Jung Saem Mool is a Korean makeup artist legend. Period. So when I saw she had her own cosmetics company? My expectations were HIGH. Along with many of her products (ahem, all), I was desperate to try out the Essential Star-cealer Foundation (Allure Editor’s Pick), particularly after reading: Jung Saem Mool’s “special blending know how is contained in this radiant-lasting foundation”.
GIMME ALL THE RADIANCE, was my first thought.
When the foundation arrived in the post, I ripped straight into it, ready to get on Jung Saem Mool’s radiance train. She has, after all, been leading the way of the glowing, transparent skin crew in Korea for over two decades. After a month of continual use, I’m ready to review her Essential Star-cealer Foundation.
(This product was provided courtesy JSM Beauty. See my disclaimer for my policies).
Jung Saem Mool Beauty
Jung Saem Mool is one of the most celebrated makeup artists in Korea, catering to celebrities and setting trends in the makeup scene for over twenty years. In 2015 she launched her own global artist brand ‘JungSaemMool’.
The brand philosophy:
“True beauty should not be compared to something or following the changing trend. It is discovering and completing one’s own nature of beauty. The most perfect beauty is the way you are. Jungsaemmool loves your hidden beauty, your natural lines, colors and shape. Makeup is a process of facing yourself. Trust your own beauty.”
You can read more about the principles here.
Essential Star-Cealer Foundation
The two-in-one foundation and concealer, in a sleek black compact, is one of Jung Saem Mool’s best sellers. It makes the following claims:
There are actually two versions of this product- the regular, and the Illuminous version. JSM Beauty sent me the regular, in line with my skin type of normal/combination. Here they break down the differences:
So you can see the main claims of the regular foundation, which I’m reviewing today, are the coverage and lasting power.
Use time after opening: 12 months
Ingredients lists provided by JSM for #Fair Light:
Concealer: Polybutene Trimethylolpropane Triethylhexanoate Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891) Mica (CI 77019) Talc Ceresin Ethylhexyl Palmitate Polyethylene Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer Iron Oxides (CI 77492) Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Microcrystalline Wax, Sorbitan Isostearate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Silica Silylate, Methicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Tin Oxide (CI 77861) Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77499)
Foundation: Polybutene Trimethylolpropane, TriethylhexanoateTitanium, Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica (CI 77019), Talc, Ceresin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Polyethylene, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Microcrystalline Wax, Sorbitan Isostearate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Silica Silylate, Methicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Tin Oxide (CI 77861), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77499)
How to use
According to JSM Beauty website:
“After opening the case push the vertical shaped button on the left side of the palette to make the foundation come out. Then apply to skin by tapping lightly using the puff included. Apply some concealer on the same puff and adjust the amount on palette, then apply it to the spots that need extra coverage.”
The packaging of this foundation is one of the major appeals for me. The minimalist sleek black form is gorrrrgeous, and I really like the company logo.
The compact itself is a smooth rectangular shape, and lighter to hold than I expected. It has a magnetic clasp on the closing, and so far (bear in mind it’s been almost permanently in my handbag since I received it, I’ve been using it so much), there are no scratches on the case.
On opening there’s a small plastic tray holding the puff and brush (I understand only ‘Fair Light’ shade comes with a brush, no idea why). Underneath is the foundation dispenser, and concealer pan. I’ve ditched the tray and just carry the puff.
There’s a mirror, and the compact sits comfortably in my hand while I apply.
The push down mechanism is what makes the the foundation unique. It’s convenient, hygienic, controllable and innovative. The only downside is that you can’t see how much is left. You can, however, buy refills for the foundation and concealer at a cheaper price to the original product. I love that about many Korean base products.
Texture and Application
The foundation has a light creamy consistency- neither thick nor liquidy/oily.
I dispense small amounts at a time, pick up with the puff, and pat onto skin to spread and blend. This works well, applying thin layers and slowly building for more coverage. I still find that air puffs are the best way to get an airbrushed finish.
The concealer is harder in texture. I usually prefer more creamy concealers, but JSM claims the differing consistencies help the wear time, and this actually seems to have worked out true. I’ve been blending the concealer with a tiny spot of foundation on the mixing palette area in the compact, because I do find it too hard texture to go in with alone. I’ve then been patting in the product with my finger to avoid dragging on my skin, particularly under my eyes.
Shade and Colour
I have the lightest shade- Fair Light. It’s available in the four shades below. The undertones in Fair Light are neutral, with only a hint of yellow.
The coverage is good, and it’s buildable. Compared to my cushion compacts, the coverage is definitely higher, but not as high as many western foundations. Personally, the coverage is well suited for my skin, and perfect for evenings in particular, when I want more coverage than my cushions can really provide.
The photo above is in natural light by my window, with no make up whatsoever. The photo below is in the same spot, wearing only the Star-cealer foundation and concealer.
The photo on the left shows my finished make up (including the Jung Saem Mool Artist Contour Palette!) in the window spot, and the photo on the right, same make up in my bathroom lighting. It really does produce a radiant blend!
The finish is more silky matte than I expected, but of course still gives a bright yet subtle Korean-style glow. Being more matte than my usual choices makes it a perfect option for the days (and evenings in particular) when I want a ‘foundation’ finish, compared to the dewier (is that even a word?!) look of my BB creams/cushions. I appreciate having a different type of product in my stash. I can, as always, only comment on my own results with my normal/combination skin type. I also think my idea of ‘matte’ is pretty skewed. I’ve been using Korean products for over two years and matte doesn’t really exist. Therefore in Korean terms, this is a matte product, in global terms, I’d say a semi-matte product.
The long wearing nature of this product is one of it’s best qualities. It lasts easily throughout the day (or night) without top up, and without flaking. It only begins to fade and show my skin’s redness after a commute, 5 hour teaching day, and commute home- so roughly 7 hours in total. Even then, it’s not a total mess, and only faded in areas I frequently touch, such as my chin. Because it doesn’t cake and flake, re-application is easy and gives the same finish as the initial application. My skin usually doesn’t work too well with ‘long wear’ products, as they tend to clash with my more dry patches. Surprisingly this seems to keep my face moisturised enough throughout the day to avoid the flaking, whilst still maintaining the coverage and finish.
I’m impressed, as expected. It definitely held true to it’s claims. I think the most impressive aspect for me is the way it creates the higher coverage, semi-matte finish, but without the result of caking/breaking/flaking as time goes on. This is unusual for me and my skin type. This foundation seems to keep my face moisturised with a natural finish, whilst also maintaining the higher coverage and lasting well. It’s a unique blend of qualities for a base makeup. The lasting power is notable, and it’ll be interesting to see how it works out as the weather becomes more humid here in Korea.
I also cannot help but mention again how much I bloody love the packaging. It’s sleek, perfect for hand bag carrying, and ideal for topping up if necessary.
I’ll definitely be purchasing a refill when I’m done with this one!
Where can I purchase?
The product is available for international shipping by clicking the link on the website. It takes you to Lotte site, and you can check the shipping fees for your country there. If you’re in Korea, the products are available on GMarket.
Have you tried any of the Jung Saem Mool products? I’d be interested to hear how this foundation worked out for different skin types, if you’ve tried it?!