The Strange Beauty Ingredients South Koreans Swear By

K-beauty uncovered


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 and with just the right level of dewiness, we needed answers ASAP on how to achieve this kind of dermalogical perfection.

Models backstage at Kumann Yoo Hye Jin @seoulfashionweek_official #seoulfashionweek @starworksgroup

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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 the 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. 

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). Here’s our 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.

£21 from

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.

£10.55 from Amazon

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.  

£43 from Amazon 

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. The sheet itself is made from a natural corn leaf fiber mask that is gentle on the skin and allows the rich serum to soak in. Leave it on for up to 40 minutes and simply massage in any leftover serum.

£2.50 from  

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

£2.35 from

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