QnA on Korean Beauty + Current Morning Skincare Routine
On Sunday I had a live Q&A on youtube where I also showed my real morning skincare routine in real time.
In case you missed the live, here’s what I talked about!
Plus, I’m happy to announce this month I’m partnering with Olive Young Global to offer you a 20% off discount until 8 September using my exclusive code UCD320. The code will work as long as one of my product picks is in the cart, my first pick was the Dr.G ‘s Green Mild Up Sun Plus I showed in during the live (I also have a dedicated video about it), the second product pick will be announced in two weeks.
Current morning skincare routine
First you should know that I have very dry and thin skin, prone to dehydration and premature aging. I also happen to have a very erratic lifestyle due to the nature of my job – I work as an art director for a beauty company and this requires me to spend long hours on production sets, which means some days I leave the house at 7AM and come back at 4AM.
I’m not a fan of elaborate skincare routines, both conceptually and because I simply don’t have time for them! This doesn’t mean that I like products with simple formulas… quite the opposite! If you’ve been following my videos for some time now, I’m sure you know that I’m all for elaborate products with hundreds of ingredients and outstanding sensoriality (texture, look, fragrance, product story etc). I like to think of myself as a maximalist minimalist.
My skincare routine is usually focused on: skin barrier support, antioxidants, rebalancing and strenghtening products with very rich and nourishing formulas.
That being said, at the beginning of this year I suffered from contact dermatitis caused by mask wearing, and my skin is still recovering at the moment. Last month I started to sense some keratin buildup under the surface of my skin so I decided to get extractions here in Korea. Since my skin’s defenses are still weak, I didn’t want to risk compromising my skin barrier with chemical exfoliants, so I figured extractions would be a ‘safer’ way around it. My current skincare routine is focused on soothing and regenerating products to stimulate skin recovery.
I know many people online seem to be strongly against the use of a face cleanser in the morning.
However, I invite you to watch this video by Dr.DTS (available with English subtitles), where the Korean dermatologist explains the benefits of a mild morning cleanse. Ultimately, it comes down to cleansing your skin enough to allow the following products in your routine to be absorbed better, without stripping your skin of its natural (and healthy!) oils.
My favourite morning cleanser used to be the sadly discontinued Pure Morning Gel Cleanser by Hanyul, however this year I found a great (and even better) replacement: the pH Cleansing Gel Foam by Dr.G.
It’s a mild gel cleanser formulated with 5 probiotic strains that are naturally found on the skin, so it cleanses skin without disrupting the skin’s natural environment. The biggest problem I have with mild cleansers, is that they’re usually ‘mild’ because of their poor cleansing power. The Dr.G’s pH Cleansing Gel Foam impressed me exactly for being a mild cleanser that does a great a job at cleansing the skin without stripping it. Love it!
Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, I fell in love with toner pads – products that I always overlooked before. The thing I like the most about them is the ability to target specific areas of my face, anytime, anywhere. Skin is sensitised after wearing a face mask all day? Toner pads on my cheeks! Woke up with a flaky spot? Toner pads on the spot! Think of them as mini sheet masks to use as an emergency treatment on-the-go.
I like to wear toner pads when I’m having breakfast (multitasking queen), my favourite pads are the Dr. G’s R.E.D Blemish Clear Soothing Pads, because they’re packed with anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients that allows them to banish redness like no other pads. Recently I decided to try out the famous Azulene Cica Rescue Gauze Pad by Dermatory to see what I was missing out and to be honest, I was not incredibly impressed. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad, but personally I find that they don’t stand a chance against Dr.G’s Soothings Pads. Dr.G’s pads are significantly more effective when it comes to reducing redness and they also adhere to the skin a lot better compared to the Dermatory’s Pads. The Dr.G’s Soothing Pads are really thin and smooth and they stick to the skin even when I’m having breakfast or talking to someone, the Dermatory pads instead are thicker gauze pads with less adhesion power. They’re OK, just not mind-blowing.
3) Soothing, Rebalancing and Repairing
I follow up with a skin barrier restoring essence / serum. I currently rotate two products in my morning routine: Dr.G’s R.E.D Blemish Clear Soothing Essence and Yunjac’s Whole Plant Effect Concentrate. They’re two products I already talked about on my channel.
The R.E.D Blemish Clear Soothing Essence has been my go-to soothing essence ever since I suffered from contact dermatitis at the beginning of the year, I find it the best anti-inflammatory and skin-barrier-repairing essence in Korean beauty and I’m on my third bottle only this year. If you’re curious about it, I talked about the essence in my video on 2021 Korean Beauty Trends.
The Whole Plant Concentrate by Yunjac is a phenomenal skin repairing serum, that combines classic remedies from Traditional Korean Medicine (Red Ginseng, Korean Angelica) with skin barrier supporting ingredients that are associated with Western Medicine (Squalane). I talked about it for the first time in my video on the traditional Korean approach to anti-aging and it quickly became one of my absolute favourite serums.
4) Sealing in hydration, supporting skin barrier
To seal in hydration and protect skin against external aggressions, I’m currently rotating two skin-barrier supporting creams. The first one is the A-Cica Stress Relif Cream-Essence by Aestura, which is a multi-functional lotion that strengthens the skin’s natural defenses thanks to a powerful combination of barrier-restoring ingredients like Squalane, Panthenol and Allantoin, and also relieves any potential redness, sensitivity or irritation thanks to a Cica Complex (Madecassoside, Asia, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid) and Beta Glucan. It’s a non-sticky lotion designed to be used as a standalone product for people with damaged skin barriers that need to minimise their skincare routine. For this reason, if you’re planning to layer it on top of other products like I do, I recommend you to make sure the previous product is absorbed completely before applying the Aestura’s Cream-Essence, otherwise the formula has a tendency to pill.
The second product I have on rotation these days is the new Red Blemish Clear Soothing Cream by Dr.G. This cream was simply on of the most impressive products I tried this year, it’s a new version of their notorious Clear Soothing Cream and it contains a culture of probiotics obtained through the fermentation of Centella Asiatica, along with 5x times the amount of Cica Complex of the standard version (for more information about it, please refer to the press release I translated when the product was launched in June). This cream blew me away within the first days of use thanks its outstanding anti-inflammatory and skin-barrier-supporting properties. Will definitely re-purchase!
5) UV Protection
Since my skin is in recovery mode after the extractions, I’m trying to avoid stressing it with multiple cleansing steps in the evening, so for the past 3 weeks I’ve been mostly using sunscreens with easy-wash formulas that don’t need to be broken down using an oil-based cleanser at night. The two sunscreens I’m using the most lately are the Red Soothing AI Sensitive UV Sunscreen by Physiogel (I talked about it in the video on my top Korean sunscreens) and the Green Mild Up Sun+ by Dr.G (I made a dedicated video about it).
For your reference, this is the results that I got following this morning routine in the past 3 weeks. The first picture is my skin before the extractions (you can’t see it from the picture, but when I touched my face I could sense I had some hardened keratin under the surface of my skin), the second one is my skin on the day I got extractions three weeks ago, the third one was my skin yesterday.
Just so you know, my night routine is not that different, I just use a heavy-duty skin restoring serum (O Hui – The First Geniture Ampoule Advanced) on step 3 and a more occlusive barrier cream (Dr. G – Dermoisture Barrier D Intense Cream) on top of my watery creams, instead of sunscreen.
Question 1: Can you recommend some sources that talk about Korean Beauty as in-depth as you do?
Unfortunately there are not many English sources that offer an in-depth coverage of the Korean beauty industry and this is the main reason that led me to start The Monodist project.
The only sources I personally recommend are the English version of The K-Beauty Science and the youtube channel of Dr. Hongseok Kim (Dr.DTS).
The K-Beauty Science is the most representative Cosmetic R&D publication in Korea, they publish a monthly academic journal and they also have a website that is available in English and Korean. The Korean version is more detailed and updated more frequently, however the English version is still incredibly well-made and informative and I would recommend it to everyone that wants to know about the latest innovations and technologies available in Korean Beauty, as well as becoming familiar with Korean cosmetic manufacturers and their signature technologies/products.
Dr. Hongseok Kim (he goes by the English name Dr.DTS on youtube) is a board-certified dermatologist in Korea that also works as a consultant for cosmetic brands and manufacturers, as well as for the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. What I like about him is that he is not your average dermatologist on youtube, he’s very industry-savvy and knows extremely well how the Korean beauty industry is regulated and the latest trends of the market. I look up to him a lot as a content creator, so you will find that our approaches are quite similar. Instead of focusing on product reviews etc, he covers very broad topics and only gives some practical examples of great products at the end, so even if you can’t access the products he recommends or you have different skin needs, you can still watch his videos to learn something new about a certain topic.
Question 2: Is retinol a thing in Korean Beauty?
Unlike what you hear lately, retinol has been a thing in Korean Beauty for a long time. The first company to stabilise retinol in Korea was Amorepacific in 1997, when they launched the Iope’s “Retinol 2500 Innovation”, the first retinol treatment in Korea and the first incarnation of what is now known as Iope’s “Retinol Expert”. The product has been a huge bestseller for the brand for over 20 years, a truly impressive achievement considering how fast-paced the Korean beauty industry is.
(an ad from 1997)
Plus, in 1999 Isa Knox, a competitor brand created by the LG Group, launched “Wrinkle Decline”, a retinol product that made the history of Korean Beauty as the first ever product to be officially recognised by the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety as a functional cosmetic with wrinkle-improving properties after a series of clinical studies. The product went on to sell over 1 million units in just three years and later became the brand’s most representative product (it’s now known as the “Age Focus Phyto Pro-Retinol Wrinkle Serum“).
Isa Knox – Phyto Pro-Retinol Wrinkle Serum
So why do you keep reading that retinol is a new trend in Korean Beauty?
Korean Beauty is often represented as a monolith in the West, an industry where everyone is following the same trends and everyone buys the same products / brands, but as a marketer working in the Korean beauty industry I can tell you that this couldn’t be more far away from the truth.
In Korean beauty, we usually identify 3 main demographics / age brackets.
– Consumers in their teens and early 20s
– Consumers in their 20s and 30s
– 40+ Consumers
Each of these demographics has their own representative brands and products and they rarely overlap.
Western consumers are mainly exposed to Korean Beauty through youtube and instagram, but most Korean content creators that are active on these platforms belong to the second demographic: consumers in their 20s and 30s. This means that Western consumers are hardly ever exposed to brands and products that are popular among the youngest demographic, as well as the ones popular among 40+ consumers.
This is relevant because, until a couple of years ago, retinol was an ingredient used solely by brands targeting the 40+ demographic, so unless you were familiar with that audience, you could probably be under the impression that retinol was not a popular ingredient in Korean beauty.
One of the most crucial changes in Korean beauty, and the reason why some Western media outlets are under the impression Korea suddenly discovered retinol this year, is that for the first time, young Korean consumers in their 20s and 30s are actively seeking out targeted anti-aging and anti hair-loss treatments.
The phenomenon was dubbed “Gapless” by Korean media (as you might remember from my post on the Olive Young Awards last year) and is reportedly a consequence of hectic lifestyles and poor diets among young adults.
This led many beauty brands targeting that demographic to launch products that satisfy this new consumer demand, including retinol products. As I said, Korean consumers in their 20-30s are the most represented demographic on social media, so unless you’re truly familiar with the dynamics of the Korean beauty industry, it might look like Korea has only recently discovered retinol, but that is not the case.
Question 3: Can you recommend a product that contains green tea?
The company with the most significant R&D investments around green tea is without doubt the Amorepacific group. The conglomerate built an entire research centre to analyse the befits of green tea and they hold an annual international symposium to introduce their findings to the world. So if you’d like to experience the most innovative green tea products in Korean Beauty, I would definitely recommend checking out their eponymous brand Amorepacific. For more affordable options, I recommend the Green Tea line from Amorepacific’s roadshop brand Innisfree.
Question 4: Best soothing and calming ingredient in Korean skincare?
It’s hard to make a generalised statement because everyone responds to ingredients and products in different ways, however the ingredient with the most research support is undoubtedly Centella Asiatica.
The one thing I would recommend if you’re in the market for an effective product that contains centella asiatica is to pay attention to the TECA content instead of the Centella Asiatica extract content. Briefly put, a plant extract could be made of 90% water and 10% plant concentrate, so when you read on the packaging that a certain product contains 80% Centella Asiatica Extract, you can’t know how that extract was processed and how much active ingredients you’re actually getting. Whereas TECA (short for Titrated Extract of Centella Asiatica) indicates the amount of active principles (asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside) extracted from centella asiatica you’re actually getting.
The Korean brand that makes products with the highest amount of TECA in Korea is currently Centellian24. Centellian24 is a brand created by Dongkook Pharmaceutical, a massive pharmaceutical company in Korea that rose to fame in the 1970s thanks to a wound ointment called Madecassol, featuring Madecassoside (an active principle found in Centella Asiatica). Madecassol is a staple OTC drug that you’ll find in every Korean household, and the products from Centellian24 contain the same technology and ingredients that made Madecassol a bestseller for over 50 years.
In particular, I’d like to recommend Centellian24’s Madeca Cream Power Boosting Formula because it’s one of my absolute favorite recovery cream to stimulate skin regeneration. For oily skin, they have a lightweight version of the cream called Madeca Soothing Gel Cream.
Question 5: What are your favourite Sulwhasoo products?
My favourite line from Sulwhasoo is the Concentrated Ginseng line, however I’d also like to mention the Overnight Vitalizing Mask as a great entry-lever product to Sulwhasoo that will give you great results without breaking the bank.
Question 6: Is double cleansing necessary?
I think double cleansing has been majorly taken out of context out of Korea.
The main concept of double cleansing is using a makeup remover first and a face cleanser second and from this, I think you can probably already understand what I’m getting at.
The first step of double cleansing helps break down makeup and resistant / waterproof sunscreens. This can be done using an oil-based cleanser (cleansing oil, cleansing balm), but also other makeup removers like micellar water and cleansing water, the latter currently being the most popular options in Korea.
The second step of double cleansing is using a face cleanser to remove all residues left by the previous cleanser using a foaming cleanser.
If you don’t wear makeup or particularly resistant sunscreens, you don’t need to double cleanse – in fact many daily sunscreens (see this post for the definition of daily sunscreen) are formulated in a way to be easily removed by a single-step cleanser.
The key concept of skincare is adapting your routine to your current skin condition and needs (which go way beyond the simple concept of “skin type”), so if you don’t need to double cleanse just opt for a good face cleanser that is suitable for your skin. I have very dry skin prone to dehydration and one of the things that made the biggest difference in my skincare routine in recent years is to skip double cleansing whenever I can.
I also recommend you to check out this video by Dr.DTS where he explains why cleansing should be considered the first step of moisturising and not a way of getting rid of everything that sits on your skin surface.
Question 7: Favourite product for hyperpigmentation?
The product that gave me the most outstanding results in terms of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the Blemish Care Serum by Isoi. It’s an arbutin serum packed with anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients that fade PIH in the blink of an eye. Plus, unlike products with Ascorbic Acid, this serum can also be used on sensitised / dehydrated skin, which is really helpful when you’re suffering from breakouts caused by a damaged skin barrier.
Question 8: Favourite anti-bacterial product to help with acne?
The crown goes to the Acni Dr. 1st line by Isoi, I personally found it the most effective line that takes care of all aspects of acne: infection, inflammation and redness. In particular, the spot treatment from this line (called the Acni Dr. 1st Speedy Spot) is hands-down the best and most effective spot treatment I’ve ever, ever tried. It helps calm down blemishes overnight without drying out your skin, which is rare when it comes to spot treatments.
As far as I can tell from the reviews of these products on Hwahae and Glowpick, this line is also popular in Korea among people suffering from folliculitis (or fungal acne as someone calls it).
Question 9: Have you tested the Manyo Bifida Ampoule?
Yes, I think it’s the best dupe of Estèe Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair available in Korea. I personally find the Bifida Ampoule is way better than the original, but that’s just me! I also really liked the toner from the same line.
Question 10: Do you like sheet masks?
I’m not against the concept of sheet masks and I like them as quick pick-me-up treatments, however I must say that I have a small, heart-shaped face (quite uncommon in Korea) and the vast majority of sheet masks in Korea are too big for me so I tend to prefer toner pads, modelling masks and wash-off masks.
Question 11: What’s your favourite Vitamin C Serum?
I have a video on the topic where I show my favourite Korean vitamin C serum, the Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule by Missha.
The ampoule is a multifunctional product that works as a brightening, anti-aging and nourishing formula and was also formulated with an innovative liposomial technology that prevents the oxidation of ascorbic acid and keeps the product effective for a long time. The original formula contains 10% Ascorbic Acid, the new reformulation launched this year features an enhanced content of Ascorbic Acid but Missha won’t reveal the exact percentage because it’s a proprietary formula. I find this concentration ideal because it’s enough to give you significant results, but not high to the point of having to readjust your entire skincare routine around it.
Of course, if you’d like to have more dramatic results in a short amount of time the Vitamin C23 by Iope is one of the best options out there. Iope received the prestigious IR52 Jang Yeong-sil Award for the innovative technology applied in this serum, so if your skin can tolerate high concentrations of Ascorbic Acid, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Question 12: Do you still use Europen brands or do you stick only to Korean brands?
With the exception of my beloved They’re Real! Mascara from Benefit, I only use Korean brands, not because they’re necessarily better than European or American products, but because I decided I want to make Korean beauty my professional area of expertise. With that in mind, I try my best to hunt down the best and most innovative Korean products around and test the latest technologies and innovations to understand where the market is going and what’s worth keeping an eye on.
Question 13: favourite Hanyul products?
My favourite Hanyul product has to be the Yuja Sleeping Mask, it smells divine and it’s one for the few vitamin C creams in Korea that actually gave me results. Another special mention goes to their Nature in Life Hand Cream #Jacho, which is my favourite Korean hand cream. As an office worker with dry skin, I’ve always been on the lookout for a rich cream that didn’t make my hands sticky and oily, so that I could apply it whenever I needed to, without worrying about it getting on my keyboard or phone. The Jacho hand cream was truly a game-changer, it’s occlusive enough for my dry skin but it also has a velvet finish with no stickiness to it whatsover.
Question 14: Is Korean Beauty really better than Western beauty?
It’s hard to generalise, but I find that Korean Beauty has several key strengths that make South Korea the centre of cosmetic innovation at the moment.
First, the Korean government is heavily investing in the business, which translates in significant resources for cosmetic companies and manufacturers to invest in research and development.
Secondly, an interesting aspect of Korean Beauty is that some of the biggest cosmetic manufacturers that are currently active in Korea, are originally healthcare manufacturers (i.e. Kolmar Korea, Chong Kun Dang, Ildong Pharmaceutical, LG) and this allows these companies to make truly innovative products using technologies developed for drug delivery, think liposomes, nanotechnology and the likes.
Lastly, South Korea is arguably at the forefront of big data technology in the world. Big data has applications in all fields, but in beauty it allows cosmetic companies to quickly identify market changes and plan new products launches accordingly. i.e. let’s say a beauty company receives a data report showing that last month Koreans suddenly started looking for probiotic serums on Coupang (the Korean equivalent of Amazon), based on this report, they can begin to develop a probiotic serum (or buy a ready-made formula from a third party manufacturer to make this process quicker) if they think the trend is worth investing into.
Question 15: Can you recommend a body sunscreen?
I find that the Hera’s Sun Mate Leports I talked about in my guide on Korean sunscreens works really well as a body sunscreen (and it’s exactly designed to be used for face and body), but if you’re looking for a daily sunscreen in a big format that you can use comfortably for both face and body, I recommend the Derma:B’s Everyday Sun Block. It comes in a big 200ml bottle and it’s a cosmetically-elegant sunscreen with no stickiness that can be used for both face and body.
Question 16: Have you found a product line with snail mucin that is better than the Dr.G one?
To be honest, no. I still think the Dr.G’s Black Snail line is the best Snail Mucin line available in Korea – mostly because Snail Mucin is used simply as a complimentary ingredient in the line, the products have solid formulas that would perform well regardless of Snail Mucin.
Question 17: What do you think about the Choco Mint trend in Korean Beauty?
Choco Mint flavour is recently taking over Korea. It’s impossible to walk in a convenience store in Korea without spotting a limited edition choco mint snack. Sensing this trend, Etude launched a Choco Mint-themed palette last month that has been doing really well on social media. I find it’s a cute seasonal trend, but I don’t think it’s going to last a long time.
Question 18: Are facials cheaper in Korea and do you get them frequently?
In general, facials are quite affordable in Korea, however elaborate treatments with new machines and devices tend to be more expensive, so the price really depends on the type of treatment you’re going for.
I used to get LDM®-MED treatments frequently before the pandemic (for the equivalent of USD100 per session), now that I can’t visit clinics as often, I bought an amazing (but pricey) device to get ultrasound facials at home. The device is called Merbe and I use it in the evening (when I have enough time, that is) to enhance the penetration of my skincare products into the skin. I strongly recommend it and I could see noticeable improvements ever since I started using it.
Lotts – Merbe Ultrasonic Ion Massager
Question 19: What’s your favourite cream when your skin barrier is compromised?
My favourite Korean barrier cream used to be the Atobarrier 365 Cream from Aestura. It’s a cream formulated with a patented skin-lipid-like ingredient that reproduces the natural structure of the skin barrier. I still think it’s a great product, but I was recently blown away by the Dermoisture Barrier D line that Dr.G launched earlier this year. I find the creams in that line are a lot more complete and target several aspects of a compromised skin barrier. In the short term, I find that the Dermoisture Barrier D Intense Cream leaves skin hydrated and protected much longer than the Atobarrier 365 Cream, and in the long term I also found it more effective in restoring a compromised skin barrier.
Question 20: Are Korean customers interested in Clean Beauty products?
Sadly the clean beauty trend is still strong in Korea, things are slowly changing and more people are speaking out against clean beauty now (Dr.DTS has a great video about it), but realistically, I think it’s going to take some time for the trend to completely die. Olive Young (the biggest beauty retailer in Korea) has a special section in their shops dedicated to clean beauty brands and ingredient analysis apps like Hwahae are still held in great consideration unfortunately.
Question 21: What are your thoughts on Tranexamic Acid becoming more popular in Korean Beauty and do you have a favourite product that contains Tranexamic Acid?
Tranexamic Acid is indeed becoming more popular in Korean Beauty. This seems to be related to an increasing number of Koreans exhibiting signs of melasma following the pandemic. Korean media outlets reported that many people stopped wearing sunscreen since the beginning of the pandemic because they were under the impression that face masks would also protect their skin against UV rays. This lack of protection triggered signs of melasma in many Koreans, which resulted in a high demand for melasma treatments in Korean skincare.
Tranexamic Acid is currently the ingredient with the most research and proven efficacy in the treatment of melasma, so Korean beauty brands started to incorporate it in their products this year.
My favourite products with Tranexamic Acid are the R.E.D Blemish Clear Soothing Spot Balm by Dr.G to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and the Expert Madeca Mela Capture Ampoule by Centellian24 to target stubborn hyperpigmentation, sun spots, age spots and signs of melasma.
Question 22: What do you think about Purito relaunching their sunscreens?
To be honest, I didn’t really like the way they handled the sunscreen controversy by intentionally hiding important information from their foreign audience (like the fact that they were aware that their manufacturer altered the formula as I mentioned in my video on the controversy) so I’m not willing to give them a second chance. I know they’re trying very hard to win their trust back, but I think the way they handled the scandal last year showed where their ethics lay.
Plus, their brand is not easily available in Korea and I don’t support companies that seem to have a shady agenda by aggressively targeting the foreign market and disregarding the domestic one.
Question 23: Can you recommend a line for dehydrated oily skin?
Two products I strongly recommend are the A-Cica Stress Relief Cream-Essence by Aestura and the Dermoisture Barrier D Daily Lotion by Dr.G. They’re both barrier creams with skin-identical ingredients that help restore a compromised skin barrier, but they also have a watery consistency with no greasiness that is suitable for oily skin.
If I had to describe the differences between the two, the Aestura A-Cica Stress Relief Cream-Essence is more occlusive and works better to contrast redness and irritation, whereas the Dr.G’s Dermoisture Barrier D Daily Lotion is more lightweight in consistency but contains more skin-barrier-supporting ingredients.
Question 24: What’s your favourite brand?
My favourite Korean brand is History of Whoo, I talked about it several times on my channels and it’s the brand that made me fall in love with Korean Hanbang skincare (and Korean skincare in general to be honest!).
Question 25: What’s your favourite Korean skincare product?
The crown goes to the Qi and Jin Cream by History of Whoo, it’s the moisturiser I’ve repurchased the most in my life and I’m never tired of it. It’s a rich cream that glides on the skin like melted butter, and keeps skin firm and toned throughout the day.
Question 26: What’s your favourite makeup brand?
My favourite makeup brand is Hince. I own every single one of their products and it’s a brand I’ve been supporting from day one. I like Korean makeup products, but admittedly I’ve never been too fond of the hyperfeminine look promoted by most Korean makeup brands, so when Hince first launched in Korea, with their understated and refined aesthetics, it was like a dream come true for me!
Question 27: Favourite makeup base/foundation/concealer/powder?
My favourite makeup primers are Banila Co’s Prime Primer Classic for smoothing skin texture and VDL’s Lumilayer Rosy Perfect Primer when I want a subtle luminous effect with a satin finish.
My favourite foundation used to be Espoir’s Pro Tailor Foundation Be Glow, however I had to stop wearing it since the beginning of the pandemic because it has a moist finish, which is lovely for dry skin, not so much for mask-wearing.
At the moment, my favourite foundation is the Second Skin Foundation by Hince, which is a semi-matte foundation with a very natural finish that looks exactly like real skin (but better!).
My favourite concealer is the Long-Lasting Tip Concealer by Luna, and favourite fixing powder is the Artclass By Rodin Finish Setting Pact by Too Cool For School.
Question 28: What’s the most overrated ingredient
I think the crown for the most overrated ingredient goes to snail mucin. It doesn’t have outstanding properties and it’s mainly used as a marketing gimmick, if you’d like to learn more about it I made an entire video on the topic.
Question 29: Any body product recommendations?
I really like Illiyoon‘s body products, especially their Fresh Moisture Scrub Wash and their Total Aging Care Intense Lotion.
Question 30: Best entry-level Hanbang brands?
I’m planning to make a dedicated video on the topic, but the short answer is: The Face Shop Yehwadam (produced by the same manufacturers of History of Whoo and Sooryehan), the Hanbang lines by Missha (Cho Gong Jin, Geum Sul, Yei Hyun) and Hanyul.
Question 31: What are your favourite sheet masks / clay masks / modellling mask?
My favourite sheet mask is the First Cooling Mask by Cell Fusion C. It’s simply the most cooling sheet mask on Earth, you wear it and your skin temperature drops dramatically and I mean it. It’s been my skin savior during the current heatwave in Korea and I strongly recommend it!
My favourite clay mask is the Cica Leaf Clay Mask by Steady:D, which is packed with soothing ingredients and doesn’t dry out skin after washing it off.
My favourite moelling mask is the Cool Tea Tree Modelling Mask by Lindsay, another skin savious during Korean humid summers.
Question 32: Favourite products from Su:m37 and O Hui?
Su:m37’s Secret Essence is one of 3 favourite Korean essences of all time (the other two being the 1899 Single Essence by Donginbi and The Bichup Self-Generating Anti-Aging Essence by History of Whoo). As for O Hui, I recently fell in love with their Fist Geniture Ampoule that uses human stem cell technology, and I also really love their Prime Advancer Ampoule Serum.
Question 33: Favourite Sun stick?
The crown goes to the Sun Mate Stick by Hera, which is a sun stick that also works as a makeup primer.
Question 34: What do you think was the biggest innovation in skincare recently?
I think the biggest recent innovation in Korean beauty is the use of drug delivery technology (i.e. liposomes, nanotechnology) in cosmetics.
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