FROM “Gangnam Style” and K-pop idol Junsu; to kimchi-flavoured pot noodles, South Korea’s pop culture is becoming an increasingly globalised phenomenon. And the latest exports to capture our imagination are Korean beauty products which combine quirky formulations, advanced technology and adorable packaging.So what’s the verdict?

Beauty Columnist Ailsha Davey reports.

In a nation that’s completly beauty-obesessed, women in South Korea put an extraordinary amount of money, time and effort into their skincare routines and their nightly skincare regime can range anywhere from eight to 17 steps.

Korean’s are also encouraged  to develop beauty habits from an early age, indulging in everything from skincare to makeup and plastic surgery. In fact, South Korea has the highest rate of cosmetic uplifts in the world – with 1 in 5 Koreans undergoing eye lifts, one of the most common procedures.

Korean’s use some very strange elements in their meticulous skincare regimes such as bee venom (for its plumping effect), pig collagen (it imitates human collagen and resists ageing signs) and – snail slime (it’s filled with antimicrobial peptides).

The healing properties of snail slime were  actually discovered by accident, when Chilean snail farmers noticed their skin recovered quickly and with no scars when they handled snails for the French food market, the Daily Mail reported. It’s now a key ingredient in many Korean beauty products.

The K-Beauty trend is growing fast, and that’s largely down to the cute Kawaii-style packaging that often mimics real-life food or cartoons and the selection of concentrated, natural ingredients. The good news is that these products not only look super-cute, but they work! Here’s my pick of the best.



Tony Moly x Pokémon Collection: 20 Minute Sheet Masks.


These are all too adorable. Forget Pokémon Go!, we’re doing Pokémon Glow! These twenty-minute sheet masks come with three different properties; The Pikachu mask tackles dry skin with its rich honey ingredients, the Fairi mask brightens the dullest of complexions with its radiance-boosting grapefruit formulas, and the Isanghessi mask cleanses the pores from deep within with an intensive green tea cocktail.

korean beauty



 Tony Moly 20 Minute Sheet Masks €5.73



Korean Spa: Magic Peeling Mitt

Tired of scrubbing yourself before you pop into the shower so the bristles don’t soften under the water? Look no further than this genius cleansing and exfoliating mitt! Use the soft side to cleanse with your usual shower gel, and use the other side to exfoliate. The exfoliation side is made of rayon, a natural wood pulp derivative, which hardens when it’s wet, so it grabs the skin and peels the dead cells away.

Korean Beauty



Magic Peeling Mitt €5.16



Holika Holika: Pig-Nose Clear Black Head 3-Step Kit

Step-by-step masks are the latest trend in K-Beauty. Each of the masks take roughly ten minutes each, making them ideal to use when getting ready for a big night out! Step one softens the sebum plugs with the properties of sage, mistletoe and peppermint. Step two extracts blackheads with kaolin clay and lemon extract, and step three’s gel mask soothes the treated area with anise lime grape and aloe vera.

Korean Beauty



Pig-Nose Clear Black Head 3-Step Kit €5.16



It’s Skin: Macaron Lip Balm Strawberry

It’s Skin is an extremely popular K-Beauty brand that was developed by dermatologists from Seoul University using natural ingredients and modern science. This cute lip balm looks and tastes like a real macaron, but is guilt-free with zero calories. Don’t be fooled by its adorable packaging, its formula is super concentrated and rich in antioxidants, with vitamins A, C and E, shea butter and cocoa butter. It’s also paraben-free!

Korean Beauty



Macaron Lip Balm Strawberry €7.40



Babyface: Petit Blusher 02

Being quite easily the most adorable blusher I’ve ever seen. This highly-pigmented powder with its mini puff is a lovely pop of fresh colour.

Petit Blusher 02



Petit BabyfaceBlusher 02 €7.40



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