First they gave us BB creams. Then came the skin transforming sheet masks, and it wasn’t long before we were nursing a fully-fledged Korean beauty product addiction. If you’re an omniscient beauty devotee, you might have tried a product here or there, but if this beauty postcode is new to you, here’s our pick of the best Korean beauty brands (and the products we love from each).
This is one of our favourites; the brand is innovative and the products are fun to use. The range itself caters to sensitive skin, using a mecca of natural ingredients and is free from synthetic fragrance, dyes and chemical irritants. If you love anything charcoal, you’ll fawn over the o2 Sparkling Blackhead Soap. We were impressed when the first ingredient listed was charcoal powder (many products claim the benefits of charcoal but only contain the tiniest amount). It’s literally a black bar of soap with pink (sebum control) and green (soothing) portions in the centre. It promises to blitz makeup and blackheads - so we lather up and get to work. It doesn’t leave skin stripped bare thanks to the added coconut oil, olive oil, lavender oil and hyaluronic acid. Skin feels clean and comfortable, and within a week, the pores on our nose look refined. We are surprised that it delivers on its promise to remove all makeup; although it left a little mascara, our complexion is super clean. It’s also going in our travel kit must haves – no spills!
An honourable mention also goes to the Pore Tightening Bounce Cream and Memory Sleeping Mask combo. We keep it in the fridge (this is supposed to fast-track results) and the gel-like consistency absorbs after about 10 minutes (so be patient). After scooping the gel out of the jar, the contents bounces back and the product looks untouched, novel. We eagerly go to bed and wake up delighted to find our skin glowy, refined and hydrated without being greasy. It’s then a dash to the bathroom to try the Bounce Cream. Aptly named, it wobbles around like jelly. Cooling and hydrating, this is the perfect scorching summer’s day cream.
Known for the cult-status BB cream, Dr.Jart+ has long been a pioneer in Korean beauty. Recently, we’ve been trialling the Ceramidin Nutrient-Enriched Cream. The key ingredient is ceramide, which acts as a protective barrier to the skin and fills in the gaps between skin cells. This works to protect the skin from water loss. It’s thick in texture, but quickly absorbs and isn’t oily (read: no grease-slick skin come summer). It’s also packed with nourishing aloe vera; we’re addicted to it for post-beach recovery for the skin.
3 Concept Eyes (3CE)
3CE is the brainchild of Korean blogger Stylenanda. The beauty and skincare line is everything we love about Korean beauty: quirky, innovative, and packed with bright, punchy colours. Our current makeup obsession is the Creamy Cheek Stick in Sweet Apricot. On first impressions it’s a bit brighter than we’d normally choose (think, the colour of an orange highlighter). However, after blending it onto the apples of our cheeks the shade became more and more palatable until it was sheer pinky perfection. The ‘you look so fresh’ compliments definitely started rolling in.
3CE White Milk Cream was another product in the small range we were dying to try. So we did. The retro milk carton packaging won us over because, too cute. But we were most impressed with the results. With the small application spatula, we place on the areas of the face we want to brighten (use how you would a concealer: on the areas you’d like to hide pigmentation or spots). The formula leaves a white-ish film, so it’s best to use at night. It contains milk proteins and Niacinamide that fade the look of acne scarring on our chin in only a week, and the product can also be used on the body.
For Beloved One
You can’t talk Korean Beauty without meriting the benefits of sheet masks. While they might scare whomever you share your home with, they are the easiest way to prep skin for a big event. If the start of party season has you feeling a little tired you’ll find solace in eye-specific sheet masks. For Beloved One is a brand that prides itself on its scientific approach to formulations, and the Flawless Brightening Bio-Cellulose Eye Mask is no exception. The mask itself is made up of tiny fibers made from fermented bacteria - sounds gross but it’s actually amazing. They’re soaked in a deliciously hydrating mix of flower extract, hyaluronic acid and algae that leaves our peepers bright and de-puffed. We promise you’ll fool anyone into believing you’ve had a full eight hours of sleep, not screen scrolling.
Touch In Sol
With it's finger firmly on the Korean beauty pulse, Touch In Sol has an array of cute and kitsch products that are too much fun not to try. Our pick is the Feel Like Honey Moon Skin Base (and it's not just because of the name). The perfect (and sweet) pairing of honey and collagen left our skin plump, hydrated and so glowy we were tempted to skip foundation all together.
Story by Emily Algar