Some of the products featuring in this post were gifted by Yuuka House, but all views are my own.
It is no secret that I am very partial to a good Asian skincare product. My passion must be contagious because one of my most-read posts is the one I wrote on Japanese skincare must-buys. So today, I am taking you to another country, beautiful South Korea, known for its 10-steps-plus K-Beauty skincare routine, glass skin and many other mainstream trends.
I have had the chance to meet the lovely Poppy, founder of Yuuka House, a little while ago. We instantly clicked over our common interest (obsession?) in all things skincare and she offered me to try some of the products she was retailing or considering including on her online shop. Luckily, many were from South Korea which was great as I had not experimented with K-Beauty before.
So after months of testing here are the 8 skincare products I recommend you get if you have a trip planned to South Korea (if you do, know that I am very jealous) or on Poppy’s online shop!
1 – Sheet masks
Starting with the most famous K-beauty products – sheet masks. They are a classic for a reason! Koreans do sheet masks and they do them well. In desperate need of hydration or a vitamin boost before an event? Look no further.
A special mention goes to Helloskin Jumiso Whoa Whoa Soothing Mask, great if your skin needs a bit of TLC after a long week, and Dr Jart+ Dermask Ceramidin Facial Mask* when you need to pull out the big guns.
Special sustainability note – Poppy recently educated me on the impact of sheet masks on the environment. Did you know that most ingredients are non-biodegradable? Yuuka House has therefore since decided to discontinued all sheet masks. I thought it was worth mentioning it so we all become a bit more mindful when it comes to skincare consumption. Use sheet masks as a treat rather than a daily step!
2 – Toners
I am truly impressed by the quality of the Korean toners; there is one for everybody! In a lot of other cultures, a toner is considered to be good to have but not life-changing. At best it grabs the last bits of makeup off your face before applying a serum, at worst it makes no difference. In the Korean skincare routine, the use of a toner is very intentional and based on what I have tested so far, these actually do make a difference.
Manyo Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Repair Toner is a great hydrating toner and helps to add a light layer of moisture to your routine. If like me you are prone to breakouts Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA Toner* is incredible! Use it carefully though as it is strong which is why it does the job so well.
3 – Face cleansers
I haven’t tried many Korean cleansers so far, but the few I have were all pretty great. This Klairs Cleansing Oil* is indulgent, soothing and removes all traces of makeup! Not pictured here, but as efficient, is Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, the gel texture makes it perfect for a quick efficient wash.
4 – Hydrating serums and creams
I have put serums and creams in the same section on purpose. I haven’t tried that many (yet!) so for now these are together, but once I have new favourites I will update this post!
Skin hydration is a funny step for me. I have combination skin, this means that 90% of the time the products I use are too rich and make me shine bright like a diamond. 8% of the time they aren’t hydrating enough and make my skin feel tight, and the reminder 2% is pretty much a miracle to find.
Thankfully, K-beauty is coming to the rescue! I was terrified to try Dr.Jart Ceramidin Cream when Poppy handed me this mini tube, but after a few uses, I can say I am in love! I use it as a night cream as it does make my skin shine, but my god it is good! Each time I use it, I wake up with plump skin and no fine lines! Benton Cacao Moist and Mild Serum* is a real gem for people on the shinier side. Not oily at all, it adds a thin layer of hydration to the skin.
5 – Sunscreens
Another very obvious skincare product to get on a trip pretty much anywhere in Asia is sunscreen. What I loved about the K-Beauty sunscreens is the variety on offer. Where most Japanese SPF lotions are either gel or cream like, Korean brands are having fun and offer different textures for different skin types. The Missha Essence Sun Milk* is light and gives a velvety finish. Neogen Sunscreen* is hydrating and comforting. Finally, Banila Co Sunstick* is, well… a stick for your face. Think deodorant-like texture but with SPF. It is great to use on very warm days or for skins which need a more mattifying effect.
6 – Peels
I have only tried Mizon Peeling Gel so far (sorry couldn’t find any link for this one), but having found many similar products in Japan, I can imagine that there are plenty of excellent K-Beauty peels to try. Mizon’s one is great and gives you an almost instant baby-soft skin which lasts a couple of days.
7 – COSRX everything!
I am so obsessed with this brand that I gave it its own section! COSRX always does what it says on the tin (my experience so far). I am a huge fan of the Blackhead Power Liquid which I have been using for years (this must be my fourth bottle). Andrew has been testing the Two in One Poreless Power Liquid and it has made a difference to the appearance of his pores. Finally, the Clear Fit Master Patches* will make most pimples disappear within 48 hours.
8 – Dr.Jart everything!
Although it is very famous, Poppy introduce me to the brand only a few months ago and I am already obsessed! I can imagine the Dr.Jart Ceramidin Cream will easily become a staple on my top shelf and I cannot wait to use more of their products.
So here are my 8 Korean skincare must-buys which hopefully will inspire you to change your beauty routine a bit. And if you have a trip to South Korea planned 1) I am still jealous and 2) you know what to bring back to your mother, sister, boyfriend, best mate or just as a treat to yourself!
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