Putting Together a Korean Skin Care Kit - Tips for Buying the Right Products
With Korean Beauty, it is more than just a matter of picking out a good toner, or moisturizer/cream. To get the best out of this global craze, you will need to take the time to figure out which of the many many great options deserve your time and investment. Oily, acne-prone, dry, sensitive or combination - knowing your skin type accurately is the essential first step to spotting the right products. We have kickstarted the process for you with a list of great options for different skin types, and have also listed out the best sites to buy.
Korean Beauty Product Recommendations Best Suited for Indian Skin
Top Products for Oily Skin
A large proportion of Indian women have oily skin. Every day these women struggle with a perennial greasy look and increased chances of acne. Our weather and humidity levels make it worse, plus most products in the market tend to leave that unwelcome shine! Fortunately, you will find a lot of suitable options for K-beauty!
If you are some who uses makeup daily even if it is just foundation you should use an oil-based cleanser. You may think it's a crazy idea to add even more oil to your skin, but actually, this helps to remove the oil build upon your face. We recommend Banila Co’s Clean It Purity Cleansing Balm - it is a hypoallergenic semi-solid cleanser that dissolves impurities and oil gently. The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil is another great option.
Dehydrated skin (which can happen even if you have oily skin) is a major reason for increased oil production and thereby acne. Therefore, hydrating toners are essential to boost your skin's moisture levels - Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion is one such product.
Essences are lightweight products that contain power-packed ingredients to hydrate and address skin concerns. These products even out your skin and make it look brighter. Some superb products to check out: Cosrx - Snail 96 Mucin Essence, Benton - Snail Bee High Content Essence with ingredients like snail mucin and bee venom, both of which help improve the skin texture and quality. Secret Key - Starting Treatment Essence is also a solid option.
Serums or ampoules are concentrated formulations based on one key ingredient which could be elements like Vit C, Niacinamide and Propolis. Use serums to tackle issues like ageing, dull skin and skin discolouration.
Products ideal for oily skin includes Klairs - Freshly Juiced Drop and The Face Shop White Seed Brightening Serum.
Moisturizing often is thought to be unnecessary for oily skin. Nothing can be further from the truth. However, the trick here is to look for products that suit your skin and do not result in excess oil which can make you look dull. Check out Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion and Benton - Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel, these are lightweight moisturizers that absorb wonderfully and do not leave a shine. Also, try gel moisturizers like Belief The True Cream - Aqua Bomb
Most regular sunscreens end up giving an oily look within minutes of applying and worse, leave a white cast. Koran sunscreen, fortunately, is absorbed quickly without any loss of coverage. Try out Missha - All-Around Essence Sun Milk and Innisfree Daily UV Protection Cream No Sebum SPF 35/PA++".
Top 6 Products for Combination Skin
The Combination skin type poses a unique challenge - you are oiler in some parts of your face but dry in others. Your skin also behaves differently in each season! Korean beauty's gentle approach means you can find products that are just the right balance of moisturizing and mattifying so your skin looks healthy and glowing.
Using an oil cleanser that helps clean while nourishing the skin makes sense for those with combination skin. We recommend Heimish All Clean Balm which a crowd favourite for removing even the heaviest of makeup.
Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser is a good option for a water-based cleanser for all skin types - it uses an amino acid formula to cleanse and contains ingredients like hyaluronate, aloe and tea tree oil cleanses while nourishing.
Exfoliation with pads is a simple and fuss-free way to rid your skin of impurities and dead skin. Try Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pads for a quick solution. Another fantastic scrub suitable for even sensitive skin is Klairs Sugar Scrub Exfoliator.
Consider toners like Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener and Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner which are great to balance out your skin while making your skin supple and moist. It also helps in sebum control, and tightening pores, all of which help for getting clear skin.
A very popular choice in essences is Missha Time Revolution- The First Treatment Essence which has fermented yeast as its prime ingredient which hydrates, refreshes and brightens the skin. Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence features again as a good option.
For combination skin, you need a moisturizer that absorbs easily yet does not make your skin feel tight or dry. There are several options here that give you a wonderful balance between both. Some great option is Innisfree Balancing Cream with Green Tea, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream, belief The True Cream Aqua Bomb and Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream.
With respect to sunscreen, COSRX - Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is ideal for all skin types and will suit those with combination skin folks as well.
Top Six Products for Dry Skin
With Dry skin, you typically struggle with flaky, dull skin with poor texture. You need products that nourish the skin and replenish moisture levels without clogging the skin. K-beauty products protect and boost moisture levels, plus strengthen your skin's natural barriers to make your skin look healthy and glowing skin.
Mild cleansing oil with nourishing ingredients like Black Bean Oil and Sesame oil, Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil is ideal for dry skin. A more expensive option is Laneige Fresh Brightening Cleansing Oil.
Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam Ex is a gentle water-based cleanser is formulated with a host of traditional medicinal herbs like duckweed and chestnut shell extracts which help to clean skin without causing tightness or flaking.
The Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Facial Toner has been created for sensitive skin so is suitable for all skin types. Its has light and unscented formula absorbs easily and is filled with helpful ingredients like amino acids and herbs like licorice root extract, aloe leaf extract to help your skin feel fresh.
Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Essence is a popular option for those with dry skin as hyaluronic acid is one of the best ingredients to retain moisture levels in your skin and leave your skin looking plump.
Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream is a perfect moisturizer pick for dry skin as it contains ingredients like super collagen and Baobab water which keep the skin moist for over 12 hours post-application.
Holika Good Cera Super Ceramide Cream is another awesome option as it contains natural ingredients like shea butter and aloe extract, and ceramides that are great for tackling dryness. As a sunscreen, Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk is a wonderful choice with a lightweight consistency and hydrating and soothing botanical ingredients like apricot, lotus, chrysanthemum and camellia flower extracts.
Top Korean Products for Tackling Acne
Korean skincare can be a boon for people who are battling active acne since a lot of formulations are specially created to be non-comedogenic, to soothe inflammation and reduce redness. Here are few specifically for use when you are facing breakouts.
- COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch: These are tiny circular patches made of cellulose that are treated with ingredients aimed at reducing inflammation and infection. They can help soothe and even heal acne faster. Another benefit is since they are clear you can wear them during the day to conceal the redness.
- Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum: AHAs are a great way to clean up the pores and avoid clogging them, which after all is the prime reason for acne. Rather than using harsh physical scrubs with granules, people with acne should use gentle chemical-based exfoliators that effectively refresh the skin. This Mizon serum is a popular product to ensure your skin feels clean and reduce the intensity of acne breakouts.
- Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask: Yet another type of exfoliation, masks are particularly important for oily skin types. These suck out the oil and the grime from deeper layers of the skin which can help stop acne formation. This Innisfree mask is fantastic featuring effective ingredients such as volcanic ash, kaolin, and bentonite clay.
- Mario Badescu Drying Lotion: A Holy Grail for many, this is one of the few products that many say zaps pimples overnight. This spot treatment product contains ingredients like salicylic acid, sulphur and calamine lotion that not only help draw out the pimple but also calm the skin. For most types of acne, it acts within a day or two!
- Cosrx Centella Blemish Ampule: This ampule is choc-a-bloc with ingredients that soothe, hydrate the skin and also boost collagen production. It is also highly effective for controlling sebum production so it makes the skin look brighter and glowing.
Where to Get Korean Beauty Products in India
India has caught up with the rest of the world and Korean beauty products are today easily available online. The selection is still however often limited to the most popular options so if you want something specific then you will need to head to international sites.
Best Online Stores to Buy Your Korean Beauty Products in India
Nykaa is reputed cosmetics website that stocks several Korean Brands including Innisfree, The Face Shop, Tony Moly, Dear, Klairs and Belief. The site's pricing is reasonable and regularly offers discounts. Shipping is free for purchases above Rs. 500.
Beauty Barn is a site that has risen to prominence quickly by stocking a relatively huge range of Korean brands. The site has virtually all the popular products across several brands so you should find what you need here. Shipping charges of Rs. 50 apply to orders below Rs. 2,000 and products are priced reasonably.
Amazon is also joining the ranks as a good source of Korean products. It has a much larger collection of brands and products, however, pricing is rather on the expensive side here,
Daisy SkinFix is one of the stores that first started offering products in India. This site offers products from 11 top Korean brands that include Cosrx and Mizon, currently with plans to expand more. They also have a physical store in Bangalore
Shelc is another top online store to buy Korean beauty products at great prices. Few brands that are available on the store include Laneige, Neogen, Skinfood, Tosowoong, and Etude House. Shipping is free for orders above Rs. 499.
Remember, these are imported products so prices vary. Therefore look around the sites to find the right price.
Tips and Tricks to Buying the Right Products
Experimenting with the K-beauty craze? The sheer range of options - a multitude of products, strange ingredients, different formulations - can be bewildering. Follow these three tips to find the best products for you and make you own personalized routine.
Check the Ingredients List
Since Korean beauty products are ingredient-driven, it pays to get familiar with top ingredients for your skin type and issues. Make sure to read the ingredient list that is provided in all sites for the products. You can then use sites like cosdna.com to understand these ingredients and if they are harmful. It is also helpful as some people's skin can be allergic to certain ingredients, and doing this check avoids a bad reaction.
Read Reviews and Look for 'Skin Doubles'
Scrolling dozens of products and choosing one of them is daunting! Reviews are one way to make sense of the information overload you may have.K-beauty has a passionate online community which can be a valuable resource. Look for detailed reviews to get a better understanding. To know which of these reviews you should go by check out the reviewer's skin type. Find reviewers who are your 'skin doubles' - people with similar skin type and issues the same as you. This may give you a better approximation of how your skin may react to the product in question, but don't expect to it works exactly!
Expect Trial and Error
The term 'Holy Grail' is often used in reviews - this refers to a product that for the reviewer has delivered maximum results. Unfortunately, this is not universal. Our skin has unique needs and does not always behave in the same manner. So what works for one, may not work for another. Keep your expectations realistic and be open to trial and error.
Wear Protective Accessories (Even When You Aren't at the Beach)
Korean women take a preventative approach to age at a very young age, whereas women in India tend to wait until they see that first line or wrinkle. Not only is using SPF ingrained, but they also tend to take protective measures from the sun year-round. "It's not uncommon to see women in Korea wear white gloves that go up to their elbows while they're driving or visors that literally cover their entire face.