Make up 101: The Flawless Foundation in Korean Make up

If you know anything about Korean beauty, you must know that perfect skin is the epitome of attractiveness here. Out of the many standards searched by society, one of the biggest ones might lay on the skin; beautiful, flawless and preferably snow-white skin is often desired. Of course, not everyone is blesses with beautiful skin to begin with, but for those a flawless foundation application can be key to reach this engraved beauty standard.

Trends keep on changing, but skin that represents purity and innocence never seems to get out of style, making perfect porcelain skin the ultimate beauty goal to achieve. Great news for those lucky ones blessed with a naturally flawless complexion, but putting a lot of pressure on skin care and make up for the rest of the population, who will try by all means, to get rid or at least cover any possible flaws, in order to fit the standard.

Base make up becomes the pillar for beauty on the whole face, which can be quite a challenging quest with Korea´s extreme weather conditions even for those few blessed ones, let alone for the ones facing some challenges, specially on this extreme cold winter weather, so drying and harmful to the skin.

Cold temperatures and the strong wind have no mercy, demanding us to take extra good care of our skin, protecting it as much as we can, but in make up how could we prevent the dry patches, separation, our make up going streaky, settling into our pores or simply disappearing leaving us bare-faced and possibly red from the cold.

flawless foundation

If you are coming across these problems, let me introduce you a very helpful tip; “잠수 Jamsu”, word which directly translates into diving and consists in exactly what you could imagine from this name; “dipping” your face into water with the purpose of helping set your make up.

You could think this sounds like the latest absurd trend that someone invented just for the sake of it, but Jamsu and similar techniques might not be as new as you think. The use of rice water or cold water for skin toning or even make up purposes, is actually a very ancient method passed from mothers to daughters, not only in Korea, but also in other parts of the world.

What does Jamsu consist in:

Jamsu is a technique in which you will proceed to dive your face into cold water, after your base application is finished. The reasons behind why it works is that cold water tightens the face and pores making skin brighter, more firm and flawless looking, adding the fact that submerging it with a full set of make up, the products will go from sitting on top of your skin, to adhering onto it into a perfect blend.

jamsu the korean flawless foundation routine

How does it work and what are my tips for the perfect base make up:

Just as not all products or techniques are the same, not all “Jamsu” are either, your result will mainly depend on the way you perform it and therefore my biggest suggestion is, as always, to consider your skin type, to make any technique work accordingly to your needs and in this particular case, what you might want from your make up.

This technique consists into providing a good blend, so you should apply your make up the way you usually would. For the perfect looking skin you should do primer, color correction, base and powder, in that order, being the minimum base and powder for it to work. I wrote base and not foundation, due to the fact that you could use CC cream, BB cream, cushion as well as any type of foundation, depending on your preferences and desired coverage.

Jamsu is not baking, so you should apply an adequate amount of powder, the more moist and natural you want to go, the least amount of powder and time under water you should use. More powder or time performing Jamsu, mean a matter and drier finish, which can end up looking “cakey” if not careful. For the powder, it is best to use setting powder, applying it thinly and evenly. I highly recommend you to stay away from baby powder for a couple of reasons, not would it only be very drying for the skin, but it can also make the make up look more pasty and thick and would also sadly limit this helpful technique to only certain skin tones.

K-make up for flawless foundation

In order to get the tightening and toning effect you will need cold water, but extremely cold one could damage and weaken your skin, so the water should be cold, but not enough to hurt your skin on the process. As for the time, it should lay in between 15 to 30 seconds, I personally prefer to dunk my face 2 to 3 times, since it is more comfortable and less messy without loosing its efficacy. I also do not pat my face dry with a towel, but remove the excess with some tissue and pat the rest into my face with my hands, adding a light layer of dewy mist for hydration and glow.

The importance of Jamsu lies on an even application in both, the before and after the diving process as well as a proper blending, if extra product is applied for the final touches.

As for the rest of it, this technique is completely adjustable to your taste and preferences while being extremely helpful at keeping your make up looking good and on for a long time when you might need it most, so next time you are going out on cold weather or for a night out, you might want to give it a try.


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