A few years ago French pharmacy brands were the buzzword in beauty, now though, as we look ever further afield for the next fix, Korean products are the bandwagon to jump on.
Fuelled by beauty bloggers and the ease of international shipping, the craze is going mainstream as Masque Bar launches in branches of Boots nationwide.
So what does the world of double cleansing, serums and scary-looking masque sheets have to offer?
Charlotte Cho, the American founder of beauty e-tailer, sokoglam.com, which exports Korean products to the US and UK, explains: “Koreans are taught the importance of moisturising, exfoliating, using sunscreen religiously at an early age as well as the technique in which to apply these products. Skincare is part of their culture – seldom seen as a chore but something to look forward to.”
SokoGlam’s best-sellers include oil-based cleaners like Clean it Zero Oil Cleansing Balm by Banila Co, a gentle oil cleanser that comes in solid form, and Bling Bling Hydrogel masks by Manefit, which provide instant hydration for glowing, rejuvenated skin.
Korean beauty products
That’s not to say things are clinical though, quite the opposite says Anna-Marie Solowij, beauty journalist and co-founder of Beauty Mart: “What I love about Korean brands is the creativity, the product names and the packaging. To Westerners, all the products seem a bit crazy and that’s a major part of their appeal.”
Masque Bar has four masks, including two The Skin I Live In – like sheet masks, which are soaked with active ingredients, meaning that skin absorbs all the goodness, similar to collagen and green tea extract – rather than it evaporating away. Boasting great results at largely affordable prices, it’s clear to see why Korean brands are taking off with budget-conscious, beauty-loving Brits.