When it comes to innovation in skincare, it seems that few places can compete with Korea. But what is it that makes the better-known K-Beauty so covetable?

According to Alexia Inge, co-founder of Cult Beauty, the appeal runs deeper than the whimsical packaging. “In general, Korean women have been extremely well connected and networked online for much longer than their Western sisters. Entrenched peer-reviewing – still relatively new over here – has created shrewd consumers who can collectively bring down a brand for the slightest imperfection. Beauty companies need to truly impress consumers to survive in this hyper-competitive market, which leads to formulations and proportions being both high quality and generously priced.” So while many of these products may look like they’re geared towards teenagers, don’t be fooled – there’s clever science inside the pretty packets.

Inge loves the cute packaging, the ingredients, textures, scents, and the delivery systems of many K-beauty products. “Sometimes even the category can be completely new to Western beauty fans,” she says. And it’s true: Korea brought us the very first BB Cream and even the sheet mask. Which brings us to the next big K-Beauty must-have…

Carbonated skincare has been bubbling (sorry) under the surface of the K-Beauty market for a while now, and it’s about to hit our shores. While we all know that fizzy drinks are bad news for our complexions, this latest innovation suggests those tiny bubbles may benefit skin from the outside. The idea is that sparkling water will cleanse pores deeply and thoroughly, without any irritation or abrasion. Korean women are known to simply dunk their faces into a bowl of Perrier post-cleanse, but we’ve found these clever little treatments to be much less terrifying and a whole lot more luxurious…

mizon vita lemon sparkling powder


Mizon is a perfect gateway brand to the world of Korean beauty; it’s the innovator behind that snail cream you’ve heard so much about (if you haven’t tried it, we highly recommend it.) The brand’s Vita Lemon Sparkling Powder Duo comprises two separate sachets which are then combined in a bowl of water to produce a sparkling solution that’s loaded with vitamin A (a potent antioxidant). Dab the mixture over your face to brighten and refresh with instant results.

Ling sparkling makeover mask


New York-based skincare brand Ling offer a sophisticated take on the trend with its SparkLING Makeover Mask. The single-use sachets contain a cooling gel formula that’s loaded with oxygen to purify deep within the pores. The thermal spring water replenishes essential minerals, while rose-petal extract battles free radicals.

Elizavecca milky piggy carbonated bubble clay mask


This is the one that’s dominating the K-Beauty Instagram sphere right now. I can’t tell you why it’s called the Milky Piggy mask, but I can tell you that it’s loaded with charcoal powder and green tea which helps draw impurities out of pores, almost like a magnet. A word of warning: this one is seriously carbonated, so remember not to apply it too close to your eyes/nose/mouth. (Just search #milkypiggy on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean).

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