Magic Stone is a soap so popular in Korea that even I was eventually drawn into clicking on its viral videos — which invariably follow a format of a tween blogger drawing makeup all over her face only to wash it off to demonstrate the effectiveness of the soap. It’s like the infomercial reincarnated for the millenial set. And it’s working: this soap is getting all the clicks and all the buy nows.
Magic Stone actually comes in two versions, Magic Stone Original and Magic Stone Black, which contains charcoal. One reason this duo is so popular is that the soaps are all natural, but effective, which make them especially popular among teens — a demographic most concerned with proper cleansing. The ingredient lists are stellar, containing a blend of Korean herbal extracts, and the soap’s effectiveness flies in the face of everything we’ve always had a problem with when it comes to cleansing bars. Even its recommended usage is different from your average bar soap.
In the past, because cleansers were seen as a removal product, cosmetic brands didn’t make much of an effort to include skin-nourishing ingredients. Why bother? Cleansing is over in a matter of seconds. Magic Stone attempts to pivot the cleansing step to double as a treatment ritual by instructing users to work up a rich lather and apply it to the face like a mask before rinsing off after 30 seconds. Not only does this allow the nutritive ingredients to sink into skin, it also decreases the pulling-and-tugging assault on skin to remove dirt and stubborn makeup.
The unprecedented popularity of Magic Soap reveals a growing trend in Korea to perfect the cleansing ritual. Overall, cleansing is great, but only if you’re going to put everything back — which is maybe why the Korean skin-care ritual is so famously long. There’s moisture and nutrients to put back into your skin. The problem is that not everyone does this — those with acne and oily skin are taught the mantra of skin cleansing, but not necessarily the importance of treating and moisturizing the skin post-washing to combat and care for aging skin. Magic Stone and its ilk allow the two to go hand in hand.
Read through for my experience with Magic Stone, as well as a few other natural bar soaps that are spearheading this soap-as-treatment trend.