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Today we're talking K-beauty classics that will work for almost everyone and this list is a great place to start if you're new to the scene! Korean skincare is really all about soothing and hydrating the skin, so any actives are formulated to be very gentle. I'll also share with you where I buy these product here in the UK. Let's dive in...
First up is the Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser | £26.50 | which you can find at Cult Beauty (and now Selfridges too). This is a super-lightweight milky cleanser that's perfect to use during the warmer weather. It breaks down everyday makeup and sunscreen gently and washes away without leaving behind any residue (for that reason, you can actually also use this as a morning cleanse). It's not at all stripping and actually leaves my skin lovely and soft after use with added ingredients like jojoba seed oil, Vitamin E and meadowfoam seed oil.
In terms of toners, essences and the rest, I have a few and we'll start with the I'm From Rice Toner | £26 (15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY (affiliate)) | which I get from Tonic 15. This is a slightly-weightier, moisturising milky toner but it's definitely not as heavy as an essence (which sits between a toner and a serum in consistency). It's formulated with rice extracts, which can soothe the skin and gently keep excess oiliness at bay, plus niacinamide in a skin-friendly concentration. This active can help regulate oil production in the skin and also boost skin barrier function to ensure your face stays happy, healthy and calm. This product is one of those lowkey workhorses in a skincare routine; it's gentle, it's easy to slip into your routine, it's moisturising and over time it will maintain your skin's equilibrium.
Next we have the Skin 1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule | £19.49 | which can be found at Stylevana UK. An ampoule is a more potent take on the serum, usually focusing on a specific extract. There's nothing in here other than centella and the functional components that give the product its texture and shelf-stability. Centella Asiatica is one of my favourite skincare ingredients and I'm noticing more and more Western brands beginning to formulate with it. It's a botanical that's great for soothing and calming irritated skin. You can use something like this after an exfoliating acid or if your skin isn't very happy and you just want to keep things calm and simple. It has a light gel texture that absorbs very easily and provides almost instant relief for redness and inflammation.
I obviously couldn't not mention everyone's beloved CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence | £24 (15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY (affiliate)) | which is now available at Tonic 15 and Boots. This is a classic for a reason! It's formulated with filtered snail secretion which is an incredible humectant (meaning it draws water into the skin) and it can also help build a healthier skin barrier. I always get asked if this is going to be 'slimy' and it's really not! It's just a light gel, kind of similar to a serum consistency. It never fails to leave my skin hydrated, bouncy and glow-y!
Next up is the Beauty of Joseon Calming Serum | £14 | which is a brand I buy from Skinsider. This lightweight serum is primarily formulated with green tea water, which can help with excess oiliness, soothes the skin and also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radicals, which float around in our environment and cause premature skin ageing. It's also formulated with panthenol (AKA Vitamin B5) which has a calming effect on the skin and also helps it to retain moisture, so has a knock-on hydrating benefit, especially when paired with the humectants in here: glycerin and hyaluronic acid. There's also that lovely calming centella asiatica extract in here. It's a great one-step hydrating and soothing serum that brings together some of the very best K-beauty ingredients. It's also great if you have redness or other forms of inflammation in your skin.
For my moisturiser, I've chosen the Axis-Y Cera Heart My Type Duo Cream* | £28. This is such a great product formulated with ingredients like centella asiatica, ceramides (for your skin barrier), moisturising jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid. However, you'll notice the pot is split in two! One side is lightweight gel and the other is a richer cream. This makes the product so versatile; if you're feeling drier, you can use the gel as a serum and the cream over the top, if you're oily then use the gel in the daytime and the cream at night or if you've got decidedly combination skin then apply the gel to your oily areas and cream to your drier patches. I love this stuff!
Finally we obviously have a sunscreen, which Korea is famed for because East Asian brands work with a lot of cosmetically-elegant filters. On I think will work for just about anyone is the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA++++* | £21 | which I have previously found at Beauty & Seoul but it looks to be out of stock currently (probably because the packaging was just updated) so I've linked you to Skinsider again. This is a water-based melting sunscreen with a high level of broad-spectrum protection that sets with no white cast, doesn't irritate my eyes and doesn't leave my skin greasy as I reapply it throughout the day. What more could you want?!
Have you tried any of my K-beauty must-haves? What would you add to the list?