Want your skin to look chok-chok or ‘glowy from within’. We highlight nine Korean skin care products that have only helped more women achieve the de-rigueur look in South Korea. Korean skin care products are known to be no-nonsense, effective and yet luxurious. Don’t expect pretty and fanciful designed products but simple and rather clinical bottles filled with effective formulations that’ll do your skin good!
As much as we love Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Etude House and Innisfree, we thought it’d more fun to bring the lesser-known Korean skin care brands to the forefront in Singapore. These brands may be newer but have already created quite a few waves in the international beauty scene.
1. Huxley: Secret of Sahara Oil Essence; Essence-like, Oil-like
The 10 step Korean skin care routine may seem cumbersome for many Singaporeans but one step that shouldn’t be skipped is the application of a serum. A serum has the highest percentage of active ingredients compared to moisturisers and cleansers. They are lightweight and have water-like consistency meaning absorption happens within seconds, hydrating your skin much quicker than ever!
Huxley’s Secret of Sahara Oil Essence; Essence-like, Oil-like (available on Cocomo) combines the goodness of both an essence and serum. It comes in a minimalist dropper bottle and from what we hear, has a divine scent. The hero ingredients here are the Sahara Prickly Pear Seed Oil and Cactus extract — both are sourced straight from the Sahara desert! Combined together with extracts of other botanical ingredients — Acai Berry, Yerba Mate Leaf, Quinoa — this product is perfect especially for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Squeeze a few drops of this and tap it into your skin after using your toner. Observe visibly plumper and more radiant looking skin after a few uses — you can thank us later!
2. Make Pre:m: Blue Ray Sun Gel
One cannot stress the importance of incorporating sunscreen into our daily beauty regime enough. Korean skin care sunscreens are different in that they don’t use the SPF rating system but instead use the persistent pigmentation darkening test, known as the PA system for short — the more plus signs you see after the PA, the more protection you get from UVA exposure.
Make P:rem’s Blue Ray sunscreen (available on Cocomo) is formulated with hydrating Chia seed extracts, calming Centella extract and brightening Niacinamide. This sunscreen with SPF 50+ PA++++ UVA/UVB protection is perfect for use even under your makeup as it has zero white cast, so you can bid goodbye to the gloppy white cast texture we’ve come to associate sunscreens with.
3. Dr Jart+ : Rubber Masks And Ceramidin Cream
We were equally shocked when we saw these scary looking masks but trust us when we say they’re actually scarily good. These two-step Korean skin care sheet masks contain a concentrated ampoule serum and a cooling algae-derived mask to lock the active ingredients in. The Moist Lover mask promises to hydrate your skin with moisture retaining ingredients like green seaweed extract and a botanical protein, phyto-keratin complex. Choose from three other rubber masks; Bright Lover, Clear-Skin Lover and Firm Lover for a different kind of pick-me-up when needed.
Doing a 180 from the sheet masks, Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Cream (available on cosko) is a well-loved moisturiser for all skin types. The star ingredient here is undoubtedly the ceramides itself which limit moisture loss and protect the skin against other environmental stressors. Be sure to grab a tube of this before going for your winter holiday!
4. Mamonde: Flower Toner Series
Mamonde’s Rose Water (available on MyBeautySupply) toner had already established itself as a cult favourite when Mamonde introduced the Flower Toner series — a toner for every skin type. The Chamomile Pure toner is one to get if you have sensitive skin. It’s a no-frills product that contains only six necessary ingredients you’ll need and excludes any fragrance. If you’ve oily skin then reach for the Pure Clean Toner or use the Aqua Peel Toner if you’ve dull skin. For dehydrated skin, the Flower Honey Toner will work best.
Mamonde doesn’t stop at producing Korean skin care products. Check out the equally raved Mamonde makeup line too!
5. Mizon: All-In-One Snail Repair Cream
If you’ve oily and acne-prone skin, this one is for you! Mizon’s All-In-One Snail Repair Cream is formulated with 92% snail mucin or the slime excreted by snails. Snail mucin has been a common ingredient in Korean skin care, known for its revitalising, firming and anti-ageing properties. It also reduces the appearance of acne, scarring and blemishes.
Since launching, this Korean skin care product has sold millions all over Asia. Pick one up to see what the buzz is all about and if you already have this then get the Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream (available on MIZON Studio) and say goodbye to those pesky fine lines near your eyes!
6. Missha: Time Revolution First Treatment Essence/ Ampoule
Essence plays a big role in creating that dewy, glowy skin of Koreans we so admire. These fluid-y products hydrate the skin, soaking it with moisture and allowing it to be absorbent of other products you put on later on. Missha ‘s skin care products are known for their lavish formulations, promising to give your skin the five-star treatment that it deserves.
Use a tiny amount of Missha’s Time Revolution First Treatment Essence (available on Cocomo) and pat it into your face and neck area after your toner. For best results, use it together with the Time Revolution Night Repair science activator — this duo promises to rejuvenate, brighten and leave your skin looking healthy and glowy!
7. COSRX: Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
For newbies to the K beauty world, you might want to start with COSRX Korean skin care products for they’re both affordable and effective — all we really need for our skin!
Our skin is naturally mildly acidic at a pH of 5.5 and to maintain this acidic mantle, we should use a cleanser as close to our skin’s natural pH as possible. The Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser (available on Wishtrend.) has a pH of 5-6, is gentle on our skin and also contains BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) the oil-soluble ingredient that cleans out dirt and sebum from our pores — especially those nasty whiteheads and blackheads!
8. dear, Klairs: Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
This cruelty-free Korean skin care brand has caught the attention of many beauty junkies around the world. With its fuss-free packaging and use of only the most necessary ingredients, this K beauty brand has proven that less is more, especially when it comes to our skin care!
If you’re looking to get on the Vitamin C skin care bandwagon, then opt for dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, a rich serum concentrate with 5% Vitamin C. Massage this into your skin after you’ve applied your essence (or toner) and you’ll notice a reduction in dark spots, tightening of pores and brightening of your skin, leaving you looking radiant, younger and fresher — need we say more?
9. Banila Co. : Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
Koreans swear by double cleansing to keep their skin in top-notch condition. They believe face washing should involve two steps; first using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based one. The former draws out oil-based impurities like sebum, sunscreen and makeup while the water-based cleansers tackle sweat and dirt.
Banila Co’s famed, Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm (available on roseroseshop.kr) sorbet-like textured oil-based balm is an all-in-one cleansing balm that removes makeup and other pore-clogging impurities. Massage it into your face in circular motions before rinsing off with lukewarm water!
K beauty does not just stop at Korean skin care. Check out the essential Korean bangs trends you need to try — we teach you how to style them as well! Already on the K beauty trend? Then check out the craze of the Saholea shampoo and try this fast-growing cult favourite shampoo now!