welcome to a world of high quality, wonderfully packaged, affordable, experimental cosmetics. we may have dozens of different products, but they have hundreds. i’m pretty sure the western cosmetics industry is watching their korean counterpart and learning valuable lessons.
korean cosmetics are one of the leading vectors of the korean wave. it’s a huge but still growing industry that caters to the people using the most plastic surgery in the world. you think you are doing your homework by cleaning/tonig/mosturizing your skin daily, right? well, you are way behind a nation of young women and men who use an incredible range of cosmetics just to keep up with the impossibly high standards of beauty imposed and kept by k-pop starlets and drama stars.
a few interesting facts: did you know that bb cream (blemish balm) was actually first developed in korea to treat blemishes and sensitive skin after facial treatments? did you know that korea has the biggest men’s cosmetics industry in the world? and these are just a couple of this industry’s surprising secrets.
i had a faint idea about the existence of korean cosmetics, so, once in seoul, i was ready to look into the matter. i must have entered a thousand stores. they look innocent at first, but then you start discovering the different and the downright shocking items. most of the products are sweet-smelling concoctions in unbelievably cute packaging. they are so cute you start considering buying them all just to see them every day on your bathroom shelf.
beside the regular nail polishes, lipsticks and moisturizers, there are the unheard of items: lips stamps, lip markers, lip tints and jellies. there are single pack sheet masks with all the possible ingredients, ranging from pearls to bee or snake venom. they have top coats that transform your nail varnish from glossy to matte. and little hats for brightening your nails. and have you ever heard of a sleep pack? i’m telling you: mind blown!
beside the alluring packaging and the promised benefits, many of the products have extra perks. they are parabens free, preservatives free, not tested on animals and they have 100% recyclable packaging, low carbon containers and natural ingredients. most probably, the manufacturers fought every negative thing you may fear in cosmetics.
and, the cherry on top, the highlight: snail cream. i tested it and it’s every bit as good as they say! about six hours after i put it on, my face still felt hydrated to the touch. if you have the opportunity, at least try it! it’s not at all slimy and it feels just like any regular cream. also, there is a whole family of related products, of course: washing foams, serums, eye creams, etc.
beside the cool selection, the stores are absolutely everywhere and and the services are great. one final plus: you get gifts for almost each and every purchase. seoul is cosmetics heaven, i’m telling you!
here you have a few crazy products i found while researching: black garlic cream , goat milk and lavender sun lotion, black egg pore serum, facial choco cacao scrub, black sugar cleansing oil or wine peeling jelly scrub. this list is just a sample: go online and find more jaw-dropping products!
here you have a video giving insight into the beauty routine of korean men. informative!
photo credits: google search, little aesthete
video credits: abcnews