Song Hye-kyo, Son Ye-jin, Kim Tae-hee... we could go on and on. These Korean actresses look so youthful for their age, we wonder if they’ve found a way to freeze time. Here are seven of these 'ageless' Korean beauty queens on our list

Is it kimchi? Is it Jeju spring water? Or maybe it’s the beauty products they use? Whatever it is, some Korean actresses appear to be drinking from the fountain of youth. They look the same year after year, and drama after drama. They pair up with actors who are years younger than them, yet manage to look their age, or even younger.

They give 20-something-year-old actresses a run for their money, and are highly sought after when it comes to lead roles in dramas and beauty endorsements. Here are seven ageless Korean female stars who exemplify this youthful quality.

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Song Hye-kyo, 39

Ever since she debuted as a child actress and then burst into popular consciousness in K-drama tearjerker hit Autumn in My Heart in 2000, and helped launch the Korean Wave around the world, Song Hye-kyo has been lauded for her natural beauty and universal appeal.

That she manages to turn most of her dramas into ratings behemoths, such as All In (2003), Full House (2004), That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013) and of course, Descendants of the Sun (2016), isn’t as astonishing as how she doesn’t seem to have aged a day throughout these dramas, over a whopping two decades.

In 2018, she starred in Encounter opposite Park Bo-gum, who, at 27, is 12 years younger than her—and they looked good together. She lights up the screen and is as watchable today as she was 20 years ago, and no doubt will look amazing in her new drama, Now, We Are Breaking Up.

She’s been the face of top K-beauty brand Sulwhasoo for a number of years and has just been appointed as the ambassador for health beauty brand Vital Beautie. Whatever she’s using or taking that’s making her look so amazing, we want some—and we’re sure everyone else does too.

Related: Song Hye-Kyo Interview: Why She Identifies with Chaumet's Muse, Empress Joséphine

2 / 7

Jun Ji-hyun, 39

Another ageless stunner is Jun Ji-hyun (or Gianna Jun). She was My Sassy Girl in 2001, a haughty actress who falls in love with an alien in My Love From the Star in 2013, a mermaid in Legend of the Blue Sea in 2016, and a mysterious warrior in 2019 zombie thriller Kingdom.

But the most mystical character of all is Gianna herself, who looks almost exactly the same today as she did in 2001, with her flawless skin and chiselled features. It’s like time stopped for her 20 years ago. She’s also the ambassador of popular K-beauty brand Hera and a mother of two. Amazing.

3 / 7

Son Ye-jin, 39

Everyone’s favourite rom-com queen was prolific in the early Noughties, rising to fame with hits such as The Classic (2003), A Moment to Remember (2004) and April Snow (2005). She had film hits like Be With You (2018) and The Negotiation (2018, with Hyun Bin), and another rom-com fave, Something in the Rain (2018), before crash-landing into worldwide fame and adulation with 2020’s Crash Landing on You with current beau Hyun Bin.

Next up for the beauty with the gorgeous “eye smile”: Her Hollywood debut The Cross, in 2022. How does she look as fresh-faced today as she did 20 years ago? We’d all love to know.

Related: Crash Landing on You Star Son Ye-Jin Fronts Valentino's New Campaign

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Lee Young-ae, 50

The original K-wave idol, Lee Young-ae, is so famous, she only does one major drama per decade. She was Jang Geum in 2003 smash hit Jewel In the Palace, the show that made everyone sit up and suddenly want to go to Korea, learn Korean and wear hanboks.

Then she did one movie, Lady Vengeance, in 2005, and took a whopping 12-year hiatus from dramas and films before starring in 2017’s Saimdang, Memoir of Colors. Hopefully, she’ll soon return to helm a small-screen drama, because she’s an amazing actress and looks fab for a 50-year-old. Meanwhile, we can ogle her in her campaigns for K-beauty brand The History of Whoo.

5 / 7

Choi Ji-woo, 45

Another classic K-drama beauty who was also responsible for kick-starting the Korean Wave in melodramas such as Winter Sonata (2002) and Stairway to Heaven (2003), she became massively popular as audiences cried along with her, and then went on to star in various other films and dramas. For newer K-drama fans, she appeared as herself in a much-loved cameo in Crash Landing on You. She also gave birth to her first child last year. Will we see a Choi Ji-woo comeback? Here’s hoping.

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Kim Tae-hee, 41

Considered one of Korea’s great beauties, Kim Tae-hee rose to stardom in 2003 with her portrayal of the evil stepsister in Stairway to Heaven, and starred in several films and dramas, including 2011’s My Princess. She famously married fellow Hallyu star Rain in a low-key ceremony back in 2017 and is now the mother of two daughters.

She returned to the small screen in the 2019 hit Hi Bye, Mama!, where she looked as if—you guessed it—she hasn’t aged a day.

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7 / 7

Shin Min-ah, 37

Korean stars start so young that it’s amazing how much they have accomplished by the time they hit their 30s. Model-actress Shin Min-ah rose to fame in 2005 hit film The Bittersweet Life with Lee Byung-hun, then charmed in dramas like My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox (2010) and 2015’s Oh My Venus.

She’s set to make her drama comeback with Sea Village Cha Cha Cha, opposite Start-Up’s beloved second male lead Kim Seon-ho, and we cannot wait. Did we mention she’s been appointed the ambassador for Givenchy Beauty, and also that she looks like she’s 27? As with all the actresses on this list, she looks at least 10 years younger than her actual age. We are equal parts envious and in awe.