If you’re already a K-Beauty pro then you’re probably already au fait with Ampoules, armed with Essences and you’ll have a ten-step skincare regime in place that would be the envy of every beauty blogger in South Korea. If you’ve yet to dip your toe into the powerful yet playful world of K-Beauty, you probably don’t quite know where to begin. After all, you’ve heard the whispers of the glass-like skin and lit-from-within glows that hail from K-Beauty’s innovative, effective and unique formulas – but you’ve probably also felt pretty bamboozled by all the talk of regimes, snail slime and sleep packs. Well, we’re here to demystify the wonderful world of K-Beauty – because trust us, once we explain what makes it such a unique concept, you’ll want in….
So, here’s the facts:
Healthy skin is the holy grail of Korean beauty
Skincare is seriously important to Koreans – far more so than make-up. That’s why K-Beauty brands focus on creating and maintaining healthy skin, and preventing skin issues before they arise. Makeup is regarded as a temporary fix, so skincare is seen as the core of K-Beauty.
Ten-step skincare regimes are standard
An average K-Beauty skincare regime can include ten steps – or even more – and is designed to achieve maximum luminosity. This is probably the area of K-Beauty that has left us Westerners most exasperated, but no-one can deny the effectiveness of this intriguing regime – or indeed the beautiful, un-rushed ritual-like nature of it. A typical night-time regime will usually start with a double cleanse and removal of eye make-up; an exfoliation and toning step will come next; and then what follows is layer upon layer of prescriptive ‘essence’ (a type of serum) highly focused treatments; a sheet mask, eye cream and finally a ‘sleep pack.’
South Korea is the home of beauty innovation
If you’re wondering how South Korea came to be the mecca of the beauty world, this is how: take Korea's fast-paced culture, together with their hunger for social media sensations and what do you get? A constant demand for new, exciting and innovative products, that’s what. Korean brands have to constantly innovate, create and excite, so they are dreaming up new products, all the time, and putting them on the market within just a few months.
Unusual ingredients are K-ey
Koreans place a sophisticated demand on their beauty brands: they want the most powerful, yet gentle ingredients, possible. Cue unique formulas emerging, that are known as much for their effectiveness as they are for their rather unusual ingredients. Egg, for example, features heavily. You’re used to topping your avo-toast with them, but you’re probably less au fait with slathering eggs on your face. However many South Korean products contain egg – specifically egg white and eggshell membrane, which are potent sources of skin-strengthening, pore-refining and anti-inflammatory amino acids, nutrients and growth factors. What’s possibly even harder to stomach is snail – but we guarantee you’ll no longer be turning your nose up at snail extract once you’ve witnessed how flawless, repaired and protected this hyaluronic acid-rich substance can leave your skin.
K-Beauty is affordable
Korean consumers are seriously savvy and so to survive in the competitive market that is K-Beauty, K-Brands have to stay at the top of their game. They also need to be affordable. Korea’s tough competition between brands helps keep the price of products down - but without compromising their effectiveness.
Kitsch packaging is the norm – but don’t be fooled
Playful packaging and quirky bottles are probably the reason why K-Beauty was kept to the confines of teenage bedrooms for years before it entered the consciousness of beauty editors. Many K-brands have now turned ultra sophis, shunning fun packaging for something more serious, but those that haven’t – such as Corpore Sanctum* – are proof that even behind playful packaging, can lie a skincare product that means business.
K-Beauty may now be more mainstream than ever before, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s any less niche. Clever, quirky and always ahead of the game, K-Beauty truly is the beating heart of beauty innovation. And let’s face it, anything that gives us skin that luminous, gets a big fat hell yes from us.
*This limited edition box is now sold out, but you can buy the products on the Corpore Sanctum website here.