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8 New Fascinating Skincare Secrets from Asia

8 New Fascinating Skincare Secrets from Asia
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By Colleen Dowd

If asked to name the skincare capital of the world, would you choose France? Japan? Maybe even the United States? If so, you’re dead wrong. It’s actually South Korea, a country with an almost cult-like devotion to cutting-edge skincare and a female population long admired for their flawless complexions.

It’s commonplace for women there to follow a 10-step skincare routine every morning and evening. While that’s probably not going to fly in your life or mine (Western cultures being obsessed with multi-tasking and immediacy), you would do well to add one of these totally cool, highly unique products to your skincare regimen.   Not only are they full of exotic ingredients, affordable and wildly effective — they’re fun!

Here are eight I’ve hand-selected for you:

  1. Mizon’s Starfish Eye Cream — Everyone knows that starfish have a unique ability to rejuvenate themselves.   Cut off a tentacle and a starfish will grow another. This is the only eye cream I know of that is formulated with the very enzyme starfish use to regrow appendages. When applied to your under-eye area, this innovative cream stimulates your skin cells to rejuvenate themselves in the same way. Manufactured by Mizon, it retails for about $ 35. The small jar comes with a tiny spatula so you can scoop the cream out without getting it under your nails.
  2. Face Shop Rice Water Brightening Cleansing Light Oil — Women wash their faces twice in South Korea; once with an oil cleanser to remove make-up thoroughly and then again with a more traditional cleanser to penetrate the skin once the first layer of grime is removed.   This cleanser contains moringa oil, which is known for its wonderful detoxifying benefits. This product is gentle, good for all skin types, leaves your face hydrated and balanced, and best of all, is yours for only $ 13.
  3. Cremorelab’s Mineral Treatment Essence — An essence is similar to a toner. After cleansing the skin twice and exfoliating, an essence made with ultra-hydrating and restorative properties is applied to the face. This one is found 1,000 feet below the earth in a region of Korea that dates back to prehistoric times.   It’s rich in minerals, botanical-based, and contains niacinamide, a derivative of Vitamin B noted to improve the skin’s texture and resilience.   Try using it in the shower (after washing your face) when the steam has fully opened your pores. A 9-ounce bottle goes for $ 42.
  4. AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact — Brought to you by one of South Korea’s luxury skin care lines, this product does it all. This soothing foundation is dripping with anti-inflammatory ingredients and antioxidants (like green tea) that are great for your skin. The formulation has an SPF of 50; brightens, hydrates and protects the dermis. It’s won Elle Magazine’s “Genius” and Allure Magazine’s “Best of Beauty” awards. Expect to pay anywhere from $ 33 to $ 60, depending upon where you purchase it.
  5. Mizon’s Collagen Serum — Collagen packs a mighty wallop when it comes to plumping and hydrating skin. Since our bodies produce less of it as we age I’ve decided to feature it here, although there are many different sera (also called ampoules in South Korea) that treat many different conditions. This one is almost entirely comprised (90%) of marine collagen, one of the easiest types of collagen for the skin to absorb. Just place two to three drops on your face and gently spread it across your face with your fingertips. A one-ounce glass bottle with a dropper runs about $ 42 and lasts for months.
  6. Mizon’s Miracle Snail Repair Cream — For the adventurous among us, this moisturizing cream is made from the clear, gel-like substance that snails secrete on the bottom of their foot. It sounds gross, I know. However, it is absolutely lauded internationally for everything from healing scars to treating acne to moisturizing sensitive and dry skin. So, I bought it and I tried it. And, I’m here to tell you that it is soothing, odorless, not the slightest bit slimy or sticky, and that it made my skin feel softer and smoother.

For the record, the snail goop is harvested by having the animals walk across a screen which does not hurt or harm the snails in any way. A one-ounce tube runs about $ 14, while a fluffier four-ounce formulation called a “sleeping pack” (in other words, a night cream) costs $ 25.

  1. Skin Food Black Sugar Mask — The customer reviews for this product are so remarkable everywhere I look, that I decided I had to give you a heads up in case you haven’t already heard about or tried it.   This dark brown scrub, which smells delightful by the way, works best if you massage it onto your skin, leave it on for about 10 minutes, and then gently wash it off.   At roughly $ 14 for about a 4-ounce container, it’s cheap relative to some of the leading exfoliants made by European and American brands. Plus, it’s designed to be used only once a week.
  2. Sheet Masks — This article would not be complete without giving a shout out to sheet masks. These decadent treatments, invented in South Korea, come drenched with powerhouse ingredients in high concentrations that immediately deliver maximum benefits. They look similar to face wipes or makeup removing wipes, only they’re face-shaped and have holes cut into the eye and mouth areas so you can see and talk while you’ve got them on.   All you do is unfold the sheet, place it on your face, press down and leave it on for between 10 to 20 minutes. Skin masks are used once a week.   You can purchase them individually or in packs and, perhaps best of all, can test out the ingredients for a nominal sum and examine the results before committing to a supply.   Finally, there’s quite a variety of sheet masks out there and each one provides a distinct benefit to meet your needs (for example, soothing, lightening, hydrating, etc.) Prices start at $ 2.

To purchase these and other Korean skincare products online you can buy them direct from the manufacturers listed or via retailer like Peach & Lily, Urban Outfitters and Amazon.




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