Who cares if he’s waiting? A beauty ritual takes lots of timeThe beauty ritual in Korea is elaborate. Every morning, women pat toner, essence, eye cream, milky lotion and cream on their faces. Daily skin care occurs specifically in that order, with products often from only one line. If their husbands, brothers or boyfriends don’t have their own lotions, they’ll sample some of these products.
“Only in Korea is the ritual this extensive,” says Bae Jee-in of Lancome. After the skin care ritual, women used to apply twin cake ― and voila, imperfections were completely covered. These days however, the natural look of skin is in. Consequently, it is necessary for skin to be healthy.
The number of products used to achieve a healthy skin tone is one reason why the facial skin care lines for Korea at companies like Lancome and Clinique is larger than the cosmetics lines. To maximize the effect, shoppers often buy the entire line. For that natural glow, take a look at these bestsellers.
Isa Knox launched the White Focus line in April, and it has quickly become a bestseller. Could it be the combined effects of cleansing, brightening and moisturizing? The line includes a toner and a serum. The intense treatment costs 80,000 won ($67).
Among Lancome’s new products, the most popular in Korea is a choice between Resolution and the Whitening Line Blanc. Resolution uses D-Contraxol, a dermo-smoothing complex. The anti-wrinkle treatment has seven patents pending and comes as a lotion and essence. The cream formula costs 100,000 won.
The Botanical Buffing Beads, winner of the Allure Editor’s Choice Award, is one of Peter Thomas Roth’s bestsellers. The gentle formula exfoliates dead surface skin, unclogging pores and preparing the skin for moisturizers. The fun part is the dissolving beads, which also minimize the risk of skin irritation. Cost is 85,000 won.
Tea is traditionally a drink, of course, but studies show that the beverage has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the skin, and when combined with sunscreen may even protect against skin cancer. Origins bases its A Perfect World line on white tea for its ability to repair and protect the skin. The moisturizing toner includes boswellia and walnut extracts. The bottle costs 30,000 won.
One of Kiehl’s most popular products is the Herbal Blue Astringent. Sales are especially high during the summer, and clients include men and women. The formula, which contains alcohol, works best on acne-prone skin, or for a cooling effect after shaving. Cost is 35,000 won for the 8 oz. bottle.
The make-up artist and founder behind Shu Uemura believes that make-up starts and ends with cleansing. The company first launched with High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil, an oil to cleanse the face. Sounds contradictory, but the formula of this oil ― from corn to macadamia nut, jojoba, safflower and olive ― passed down since 1960 has won rave reviews for its ability to remove make-up, including waterproof mascara, while leaving skin fresh and smooth. All three formulas ― classic, light and enriched ― are 33,000 won each.
Chanel launched Eye Patch Total last month, and quicker than you can blink, it has become one of the company’s hottest items. “People used to believe that eye cream was for older women, but eye care should begin before the wrinkles appear,” says one Chanel makeup artist. The high tech eye patch, from the Chanel Precision line, reduces puffiness and dark circles around the eyes. Cost is 82,000 won.
One top seller at Fresh is the Rose Face Mask. Rose oil, rose flower water and sea water add to the nature-inspired formula. The mask, which washes off with warm water, tones while hydrating. Cost is 80,000 won.
Clinique’s top seller in Korea is the Clarifying Lotion, the second item in the classic 3-Step Program. There are four strengths, for extremely delicate, dry to average, oily and very oily skin types. The formula has a mild exfoliation effect to remove dead surface skin cells. The bottle costs 32,000 won.
by Joe Yong-hee