K Beauty Hobbit
Why Korean Beauty?
Have you ever wondered “why Korean beauty?”
I have. I’ve seen it mentioned here and there in blogs and Facebook groups, but was too intimidated and overwhelmed to really dig into it. I can’t say I’m an expert, but I definitely know my way around ampoules, packs, skins, serums, and balms now, so let’s see if I can help you out (and if you want to ask a question, join our Facebook group here)
Here are a few reasons I personally adore Korean skincare:
The approval process of KFDA (Korean Food and Drug Administration) is much more receptive to new products and technologies than similar institutions in other countries. Korea has brought us BB cream, sheet masks, and cushions, among many other things. The West is haphazardly dragging behind (about a decade behind, in fact) - I am just now seeing ads for US-brand sheet masks, but Korea has had them for years. If you want the latest and greatest in skincare - look at Korea.
I will go into more detail where I shop to avoid getting ripped off in a separate post, but in general, even with shipping directly from overseas, Korean beauty items are much more affordable than their US counterparts. You can find great sheet masks for not much more than $1 each (compare to $3.50-$5 or even more for the US ones), for example.
3. Brand Competition and Responsiveness
Korea has many, many brands. Seoul packs 112 beauty stores into an 8 block area. To stay viable and profitable, they must try to be the best. Korea also has a very dynamic market, with users posting reviews and commenting on brands regularly, which means those brands either listen or quickly go out of business. As a result - the “surviving” products are high quality and effective.
4. Something for everyone
You won’t find a “three jars fit all” approach to skincare in Korean brands. There’s no “after 50, this is what you use” - you can custom build a whole routine for your specific skin needs (which change not only with age but also with seasons). By splitting up skincare into so many categories, Korean manufacturers give us great freedom to tailor EVERYTHING, combining lines and brands, for a truly unique-to-us skin routine. All of that without a huge price tag.
Here's a small part of my giant hobbit stash :)
5. Unique ingredients
Where else will you find bee venom, salmon oil, synthetic snake venom peptide, crushed pearls, 24K gold, snail mucin, and so much more? AND have it fit into the #2 box of “good price”? Probably, nowhere. Really. And if “snail mucin” makes you go “ew”, that just means you haven’t tried it yet. It’s great, and doesn’t smell like snails, I promise (ok, I don't actually know if snails smell).
6. Skincare vs Makeup focus
It’s my impression that the focus of Korean skincare is on healthy, beautiful skin and decorative makeup second, which is exactly how I personally feel as well. No matter how amazing the makeup is, it eventually has to come off, and hopefully what’s left doesn’t scare your friends and family. Healthy, clear skin looks great bare, but also makes for a much better canvas for makeup that neglected skin.
7. It’s FUN
Ok, I admit it - it’s just FUN (maybe this should have been my #1 point?). It brings me great joy to slather on 10 layers of skincare while I listen to an audio book or escape the reality of daily life in a warm bath. Opening yet another package with lip tints shaped like wine bottles makes me smile, doesn’t cost a lot, and doesn’t settle on my hips the way Twix bars tend to. I absolutely love watching my skin and my husband’s skin get healthier, better, and more visually pleasing. And I love having the confidence to go outside once a week (on my skin’s “day off”) with 0 makeup and not scare the general public.