Welcome back to Korean Beauty Secrets Part II. If you missed our article last week, make sure to check out Korean Beauty Secrets Part I, where we covered Korea’s amazing detox spas. This week we’re going to discuss Korea’s innovative and beyond fabulous beauty products! I use several of them religiously to give my skin a break from stress and the outdoor elements. I also like to use them before important events, parties or dates to brighten up my skin, moisturize or to just treat my skin to some much needed TLC after a hectic week.
Koreans are years ahead of us when it comes to self-preservation. What makes their masks, serums and skin treatments so effective are the ingredients used in the products. These ingredients are mainly found in plants and nature such as venom and secretions. So if you didn’t know that you could use synthetic snake venom or snail mucus on your skin, this guide is for you! Here’s the breakdown on Korea’s most innovative beauty aids.
Synthetic Snake Venom
Syn-ake is a synthetic compound that mimics the effects of a peptide found in the venom of the Temple Viper snake called Waglerin1. The product, like Bee Venom, is often referred to as a Botox alternative because it relaxes the facial muscles to smooth out wrinkles. However unlike Bee Venom, there have actually been studies that prove Syn-ake’s safety and results. These studies have shown that there are no harmful side effects and that facial lines improved over 50% in less than one monthLeft: Skin79 Syn-ake Lifting Cream, $39.99 Right: Dr. Pharm Syn-ake Gold Lifting Eye Serum, $56.99
These Friday the 13th looking masks come in a variety of formulas depending on your skincare needs. From collagen enriched to cooling aloe and Vitamin A rich tomato formulations, you’ll find a wide range of sheet face masks for your skin type. Ever the innovators, Koreans figured out the perfect way to pack skin-loving ingredients into a neat little sheet without the inconvenience or mess. Simply slap on your face for 10-15 minutes, remove and rinse. Voila, gorgeous skin in a snap! Best of all, these mask are extremely affordable. Typically priced $6 or less, they’re great for getting an at-home treatment without the spa expense. You can even buy them in bulk for about $1 each!Right: Dermal Korea Collagen Essence Mask Sheet Combo Pack (16 Pack) $16.59
Unconventional Anti-Aging Makeup
These beautifully packaged cosmetics that include foundations, powders, lip balms, bb creams, and lipsticks are packed with unconventional, beneficial ingredients such as coral, pure gold, pearl, amber, cinidium, and snake’s beard. These rare ingredients are known for their anti-aging and brightening properties but are rarely found in cosmetics. Also, look at that gorgeous packaging! Yes, we’ll take one of each.Left: The History of Whoo Gongjinhyang Mi Secret Court BB Ball Powder, $50.19 Center: The History of Whoo Gongjinhyang Mi Luxury Foundation Right: The History of Whoo Gongjinhyang Mi Luxury Lipstick
Collagen Eye Masks & Eye Pads
These eye treatments are amazing for refreshing, de-puffing, treating dark circles and wrinkles around the eye area. These are great to use when you’re not able to those 8 beauty sleep hours and want to reduce puffiness and dark eye circles.
You can use either the small pads or the full eye mask. The full eye mask decreases the appearance of puffiness, fine lines, bags under eyes and brightens skin around the eye area. However it does so on a larger scale in comparison to the Collagen Eye Pads. The mask will feel like slimy sunglasses, but there is nothing gross about the process or results. You leave it on your face for about 20-30 minutes, lay down and relax because what you see when the process is over is truly impressive!Left: Tony Moly Anti-aging Eye Mask, $17.79 Right: Tony Moly Syn-ake Eye Pads, $5.60
Moisturizing Lip Masks
This wonder lip-mask soothes dry lips unlike anything else out there! After 20-30 minutes lips feel smoother, moisturized and healthy. You can find an array of formulas and they all leave your lips feeling super soft and ready for the elements. This is a great treat for your lips during the colder months when so much of your skin becomes rough, dry and flaky.
There are two individual collagen masks for the respective top and bottom lip. You leave on for 20-30 mins and it leaves your lips fully moisturized and super soft!
Snail mucin, also known simply as “snail slime,” was first introduced by the Korean beauty brand Missha because of its collagen enhancing mucus. “The extract is renowned for its regenerative properties, and facilitates the restoration of damaged tissue and replenishes moisture in skin. It is also effective in treating acne and scarring.” Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, M.D. told Stylelist.
The snail created secretion is touted as a super ingredient in mainstream cosmetics because the mucus also contains compounds that are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and skin regenerating such as glycolic acid. After all, snail mucin is what regenerates a snails shell when it is damaged and cracked, so it repairs damaged human skin much like it repairs the snails shell. And don’t worry, snails are not harmed during the harvesting process. Only their “snail trail” is collected for use, not the actual snail!Left: All-in-One Snail Repair Cream, $24.98 Right: Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream, $7.99
Technically this renowned ingredient was discovered by the Chinese. However, Koreans have thrived at creating their own formulations. Birds nest is used in skincare (and even consumed in soups!) and is made purely by the (male) swifts or swallows saliva secretions from nest material. This saliva is so nutrient-rich that consuming the nests is believed to provide all kinds of health benefits, such as strengthening the immune system, alleviating asthma, raising sex drive, and even improving mental focus. As a skin care ingredient, its high concentrations of antioxidants, water-soluble glycoprotein, epidermal growth factors, amino acids are said to fight signs of aging by promoting cell growth and tissue repair.
Decades ago the practice of harvesting birds nest was detrimental. Luckily modern advancements and wildlife protection has insured that birds nest is responsibly harvested on regulated farms and that nests aren’t collected when they have eggs in them. Left: Prestige BN Birds Nest Cream, $59
Korean skincare and beauty routines will continue to evolve and resolve our beauty woes because self-preservation is part of their culture. Although it may seem strange to apply venom or slime on our skin, the products come from nature and more often than not offer more benefits than just reducing wrinkles. Many of these ingredients heal the skin and help with organ functions, which gives hope to what other health benefits the Korean skin and beauty industry may discover while in the search for keeping us healthy and youthful!
Where to Buy
If you want to get your Korean beauty product fix, you’ll find the best prices and selection on Amazon. Thanks to the wonderful world wide web you can shop the best of Korean beauty easily online. The most renowned shops are the following:
Hat tip to: www.skinandtonics.com