Best new beauty innovations from Korea
It includes a pocket-sized dermat
Korean beauty experts are working on creating spa-level products that could replace your routine dermat appointments. “There will be specialised products, treatments and devices, like LED devices and handheld oxy machines you can use at home,” says Yoon. This way you can treat your skin beyond the surface level for a more effective solution to wrinkles, scars and pigmentation. But WAY is the ultimate game-changer. This nifty disc-like device can, when held against your skin, evaluate how often you need to moisturise, remind you to apply sunscreen and judge the effectiveness of your overall skincare routine. Plus, it fits in your bag.
“In Korea, maintaining dewy, glowing skin means adding more ingredients to cleansing waters to increase their benefits,” explains Charlotte Cho, author and founder of e-store Sokoglam.com. Unlike astringent-like western cleansing waters that sting, Korean versions come with floral and botanical extracts to soothe and hydrate your skin.
Dunking your face in a 1:1 ratio of carbonated to tap water for 30 seconds is a common practice in southeast Asia for its amazing deep-cleansing and skin-tightening properties. This year, they’ve stepped up the game with all sorts of fizzy foaming treatments in a clay base. “These products typically start to self-foam when they come in contact with your skin,” explains Kong. That makes them the perfect way to shed dead skin cells. Try Neogen’s bestselling foaming face mask.
Personalised Face Masks
The new wave of sheet mask selfies were made for Instagram, especially those cute animal face ones. Who wouldn’t want to look like a panda while doing their face some serious good? Infused with all sorts of amazing tightening and brightening ingredients, it’s almost impossible to find a K-beauty mask you don’t love. Expect things to go up a few notches, as sheet masks will soon have micro needles to allow absorption to the deeper layers of your skin. Tony Moly has gone beyond the regular cotton masks to create one with sea kelp for improved effectiveness. And rubber masks that were reserved for spas have hit retail shelves now. But the next big thing is point packs. This multitasker allows you to mix face patches for a customised sheet mask experience; imagine a one-mask solution for under-eye circles, a shiny T-zone and dry cheeks!
Until a few years ago, the 13-step Korean skincare routine was an urban myth. But after the BB cream craze took off, slap ‘Made in Korea’ on any tube and everyone’s dying to try it. Whether it’s bird’s nest or snail slime, if K-beauty’s putting its money on it, you can bet your last drop of sunscreen it’ll work.
Korean formulas don’t rely on pseudo-fancy ingredients to sell, they’ve gained a reputation for actually living up to their claims. When it comes to innovations, the Koreans are leagues ahead of the rest of the world. The textures are phenomenal, the botanical extracts are near-magical and they get extra points for the most adorable-yet-functional packaging. Joyce Kong, a K-beauty expert and blogger for lifestyle website Refinery29.com, explains its allure: “K-beauty addresses simple, everyday skin concerns, like the effects of environmental pollution.” This springs from the popular South Korean philosophy of ‘skin first’. Unlike most of us who only run to the nearest beauty counter after the first wrinkle sighting, the Koreans believe you need to care for your skin much before you spot the signs.
These beauty miracles are now on the verge of becoming one of the country’s biggest exports. According to Alicia Yoon, the founder of Peachandlily.com, one of the largest e-tailers of K-beauty products in USA, there are almost 9,000 brands coming out of this tiny nation, each one pushing the envelope with high-tech skincare. This year, gear up for a fresh batch of innovations from the beauty mecca. Here’s what to watch for.
Photographs: Shishkin Eugene
You may also want to read: 20 INNOVATIVE KOREAN BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND
Think your skincare regimen is missing something? It could probably do with a boost of powerful powdered ingredients like rose stem cell, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, crammed into tiny capsules to deliver maximum impact. You can either mix it with your favourite serum or apply it directly on your face and watch it melt into your skin. Yoon recommends the Dream Age Radiance Powder Essence to effectively target hyperpigmentation.
Temperature control creams
Did you ever give any thought to whether a face cream reduces or spikes up your skin temperature? Apparently, you should. “It’s so significant that global brands like Dior will describe a product’s ability to lower skin temperature on their Korean website and not their international ones,” explains Kong. We already know that heat-based procedures like steaming and massaging can improve circulation and open up pores, but reduced temperatures help control oil and sebum production. The popular Caolion Hot & Cold Pore Pack works double duty to cleanse, exfoliate and tighten skin. You can also try Tony Moly’s Self-Cooling Egg Pore Tightening pack for angry pores.