Since checking out Seoul Fashion Week last week, we've become a little obsessed with the immaculate complexions of the K-Pop stars that populated the front row, and doll-like supermodels, such as the rainbow haired and cool AF Irene Kim. Smooth, poreless skin and with just the right level of dewiness, it's no surprise that bloggers & influencers everywhere are lusting for the Korean beauty look.
Korean products have been influencing our skincare trends for years and you'll find one in the bag of every top skin & makeup expert. What are the best products to achieve this kind of dermatological perfection? And what do the weird ones actually do? We needed to know answers ASAP.
South Koreans know their beauty products and are obsessed with skincare. We have South Korean super-brand Dr Jart+ to thank for the wonder of it's cult BB cream, which since its launch in 2011, has cut hours off our morning make-up routine and put Korea firmly on the cosmetics-industry map.
Since then, brands like Tony Moly, Oh K! and Starskin have been making an equally impressive name for themselves, introducing new things like sheet masks and facial essence into our cosmetic vocabulary.
Raiding the legendary pharmacies of South Korea on the hunt for scientifically advanced, charmingly packaged and relatively cheap skincare, we stumbled across a few eyebrow-raising ingredients (some quite literally).
If you're not put-off and still curious, the good news is that the best of k-beauty is now available on our shores. Get ready to look gooood with our bizarrely awesome k-beauty haul:
Mizon Snail Slime Range
According to South Korea's big selling beauty brand, Mizon, the high concentration of Snail 'secretion' (sorry) has significant protective and nourishing qualities. Slather the Snail Wrinkle Care Night Cream on at night and wake up to a plumped and lifted complexion. The texture is slightly tacky upon application (again, sorry) in order to create a protective barrier beneath which the active ingredients can work their rejuvenating magic.
Besolbo Royal Salmon Egg Sleeping Renewal Pack
If snail slime isn't for you, how about salmon eggs? The little pink pearlescent balls you'd normally find as a sushi accompaniment are used by South Koreans with skin troubles such as acne, fine lines, dark spots or rough skin. Besolbo claim their Royal Salmon Egg Sleeping Pack can regulate moisture and nutrition production with its high vitamin and mineral content. Repeated use enhances the skin's tone, texture, and overall condition. Hold the wasabi.
Tony Moly Pure Farm Pig Collagen Jelly Cream
Any veggies reading this should probably skip ahead. We're all well versed on the face-plumping benefits of collagen, but apparently the 70,000 ml of topical pig collagen found in these 80g pots is almost as potent as any syringe-administrated version. The collagen is extracted from 'pasture-raised organic pigs,' said one in-store beauty consultant. Enhanced hydration, and significantly increased skin elasticity are the promises here. We'll leave you to decide whether you're game to try it though.
J.One Jelly Pack
The Jelly Pack is a best-selling beauty staple in Korea. It's unique jelly-textured formula provides skin with a hit of moisture for a firm, plumped up complexion. Known as the 'corset mask', it has an immediate lifting and firming effect. It also contains a powerful antioxidant called fullerene, which helps to provide the skin with protection from environmental aggressors. Just apply two or three pumps in an upward sweeping motion until absorbed
Kale & Grapefruit Juice Cleanse Mask
South Koreans are obsessed with sheet masks. Check out Rita Ora's sheet mask selfies on Instagram if you're not familiar with how ridiculous/scary they look on. Despite their odd appearance, they're worth the awkwardness of being caught wearing one as your skin will literally drink them up. This one uses the principle of a nutritious juice cleanse, with its mix of kale, grapefruit, broccoli, carrots and other fruits and veggies which brighten hyperpigmented skin. You might think Kale is just for eating but it's also great on your skin, Leave the sheet on for up to 40 minutes and simply massage in any leftover serum.
Etude House Cherry Lip Gel Patch
If you thought the sheet masks were ridiculous, these novelty-looking lip masks are genius; we've included them for their humorous appearance over their unusual ingredients. Snapchat gold aside, if you don't mind looking silly for 10-15 minutes, the Etude House Cherry Lip Gel Patch offers targeted lipcare by eliminating dead skin cells and regenerating new, healthy cells for for firmer, softer lips. Unlike scrubs which are actually pretty harsh on the lips, these are formulated with cherry extract, and are rich in nutrients that will repair chapped lips and leave an added layer of moisture film to protect them from further damage. Once removed, lament your Jessica Rabbit pout momentarily, then softly tap onto the lips to soak in any excess serum
Mizon Placenta 45 Anti Wrinkle Serum
Yep, you heard – placenta cream. As our skin ages, our cells do not renew as rapidly as they once did. This causes the skin to thin, lose elasticity and collagen. As gross as it sounds,, placenta contains powerful stem cells which are well regarded for their healing and repairing abilities. Using 45% placenta extract, this cream delivers the highest amount of nutrients directly to cells in order to stimulate skin renewal.