We could probably count on one hand the number of reality stars who have had successful careers after their respective shows ended—Jamie Chung is one of those select few. The actress got her start on The Real World: San Diego, but since then has starred in films and shows like Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and ABC’s series Once Upon a Time, as well as established herself as a fashion icon (see: her style blog, What the Chung?, and pretty much every outfit she wears). And now, Chung can add beauty expert to her growing resume: she’s the new spokesperson for Jergens.
We hopped on the phone with the actress and chatted with her about all things beauty—from her most embarrassing beauty memory (brown lip liner was involved) to the trick she uses to get her eyeliner just right. Keep scrolling to read our interview!
First things first—how would you describe your everyday beauty style?
I would say my everyday beauty style is natural, but pretty. And highlighting! I like to highlight one thing on my face at a time. There’s always a day where I’m highlighting my eyes or my lips—it’s never more than one. I usually try to keep it as minimal as possible.
What about the red carpet?
I mean, I do the whole shebang! I feel like my makeup artist and I have become a bit more adventurous—we certainly know what works with me on the red carpet. I love color, I love a bold lip. I kind of love it all. I love bold brows. There’s a certain look that’s always a go-to; that one is mine. I’ve tried different things with different makeup artists, but I know what I like: defined brows, diffused eyes, and a bold lip.
Can you walk us through your own personal beauty evolution?
Yes! The first time I wore makeup, I was in eighth grade. I was graduating to high school and I thought I was so cool—this was circa 1996 when J.Lo was a Fly Girl and the whole brown lip liner look was in. So, I went for it. It was literally, like, brown lip liner and nude lipstick without blending it in. I did it, and I didn’t do anything else. I didn’t start shaving or anything until high school!
That’s hilarious. So what happened in high school and college?
So, I didn’t wear makeup in high school—I was a tomboy. I loved sports and I played on the volleyball softball team. I sort of turned my back to makeup. It was my freshman year of college when I started wearing it again. Urban Decay Space Cowboy ($22)—that’s the eye shadow my sorority sister introduced me to that I wore all the time. I started filling in my eyebrows, and I started using a lot more bronzer than I should have. Different colored mascaras were in. God forbid, I would go to Claires back in the day and buy blue and purple mascara.
Amazing. And nowadays?
I would say my beauty style is a bit more refined [laughs]. I’m trying different things and different colors, and higher-end products. Make Up For Ever is a prestigious brand I love—I use their HD products and Foundation ($43) for all my shows. I’m obsessed with lips. I love the brand’s M8 shade—it’s a beautiful matte, red color—and I love their Rouge Artist Palette ($60) in No. 7. It has all these perfect colors, like bright pinks, reds, and plums.
Any other lip products you love?
In terms of lip exfoliants, there’s one by Bliss that I use. Or you can also make your own! I’m kind of more into that. There’s this great recipe—it’s just sugar and some drops of rose oil.
Are there other beauty DIYs you swear by?
I do a body scrub—I use Himalayan salt and lemongrass essential oils, and sometimes sugar. You can actually mix the two. I’m using more face masks, like the collagen sheet masks, where you look like a crazy person when you have them on. I found out you can make your own version—you just buy the face paper on Amazon, and you soak it in in serum. I want to try it!
Your desert island beauty picks—go.
I would take the Jergens BB Protect with me—not only does it keep my skin super smooth, it refines and it has SPF 15 to protect, which is extremely important on an island, obviously. And it overall makes your skin super radiant. I would also bring hairspray—I’m talking about survival, girl! Plus, I can use it to make a fire.
Very smart. Any more?
Hmm…Bug repellant. Bugs just eat me alive. Aloe vera, for after I get bitten (I’m thinking all in one here), and maybe a big tub of Vaseline, since you can pretty much use it for anything.
You always have such a great cat-eye—any tips or tricks?
The days that I can’t seem to get my line straight, I’ll use a little bit of masking tape. I'll align it in the shape that I want it to go, and then I’ll apply Make Up For Ever’s Graphic Liner ($24). It’s got a great application tip, it’s just long enough that it doesn’t require a lot of strokes—you can do a baseline with one stroke!
What about on-set beauty secrets—did you pick up any good makeup tips from any of the shows or movies you filmed?
Yeah! A makeup artist on set once told me to take a beautiful camel-colored blush and apply it on your cheeks, and also at the base of your eyes. It kind of makes your face look more alive!
Love that. And lastly, hair—how do you keep your ombré color fresh and not brassy?
I’ve always said, you keep your enemies close, but your hair color closer. The only way to have the perfect hair color is to do touch-ups. The sun, chemicals, and products can all cause damage. I like to use coconut oil and put it on the ends—only the ends, starting about four inches from my roots—and leave it on for a good ten minutes. Then, you just go through your regular shower routine. You can use regular coconut oil that you cook with, like the ones at Trader Joe’s!