Longer days and shorter nights are upon us. It's that time of the year when most of us swap skincare products in our routines, either to soothe flushed cheeks or shield acne spots with a stronger SPF. What does your bulletproof summer skincare look like? Over in South Korea, beauty trends have taken an all-encompassing approach, where skincare is inclusive of a restful mind and a healthy body.
This is your chance to fortify your regimen with K-beauty philosophy. Our research, based on trend rankings of 2023 by the popular Korean beauty platform Hwahae, tells us that feeding the skin's microbiome, focusing on wellness and using all-in-one products is the way to go. Below, you'll find K-beauty mists, cleansers, serums and sheet masks to fit each trend, with a rundown of their beneficial ingredients.
Our product selection is inspired by not only the best-rated items on Amazon, but top-reviewed skincare from South Korea, too. Shop with Prime to score free, fast delivery.
1. Skipping redundant steps with all-in-one products
Korea's 'skip-care' trend perfectly ties into beauty minimalism. In cleansing and applying hydrating toners and serums, followed by a separate moisturiser and then sunscreen, there are repetitive steps that can be left out for good. Skip-care offers some relief for the skin, your wallet and the planet. This is where all-in-one products step in, to address several concerns at once. Look for versatile items such as cream mists, all-in-one cleansers and multi balms.
Aestura's Atobarrier365 Ceramide mist features small ceramides in its creamy formula to calm and hydrate the skin barrier, replacing moisturisers and serums. The milky mist is so fine that you can apply it over makeup, without having to tap it in. Another eco-friendly product is Aromatica's all-in-one wash infused with rosemary, and it multitasks as a shampoo, hand wash, cleanser and a body wash. You could also tackle wrinkles, uneven skin tone and dry patches with the d'Alba multi balm, which features two serums: one with vitamin C for brightening and the other with collagen, shea butter and ceramide for moisturising.
2. Nourish skin microbiome with fermented ingredients
All the microscopic organisms dwelling on the surface of our skin help it thrive. Any disruption in this bacterial and fungal colony, and we're faced with a compromised skin barrier. To maintain this delicate balance, microbiome-friendly skincare features fermented ingredients to support the skin flora. Luckily, fermented formulas are not new to the K-beauty industry.
Numbuzin's viral No.3 Toner comes packed with over 50 different fermented ingredients, from rice and soy protein to rye flour and ginseng. If you're chasing 'glass skin' this summer, this toner adds ample glow, smoothes bumpy texture and brightens the skin. We can't not include a kombucha product, like the TikTok-favourite Dr Ceuracle gel cream. It's the perfect lightweight moisturiser, featuring fermented black tea and kombucha extract to balance sebum and detoxify the skin.
3. Sensory skincare for wellbeing
Lavender-scented undereye patches, textured cleansers and de-stressing skincare are just some of the ways the K-beauty industry is factoring in mindfulness. We're looking at day and night routines that not only improve the skin but also help us wind down. After all, skincare can be therapeutic.
Meet Too Cool for School's bubble toner is made with hyaluronic acid and refreshing caviar lime, just in time to combat the heat. Its fine bubbles, packed with vitamins, pop gently on the skin to enhance moisture absorption, creating a fun, sensory experience. Another one for texture lovers is Korean powder washes. These are cleansers that activate with water and gently exfoliate dead skin cells. Suiskin's Soy Barrier wash removes makeup with papain enzyme and maintains the moisture barrier with prebiotic lactobacillus and soy beans.
4. Waterless beauty for more effective results
The bulk of our skincare lists water (aqua) as its first ingredient, meaning it makes up the majority of the product. The waterless skincare trend sieves formulas that leave out water in favour of more substantial, concentrated ingredients. More good news is that waterless products, like bars and powders, naturally address water waste in the beauty industry.
Our first waterless pick is the Bom Just One facial toner, made up of just three ingredients, leading with 92.5 per cent of capillary wormwood extract. This medicinal herb is rich in vitamin A, B3 and C, and is used to soothe redness and revitalise dull skin. You could also cleanse the traditional way, with a soap bar. Some By Mi's cleanser isn't just any bar, it contains real tea tree extract, niacinamide and exfoliant acids. The brand suggests cutting up the bar for separate body cleansing to target back acne, as attested by reviewers.
5. One sheet mask a day
Pamper your skin throughout summer, with this Korean skincare challenge. The hashtag 'one day, one mask' has been circulating on social media platforms as a commitment test of sorts, promising dewy, supple skin by the end of the month. While facial sheet masks aren't a necessity, they're widely used among the Korean general public for good reason.
Drenched in concentrated serums, sheet masks target specific skin concerns quickly. Try out these Hwahae top-ranked picks for a week to see for yourself. Torriden's hyaluronic acid sheet mask is free of irritants, like alcohol, mineral oils and fragrance, and calms the skin on a warm day. For dry and sensitive skin, check out Be Plain's centella asiatica mask, which immediately repairs redness.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.