By Diane Small
Born and raised in Seoul and still radiant after having 4 kids, Vicky Lee is frequently asked about her beauty routine and lifestyle and what she does to achieve such a youthful appearance. Deciding to ditch the day job running a software company in Silicon Valley, Vicky now spends her time providing expert comment and advice to women on a global scale, detailing her Korean beauty secrets through Sorabelle.com and showing just why Korea is one of the top countries in the world for beauty.
As any beauty addict knows, Korean products have taken the world by storm recently. The secret of their success? A mix of the latest technological advances and ancient wisdom used to optimise skin’s appearance and help us achieve that coveted natural look we all so desire.
Always at the forefront of skincare innovation, the Korean philosophy focuses on natural ingredients, like bamboo and ginseng, which have been used for centuries in traditional oriental medicine. The Koreans think of cosmetics as nourishing foods for the skin, so there is also a strong emphasis on quality. Only the very best botanical extracts from fruits, flowers, and roots can make the cut into their precise cosmetic formulations.
Here, Vicky shares with Eluxe her favourite natural Korean beauty products and shares a few beauty tips, too!
1. VANT 36.5 The Primer Sun Cushion SPF50
One brand that exemplifies this philosophy is Vant 36.5. Adored by Korean celebrities, this environmentally-friendly brand is renowned for its great base products. Several Whole Foods Markets in New York City and New Jersey are now offering VANT 36.5 along with other K- Beauty brands as their products are formulated only with the best quality all natural, non-GMO ingredients. A high SPF is essential to anyone who wishes to protect their skin from the signs of aging, and this one, with a factor of 50, does the job well!
2. Donginbi Red Ginseng Daily Aging Preparation Essence
Red ginseng, which is often found only in luxury Korean skincare products is known as the most beneficial and high-end natural Korean extracts. Commonly referred to in Korea as the “treasure from the Orient”, red ginseng is highly regarded for its collagen-boosting and skin-firming properties which help to prevent premature aging. Although ginseng is cultivated in various parts of the world, the quality of Korean red ginseng has yet to be surpassed. This is because of the very specific soil conditions on the Pacific peninsula of Korea which allow Korean ginseng to produce more than twice the amount of saponin content- the healthy component that gives the extract its powerful anti-aging properties.
My absolute favourite red ginseng product is the luxurious Donginbi Red Ginseng Daily Aging Preparation Essence, a high-end treatment that uses the roots of 6 year old ginseng plants. This product is effective as the older the plant is, the more concentrated and thus powerful the saponin content in the roots. This essence does not come cheap, but is a worthwhile investment considering its effective results.
3. SU:M37 Full Energy Supply Eye Cream
The very latest trend in organic Korean beauty is fermentation. It is a process that minimises nutrients and divides them into smaller particles that can be better absorbed by the skin. Fermented ingredients help fight against the signs of premature aging while hydrating and nourishing skin. The fermentation of ingredients also helps to remove harmful bacteria, which makes fermented products, like the SU:M37 Full Energy Supply Eye Cream, suitable for even the most sensitive of skin types.
4. BELIF: The True Cream – Moisturizing Bomb
Another brand that’s great for natural ingredients is Belif, who refuses to use any artificial fragrances and dyes in their products. The True Cream Aqua Bomb, which contains raspberries and oats, has quickly achieved a cult following for its gel-like texture that deeply cools and hydrates skin without leaving an annoying greasy residue behind.
5. Innisfree Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
Established in 2000, Innisfree calls itself Korea’s first natural cosmetics brand, and many of its ingredients are inspired by the natural beauty and resources of Jeju Island like volcanic clay or green tea. Though many of the brand’s flagship products use ingredients sourced from Jeju, like green tea grown on an organic farm, not all of them are vegan, so make sure you check the labels if that’s important to you.
6. Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum
Aromatica is, in many ways, the gold standard for Korean organic and all-natural skincare products. In no small part because it is extremely transparent about its manufacturing practices, even posting proof of its ECOCERT certification on its website. As it explains on site, aromatica is also the only Korean brand to “earn EWG’s Skin-deep Champion Status, an accolade awarded to toxin-free beauty brands.” Many of Aromatica’s products are vegan, and those that are will be clearly marked as such on the website.
7. VANT Pearl Bright CC Cream
I should also mention here that another of my favourite VANT products is their Pearl Bright CC Cream. It’s a multi-tasking product that uses a blend of natural extracts to cover, hydrate, moisturize and protect the skin. It’s comprised of bamboo and green tea to fight premature wrinkles and soothe skin, houttunya, canola and prickly pear cactus to deeply infuse skin with a burst of moisture, while pearl and tangerine help to give skin a radiant glow.
You don’t have to give up on your all-natural skincare and beauty routine to enjoy Korean beauty products, especially if you know which brands to look out for. If the success of these brands is any indication, we’re probably going to see more all-natural Korean beauty products on shelves soon.