There's A New Trend In K-Beauty — & It's NOT What You'd Expect

Snail serums, peel-off lip stains, soothing eye patches infused with bird's nest extract: The Asian beauty market is filled with delightfully unexpected concepts that make Western skin-care advancements feel stale by comparison.
That said, after a few years of being inundated with brand-new, cutting-edge K-beauty products seemingly every day, the novelty of animal-face sheet masks and lip gloss tubes with bunny ears has admittedly started to wear off. But a new, technologically advanced form of a familiar old-fashioned ingredient that promises real results like never before? Well, that would perk anyone’s ears right up.
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Despite the numerous proven beauty benefits of the nutrient, there’s one big problem with vitamin C: its instability. Once exposed to air, water, and changes in temperature, it starts to break down and lose its potency, rendering that jar of fancy brightening night cream effectively useless the second you unscrew the top.
Now, after launching exclusively at Barneys earlier this week, Korean skin-care innovator Vitabrid C12 is introducing the beauty world to Vitabrid CG, a proprietary complex that uses a patented technology to encapsulate and stabilize vitamin C in its active form. In much simpler terms: Vitabrid C12 claims that its products will deliver all the skin-brightening, collagen-boosting, hair-strengthening, antioxidant effects of the vitamin at its fullest potential, not a watered-down version.
Interestingly, the company that created the compound and owns the patent for it isn’t even a cosmetics company, but a South Korea-based technology firm. As such, the packaging is bare-bones and clinical, not glamorous, and the formulas are straightforward, without artificial fragrance or essential oils extracted from flowers. The price point isn’t too hard to swallow: The entire collection ranges from $25 to $80, and the brightening powder — the uncontested star of the lineup — goes for $60. Given that you just shake some into your hand and mix it in with your serum or moisturizer of choice, a little will go a long, long way.
Unlike the whimsical aesthetic we’ve come to associate with K-beauty, Vitabrid C12 does not feature any baby animals or smiling fruits. It was not made for your #TopShelfie. But we like to think we’ve learned our lesson about choosing our beauty products based on how they’d look sitting on a windowsill between a Diptyque candle and a bottle of Byredo Gypsy Water in an Instagram vignette. Sometimes, the best things in life come in the ugliest packaging.