Effective Ingredients From Korean Skincare That Are Trending Now
Effective Ingredients From Korean Skincare That Are Trending Now

Effective Ingredients From Korean Skincare That Are Trending Now

8 minutes read

No matter age, gender, skin type or tone, If there’s one thing at the top of everyone’s skin wish list – it’s healthy glowing skin. It’s universal. However, the Korean skincare regimens are winning when it comes to skincare ingredients and innovation. In So-Ko (South Korea) they call it ‘choc-choc’ although, to you and I, this does sound like something you would have with a nice cup of tea; the true meaning is skin that is well moisturised with a plumped-up radiance.

What makes Korean skincare so different?

You could call Korean beauty – skintellectuals. They are high-tech, science-backed over-achievers when it comes to testing and ingredients. Some are taken from ancient passed-down by generations healing tinctures and ointments and others are plant-driven straight from a lab next generation.

Korean skincare routine dewy skin Asian female model

The principles of Korean skincare 

It’s essential to understand the principles that underpin the K-beauty regime. What sets it apart is the multi-step process that emphasises traditional ingredients paired with innovative technologies. This combination results in radiant, healthy skin that can rival any A-lister. 

Foundational ingredients 

At the heart of Korean skincare are foundational ingredients that play a crucial role in achieving an enviable glow. These ingredients focus on hydration, moisturisation, and strengthening the skin’s natural barrier: 

Hydra-Essentiel Silky Cream

  • Hyaluronic acid: This moisture-retaining superstar is a staple in Korean skincare products. It hydrates and plumps the skin, leaving it supple and youthful. You can find it in various serums and moisturisers, including the Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Silky Cream, £38. 
  • Glycerin: Known for its hydrating properties, glycerin helps lock in moisture, keeping your skin soft and smooth. It’s commonly found in toners, cleansers, and even some foundations. 
  • Ceramides: These lipids help strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, protecting it from environmental stressors. Look for them in moisturisers and barrier-repairing creams. 
  • Niacinamide: This powerhouse ingredient addresses a variety of skin concerns, from reducing redness, and sebum production to evening out skin tone, minimising pores and softening lines and wrinkles. You can find niacinamide in serums, toners, and even BB creams. 

Traditional Korean extracts & ingredients 

Korean skincare doesn’t just rely on modern ingredients; it also pays homage to traditional extracts and ingredients with rich historical significance. These tried-and-true actives offer a wealth of benefits for your skin: 

  • Rice water tea: Derived from rice, this ingredient is cherished for its brightening and moisturising properties. You’ll often encounter it in cleansers and masks. 
  • Mugwort: Known for its soothing and calming effects, mugwort is ideal for sensitive skin. It’s commonly found in sheet masks and toners. 
  • Birch juice: Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, birch juice hydrates and revitalises the skin. Look out for it in moisturising essences and serums. 
  • Yuzu: This citrus fruit is a potent source of vitamin C, which helps brighten the skin and fade dark spots.  

Powerhouse natural ingredients 

Natural ingredients are big in K-beauty, and you’ll find Korean skincare contains an abundance of them. Rich in antioxidants and with regenerative capabilities, these ingredients contribute to vibrant, youthful skin: 

  • Green tea: Loaded with antioxidants, green tea protects the skin from free radical and UV damage. You’ll often find it in serums and creams designed to combat signs of ageing. 
  • Ginseng: This root extract is revered for its anti-ageing and skin-firming properties. It’s commonly found in ampoules and moisturisers. 
  • Snail mucin: Yes, you read that right! Snail mucin, aka snail secretion, is a skincare sensation in Korea. It promotes skin healing and regeneration, making it a star ingredient in many serums and masks. 
  • Centella asiatica: Known as ‘tiger grass’, this herb soothes inflammation and promotes collagen production. It’s often used in creams and spot treatments. 

Read next: Farm-to-face – why high-altitude ingredients make a difference 

Unique and innovative ingredients 

Korean skincare is synonymous with innovation, and it’s no different when it comes to ingredients. These unique components target specific skin concerns and offer a luxurious touch: 

  • Propolis: Derived from bees, propolis has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It’s a common ingredient in soothing ampoules and spot treatments. 
  • Tremella mushroom: This mushroom is a hydration hero, holding up to 500 times its weight in water. It’s such a powerhouse ingredient that it’s used in serums, creams, toners, lotions and more.  
  • Pearl: Pearl extract brightens the skin and adds a luminous glow. You can find it in many Korean brightening serums and creams. 
  • Honey: Nature’s sweet elixir is also a skincare marvel. Honey hydrates, soothes, and repairs the skin, making it a key ingredient in masks and creams. 

Most Popular Korean Skincare Ingredients

Does anyone have time for a 10-step Korean skincare regimen? We certainly don’t. However, that doesn’t mean to say you can’t embrace the K-beauty ingredients and streamline it down for the plumpest, glass-like glow or brilliant wellbeing hit. Here are the plant-powered or science-backed ingredients to have on your radar now.


This was the original superfood. A staple in Asian beauty for years, this plant that looks like the ‘Shrieking Mandrake’ plant in Harry Potter or some gnarly old parsnips – but don’t judge its appearance – it’s a powerhouse when it comes to skin and body wellbeing.

According to GinSen, the experts in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM in London, “Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world. It is packed full of antioxidants to help calm inflammation, holds immune-boosting properties, and may help support energy levels.”

The USP of ginseng is that it will be beneficial regardless of body, hair or skin type. It naturally balances skin and increases the circulation of your blood vessels, upping collagen production. It’s also an antioxidant powerhouse and will help protect from environmental damage and address any hyperpigmentation problems.

It’s also uniquely energising without irritating – the Chinese call it ‘Eastern coffee’ due to its revitalizing capabilities. We love employing it as a morning wake-up call and post-shower layer liberally with the Tonic Moisturising Balm; it contains ginseng root extract, rosemary, mint and geranium for a spa-like smell and promotes a feel-good sensation to your limbs. Get your buzz now.

Next read: What Causes Hyperpigmentation And How To Get Rid Of It 

Centella Asiatica

This herbaceous plant goes by many names – so look for cica, centella asiatica, or tiger grass. Still, essentially, they are all the same bright flowers and green leaves that tigers often roll themselves amongst to repair skin wounds.

Along with regeneration, it soothes, calms and also strengthens the skin’s barrier, plus it may lessen some of the visible effects of sun damage – so it is the perfect solution for stressed-out, ray-inflicted skin. It’s a naturally sourced ingredient and as it’s been tested for centuries in Asia and beyond and used by Clarins for years, so you know it’s not going to cause nasty side effects.

See the results for yourself in the form of Double Serum, 1 product is sold every 6 seconds in the world and in tests a multi-ethnic panel reports a 94% felt their skin was visibly smoother. High-tech indeed.

Clarins Nutri-Lumière Night Cream with korean skincare ingredient Huang Qi

Huang Qi

Huang qi, also known as ‘astragalus’ is a flowering plant that is native to parts of Asia. It’s considered an ‘immune amphoteric’, which means it can help normalise functions of an organ or system within the body – neither suppressing nor stimulating – just making it work at its optimum level. As a result, this plant brings a sense of balance both inside and out.

It’s a multi-tasker too; it has enhanced benefits since it contains the three major antioxidant vitamins: vitamins A, E and C, plus amino acids and trace elements which are all important when looking at skin health. Find it in the Nutri-Lumière Night Cream , which works its magic while you sleep, so you wake to fresh, luminous skin.

To sum it up? Including huang qi improves skin healing, reduces inflammation, increases skin elasticity, and increases collagen production and is a great revitaliser for all skin types.

Want more ways to boost your glow? Read: The Dolphin Skin Trend Beauty Editor’s Love

Incorporating Korean skincare ingredients into your routine 

Building a Korean skincare routine can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Here’s a quick guide to get you started: 

  • Identify your skin concerns: Determine your specific skin concerns, whether it’s dryness, acne, or signs of ageing. This will guide your ingredient selection.For example, if you get regular breakouts, opt for products with niacinamide or tea tree oil. 
  • Patch testing: Always patch-test new products to avoid potential allergies or sensitivities. Apply a small amount on your inner arm and wait 24 hours for any adverse reactions. 
  • Start slowly: Introduce new products gradually to allow your skin to adapt. Begin with a cleanser, toner, and moisturiser, then add serums and treatments as needed. 
  • Layering: The key to Korean skincare is layering your products from thinnest to thickest consistency. This ensures maximum absorption and effectiveness. 
  • Sun protection: Never skip sunscreen. Korean skincare enthusiasts prioritise sun protection to prevent skin damage which causes premature ageing and hyperpigmentation. 

In the world of skincare, knowledge is power, and understanding the ingredients in your products is paramount. Korean skincare ingredients have taken the beauty world by storm, offering transformative effects that can elevate your skincare game to new heights. But remember – achieving radiant skin requires commitment and experimentation. Your journey to flawless, glowing skin starts here! 

Discover More Korean Skincare Tips

A Korean Skincare Routine For Glass Skin That Looks Natural

Beginners Guide to a Korean Skincare Routine in the UK


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