Korean Beauty Products: A Review of the Strangest Ingredients

Writer: Patricia Denise Chiu

1. Black Sugar

Brazilian black sugar has been used in facial masks to promote smooth, glowing skin. Black sugar masks are designed to be

washed off. It gently exfoliates the face and neck area. The mask is left on for 15-20 minutes for considerably softened skin. The heat from your face will also melt the black sugar granules, giving you added moisture.

2. Egg Whites 

If you’re having trouble with large pores that easily get irritated, there is also a mask made with egg whites that could help solve your problem. It is a pore-refining cleanser with egg white extract that penetrates deeply into pores to remove pore clogging oil. Egg White, enriched with albumin, promotes firmer skin and smaller pores. Doubtful of the power egg whites could have on your face? Try dipping a finger into your egg next time you prepare breakfast. The tightening feeling your skin gets as the egg white dries is the same effect this product promises on your face, minus the egg-y slime.

3. Snail Slime

It might gross you out at first, but mucus or snail slime, has been touted as some form of magical ingredient in Korean products. Korean brands offer this in a gel-like cream, and it’s so normal that you could even forget for a moment that you’re putting an animal by-product on your face. But once you see the effects, you’ll surely remember snail cream for its great regenerative properties that will keep your skin even, bright, and hydrated. Products with snail mucus are especially recommended for those with sensitive, oily skin that are prone to breakouts.

5. Baking Powder

Unlike their opinion of gold’s dermatological benefits, scientists have long trusted baking powder as a cleanser (it’s used in whitening toothpastes and household cleaners for a reason!). In Korea, facial washes and cleansers are formulated with baking powder for a deep, penetrating cleanse of your pores to remove makeup and residue. The powerful cleansers also come in handy when removing waterproof makeup, as it gently washes away even the most stubborn of residues.

4. Gold

While not exclusively used by Korean brands, gold is something they’re known for adding into their creams and serums. It comes in many forms – flaked, liquefied or suffused into almost all beauty products, from sunscreen to lip balms. Gold is said to have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties, making it a very fancy miracle cure. However, though its reflective properties can brighten the skin visually, dermatologists have yet to find any truth in its skin care claims.

In Korea, gold has recently been added to BB creams to aid in whitening and moisturizing

6. Rice Water and Malunggay

Have you ever thought of dipping your face into your pinagsaingan? What about your tinola? No? That’s probably for the best – but some Korean brands believe that both rice water and malunggay or Moringa oil have properties that are beneficial to skin. Used together in a cleansing foam, they are said to have a moisturizing , brightening, and detoxifying effect on skin.  This type of wash is intended for all skin types, but it’s most effective on those with dry skin, since it commonly contains glycerin, a moisturizing ingredient that is usually present in non-drying cleansers.

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