Korean beauty has become the leading force in the makeup and skincare market for the last two years, and it is still going strong! Their innovative formulas and focus on multipurpose products is what makes it so forward thinking. Skincare and makeup is intertwined far more than the western counterparts, so in every way it is the beauty movement of the future. Here are the best 20 tricks we learned from K Beauty!
#1 Double Cleanse
Banila Co Clean It Zero (€12) is one of the leading oil based cleansers which will break down any makeup on your face gently, so you don’t have to tug at your face at all. The solid balm won’t strip your skin from natural oils but replenish, brighten and exfoliate it with vitamin c and papaya extract. Follow with a foaming cleanser to ensure skin has all bacteria and makeup off. The Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser (€15) is a nifty alternative.
#2 Hydrating Gentle Toners
Many western toners are designed to attack the oils on our skin and can be overly harsh for most of us. In contrast, K Beauty targets moisture levels in the skin with their toners, gently adding as much as possible. The Etude House Moistfull Collagen Facial Toner (€9) improves collagen production with its jelly like formula.
Essence only arrived last year on Western shores but it has long been a staple of Asian skincare regimes. Used after a toner, it’s supposed to target skin issues on a cellular level, such as wrinkles and imperfections. The concentrated formula means it’s potent but still gentle for everyday use. The Missha Time Revolution (€28) essence is one of the favourites from cult K Beauty followers!
#4 Ampoules and Serums
Another one of the 10-step skincare process Koreans undergo to keep their skin baby soft and mark-free, is using an ampoule, serum or booster. Ampoules are more frequently lumped in under the term ‘serum’ here but they are in fact more of a concentrated essence oil. Skinfood Yuja Water (€35) is great for brightening the complexion and fading scars or dark marks!
#5 Sheet Mask
Okay, this is both entertaining and really good for your skin! Using sheet masks means you get highly concentrated formulas in just the right amount per use. Twice a week is enough, similar to exfoliation. As your face is covered, the skin is forced to absorb the contents more, before the serum in it evaporates. ASOS now stocks great brands, with mask sets from €8. Amazon also has a swarm of K Beauty sheet masks at the Korean market prices.
#6 Blur Skin Trend
In an age when every imperfection you have can be seen in HD and zoomed in on photos, Koreans decided they needed to find a way to be kind to our skin and ourselves, once and for all. Hence, skin blurring products that give light coverage but give a blurring effect. The Etude House Face Blur (€15) is a particularly effective primer.
#7 Cushion Foundation
This has been one of the most adapted trends in the past two years! Cushion foundations ideally give medium coverage whilst still being lightweight. They’re also meant to be a blend of makeup and skincare, hydrating the skin and providing nutrients, just with added coverage and sometimes oil control. The Missha Signature Essence Cushion (€30) gives luminosity, coverage and SPF!
#8 Peel Off Brow Trend
The Etude House Tint My Brows Gel (€10.40) is by far one of the most innovative products the Korean market has come out with! This gel pigments the brows for days on end, all you have to do is apply to suit your brow shape, wait two hours at least and then peel off! A full set of brows are left behind.
#9 Snail Mucus Skincare
This will take a bit of getting used to…but remember it’s all in the name of beauty. Snail mucus supports cell regeneration and deep hydration to increase skin firmness. It’s also known to be a healing agent, so those with problematic or sensitive skin would particularly benefit. Check out the Missha Cell Renew Snail Cream (€42.60).
#10 Pimple Patches
K Beauty really covers every skin issue conceivable, so problematic acne skin is addressed just as well as luminosity. For women, it can be difficult to tackle the spot if you also want to wear makeup, as most topical spot treatments will break up foundation. Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch (€9.20) are designed to lay right over the head of the spot and give a hygienic seal!
#11 BB and CC Cream
Korea is where BB and CC cream hails from originally, and it’s now one of the best breakthroughs on the Western market so far. They’re meant to be a mix of skincare and makeup, just like the cushion foundations. The CC creams colour correct whereas BB gives light coverage, moisture and vitamins. They often contain innovative and natural based ingredients, look to Skinfood Mushroom Multi-Care BB Cream SPF20 PA+ (€8.42) for a try.
#12 Mineral Powder SPF
Even when we aren’t under a scorching sun, we need coverage from UVA/UVB rays at all times outdoors. The Catrin Natural 100 Mineral Sun Kill SPF42 PA++ (€16) is ideal for oily skin as the powder sits on top of our base makeup and protects us. This form of mineral SPF makes reapplication during the day so easy when you’re wearing makeup!
#13 Dewy, Highlighted Skin Trend
Koreans crave that dewy, illuminated skin look, which really has become the preference over matte across the world now as a result of their global beauty expansion. The 3 Concept Eyes Shimmer Stick (€12.66) will highlight the high points of the face, while their Back To Baby Glow Beam (€17.26) is more of a subtle illuminating primer.
#14 Jade Roller
This is traditionally from China, but has been popularised in the west due to the K Beauty trend that has taken over the market! It gently massages the face, cools you down and tones the skin.
#15 Blurred Lip Stain
To go along with the ethereal look K Beauty favours, lip stains have increased dramatically in popularity over lipsticks. The Tony Moly Delight Tony Tint (3 set, €15.95) are a lip stain collection that have rich pigmentation and as a set they’re very affordable! The idea is to dab it in the middle of the lips and blend out for a blurred, gradient colour that gives the just-bitten look.
#16 Cushion Blush
Sensing a major trend yet? Cushion foundations and blushes, gradient lips…everything really is a form of blurring to keep you looking like an amped up version of yourself, instead of obvious and stark makeup. The Peripera Ah! Much Real My Cushion Blusher (€17.25) will give you a light, bright flush with its sponge applicator. So cute!
#17 Perfume Bars
The cutesie packaging may look like something designed for a kid, but that’s part of the fun! It’s great for on-the-go touch ups if you want your scent to last! Why not stock up on these Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Perfume Bar (€9.22).
#18 Skincare Meets Makeup
This is another recurring theme! Skincare merging with makeup is everything we could want when it comes to time saving and having lightweight, effective products. Son & Park Glow Ring Foundation (€35) controls sebum and also moisturises with the core made up of essence with the surrounding foundation providing coverage from open pores and uneven skin.
#19 Eye Gel Mask
Keep in mind, the skin around your eyes is even more sensitive and thin than anywhere else on the face or body, so you should treat it as delicately. Just as you can try out sheet masks for the entire face, you can try patch masks to cover and soothe the eyes. Sheet masks force the skin to absorb the product due to the coverage, whereas the eye patches seal in moisture too. The Gold Hydrogel Eye Patches (€9.32) by Petitfee are a luxurious way to treat the eyes.
#20 Cleansing Stick
The Koreans really put an emphasis on products that are compartmental and travel-friendly, such as the Neogen Real Fresh Green Tea Cleansing Stick (€20.83). The stick is multipurpose as well, which is another popular feature in K beauty, so you can use it to remove makeup with its oils, cleanse with its low PH and exfoliate with the natural green tea leaves.