Most, if not all, of us are slightly obsessed over beauty products used and fabricated by the Koreans but can you blame us? We want their enviable crystal-clear complexion. Just take a look at Song Hye Kyo, not only does she sport a radiant and even complexion, she even looks exactly the same as she did 10 years ago.
In an effort to gain that same glow, we turn to K-beauty brands. Their skincare are known for using natural and unique ingredients (read: snail mask) that are gentle on our skin and when combined with cutting-edge skincare technology (like Laneige’s emollient Water Sleeping Pack), we’re sold.
Though we are well-acquainted with mega K-beauty brands like Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Dr. Jart+ and more, there are a whole slew of lesser known K-beauty brands out there that are thoroughly nourishing for our Asian skin. Want in on them? We’ve hand-picked 10 of them for your perusal, you’re welcome.
23 Years Old aims at providing revitalising skincare that freshens up the skin. So, you can expect most of their products to be lightweight in nature. The star product we’d recommend is a 2-step hydration mask, the Aqua Bab Modelling Mask.
Formulated to treat and prevent dehydration of the skin, the gel-like texture is easily absorbed, forming a veil to really lock in moisture. Bonus: It promises to help protect the skin against any environmental aggressors. Don’t forget to apply on sunscreen before you head out.
23 Years Old Aqua Bab Modelling Mask, $23.96 from Lazada
First off, we love the minimalist packaging, so simple yet sleek. Abib, derived from the word ‘grain’, focuses on skincare that helps restore the skin to it’s natural state. This in turn strengthens the skin against daily pollution and helps slow down the aging process through the antioxidant-heavy formula.
Do try out their Hydration Gel, which is free of paraben, benzophenone, artificial colourants, sulfate surfactants, mineral oil and aromatics. Meaning to say, it is extra gentle, making it suitable for everyone, even those with extremely sensitive skin. The gel cream promises to rejuvenate any dull and tired skin through its intensely hydrating oils (shea butter, macadamia and coconut), simultaneously improving the complexion with vegetable collagen (mushroom) that is said to activate immune functions.
Abib Hydration Gel, $39
A famed beauty brand in Korea, Hera’s lipstick was worn by Jun Ji-Hyun in hot K-drama The Legend Of The Blue Sea. Hera’s skincare products are formulated to help skin cells regenerate faster, leaving you with strengthened and a more radiant complexion.
Try their Signia range, especially the serum. It contains narcissus stem cells, which is said to prevent sun damage by slowing down the production of melanin in the skin. Other than that, it promises to help improve the skin firmness by encouraging skin cell growth.
Hera Signia Serum, $235.90
Why GD11? Simply because it is named after the growth differentiation factor of 11, a protein that is said to help in tackling signs of aging, age spots and fine lines. Like Hera, it includes stem cells in their skincare products but these cells are derived from an umbilical cord instead of a plant. Not to worry, GD11 has partnered with Kangnam Biotech Co. to expertly extract these stem cells, which helps in promoting collagen growth, ultimately improving the elasticity of your skin.
Try the Stem Cell EXS Intensive Ampoule that is said to deliver intense hydration while boosting the complexion with its rich oils and nutrients. Other than stem cells, the ampoule contains marine extracts that promises to facilitate the absorption of active ingredients into the skin. So if wrinkles are your concern, we think this might be your solution.
GD11 Stem Cell EXS Intensive Aura Ampoule, $108.43
Soothing and all natural, Earth’s Recipe focuses on skincare that helps to plump up the skin (the effect of which reminds us somewhat of Cle De Peau’s la creme) without any invasive methods.
Like this Moisture Bound Cream, it is said to mimic the look of dermal fillers by ‘filling’ up lines with natural ingredients that are known to retain water. Lightweight and safe, this cream is comforting on the skin and is intensively hydrating, all thanks the high concentration of snow mushrooms (it can hold 500 times its weight in water!). Bonus: It promises to brighten your complexion too.
Earth’s Recipe Moisture Bound Cream, $48
How adorable is the packaging? It reminds us of a milk carton and with good reasons – the brand wants to reinforce that by using the cream, you’ll have skin as fair as milk.
Formulated with milk extracts and anti-city-pollution ingredients, G9 combines nine different natural plant extracts such as green tea, chia seeds and more, and is said to protect and whiten the skin. We love the soft whipped mousse texture, making it such a joy to apply it on. Upon first application, it is said to instantly blur pores and brighten up the complexion.
G9Skin, White in Whipping Cream, $24
Known for its range of nourishing masks, Jayjun carries a comprehensive arsenal of beauty products that targets different skincare problems. To start off, try their Multi-vita Tone Up Mask that contains Vitamin C, E, B3, B5 and B6, all of which promise to turn your dull skin into a more radiant and brighter one.
Made from highly adhesive cupro fabric sheets, the mask holds moisture in for a long time, allowing for a more efficient absorption of nutrients.
Jayjun Multi-vita Tone Up Mask, $24.03
Charcoal masks are still trending now, perhaps due to the active charcoal component being extra purifying, hence rendering it the star ingredient in skincare products.
Founded in 1986, this long-standing K-beauty line is known for its charcoal and pore masks. Other than promising to remove all excess sebum with its pine needles extract, the mask hydrates quite well, leaving your countenance rather refreshed.
Nesura Perfect Clear Charcoal Pack, $24
Focusing on providing solutions to skin problems, SkinRx Lab promises to shield the skin from pollution by strengthening it. Using premium raw materials The MadeCera line is THE range to try.
The MadeCera cream might seem a little thick in texture but when massaged onto the skin gently, it melts into your skin rather easily. It contains naturally fermented ceramide and madecassoside (tiger grass extract), an ancient herbal remedy that complements the ceramide to help restore damaged skin. If possible, just slather on some sunscreen and you’re good to go. In the event that you have to use a foundation no matter what, we suggest choosing a lightweight one so that your skin can breathe.
SkinRx Lab MadeCera Cream, $35.33
So, here’s the snail cream you might just be waiting for. Inspired by dewdrops condensing on tree leaves, Dewytree’s skincare is said to deliver crystal-clear skin. Made with snail mucus that contains resilience care components such as betaine and adenosine, this Ultra Vitalising Snail Cream from Dewytree promises to increase the elasticity of your skin.
While snail mucus might sound pretty repulsive, it is packed with peptides, hyaluronic acid and proteins. All of which are essential in cell regeneration and retaining an optimum moisture level in the skin. When used religiously, it promises to smoothen out your complexion, leaving you with healthy-looking skin that glows.
Dewytree Ultra Vitalising Snail Cream, $43.57