On my recent trip to Seoul I explored the “mystery” of Korean beauty: flawless skin, porcelain complexion and an impeccable, radiant appearance, who wouldn’t want to know how they do it?
Since the invention of the BB cream that took east and west by the storm, it seems S. Korea is investing a lot in the beauty industry and sets the trends in skincare. Today there exist numerous Korean brands that have gained the attention and trust of an international clientele as well as many sought-after Korean beauty products that seem to deliver their promises.
After hovering around many shops and stalls I decided to concentrate on two brands this time and try some of their well known products. Tony Moly is a very popular and affordable brand (check your local Sephora as they might be carrying their products) whereas Sulwhasoo is an upscale company, more on the expensive side.
As for the latest beauty trends, these involve the use of ginseng, snail ferment secretion, gold and recently there has been a shift on products containing hyaluronic acid. Koreans are obsessed with face masks usually made of a face-shaped cotton sheet infused with different emulsions for different needs. So far I have tried Tony Moly’s Goat Milk Extract mask and although it scared the hell out of my daughter seeing me wearing it, I enjoyed its benefits. Yet I’m waiting for the right moment (and with my daughter asleep) to try on the Snail Mask and the Red Ginseng mask that claim to provide Skin Repair and Shine respectively. The Mask Sheets are a very affordable option as they are sold per piece so you can try the product before you buy the whole line.
One thing I really liked about Tony Moly is their sense of humor and cuteness on some of their packaging for products (probably) addressed to younger ages. So next time people roll their eyes seeing you taking a banana out of your expensive purse, you can face them straightforward: “it’s my hand cream, you silly!” Oh, and it smells like a real banana! Same for the apple hand-cream or the peachy lip balm, what you see is what you smell and what you get. As for the Bamboo Fresh Water Soothing Mist, in a bottle actually resembling a bamboo stick, I think I’m gonna stick to it. Up until now I was using my own mix of orange blossom water and Body Shop’s E Vitamin mist to either freshen up my face during the hot days of summer or on top of make-up to make it stay for longer. But I found this bamboo water equally -if not more- satisfying.
With my buys the ladies at Tony Moly gave me many samples to try as well as the Nutra Energy Toner with organ oil, in regular size (80 ml) which cleanses perfectly my skin and prepares it for the next steps in my skincare routine. As I always check the ingredients of the products I intend to buy, I was happy to see that none of them contain parabens (unless they are renamed in some way but I don’t think so).
And now the real treasure out of my lot: Gold 24 Snail Sleeping Pack. Pure gold, fermented and snail ferment secretion as well as panax ginseng callus extract are combined in one powerful formula with multiple benefits: wrinkle improvement, whitening, pore tightening, skin texture improvement, moisture and nourishment supply. I only have one word: AMAZING. The formula is a gold-yellowish gel (a little sticky in the beginning of application but it is absorbed quickly) that works as a mask, only you don’t have to wash it off. Instead you sleep with it and you just wash your face the next morning and look at your mirror: Your skin looks fresh, plumped and radiant! It’s the only product I have used so far with actual results from the first application! Just try it and you won’t regret it.
Another Korean beauty “must have” is the cushion. The cushion is make-up, powder, bb cream, cc cream, sun protector, all of them and none of the above, it’s a separate category itself. It is actually a tinted emulsion which sits under a sponge. When pressed with the provided puff, the sponge delivers the product which can then be applied on the face by patting gently with the puff. The result is flawless, smooth, porcelain-like complexion in only one go.
Looking for the best cushion I read very good reviews on the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion. I didn’t need much more to be convinced to try it as since the first day I arrived in Seoul I was told again and again about this cosmetic company’s high quality products. The Perfecting Cushion comes in different shades and has SPF50. It might seem expensive (60,000 S. Korean Won, aprox. 50 USD) but it’s not considering the fact that it comes with an extra cushion which can replace the first one once it has dried out. In any case, for the miracle it offers on my skin it’s worth every penny!
The saleslady at the Sulwhasoo was also very generous to give me a full miniature set of their famous Ginseng beauty line and I can’t wait to try them!
It’s your turn now.. What is your opinion on the Korean beauty products? Have you tried any and if yes which ones would you recommend?