From 'glass skin' (skin so dewy, it's almost reflective) to skip-care (ditching lengthy and unnecessary products and steps from your routine), Korea has brought us numerous interesting trends with the power to transform skin. Thanks to lockdown, however, many of us are dealing with stress- and anxiety-induced breakouts and flare-ups. If anyone knows how to fix this, it's K-beauty experts, who are renowned worldwide for their approach to achieving clear, bouncy and healthy-looking skin.
Ahead, we caught up with Sarah Lee and Christine Chang of cult Korean-inspired skincare brand Glow Recipe, who broke down five major K-beauty skincare trends and how they can work for you.
While you might usually skip this step, both experts argue that it's a must for deeply hydrated skin with a visible bounce. "Toners were once usually an astringent cleansing step, but now they can be great leave-on treatments thanks to the hydrating ingredients," says Sarah. "Build in a toner, serum and moisturiser so your skin is filled with hydration at every layer. If you give yourself a cheek flick, your skin should bounce right back and that’s how you know it's working."
Succulents In Skincare
Not just a desk plant, succulents are making waves in skincare thanks to their hydrating properties, in particular cactus water, according to Sarah and Christine. Rich in vitamin A (what retinol is derived from), and vitamin E, it moisturises deeply, encourages fresh new skin cells and repairs the skin barrier, preventing skin from becoming dehydrated.
Minerals Over Vitamins
From vitamin A (aka retinol) for exfoliating skin to vitamin C for brightening and protecting against pollution, vitamins play a major role in skincare. Minerals are a little more under the radar, but both Sarah and Christine believe they will be big in skincare in the UK, specifically magnesium. "This will soon be more desired among the skincare community, as it's essential for keeping skin balanced and bouncy," said Christine. "It's a healer, so it is especially helpful for redness-prone skin and if you've been trying potent ingredient like retinol and acids. "Sometimes your skin needs a break and magnesium is great for that. Topical application is so soothing."
Try Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream, £36, which softens and plumps dry, lacklustre skin. R29 also rates Paula's Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer, £32, and Murad Nutrient-Charged Water Gel, £50, for calming and moisturising skin deeply.
The New Facial Massage
"Always pat in your skincare instead of pulling or tugging," said Sarah (this goes for toners, serums and moisturisers). "This makes sure the great ingredients are penetrating the skin but it doesn't create micro-tears or friction."
Strengthening the skin barrier and protecting the skin on all fronts has spiked in search, said Sarah and Christine. "Ginger is a hot ingredient and is very popular," said Christine. "It works to heal and is very rich in antioxidants," which are molecules that protect from the environment, including pollution and other aggressors.
Vitamin C is a proven and dermatologist-loved ingredient for fending off pollution. Try Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum, £46, which also includes AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) to exfoliate skin. Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream, £69, boasts ceramides as well as ginger. Great for drier skin types, ceramides hydrate, calm and repair.