*Sigh* Such a heavy subject, yet where to begin?
Korean Beauty is now such a sought after and respected market that, I feel as if it can no longer be considered a trend. A solid contender that has provided us Western 3 steppers with lengthy regimes; I opted to ditch my routine for the Eastern promise of quality and innovative products. Skepticism wasn’t the word when I opened a cleanser with instructions I couldn’t read. 5 months in and I’m shamelessly hooked.
And as hard as it can be at times to get my hands on the latest Seoul must haves, I somehow manage to do alright here on the tree lined outskirts of London. KBeauty is so addictive. Everything seems to come in colorful and cute packaging. Which at times can be deemed as offensive, as I live my life in monochrome. Don’t be put off by Panda eye patches and apple shaped containers though. This stuff works.
My friends give me the side eye when I start waffling on about skincare. They see it as my equivalent to their shoe/bag infatuations. Their comparison between skin and the Nike free runs they use to walk in dog shite, will forever baffle me. But I can reluctantly admit I go into nerd mode, using words and phrases that spur a puzzled reaction. But after dragging them on my trip to Korean beauty mecca (Flushing Main St in NYC), they had to thank me for the heads up…heffas lol
Possibly the only brown girls on the street, I gave zero f**ks. As my mission was made clear from the jump. Our excursion allowed me to fully load my bathroom arsenal with snail poop (the words of my 5 year old niece) and rice masks. And if Flushing is a little to much effort for you, there is always Sephora. From the moment you step in, to the cute travel sized stuff they have at checkout, (which as far as I’m concerned is a trap) you’re sucked in.
It’s safe to say that between Youtube and Google, there is enough out there on Korean beauty to make your ears and eyes bleed. What I can do is help you navigate through the basic Korean brands, and where to start.
Blogs/articles that helped me understand…
Top 4 Korean Bad Boys I Can’t Live Without:
1. Skinfood Black Sugar Mask: Possibly the first Korean skincare product I trialed. Mainly because I figured, how hard is it to mess up a scrub?? Turns out this over hyped mask is a beauty cabinet staple for so many K beauty fans, and I’m now on my third tub. Doubles up as a scrub and mask. Can’t complain.
2. Sheet Masks: These babies are a god send. There is however a marked difference in feel between the cheap hair shop ones and the branded ones by Face shop, Leaders My Beauty Diary etc. (Thanks Elly lol) So invest, invest, invest!! Remember… Not all sheet masks are made equal.
3. Mizon Snail All in One Repair Cream: The newest addition to my collection, this bad boy has made a marked difference to my skin after day 3. The texture feels smoother. A cream that promises to minimize blemishes..I’m yet to see these specific results. But a good start none the less.
4. Benton Snail Essence: I know the snail crap again. lol But listen, I ordered a small sample pack of all the Benton products and I’m pretty much sold on their Honest foam cleanser, steam cream and essence. Warning though, there has been some bad experiences documented by The Beauty Barre and others. Just double check the batch, date and smell of your essence when you receive it. Due to the 92% snail fermentation many have witnessed moulding.
Brands you should check out:
Son&Park, Missha, Nature Republic, Banila co, NEOGEN, Tony Moly, Innisfree.
Places in Flushing Main St you shouldn’t miss?
Skinfood, The FaceShop and Peach & Lily hands down. Skinfood and The Faceshop have stand alone stores, while Peach & Lily is located inside Macy’s. There are random beauty supply stores, but they don’t stock the well known brands.
Above: Peach & Lily / Below: Skinfood
I’m not from NYC. Where can I purchase Korean products?
And if your slightly far from any decently priced Korean stores, or unwilling to give Delta your hard earn cash for a flight to NYC, you can always purchase online from the following. Now that it’s trending, it’s admittedly a lot easier to find stuff. But still requires a bit detective work.
Wishtrend– A site that has a Youtube channel that I’ve watched to death. Currently have a free shipping items option. If you pick an item from this list, you get free shipping anywhere in the world.
Yesstyle – Similar to Amazon, they ship straight from Korea. I know some who have had a bad experience with their shipping, but I have never had an issue.
Ebay – Pointing out the obvious, but be cautious. Not all sellers are genuine. A lot of people I know order from Sing-Sing Girl. I’ve ordered from this Ebay store twice maybe three times and had great experiences. I also order from Iamlove-shop.
SokoGlam – ‘Soko Glam brings the best of Korean makeup and skin care, beauty trends, products, and innovations to a global audience’
Peach & Lily-Founded by Alicia Yoon, it’s a pretty good e-commerce site to purchase premium Korean brands like May Coop and Be the Skin. I haven’t yet tried to ship to the UK because I visited their actual store.
W2 Beauty– Another great option if you live in the UK. They ship to Europe as well as the US.
Cult Beauty- They have recently started stocking Mizon, my fav brand EVER. Priced a little higher due to shipping etc I’m sure. But hand to have when I can’t wait for my Ebay delivery.
Korean Kosmetics- Never used, but a UK alternative for those who want delivery to London etc.
DON’T sleep on the ingredients.
DO read reviews and do your research. Bottom line is I can’t read Korean. So I had to find out about ingredients on CosDNA. Or read up on other blogs, online editorials.
In all honesty, sometimes I get home and despair at the thought of the 30mins worth of steps… climb hastily into the bed without going through my Asian inspired rigmarole…
..And regret it the next day.