Beauty

Beauty Passport: The Best of K-Beauty

From results-driven brands like Neogen and CosRX to luxury "Hanbang" brands like Sulwhasoo and The History of Whoo

by Joanna Fu

8 Nov 2019

A worldwide phenomenon, South Korean beauty, or K-Beauty, is always two steps ahead of the game with a skin-first approach to beauty that combines innovative science with generations-old traditions and herbal medicine. Home to the 10-step skincare routine where hydration and sun protection are non-negotiable, K-beauty brought us the viral likes of “Glass Skin,” “Honey Skin,” and now “Velvet Skin,” and enlightened us to the world of daily sheet masking and fermented essences. From the antioxidant powers of snail slime and ginseng to the healing properties of green tea and bamboo sap, K-Beauty’s “more is more” skincare philosophy brings us high-performing products accessible at various price points.

Saturday Skin

Don’t let the cute packaging fool you — Saturday Skin’s proprietary Cha-7 es Complex was developed by South Korea’s top skin scientists as a peptide-packed formula that supercharges the skin’s regeneration process for potent anti-aging and youth-preserving results. From ultimate thirst-quenching hydration (we love their Waterfall Glacier Water Cream and sheet masks) to balancing probiotic treatments, this cult skincare line gives your complexion the radiance and suppleness of K-Beauty “Glass Skin.”

Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream; HK$295 at sephora.hk
Saturday Skin Quench Intense Hydration Mask 5 Sheets; HK$250 at sephora.hk
Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream; HK$400 at sephora.hk
Saturday Skin Bright Potion Probiotic Power Serum; HK$355 at sephora.hk
Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream; HK$295 at sephora.hk
Saturday Skin Quench Intense Hydration Mask 5 Sheets; HK$250 at sephora.hk
Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream; HK$400 at sephora.hk
Saturday Skin Bright Potion Probiotic Power Serum; HK$355 at sephora.hk
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Sulwhasoo

Heritage brand Sulwhasoo was founded in 1966 when it launched its ABC Ginseng Cream — the world’s first ginseng-based cosmetic product — and has since pioneered over 50 years of research on the Ginseng plant. Today, the premier skincare label combines the Asian wisdom of balance and harmony with the time-tested medicinal herbs of Korean “Hanbang.” The First Care Activating Serum EX is Sulwhasoo’s signature product — one bottle is sold every ten seconds.

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX; HK$600 at sulwhasoo.com.hk
Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum; HK$1,450 at sulwhasoo.com.hk
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX; HK$1,700 at sulwhasoo.com.hk
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX; HK$600 at sulwhasoo.com.hk
Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum; HK$1,450 at sulwhasoo.com.hk
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX; HK$1,700 at sulwhasoo.com.hk
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Neogen

K-Beauty heavyweight Neogen develops skincare products based on the latest derma-ceutical research and its patented six-core biotechnology, which maximises the powers of natural ingredients. Its famous Bio-Peels Gauze pads harness the powers of AHA chemical exfoliation and antioxidant resveratrol, while its Real Ferment Micro Essence brightens and locks in moisture with a cocktail of natural ingredients.

Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine; HK$267 at net-a-porter.com
Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence; HK$178 at net-a-porter.com
Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser; HK$228 at net-a-porter.com
Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine; HK$267 at net-a-porter.com
Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence; HK$178 at net-a-porter.com
Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser; HK$228 at net-a-porter.com
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Erborian

Erborian is a half-Korean, half-French beauty brand — need we say more? By combining the best of traditional Korean herbal ingredients, Korean skincare technology, and the luxury savoir faire of the French, Erborian creates sophisticated formulas that improve both the health and appearance of your skin. Its do-it-all CC creams are loved in both Asia and Europe, and its Solid Cleansing Oil and Double Lotion are staples in any multi-step skincare routine.

Erborian Yuza Double Lotion; HK$295 at sephora.hk
Erborian Pink Perfect Creme; HK$315 at sephora.hk
Erborian Solid Cleansing oil; HK$240 at sephora.hk
Erborian Yuza Double Lotion; HK$295 at sephora.hk
Erborian Pink Perfect Creme; HK$315 at sephora.hk
Erborian Solid Cleansing oil; HK$240 at sephora.hk
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CosRx

CosRX, which stands for cosmetics + RX (prescription), was founded in 2014 with the mission to deliver effective, affordable skincare solutions that focus on formulation and ingredients — its Snail Essence is made with 96% snail mucin. Its low pH cleanser spotlights the importance of maintaining the skin’s optimal acid mantle (i.e. gentle cleansing without stripping the skin of its natural oils), while its Acne Pimple Master Patches are game-changing.

CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch; HK$40 at iherb.com
CosRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser; HK$96 at iherb.com
CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch; HK$40 at iherb.com
CosRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser; HK$96 at iherb.com
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Laneige

Famous for its cult-favourite line of Sleeping Masks, Laneige was created by Amore Pacific in 1994 and named after the French word for “snow.” The Water Sleeping Mask (an overnight moisture-recharging gel mask) and the Lip Sleeping Mask are some of the most-reviewed and top-rated treatments in the world.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask; HK$205 at laneige.com.hk
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (Berry); HK$130 at laneige.com.hk
Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask; HK$235 at laneige.com.hk
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask; HK$205 at laneige.com.hk
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (Berry); HK$130 at laneige.com.hk
Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask; HK$235 at laneige.com.hk
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AmorePacific

AmorePacific is like the Estée Lauder of Korean beauty, owning nearly 30 of the most well-known K-Beauty labels including Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Etude House and Innisfree. Sung-When Suh founded AmorePacific in 1945 with the idea of incorporating green tea from Jeju island into skin treatments, giving birth to the Vintage Single Extract Essence, which is made from handpicked green tea leaves that are naturally fermented in optimal conditions for 50 days. Other signature products like the Enzyme Peel Cleansing Powder balance tradition with modern science and, most importantly, is one of the most gentle and effective exfoliators on the market.

AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel Cleansing Powder; HK$400 at amorepacific.com.hk
AmorePacific Vintage Single Extract Essence; HK$1,100 at amorepacific.com.hk
AmorePacific Time Response Vintage Wash Off Masque; HK$1,200 at amorepacific.com.hk
AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel Cleansing Powder; HK$400 at amorepacific.com.hk
AmorePacific Vintage Single Extract Essence; HK$1,100 at amorepacific.com.hk
AmorePacific Time Response Vintage Wash Off Masque; HK$1,200 at amorepacific.com.hk
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Dr. Jart+

One of the first K-Beauty brands to break into the western market, Dr. Jart was created in 2004 by dermatologist Dr. SungJae Jung to provide science-driven skincare solutions and cosmetics targeting dryness, sensitive and acne-prone skin. Dr. Jart’s first product was the BB Cream in 2006 and the brand consistently produced other hits like the Cicapair Tiger Grass colour correcting line and the Cermidin range.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream; HK$310 at selfridges.com
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Colour Correcting Treatment; HK$315 at selfridges.com
Dr. Jart+ Dermask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution; HK$50 at selfridges.com
Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 45; HK$270 at selfridges.com
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream; HK$310 at selfridges.com
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Colour Correcting Treatment; HK$315 at selfridges.com
Dr. Jart+ Dermask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution; HK$50 at selfridges.com
Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 45; HK$270 at selfridges.com
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SU:M37

SU:M37 specializes in skincare made from advanced natural fermentation technology. At the heart of its products is a patented compound Cytosis which features over 80 local and seasonal ingredients that are fermented at the optimal temperature of 37 degrees celsius for a minimum of 365 days — some for as long as a decade. Its signature Secret Essence is a magical do-it-all potion that firms, brightens, hydrates and tones all skin types.

SU:M37 Secret Essence Advanced Sync Program; HK$493 at hk.cosme-de.com or at SU:M37 boutiques
SU:M37 Bright Award Bubble-De Mask Pack; HK$262 at hk.cosme-de.com https://hk.cosme-de.com/en/sum-37-bubble-de-mask-pack/21621 or at SU:M37 boutiques
SU:M37 Secret Oil; available at SU:M37 boutiques
SU:M37 Secret Essence Advanced Sync Program; HK$493 at hk.cosme-de.com or at SU:M37 boutiques
SU:M37 Bright Award Bubble-De Mask Pack; HK$262 at hk.cosme-de.com https://hk.cosme-de.com/en/sum-37-bubble-de-mask-pack/21621 or at SU:M37 boutiques
SU:M37 Secret Oil; available at SU:M37 boutiques
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The History of Whoo

The History of Whoo is a modern interpretation of traditional Korean royal court beauty secrets using advanced lab ingredients, nanotechnology and premium herbal medicines specifically designed for Asian skin. Each product features the brand’s Gongjinbidan Complex, a key ingredient derived from an ancient health formula used by Korean emperors and empresses for over 800 years to improve blood circulation. The Bichup Ja Saeng Essence is a best selling luxury serum in Asia.

The History of Whoo Bichup Self-Generating Anti-Aging Essence; HK$1,120 at lanecrawford.com
The History of Whoo Gongjinhyang Seol Radiant White Moisture Cream; HK$1,080 at lanecrawford.com
The History of Whoo Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Cream; HK$2,170 at lanecrawford.com
The History of Whoo Bichup Self-Generating Anti-Aging Essence; HK$1,120 at lanecrawford.com
The History of Whoo Gongjinhyang Seol Radiant White Moisture Cream; HK$1,080 at lanecrawford.com
The History of Whoo Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Cream; HK$2,170 at lanecrawford.com
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