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I’m going to play K-Beauty oracle today and risk a somewhat bold prediction regarding the 5 hottest K-beauty skincare trends for 2018! Find out which 5 Korean skincare trends I think will be big this year!
After my German blog post about my top Korean beauty products of 2017, I feel that the previous year is really over and done with for me. Time to think about what awaits us in 2018 in terms of Korean beauty trends. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what may or may not be big when it comes to new skincare trends drifting over to us from Asia this year. So, here are my predictions for the 5 hottest K-Beauty skincare trends in 2018!
1. K-Beauty Skincare Trends 2018: Fermented Ingredients
True K-beauty addicts will probably scoff at the idea that fermented skincare ingredients are somehow a “hot new thing”, since they’ve been around for quite a while now in Asian beauty. However, I’ve noticed this rather niche skincare trend really taking off lately, with more and more mainstream brands offering fermented skincare products. Even Western brands are picking up on our lust for the gorgeousness that is galactomyces, bifida ferment lysate, and fermented plant extracts.
Opinions vary as to whether or not fermented ingredients actually are better for the skin (Labmuffin tentatively says “maybe” after reviewing the current research on this), but I myself have had some very promising results especially with galactomyces-containing products such as the Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Essence* or the amazing, Gothamista-approved Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Rose.* Galactomyces are said to be excellent for dull, sagging skin types, and I can definitely confirm that using the Secret Key Essence in particular has made my skin look much brighter and more even-toned.
I truly feel that 2018 will be the year of fermented skincare! If you want to try the trend yourself, grab the truly excellent Benton Fermentation Essence* and Fermentation Eye Cream* – both very reasonably priced and beautifully gentle, without any harsh additives. Or how about trying out another cult-favourite, the Goodal Waterest First Essence* with fermented lotus extract? I am currently testing out the Purito Fermented Complex 94 Boosting Essence, but cannot as of yet make a final judgement on its effectiveness.
DEAL ALERT: If you are quick you can also snatch up the su:m37 Secret Essence – another Gothamista favourite! – at Beautytap* for only 45$ instead of the usual 95$!!!
2. K-Beauty Skincare Trends 2018: Centella Asiatica and Cica Products
Again, this isn’t necessarily a new trend, especially given the fact that “centella asiatia”, a healing medicinal plant extract, has been used in Asia for literally centuries, if not millennia. Recently, however, I’ve seen more and more specialised products pop up on my social media feeds which feature centella asiatica in a number of ways.
Especially “Cica Pads” seem to be all the rage right now: Neogen just launched their version of peeling pads soaked in centella asiatica water. Purrito also offers their version, the Purito Centella Green Level All in One Mild Pads, as well as their brand new Centella Green Level Buffet Serum.
“Cica Creams” are also becoming more and more common, many of them containing one or more forms of centella asiatica: these often quite thick balms or salves are meant to be used as healing ointments on inflamed, red or damaged skin, as well as help soothe areas affected by acne or pimples. Not all of those Cica products contain centella asiatica, but a number of them – especially those specifically targeted towards acne sufferers – choose this herbal remedy as their number one star ingredient! Dr. Jart has had their Cica Balm* on the market for a while, but now other brands such as Leegeehaam, So Natural,* or Nakeup* are following suite, just to name a few.
By Wishtrend offers their TECA 1% Barrier Cream* as a spot-treatment for damaged skin especially after popping a pimple, and this, too, features centella asiatica prominently (“TECA” being an acronym that stands for “titrated extract of centella asiatica”, according to this blog post about Cica products!).
My personal favourites are ampoules containing high concentrations of centella asiatica, such as the Cosrx Centella Blemish Ampoule,* or the Skin 1004 Centella Asiatica Ampoule 100, which I have been eyeing for a while now.
3. K-Beauty Skincare Trends 2018: Peptides
Peptides in skincare are huge at the moment, and I predict these little anti-aging stars are going to become even bigger in 2018! I myself am extremely fond of peptide serums, creams and ampoules, and I have a particular weakness for anything containing EGF and FGF – “epidermal growth factors” and “fibroblast growth factors”, polypeptides that can potentially boost collagen production and thus help make skin look more youthful and smooth. Read more about EGF in particular in this Byrdie article!
Peptide-containg products are common in Korea, and I have a whole list of current darlings: my pretty raving review of the Swanicoco FGF Pure Ampoule R remains unchanged, and I still use this beautiful anti wrinkle treatment every night! I am also deeply fond of both the Ärztin Regeneration Schild Creme and the accompanying Regeneration Schild Ampoule (make sure to read up on why Ärztin is one of my favourite Korean derma brands at the moment).
4. K-Beauty Skincare Trends 2018: Minimalism
Gone are the days of cutesy, playful packaging for our K-beauty favourites – the minimalist trend has most definitely arrived and is here to stay. Be it Kicho, Cosrx, or the newly repackaged Leegeehaam products, I cannot help but notice a definite shift towards minimalist, clean packaging, and away from cute or girly themes. Even the latest Etude House products, such as the Soon Jung* range, appear far less frilly, with a clear preference for white and subtle metallic or blue accents.
I think that it’s interesting how in this case, the western skincare market seems to have influenced the Korean one, and not the other way round: I see a clear connection to the current success story of DECIEM’s The Ordinary products here! There just seems to be a clear yearning for a simplification of our daily lives, skincare included. The world has become a pretty harsh and, frankly, scary place right now, and so we crave our muted colour palates and minimalist ingredient lists.
Here in Germany, the so-called “reizarme Pflege” (“low-irritant skincare”) craze is still huge, with many people ditching their heavily scented, essential-oil and alcohol-containing skincare products and reading ingredient lists more thoroughly than the back of their frozen meal packages. I sometimes feel that the pendulum has swung a bit too far towards avoiding absolutely every drop of alcohol and even a whiff of lavender oil, but I can understand why the minimalist trend is so very alluring in a world filled with almost aggressive consumerism and a confusing number of product choices everywhere.
If you are fond of white or beige packaging and minimalistic ingredients lists, then the newly launched brand Krave – founded by the wonderful Youtuber Liah Yoo – will certainly appeal to you. The aforementioned brand Kicho and their packaging are also perfect to be presented in your all-white, minimalist loft: my favourite products are the Kicho Natural Mineral Foaming Cleanser* and the wonderful Kicho Ultra Moisturizing Sun Cream.*
5. K-Beauty Skincare Trends 2018: Glass Skin
Ok, so I’ll be honest: the first time I read about the so-called “glass skin” trend, I was convinced that some Western marketing person had made this term up, pretending it was a huge thing in Korea while no one over there would even know what it is (a little bit like the 7 Skin Method, which I am fond of but also feel is an entirely Western “K-Beauty” trend).
But, it looks like I was wrong! I’ve been noticing the term “glass skin” popping up on many online Korean beauty malls, with recommendations for which products to use to achieve this mysterious skin condition. So… I guess this really, really is a thing in Korea at the moment…?
But what exactly is “glass skin”? From what I gather, “glass skin” is meant to be skin that is near-translucent in its snow-white, pearlescent, glowy and youthfully dewy perfection. It is, in fact, so very perfect that light just bounces off its smooth surface, creating the “glass” effect. I will be absolutely honest here, guys: I do not, under any circumstances, believe that “glass skin” is attainable, unless you smother your face with an illuminating primer such as the VDL Lumilayer Primer* or use the J. One Hana Jelly Pack* and the LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule* in copious amounts.
None of these dew-producing products, however, will make your skin glass-like, and neither do I feel that this is even necessary. Furthermore, to me there is something slightly disturbing about the “glass” ideal, given the fact that it seems to glorify pale complexions as the height of perfection. The whole thing just creeps me out, frankly.
K-Beauty Skincare Trends 2018: The Bottom Line
So, these are my 5 trend predictions when it comes to K-Beauty skincare trends in 2018! There are, of course, many other trends that I am seeing at the moment, such as the rising interest in Taiwanese sheet masks and brands from Taiwan such as Dr. Wu or Bevyc. I also think that “Americanised” K-Beauty brands such as Glow Recipe’s in-house brand will keep rising in popularity this year – too bad so few of those interesting products can be purchased here in Germany without horrendously high shipping fees!
When it comes to K-Beauty makeup, I must admit that I find it hard to predict trends, since Korean makeup seems to be somewhat stable as to what look is desired: natural, soft colours and skin that should glow and appear youthfully “bouncy.” I’m guessing that the glass skin trend will affect makeup base products to swing back to extremely dewy finishes, just like they were popular a few years ago, but we shall see.
What do you guys think are the big trends this year in terms of Korean skincare and makeup? Let me know in the comments what your prediction are for the K-Beauty skincare trends 2018!
Take care guys!
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