugh). Hence, I contacted the brand and suggested we work together.

Lagom Cellus Deep Moisture Cream
Lagom Cellus Deep Moisture Cream

Ko Won on personal skincare and skin detox

Karolina: Can you walk us through your personal skincare routine?

Ko Won Hye: I am using Lagom cosmetics. My favorite product is Lagom Cellus Deep Moisture Cream. In addition, I use different types of serums to address any extra skin concerns.

Once a week I do a detox and I do not apply any skincare products. I just wash my face and I go to bed. Next morning I use Lagom Cellup Gel to Water Cleanser and follow with other products from Lagom line.

Karolina: That is a great tip. I will definitely try to do a detox for my skin. What do you think about using only water instead of a cleanser during the morning routine?

Ko Won Hye: I personally think it is important to start a day with fresh and clean skin. During the night toxins are released from the skin. Your skin can create a greasy, dirty film from the cosmetics you used a night before. Usually night skin routine is richer and we have the tendency to use cosmetics with thicker textures. Hence, I think it is important to use a light cleanser which will not strip your skin from all-natural oils but clean it and prepare for your other cosmetics.

Lagom Cellup Micro Foam Cleanser
Lagom Cellup Micro Foam Cleanser

Ko Won Hye on her go-to products

Karolina: What are the products you can’t live without?

Ko Won Hye: I think the mist is a product I could not live without. I love the Lagom Cellus Mist Toner which can act as a toner or a mist. It is amazing how the right mist can refresh your makeup and keep it fresh.

Karolina: You travel a lot. What is your in-flight skin routine?

Ko Won Hye: During the flight, I do not use sheet masks. I avoid touching my face during the flight. Before the flight I mix Lagom Cellus Deep Moisture Cream with a facial oil. Then during the flight I use an oil-based mist.

Lagom Cellus Mist Toner
Lagom Cellus Mist Toner

Number one tip from number one makeup artist

Karolina: If you were asked to give one beauty tip, what would it be?

Ko Won Hye: I love a hot bath. It allows to improve the blood circulation and keep skin healthy. I have a 10-minute bath in the morning and 20- minute bath in the evening. I use a skin roller which will improve the lymph flow. The color of your skin improves and you have a youthful glow.

Karolina: Thank you very much for your time and for sharing your story and tips with us.

If you want to find more about Lagom cosmetics, check our interview with the CEO of the brand. Mr Jung Han Ham. Click here for more.