Korean beauty is taking the industry by storm right now, but getting the products can still be tricky, so we’ve located the beauty haunts you need to know
We all know that New York is a top destination for beauty – the city is chock-a-block with little delights, from the first stand-alone Birchbox store to Sephora galore to my personal favourite, MiN New York (if you’re ever downtown near Crosby street have a little gander, it’s literally a joy to behold).
Something I’d never quite realised until my recent visit, however, is the hidden stash of Korean beauty haunts that can be found across the city – from the ever delightful TonyMoly to The Face Shop and Club Clio, if you can’t make it to the beauty mecca itself Manhattan is no bad substitute. And neither is Queens come to think of it, a little further out but home to the only Shiseido stores in the area and a much more authentic shopping experience if you have the energy to ride the L train.
Seeing as London is yet to provide me with any brick and mortar Korean beauty dens, it was only fair that I squirreled as much as I could carry back home (turns out I can make anything fit into a suitcase if I want it to) and below is a list of my top 5 finds from a week spent trawling through the Big Apple.
1.Holika Holika Smooth Egg Skin Re-Birth Peeling Gel
I stumbled across a tiny little store in KoreaTown that happened to house some of the most buzzed about Korean products on the market. This peeling gel from Holika Holika is a mesmerizing product that’s not only housed in an adorable egg shaped container but seems to magically remove dead skin cells in a matter of seconds. Simply rub the clear gel into the skin and watch as its smooth texture turns rough, picking up the outer most layer of the skin. Kind of gross, but in that ‘it’s so gross but it’s satisfying’ way.
2. Jean Pierre Pink Moisturising Lip Masks
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, my lips are dire. Constantly sore, dry and itchy and the trek over to New York did nothing to help them, sapping them of any moisture they once had leaving them desperate for attention. Expected – despite the many preventative measures put in place – but actually quite traumatic nonetheless. So when I came across these lip masks in one of the city’s many Ricky’s stores I had to give them a go, partly because I hoped they’d help and partly for Instagram fodder. Infused with vitamins and minerals to help plump and soothe, the gel texture adds a sublime cooling effect upon immediate application, and after 15 minutes of slipping and sliding all over the place I’m happy to say my lips were better, calmer, more bearable to live with – if not completely restored.
3. Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Cinema City CC Concealer
I’m almost nerdily obsessed with this brand, and not just because of their ridiculously cute packaging (although that doesn’t hurt ) but also because they have a nifty habit of making covetable products that also happen to make life that little bit easier. This CC cream come concealer is one such example, with a tube filled with colour correcting magic topped with a nubbin of creamy concealer for full coverage on the go. It’s available as a highlighter and blusher too, so a set of diplodocus’ climbing the Empire State Building could be just around the corner.
4. The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Clay Face Mask
Jeju island has been a buzzword in the industry for some time now, championed by Korean brands as a hotspot for sourcing one of a kind ingredients. Said to be one of the least polluted areas in the world, ingredients are pure and botanically diverse, with the island’s volcanic, mineral-rich soil helping to grow quality produce. This clay sheet mask from The Face Shop is just one of many K-beauty treats adopting the Jeju magic, infused with ash and Jeju bamboo extract for a 30 minute treatment that removes sebum and unclogs pores.
5. Nature Republic Fresh Vegetable Pack
This new little gem from Nature Republic basically squashes an entire pantry into one tiny pot. Containing broccoli, bell pepper, tomato, cabbage, carrot, celery, turnip, chicory and potatoes (all organic of course) it’s a curious gel-like/firm pudding texture that soothes, cools and moisturises. Apply like a standard face wash and rinse off after 15 minutes to reveal improvements with dullness, elasticity and firmness.
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