How to adopt K-beauty trends with the new normal

PHOTO: Pexels

From a 10-step skincare routine to a seven-step toner method, the South Koreans are known to come up with the most innovative skincare trends, which we all tend to end up giving a go at one point or another.

And with the current pandemic, the Asian beauty mecca has seen a shift in its beauty landscape, what with a slew of trends that aid in combatting common skin – and hair – concerns that arise with all the mask-wearing, irregular visits to the dermatologist and overwhelming stress.

Here, we pick out four trends to note and the products you might want to incorporate into your skincare regime.

1. At-home hair treatments

With many of us preferring to stay indoors, there has been an increase in demand in easy-to-use at-home hair treatments. These are meant to offer similar effects to that of actual hair treatments you’d get in physical salons but in the comfort of your own home.

While many of us tend to focus only on our skin, it is essential to give your tresses some TLC to maintain both healthy scalp and hair.

Try: Jung Beauty 2 Step Steaming Hair Spa, $50,

PHOTO: Ksisters

This quick DIY haircare two-step mask treatment is said to mimic the effects of any in-salon hair treatment to achieve softer, smoother and healthier tresses.

The first step, which consists of a self-steaming mask, contains a cocktail of ingredients such as hydrolysed keratin, gold, coconut oil and silk amino acids that work together to repair and strengthen damaged – and broken – protein bonds while delivering long-lasting moisture to the hair shafts.

To further amplify the results, a Heat Revival Complex is infused into the formula for a self-steaming effect.

The second step – a leave-in keratin essence – is formulated with hydrolysed keratin to treat damaged locks, resulting from the excessive use of heat styling products, chemical treatments and constant exposure to harmful environmental aggressors such as UV rays.

Try: Virtue Labs Restorative Treatment Mask, $99, Sephora

PHOTO: Sephora

Ideal for dry, damaged locks, this is formulated with an Alpha Keratin 60ku Technology that delivers an intense hydrating and conditioning effect for silky soft tresses. It also features a lightweight texture that does not weigh hair down once applied and instead adds shine, offers moisture and repairs.

2. Calming and soothing irritable complexions

Now that wearing a face mask is mandatory whenever we head out, our skin gets easily stressed and irritated, leading to what some of us are no stranger to – maskne.

To combat this, the South Koreans are turning to products that are equipped with soothing benefits to relief redness, irritation and sensitivity.

Try: Dr Jart Cicapair Sleepair Ampoule-in Mask, $66

PHOTO: Sephora

The K-beauty brand is known for its calming Cicapair line and its newest addition to the already robust lineup? An ampoule-in-mask that works to regenerate, nourish and soothe while snooze.

It contains a Fusitive Technology that works together with bamboo vinegar to calm irritation, as well as repair and restore fatigued complexions. Skin appears more luminous, feels hydrated and looks refreshed the morning after.

Try: By Ecom Pure Calming Ampoule Mask, $36 for a box of seven sheets

PHOTO: Ksisters

This is fortified with a blend of superior calming ingredients such as centella asiatica, madecassoside and allantoin to soothe and hydrate irritable complexions.

The formula also boasts a low pH level to recalibrate the skin’s pH level for it to work more optimally. What else we love about this: the sheet is made out of premium micro-fibers that is said to be less irritating on the skin, adheres well and allow for better penetration of active ingredients.

3. Strengthening the skin barrier

For our skin to remain healthy and better defend itself against harmful external aggressors and bacteria, it is important to use products that aid in strengthening the skin barrier function. 

When weakened, toxins and irritants are more likely to infiltrate into the deeper layers of your skin and this causes it to be more prone to sensitivity and irritation.

Thus, it is critical to maintain a healthy skin barrier for it to work effectively at retaining moisture and helping to protect skin from aggressors and irritants.

Try: Kiehl’s Vital Skin-Strengthening Super Serum, $79

PHOTO: Kiehls

This serum strengthens the skin’s resilience so that it is better able to defend and protect itself against various harmful external stressors.

Two key ingredients to note are the 11kDa Hyaluronic Acid – which hydrates and strengthens the uppermost layer of the skin which is said to be the most susceptible to damage – and an Adaptogenic Herbal Complex which nourishes and acts as a supplement when our body feels down.

Try: Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, $185

PHOTO: Sephora

This comes with the brand’s ImuGeneration Technology, which continuously generates new langerhans cells and enhances their strength through a triple system that supports skin’s inner defence. 

Potent natural extracts encourage and maintain the skin’s inner defence at high levels, even under extreme stress conditions while Bulgarian rose water promotes collagen production.

4. Pore care

Living in an urban jungle such as Singapore, humidity and warm temperatures are a norm.

Couple that with daily mask wearing, which traps all the moisture, and you get a recipe for enlarged pores and acne. While many of us focus on applying products to treat acne, it is also important to include products that aid in unclogging pores.

Try: Sulwhasoo Herbal Clay Purifying Mask, $66

PHOTO: Sephora

We are all for clay masks that are equipped with a host of benefits on top of just unclogging congested pores.

This does exactly that thanks to Muan clay, which has been sourced directly from Korea’s western coasts and is known to deeply penetrate into the pores and draw out impurities.

A blend of herbs with natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties prevent any unwanted acne breakouts while gentle acids work to slough away dead skin cells for a more radiant complexion.

Try: Est.lab PurClear Detoxifying Mask, $98

PHOTO: Est.lab

Not only does this aid in treating enlarged, clogged pores, it also helps to detoxify, exfoliate and protect complexions.

Fortified with mineral-rich French green clay tea tree oil and a patented blend of marine spring water and pumpkin seed extract, it removes impurities, toxins and pollutants that have been embedded deep within pores.

Plus, salicylic and mandelic acids work to decongest pores, fight acne breakouts, accelerate skin cellular growth and lighten post-acne pigmentation marks.

This article was first published in Her World Online.