Ingredients Made Famous By The Korean Skincare Industry

Ingredient Investigation

Ingredients Made Famous By The Korean Skincare Industry

By Alex Scoffell

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While Korean skincare has always been at the forefront of ingredient and product innovation, it’s been only relatively recently that the rest of the world has caught on. It wasn’t until the early 2010s when major retailers like Sephora started stocking K-Beauty brands that other U.S.-based companies began to take note, inspiring millions more to shift the way they thought about skincare. So how has the highly innovative world of K-Beauty influenced the products we use today? Read on to find out what buzzy Korean skincare ingredients you can find in your own skincare collections at home.

Korean Skincare, Explained

Beauty is a serious business in South Korea. The K-Beauty industry is responsible for creating BB and CC creams, sheet masks, cushion foundation compacts, acne pimple patches, and gel under-eye masks — to name a few! Skincare companies in Korea are known for producing the smartest, most innovative, most effective, and most well-researched products.

Alongside product innovation, there are also high-performing skincare ingredients that are cornerstones of many K-Beauty brands. Natural, yet active ingredients that blend the power of nature with the smarts of science are a few hallmarks of Korean skincare.

“Whether it’s a serum incorporating ingredients like snail mucin to ampoules that include microneedles made of marine solids, Korean beauty innovates with unique ingredients you often won't find in other skin care,” says K-Beauty expert, Alicia Yoon.

Skincare companies in Korea are known for producing the smartest, most innovative, most effective, and most well-researched products.

Ingredient #1: Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot seed oil is an unsung hero at the moment, being one of the ‘lesser known’ face oils compared to the regular slippery culprits: rosehip, jojoba, argan, and marula oil. Carrot seed oil has actually been used in K-Beauty for more than 10 years! This ingredient is rich in vitamin A to rejuvenate and smooth skin texture while it protects against transepidermal water loss (TEWL).

Our go-to product: This lightweight, healing vitamin boost that deeply nourishes and reinforces the skin's barrier.

Ingredient #2: Tremella Mushroom

This fantastic fungus is a powerful hydrator and can hold up to 500 times its weight in water. For any of our skincare nerds reading, that’s 50% as powerful as hyaluronic acid! The tremella mushroom has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, making it a great choice to nourish and moisturize skin dealing with acne or breakouts.

Our go-to product: Instantly quench thirsty skin with this adaptogenic serum.

Ingredient #3: Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola)

Centella asiatica, commonly known as Gotu Kola, is a perennial plant used in Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries due to its healing properties. Today, Gotu Kola is widely used in Korean skincare as a natural ingredient to hydrate, soothe, and heal the skin. With ‘maskne’ and stressed out skin on the rise, Gotu Kola is a K-beauty ingredient that should be in everyone’s routine.

Our go-to product: This anti-inflammatory healing balm creates a protective shield-like layer to repair, soothe, and reduce redness.

Ingredient #4: Propolis + Royal Jelly

We know honey can help balance the bacteria on your skin and soothe redness and inflammation, but have you heard of ‘propolis’ and ‘royal jelly’? These more complex byproducts from bees are extremely popular in K Beauty. Propolis is a potent antioxidant powerhouse that fights signs of aging, whereas royal jelly is highly moisturizing and works to maintain the skin’s moisture barrier.

Our go-to product: Gently refine your skin with this toner that doubles as a refreshing, hydrating serum. An ‘essence’ is a product that was made famous by K-Beauty, so this product is a double win!

Final Thoughts

Shifting your focus to prevention rather than solely treatment — a concept that is rooted Korean beauty and skincare philosophies — is a fantastic skincare mantra to live by. Mighty Patches are awesome, but we’d also love to avoid a random breakout entirely, too! With a focus-on-prevention approach, K-Beauty understands that consistency and patience plays an essential role in an ingredient’s effectiveness.

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