I can’t think of another city that churns out new beauty products as quickly as Seoul does. I’m back every 2-3 months to search for the newest and best beauty products this city has to offer, and each time I’m amazed.
Cushion compacts that come without oil or stickiness, liquid foundations that turn into powder, lip tints that are jelly-like for maximum dewiness, gel oils that seal in skincare products to use before makeup primers, a moisturizing balm for the face that has a shimmer highlighter embedded in the middle for dual functionality, and the list goes on.
We’ll get to the exciting new items in a subsequent blog entry, but before that, I wanted to focus on some of the more classic trends - or timeless beauty needs, rather - that serve as the pillars for the more seasonal trends.
These timeless beauty currents drive beauty innovation as brands strive to meet these age-old beauty concerns through better formulations, ingredients and technology.
Here are the top 3 classic “trends” that aren’t going anywhere that Korean women still strive to attain in near-perfect measures: 1) Perfectly hydrated, 2) Perfectly clean, 3) Perfectly natural.
1) Perfectly hydrated: Cosmo Beauty, which is Cosmopolitan Korea’s dedicated beauty magazine, had 8 full glossy pages to tips on how to stay hydrated this past month. There are these lunchtime procedures where you can get these shots of radiance that lasts for about a month - they’re essentially little water bombs that ensure enough hydration is in the dermis so that your skin literally glows from the inside out. For every brand that I interview, guess which skincare line typically sells the most? The hydration line. This city is absolutely obsessed with perfectly hydrated skin and perfect moisture balance. And rightfully so. When it comes down to it, if your skin isn’t well hydrated, everything goes wrong: aging is accelerated, skin structure weakens, you’re more prone to bacterial infections (acne), your serums aren’t absorbed as easily, and makeup doesn’t apply well.
What does all this mean product innovation-wise? Every season, each brand launches new products that are truly outstanding at keeping skin uber-hydrated without all the things consumers complain about: greasiness, filminess, heaviness, and oiliness. Seoul’s beauty shelves is hydration-heaven filled with toners, serums, masks, even cosmetics that keep skin well moisturized. And we curated some of the most recent best of the best for you…stay tuned!
Pages and pages of moisturizing tips. Love this hydration-obsession.
2) Perfectly clean: This city is also obsessed with keeping the skin clean. Not just a little clean, but perfectly clean. Here in Seoul, clean doesn’t mean stripping the skin of all nutrients and hydration and harshly exfoliating. What clean means is making sure all makeup is gently removed and then the skin is kept clean each day all the way down to the pores. What does this mean? Excitingly, brands have perfected the art of cleaning the face. The products that they’ve developed will melt off waterproof makeup ever-so-gently and this happens with the most gentle and creative formulations. Foaming cleansers have micro-foam, foam that bubbles up, foam that heats up, you name it, all so that the cleanser reaches deep into every nook and cranny of every pore to stay ahead of acne, clogged pores and infections leading to blemishes.
3) Perfectly natural: The no-makeup makeup look is still all the rage. What does this mean? BB Creams, CC Creams, Cushion Compacts, foundations and primers all need to cover blemishes and still look impossible natural and feather-light. Mascaras need to do the impossible: lengthen and create volume without any clumps or mess. Lips need to have pops of color without looking overdone. Blush can’t streak or cake and needs to look like a natural glow that blends perfectly into the rest of the face. Eyeliners need to line extremely precisely for natural-looking tight-lining close to the lids.
One of my favorite pitstops for beauty-hunting: the Clio flagship store in Myeongdong
And for you Sua Young fans out there, here’s their latest cult sensation: a mineral foundation that will launch soon on our site. Peach and Lily vetted, focus-group tested and approved! Stay tuned, folks, this one’s going to be exciting.
As promised in our email, we’re also giving away a K-beauty bag filled with our latest curated products to those who invite 3 friends using their unique referral code by August 19th, 11:59pm. Sign up and start referring your friends to win this bag!
1. Sua Young just launched an incredible mineral-based foundation that feels super light, looks natural and yet has great coverage. We’re loving this new product that they’ve debuted after 2 years of product development. Thank you to their great team for this awesome staple item.
2. Too Cool for School Skinny Body Soda cools and tingles as it bubbles up on skin to stimulate circulation thereby attacking cellulite and stubborn fatty areas.
3. Too Cool for School Pointage Nail Art is a kit of 3 nail colors - white, a beautiful bold blue, and a glittery silver - that also comes with a tool to help with nail art. Best part? The polish dries in 45 seconds flat.
4. Aromatica Damask Rose Soothing Gel is all-natural and aloe vera infused. Super hydrating and soothing and smells so romantic on without being overwhelming. We see why this has become a bestseller.
5. Nature Republic Aloe Vera. An oldie but a goodie. With all the sun exposure as summer is wrapping up, this classic bestseller will be a skin-saver and soother, we’re sure.
6. Mizon Peptide Cream. We’re so excited for their new launch to go with their luxe peptide serum. Uber high-quality peptides in cream form that absorbs very well. Paired with the peptide serum, this duo helps combat wrinkles and fights aging with the best of them.
7. Mizon Correct Combo Lip Gloss. Mizon does it again and launches a whole new product line in just a season. Mizon’s new color line is making a huge splash in Korea. This lip gloss is well loved for the beautiful pigment without drying out the lips. A gorgeous shine and dewiness that leaves lips alluring all day.
8. Mizon Jelly Shadow. A bouncy shadow that does’t cake or flake or create creases along the eyelids. Beautiful natural shade that works well in the AM and the PM. Shadow with a bit of hydration to keep the lids healthy and fresh-looking.
9. Mizon Hydra Tox Water Volume Mask. A mask a day keeps the wrinkles away - and this mask meets your very basic skincare needs (yes, hydration) with flying colors. Parched skin is soaked with water that seeps deep into the skin leaving it supple and radiant.
And stay tuned for more product picks from our latest beauty-hunt in Seoul!