I have become more meticulous in my skin care routine as I got older. I used when I was 12 to apply my mom’s Pond’s cream all over my face and call it a day but now at 29 I use products like Rose Toner , moisturizing serums and whipped butter with argan oil for the face. (I’m chic, I know.) My beauty collection has grown significantly, especially when it comes to amassing K-beauty skincare products for sensitive skin. (I have very dry skin, can’t stand overly scented lotions or wipes, and I’m prone to hormonal surges.) I’ve found that K-beauty items, on the whole, are less likely to ‘irritate my face and body than other non-Asian brands.
You’ll find cult Seoul labels like Innisfree and Dr. Jart in my bathroom cabinet to new favorites like Schwanen Garten. (I will also never go on vacation without packing my trusty COSRX pimple patches.) Over the years, I’ve assumed that K-beauty skincare formulations work best for me because, well, I’m Asian, but decided to dig a little deeper into why the products actually work. I spoke with Charlotte cho – beautician, author and founder of the K-beauty brand Soko Glam – who informed me.
“Because of yellow dust phenomenon which occurs in Korea and can often irritate the skin, Koreans identify with sensitive and dry skin, so many Korean beauty products are formulated to address these skin issues, âCho shares. âK-beauty provides excellent, innovative and traditional ingredients that work to soothe, calm and strengthen – to make the skin stronger. Asian Centella [an antioxidant-rich, medicinal herb], houttuynia cordata [a medicinal and edible herb], and lotus are all great examples of gentle but strengthening ingredients. [Meanwhile] antioxidants, like ginseng and licorice, fight inflammation, free radical damage, and dryness.
She adds that this approach to skin care ingredients is a little different from how the western world views it. âWestern skin care is [more] active centered. The actives are skin care ingredients like retinol, vitamin C and acids that are a bit more intense and can cause irritation, âshe says. Although many people use active products without any irritation, I personally have yet to find the right concoction. I mostly stick with intensive, moisturizing K-beauty skincare and anything labeled as ‘gentle’ or ‘sensitive’.
For those on the opposite of the dry spectrum – for example, you have oily but sensitive skin – Cho points out that there are plenty of K-beauty products available to meet those needs as well. âThis skin type requires softer, yet punchy classic Korean skin care ingredients like green tea, licorice root extract, and snail mucin,â she says. âBuilding and nourishing the skin barrier is key. “
If you have sensitive skin, it might be time to incorporate a K-beauty product or two that suit your needs. I’ve included a few of my favorite must-haves, along with several of Cho’s personal recommendations. Join me on the K-beauty train – I never get off.
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