10 Hero Ingredients of K-Beauty
Skincare comprised of natural, non-toxic, and healthy ingredients is a must, especially when we consider that the epidermis, the top part of the skin, is our body’s largest organ. Imagine eating poison? No, thanks. Well, the same holds true for what you put on your face and body. Think of it like this: if physically ingesting it would make you sick, it has no place in your skincare products.
Korean skincare seems to always be at the forefront of innovative, healthy ingredients. And since we’re constantly on the hunt for the best ingredient to produce collagen, even out skin texture, lighten dark spots, and banish blemishes, we thought we’d turn to K-beauty skincare specialist Sarah Lee (who also happens to be co-founder of K-beauty online skincare store Glow Recipe) to find out what’s trending in healthy, non-toxic K-beauty ingredients and products.
PHAs: Short for polyhydroxy acids, PHAs are the gentlest of the exfoliating acids. Unlike AHAs and BHAs that penetrate below the surface, antioxidant-rich PHAs have larger molecules that penetrate less deeply to exfoliate while minimizing the risk of irritation.
TRY: Make P:rem Peel Me Radiance Peeling Serum ($44)
Centella Asiastica: An ancient, anti-inflammatory herb that soothes redness, heals irritation, and repairs barrier function. Great for sensitive or compromised skin.
TRY: Make P:rem Cicapro Cream ($37)
Green tea: A super antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that defends against environmental damage and free radicals from pollution and the sun.
TRY: Whamisa by Glow Recipe Green Tea Serum Toner ($22)
Propolis: A natural resin-like substance derived from bees; it’s packed with antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties to help heal and sooth the skin.
TRY: Leegeehaam Vita Propolis Ampoule ($38)
Apricot: Rich in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants, apricot extract smoothes skin, fades dark spots, evens out skin tone for a brighter, glowier complexion.
TRY: Blithe Gold Apricot Pressed Serum ($49)
Watermelon: Traditionally used in Korea to soothe inflammation, watermelon extract is packed with reparative vitamins and amino acids to deeply hydrate skin and defend it against the elements. It has an instant cooling effect, which also helps calm irritation.
TRY: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer ($39) and Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($45)
Blueberry: Long considered a beauty superfood, blueberries are naturally loaded with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants to brighten and help boost collagen over time.
TRY: Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser ($34)
Chaga mushroom: A powerful mushroom that thrives in the harshest conditions. The extract is so efficacious that even a small amount can help shield skin against damaging free radicals and help give it an instant radiance.
TRY: Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum ($49)
Artichoke: Artichoke extract is rich in everything from potassium to magnesium to vitamin C, and it packs a powerful punch against photo aging, sagginess, and fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps tighten pores for a more even, flawless complexion.
TRY: Yuripibu Artichoke Power Essence ($38)
Licorice: Licorice root extract is one of the oldest skincare ingredients out there, coveted for its natural brightening effect. As a gentle alternative to harsh actives like hydroquinone, licorice helps treat and prevent hyperpigmentation while minimizing irritation.
TRY: MD’s Pick Water Rubber Masks ($9)
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*pictured: Sarah Lee and Christine Chang of Glow Recipe