Gesgep: The Minimalist K-Beauty Brand

It’s as South Korean as it gets, but it’s not into trends or gimmicks.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
It’s as South Korean as it gets, but it’s not into trends or gimmicks. The makeup is easy, functional and practical, meant to work with your skin and features. And that, ultimately, is useful to every woman.

Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yoon, the two makeup artists who are co-founders of Gesgep (say jes-jep), have a hefty portfolio. A few of their coups: They were the first South Korean makeup artists to work at the New York and Paris fashion weeks, in 2004 and 2005. They’ve worked with the biggest names in K-entertainment, including girl groups Sistar and 2NE1, and actresses Song Hye Kyo and Gianna Jun. Remember Gianna’s perfectly glowing, no makeup-makeup look in the hit K-drama My Love from the Star? That’s Son’s doing.

They’ve also created campaign images for international makeup brands like Bobbi Brown and Shu Uemura, and have been regular guest experts on Korea’s hit beauty TV series, Get It Beauty. They are huge on Instagram – 29k followers for Son, and 49k for Park.

So they aren’t just your regular makeup artists. They’re makeup maestros who have combined their 18 years of experience to create Gesgep, which they say is a culmination of their strengths.

Son is a master of #myskinbutbetter makeup whose secret to nailing a naturally glowing complexion is in the base. “One of our biggest takeaways when it comes to makeup is healthylooking skin. We want to show women that their natural skin and facial features are their best beauty assets – it doesn’t matter if you’re Asian or Western, on the runway or an everyday woman.”

Park, on the other hand, is a colour expert, using his skills to sculpt, brighten and flatter the face. He says Asian women, with their rounder bone structure, don’t need to artificially create shadows on the skin. “The smooth curves of the Asian face work in their favour. To define them, all you need to do is ‘shade’ along the natural shadows cast by your cheekbones when you smile. You’ll achieve a fresh look this way,” he says.

Son and Park have created a three-step makeup concept that simplifies looking good: preparing, layering and sculpting. Preparing refers to hydrating the skin with a face cream or a mask pack,” Son says. The brand’s Preparing Mask instantly soothes, hydrates, brightens and softens skin with pearl powder and hyaluronic acid, working as a base to “wake” the skin up.

Layering means covering imperfections with small amounts of foundation. And that’s where Park’s other philosophy comes in: less is more. “It’s easier to add than remove. Thick layers of foundation age the skin. Asians, especially, want to be told they look young instead of pretty.”

So work in thin layers, adding where necessary. One Drop Perfection doubles as a foundation and concealer. It’s ultra-lightweight, which is great for layering.

Finally, sculpting – which is not about adding artificial contours a la Kim K, but using colour to bring out your features. Gesgep’s G Palette system allows you to mix and match contour, highlighter, blusher and eyeshadow shades for a go-to kit. And less is still more, says Park. Go with a light hand and darken where needed. – CT

My Reading Room
Son Dae Sik (top) is the brand’s ace of base, and Park Tae Yoon (above) is the colour maestro.
My Reading Room
1 One Drop Perfection, $60.
2 One Veil 1ster, $50.
3 G Palette, $24 for the case, $28 for a single eyeshadow, $39 for a single blusher, contour, or highlighter.
4 Lip Fresco, $39, in 15 shades.
5 Preparing Mask, $30 for a box of seven.