Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with  Beauty Bay and Real Nature (gifting), Look Fantastic (affiliate - not linked below, and gifting) Tonic 15 (affiliate code used below) and AHC (paid advertorial content). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page  for further detail -

2020 has been the start of me really getting into Korean skincare, so today I thought I'd dedicate a post to my favourite brands, products and places to find them so far...

Cosrx is a brand I'd heard so much about, but it's only really been since the start of the year that it's been widely and easily accessible here in the UK. Overall, I've found their products to be really reasonably-priced and well-formulated and there's lots more I want to try from them! My top pick at this stage is the Cosrx Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream* | £32. Ceramides are a favourite skincare ingredient for me because they repair the skin, promote a healthy barrier and prevent transepidermal water loss. This moisturiser contains ceramides, moisturising oils (like sunflower seed), hyaluronic acid (to draw water into the skin) and niacinamide (to calm the skin and strengthen its barrier). This moisturiser is gorgeous for normal and dry skin types; it's incredibly nourishing and leaves my skin ridiculously soft and smooth. I used this throughout January and February and I know it will be a go-to this winter too, to protect my skin from the elements and provide deep moisture.

I was originally gifted and have since repurchased the the Real Nature Shea Butter Hydrogel Mask | £3. Sheet masks are, of course, a staple of any K-Beauty skincare brand worth its salt, however I'm in two minds about them; many aren't made of biodegradable materials, and it seems a bit of a waste to buy them in order to get a concentrated serum hit, when you can just use a serum... However, I do really like this one and I limit my use of sheet masks to once a week. It comes in two parts, meaning it has a great fit, and the material creates a lovely, cooling effect. The shea butter and hyaluronic acid leave my skin instantly plumper and more hydrated and overall, it looks healthier and fresher. I use sheet masks after cleansing as they're effectively serums so, after leaving them on for no longer than the time specified in the instructions, I pat in the excess and continue straight on to my moisturiser.

A brand I've really been impressed by, that's new to the UK market, is AHC skincare. Their Aqualuronic product line is built around hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide, and contains lightweight, hydrating products that are perfect for the summer months. My favourites are the AHC Aqualuronic Emulsion* | £20 | and AHC Aqualuronic Serum* | £26 | full review (sponsored). The emulsion is a lightweight melting gel product that's heavier than a toner but lighter than a serum and slots in in-between those steps in your routine to add an extra layer of refreshing hydration to your skin. It plumps and hydrates, also giving my skin a lovely glow. The serum is fantastic too; combining my favourite ingredients into a single, pretty affordable product. The formula is almost water-light, non-sticky and offers the skincare equivalent of a nice, cold glass of water after a run in the heat!

My second moisturiser favourite is the Bellflower Tamanu Oil Barrier Relief Cream* | $17. Bellflower is a brand I first saw on Instagram, but in my experience; they aren't just cute packaging, they're also great formulas and fair prices. This moisturiser does smell quite medicinal, but I personally kind of like this sort of scent! Tamanu oil has traditionally been used as a skin-healer for wounds, and there's some evidence it can help with the appearance of scarring, as well as being anti-inflammatory and deeply moisturising. This is a nourishing but non-greasy formula that's amazing for softening my skin and I love the simple formula because it means it's unlikely to cause even sensitive skin any issues. Again, this is more of a winter moisturiser, but I can't wait to enjoy the calming and moisturising effect this has on my skin again when the weather gets colder. You can also get this product on YesStyle, which is my go-to website for ordering products directly from South Korea because the prices aren't inflated and the shipping cost is reasonable, as long as you're ok with a 2-4 week wait.

Next, I'm going to walk through a few bits I love from Tonic 15, a website sharing curated Korean skincare collection, who ship products from here in the UK. I've been working with the brand this year as part of their influencer group, so have a 15% off affiliate code valid on their entire site: JASMINETALKSBEAUTY.

One of the first things I tried from the site was a pack of the JayJun Green Tea Eye Gel Patches* | £31. These cooling gels are formulated with green tea antioxidant to protect the eye area from free radicals, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. They instantly refresh and hydrate my eye area when things are feeling tired and puffy! Simply pop them on for 10-15 minutes, remove and pat in the excess (as it's essentially an eye serum, so you don't want to rinse it off).

I also really enjoy the I'm From Fig Boosting Essence* | £31.90. I'm From create skincare products derived from natural ingredients like fig, rice and honey. This essence can be used after or instead of a toner and has a thicker, more moisturising texture than one. Essences are another staple of a Korean skincare routine and their signature is that they always contain some sort of fermented extract. Alongside the moisturising ingredients, this also contains a small amount of BHA for chemical exfoliation. It's incredibly gentle, but just helps with the overall brightening and evening-out effect. Alongside its antioxidant properties, it's also lovely and moisturising.

I have a few serums here and I have to preface this by saying that in my experience so far with K-Beauty, I've noticed most brands formulate with parfum (sometimes even advertising it as a great thing about the product) and the first two serums do have a pleasant but very noticeable fragrance. For this reason, I don't necessarily use them every single day and avoid them if my skin is feeling reactive, so as not to tempt fate. However, as an occasional treat, these serums are lovely. The first is the Aromatica Reviving Rose Infusion Serum* | £36. This lightweight, non-sticky serum is formulated with rose water and essential oil, which I personally find really moisturising on my skin. I love how easily this absorbs in to give me plump skin and make my complexion look healthy and dewy. I also like that Aromatica's packaging can be recycled and they put a lot of work into ensuring their ingredients are sourced responsibly. I also really enjoy the Huxley Secret of Sahara Oil Essence | £38 | in the evening, after my toner but before my moisturiser. I do really love the scent, but if fragrance in facial skincare isn't for you, they also do a candle and a body lotion in this scent. This product uses quinoa, acai berry and prickly pear seed oil as antioxidants and I love the texture; it melts into the skin and doesn't feel at all greasy. I find it so moisturising when I'm experiencing dry skin. Finally, for serums, we have another oil-esque option in the Dear Klairs Fundamental Watery Oil Drop | £30. This is actually a water-based product designed to give the benefits of an oil and it's full of great stuff like green tea antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, fermented extracts, ceramides and peptides (to renew and restore the skin). It instantly hydrates my skin and really gives it that 'glass skin' look. Oily skin will not enjoy this product, but for my dehydrated skin the light texture and dewiness it gives all works perfectly!

Sioris has been a really great affordable find I discovered through Tonic 15 and their ethos is all around simplicity. They also source ingredients responsibly, so you'll notice some of their products have two potential ingredient lists, depending on what's available during the season. I have two products from them to share with you today. There's the Sioris Cleanse Me Softly Milk Cleanser* | £22 | and Sioris Time is Running Out Mist | £17. The cleanser is a light lotion that gives all the benefits of a cream cleanser without being rich or heavy in texture. It's formulated with organic fruit waters, moisturising macadamia seed oil and gentle, plant-based surfactants. This product leaves my skin clean, moisturised and soft after use, which is exactly what I want from a morning cleanse. The mist is one of the first things I tried from Tonic 15 and it was an instant 'love', so I had to pick up the full-sized bottle. It's a dual-phase formula with fruit water and then an oil layer with macadamia, jojoba and sunflower oils, so give it a good shake before misting it on. I find this incredibly moisturising and softening and know it will be a favourite in the winter months, especially. I really recommend this for dry skin; it offers instant moisture and relief.

A few months back Kosame Beauty were kind enough to send me over the Dr Ceuracle Cica Regen Anti-Dust Sun Gel SPF 50 PA++++* | £24. Again, Kosame isn't like Yesstyle which stocks literally everything and can be a bit overwhelming; it's a few intriguing, specially-selected K-Beauty brands that are shipped from the UK. This sunscreen was kind of a revelation for me! It opened up an entire world of sunscreen I never knew existed. Whilst there are one or two western formulas that tick all the boxes for me in terms of ease of use and appearance on the skin, I've generally found them to be more expensive and to have a lower SPF. This product gives broad spectrum protection to SPF 50 and PA++++ level with no white cast, no thick, messy texture, no greasiness and no balling up when I go in to apply my makeup. It's not heavy or suffocating and doesn't break me out. I honestly can't rave about it enough!

Laneige is one of the OG K-Beauty brands to get popular in the Western world, so it's no surprise I have a couple of their cult classic products to cover off in this post. Wherever I can, I order their products from Pure Seoul, but if something is out of stock, sometimes I'll do Yesstyle. The first product I tried from them was their cult Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask | £16.50 | and I currently have the grapefruit flavour in it. This thick balm is to be applied before bed and it never fails to leave me with soft, smooth, deeply moisturised lips by morning. It's an essential for me during the winter, in particular. A more recent discovery has been the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner | £24.60. This is a moisturising toner that my skin has been drinking up lately! I know a lot of people argue that moisturising toners aren't necessary because if you have the right cleanser; it shouldn't dry out your skin. For me, it's about adding in extra moisture wherever I can, not because my skin is super dry after cleansing. It's formulated with lots of antioxidants and amino acids with no fragrance. I absolutely love this stuff; it leaves my skin so soft after use.

An old favourite of mine I recently repurchased from Skinsider is the Heimish All Clean Balm | £15. I wouldn't say this is a super-luxurious cleansing balm like others on the market, but it's gentle and it works, plus it comes in at such a good price-point for the amount of product you get in here. It's a solid balm that melts into an oil as you massage it into your skin. It lifts even stubborn waterproof eye makeup effectively with minimal tugging and emulsifies nicely on contact with water so there's no oily or filmy excess left behind on the skin when you remove everything with a cloth. It doesn't sting my sensitive eyes either. Simple but effective!

A little while back I was sent a few things from Skin Library, a UK-based K-Beauty stockist and my highlight was definitely the Abib Mild Acidic pH Sheet Masks* | £4 each. Again, Skin Library don't stock every single brand under the sun; it's a curated selection, but most of the websites I use focus on different brands so I really enjoy them all for different reasons! I've used both the nourishing honey formula (also containing turmeric as a skin-soother and antioxidant) and the ceramide and hyaluronic acid formula. Both were fantastic; I
 loved how instantly dewy and hydrated these made my skin and there’s so much serum in the packet that you can get another application out of these masks the following morning.

What are your top K-Beauty picks?

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Read more posts from this series here!


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