When it comes to skincare, Korean beauty has been a hot topic for a minute now. Characterised by its innovative formulas and unconventional ingredients, such as snail mucin and bee venom, Korean beauty is said to be 10 to 12 years’ ahead of its time — and its seems the rest of the world is only now starting to catch up. Thanks to the likes of Insta-stores and K-beauty-endorsing fashion and beauty influencers, Korean skincare has taken a stronghold in South Africa too. Ever-changing and inventive, these are the top Korean beauty trends we’re loving at the moment.
Veteran K-beauty followers will be familiar with the term ‘glass skin’. This trend has been going strong for a few years now and characterises the essence of what a Korean skincare routine sets out to achieve — glossy, dewy and hydrated skin. However, in K-beauty standards, this translates to the skin looking poreless and luminous; almost translucent in nature — just like glass. This look is achieved when the skin is well nourished, hydrated, balanced and firm. However, glass skin is not the result of a 5-minute regimen. It takes consistency and commitment to a multi-dimensional skincare routine that’s made up of a double cleanser (one oily and one foamy), a toner, serum, exfoliator and hydrating moisturiser. According to K-beauty expert Jude Chao, hydration lies at the core of glass skin, thus using watery products with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerine are a must. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body and its main function is to retain water and keep tissues well lubricated and moist. Getting the hang of a full-scale glass skin routine may be a tricky, but with a little practice it's totally achievable. For a step-by-step guide on how to achieve clear, lit-from-within-looking skin, check out this YouTube tutorial by beauty vlogger Maya Lee, here.
Try: ISNTREE Hyaluronic Acid Toner, R215, glowtheory.co.za
2. Modelling Masks
While sheet masks have long been a staple in K-beauty circles, modelling or ‘rubber’ masks are their next generation, more potent cousin. A classic treatment used by aestheticians around the world due to the intense hydration it delivers, modelling masks come in powder form that transforms into a thick, gooey consistency when water is added. This is smeared all over the face and peeled off in one rubbery sheet once it dries. Modelling masks are packed with hydrating, calming and firming ingredients such as beeswax, ginger root and aloe lead extract. And, as the formula rubberises, the skin is tightened, which provides a temporary firming effect. The masks also stimulate collagen production and remove blackheads, leaving the skin feeling soft and supple.
Try: Lindsay Collagen Modelling Rubber Mask, R80, kbeauty.co.za
3.Scalp Care Routine
Koreans don’t stop at their 10-step skincare routine. In fact, a 5-step scalp care routine is becoming all the rage and has even picked up on SA shores. Set to promote growth and glossy hair, the routine includes exfoliating the scalp with a dry bristle brush to increase blood flow, cleansing the scalp with a gentle shampoo accompanied by a massage, using a hydrating conditioner and weekly sheet masks to revitalise dry and damaged hair, and applying an apple cider vinegar rinse for shiny and healthy tresses.
4. Anti-Pollution Protection Products
Environmental pollution and toxins are one of the biggest skin contaminants in Korea right now so it’s no surprise then that K-beauty is all about protecting the skin at all costs. Dust particles and harmful substances can easily damage our delicate skin barrier or get into our pores, causing, breakouts, redness and accelerated signs of ageing. Specialised anti-pollution and soothing products that help withdraw impurities, create a shield over the skin and provide anti-inflammatory benefits are an essential part of a Korean skincare regimen – meaning you should get on it too! One of the main ingredients is centella asiatica, known as “tiger grass”, which has soothing properties for irritated and inflamed skin, and is known as a natural remedy used by tigers to soothe their wounds.
Try: Laneige Anti-Pollution Finishing Pact; R380.93; beautytap.com
5. Eye Masks
From not getting enough sleep to not properly removing your makeup before bed, sometimes our under-eye areas require some extra TLC. Korean eye masks are specially formulated for the delicate skin beneath the eyes, eliminating puffiness and dark circles, tightening the under eye area and providing brightness and nourishment. The most effective eye masks contain Hydrogel for its deeply hydrating and cooling effect. Also look out for masks infused with green tea, snail mucin or ginseng for an even more intense pick-me-up.
Try: Bulgarian Rose Water Hydrogel Eye Patch; R285; glowtheory.co.za