Ok so South Korean beauty is trending as they say.. What is all the fuss about you might wonder?
South Korea is the innovator of the moment, bringing new ground breaking products to the market – it’s the new France of the beauty world. It was the country to really champion BB creams (originally a german invention, a combination of tinted moisturizer, sunscreen, foundation and an overall makeup base). Now many high-end cosmetics brands, such as Dior, have developed their own BB creams. In much the same way that Harajuku put Japan’s beauty and fashion scene on the global stage, K-pop groups like Psy’s gangnam style have brought recognition of Korean cosmetics to their fans across the world.
Koreans are OBSESSED with looking good and will go to any length to achieve this. The country has invested loads in R&D which can now be seen with the growing popularity (and earnings!) of Samsung, etc. There are several very high quality cosmetic producers. At the beauty fair cosmoprof I made a real effort to check out their booths and see their newness. Last year Coty, a french big player in the beauty market, announced a joint venture with LG Household & Health Care (LG H&H) to create Coty Korea.
Koreans really stress the importance of flawless skin. Key to this is nurturing the skin and creating bright skin, which in the old days would symbolise coming from a noble family.
So what is their trick?
1 – Facial massage
To maintain porcelain looking skin, Koreans usually perform facial massage. This stimulates blood flowing through the skin.
2 – Power exfoliation
Koreans love a good scrub, which they can get at the popular public baths (jjimjilbang, in Korean) and with at-home treatments.
3 – Super charged skin-plumping masks and serums in highly soluble formulas.
I use Korean face masks all the time. They also make great presents when you come back from an Asian trip. Packed with effective ingredients the impregnated sheets really do make a difference and make your skin feel amazing. Highly recommended before a big night out or on the day after! The pore tightening serum is widely used for many purposes. It brightens their complexion and it heals the rashes or stretch marks on the face. The toners that are used by the people of Korea remove the dead cells of the skin and hence the skin becomes cleaner. They use serum to rectify all types of skin problems that is caused due to heat, air pollution and dust particles.
4 – Skincare with natural ingredients made from fruit extracts and plant extracts like ginseng and green tea or water extracts.
A brand I have been trying myself recently is Amore Pacific’s skincare range: LA NEIGE. The brand name stands for snow – water, that is what the brand is all about. I have tried the Water bank hydrogel and I’m really impressed with the fragrance, the way it goes on, the way it gets absorbed and the how fresh my skin feelts. Prices are more expensive than say L’Oreal, but cheaper than Lancome. La Neige is not for sale in Europe or USA but you can purchase it at SASA.
5 – Stem cell skincare.
On a more technical note the Koreans are pioneering stemcell skincare. Beaucell is a range that makes the skin look plumper and younger. It uses extracts of stem cells from adult bone marrow and excess body fat tissue, rather than the synthetic stuff you see in most Western products. First engineered for bone and tissue regeneration Purigenex is the only topical medical-grade collagen sold in the U.S..
Top Korean beauty products:
- Face Masks – sheets drenched in Hyaluronic Acid for example are very effective
- Skinfood nails & facial mist
- Tony Moly Gel liner
- Etude house lip and BB cream
- China Glaze nails – very high quaity and great colours
- Clarisonic cleansing rotator – great for the ultimate weekly exfoliate
- Contacts to make your eyes look bigger
- Eyelash extensionswhich are professionally applied
- Eye strips to create ‘western’ eyes
- Nail Art – this is where it all started
- Missha make up
- Airless pumps (keeps the product from being contaminated and oxidized. Everything from cleansers to moisturizers and even foundation can be found in an airless pump. Plus, the technology allows you to ensure the perfect amount of product every time)
There are 2 excellent places online to shop everything Korean Beauty related: Soko Glam (Soko, short for South Korea) and the BB cream shop.