Originally published on Medium on January 1, 2018.
Last fall I backpacked solo for 2 weeks in South Korea. After exploring the stunning country side and temples I decided to spend some time perusing the beauty innovation landscape in Seoul to become a K-Beauty “expert”. Here's what I discovered:
It is used for improving skin appearance. Bee venom and its major component, melittin, have been used in Asia as an anti-inflammatory medicine for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Edible bird’s nest are made of solidified saliva of Asian swiftlets. I heard about bird’s nest soup being a delicacy in Chinese cuisine for its function to improve health specifically for the skin. Several studies have found that it may enhance cell proliferation and differentiation. I was not too surprised to find it as a beauty product!
It’s no big news that snail is now a big thing in skincare. Snail secretion has been used for centuries to treat various skin conditions and the mechanism of action is being investigated. It was also shown to help to reduce wrinkles on photo damaged skin.
I think what surprised me the most is that the jewelry brand Agatha I used to shop at in Paris as a teenager has become a skincare line in Korea!
These products contains apparently an enzyme like albumin isolated from the egg that could help fighting pores… However I could not find more information about it besides that egg will form a thin tight film on your skin surface.
Yes you heard me, Dragon blood mask and it was not even Halloween! Well actually it is from a Peruvian tree named Dragon Blood that has a bright red resin.
Surprising product designs
I had no idea this existed. It is made to refresh the hair. I tried to use it as a dry shampoo but it did not really work for me… I should learn how to use it properly!
A mask instead of a sauna session for the skin! The concept definitely seems interesting as regular sauna use has a protective effect on skin physiology and hydration capacity.
Blackhead silicon remover
I am a big fan of devices which help to maintain a proper skin health as they require no ingredients for application and just a gentle mechanical action. Also these finger tips are super cute!
Blackhead swab and patch removers
They also sell many peeling swab kits. Frankly, anti-acne and blackhead goods are a really big market in Korea according to the number of products they sell in this category.
Anti-aging smile line mask
We are all familiar with under eye patches and facial masks but now you can even target your smile area. :)
This type of mask is suppose to stimulate the delivery of actives into the skin with a cooling effect. It is even sold by Dr. Jart+ in a smoothie container for the preparation!
I was glad that Innisfree took the initiative to promote sustainable solutions with this SPF cream. “Less plastic it’s fantastic!”
As a strong advocate for minimalist and sustainable skincare routine, it was difficult for me to consider trying most of these innovations; but I enjoyed them very much on display and in beautiful stores ;) Very curious to see what 2018 will bring!
Written by Elsa Jungman, Ph.D.