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It’s time for another English K-Beauty review, and this time the focus is on a fascinating Korean brand that puts an unexpected German twist on its skincare philosophy: Ärztin!
Today’s post has been a long time coming, and I am both super excited and a little nervous about introducing you guys to a Korean skincare brand that I’ve come to really cherish: Ärztin.º The nervousness mostly stems from the fact that, as a German native speaker, I realise that many things about Ärztin seem a little – dare I say it – silly, since the somewhat, um, “special” usage of my mother tongue is similar to what many speakers of English often witness from brands in Asia trying to sound “international” without necessarily checking if their English actually makes any logical sense. Thus, the motto of the brand: “Anfang des Wertes” does not, in fact, make any sense to a German native speaker. Literally translated to English it would mean something like “beginning of the value”… Yeah.
But, but the thing is: Ärztin skincare products are far from being silly, and I have rarely been as keen to make my love for a brand transfer to my readership as I have with this one. Truly, these products and the brand deserve all the love they can get, especially since, for some reason, the international K-Beauty community seems to have widely overlooked Ärztin so far.
Ärztin – The (Female) Doctor Is in!
For those of you who don’t have a grasp of German, let me just quickly explain the brand’s name: “Ärztin” basically means “female doctor” in German. I am guessing that the marketing masterminds behind the brand liked the image of a German lady doctor because it conveys both an idea of femininity and professional knowledge. Well, to be fair – there is also a pretty straight-forward reason for the name: the company’s CEO is a (female) doctor!
Indeed, I would classify Ärztin as a dermatological or “doctor” brand similar to, say, Leejiham or Dr. Jart, with a clean, almost minimalist branding and a scientific approach to their product formulations. These types of K-beauty brands always remind me of French pharmacy brands such as La Roche Posay or Avène, and German derma brands such as Eucerin or belixos. Thus, the connection between K-Beauty and “E-Beauty” – European pharmacy brands catering specifically to sensitive and troubled skin – makes a lot of sense to me.
Ärztin skincare was founded in 2013 and launched to the public in 2014, so it is still a pretty young brand. Its founder, Dr. Yu Kyung-ah, was a dermatologist who researched European (and specifically German) derma skincare for over 10 years before launching her own products. Ärztin’s “Schild” cream was their first product. This anti wrinkle cream has one of the most unique textures I’ve ever seen and boasts such sexy ingredients as EGF, a wrinkle-smoothing peptide, and Nordenau mineral water.
Nordenau is a place in Germany known for its underground healing wells. The water from those wells is somewhat overhyped as a cure-all “miracle” water, a claim that most scientists are sceptical about, but the water does have certain soothing effects on skincare ailments, possibly due to being charged with antioxidant properties. Apparently, the water is especially popular in South Korea for some reason, and bottles of it are being sold there at rather steep prices of up to 10,000 won! If you understand German, feel free to check out the German website for the Nordenau underground wells. Ärztin uses Nordenau water in almost all of its products – again, the parallels to French thermal water brands such as Avène or Vichy are apparent.
The Basics: Ärztin Lotus Reinigungsgel and Lotus Reinigungswasser
The Ärztin Lotus Reinigungsgel and Lotus weiß Reinigungswasser – gel cleanser and whitening toner – are both meant to cleanse, refresh and brighten the skin. It took me a while to warm up to the cleansing gel, mostly because I had a bunch of other second step cleansers that I have been super fond of (like my beloved su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick)*, but lately I’ve really gotten into it! It’s a transparent, odourless gel that creates a lovely soft foam and cleanses really thoroughly. I would even go so far as to say that if you use minimal makeup or sunscreen only during the day, you could easily use this as a one step cleanser! I do, however, still prefer the Ärztin Klaren cleansing foam, which has an even milder formulation. The Lotus Reinigungsgel retails at 29,26$ for 200ml.
The Ärztin Lotus toner is very watery, unlike the usually very thick Korean toners or “skins”, and contains a number of whitening, hydrating and brightening ingredients such as lotus root extract, propolis extract, Nordenau water and my beloved niacinamide. If you prefer water-like, lightweight toners, this one might be for you, since it does sink into the skin much faster than thicker K-beauty toners. I do, however, wish it was a tad more hydrating. A nice toner for acne-prone skin! The Lotus Reinigungswasser has a price of 29,26$ for 200ml.
Sensitive, Dehydrated Skin Care: Ärztin Ä-Barriere Crème and Ä-Cera Barriere Ampulle
The reason I adore Ärztin as a brand so much is the fact that it caters perfectly to my skin type, which is sensitive, often dehydrated and yet sadly also still prone to outbreaks. The Ä-Cera Barriere Ampoule is probably one of my favourite Ärztin products, since it offers pure, intense hydration without any heaviness or stickiness at all.
This ampoule contains plenty of skincare goodies such as propolis, arginine, ceramides, 2 types of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. It also contains ethanol, which might make it less appealing to those of you who try to avoid alcohol in skincare. I personally don’t mind a bit of alcohol in skincare, as long as it’s not too overpowering.
The Ä-Cera Ampulle is a transparent liquid that readily absorbed into the skin, plumping it up just gorgeously. I’ve actually used up my ampoule already, and if I wasn’t testing out a new Swanicoco ampoule right now I’d be very tempted to repurchase it. If you are looking for intense hydration that doesn’t break you out or feel too heavy, this one could be a good fit for you! The Ä-Cera Ampulle retails at 42,35$ for 50ml.
The Ä-Barriere Crème is an almost deceptively minimalist moisturiser that reminds me of the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream,* but feels more lightweight and…well…”effective” is the only word I can think of here. The first time I used this intensely hydrating cream I was really nervous that it would be a bit too much for my skin, since anything oily or too thick usually breaks me out.
However, the Ä-Barriere Crème has a beautiful texture that is rich, yet not too heavy. Whenever I use this cream my skin just seems to get this instant boost of deep hydration and a surprising, noticeable glow. I often mix a few drops of the Leejiham Vita Propolis Ampoule into this cream, which makes my skin look super dewy, yet not at all oily or greasy. If you have hyper sensitive, dry or combination skin that needs high amounts of moisture you will love this one, promised! The price tag for the Ä-Barriere Crème is 44,66$ for 100ml.
Gentle Care for Acne-Prone Skin: Ärztin Klaren
Dang, it’s sometimes difficult not to giggle at those German product names! I THINK they actually meant to call their line “klären”, which means “to clear, to clarify, to purge, to cleanse”, but “Klaren”…is just a specific grammatical form of the adjective “klar” that sounds weird as a standalone product name.
Be that as it may though, the 3 Ärztin Klaren products deserve more than just giggles, that’s for sure! All three are very mild, yet effective against breakouts and excess sebum.
The Klaren Schaumreiniger is a cleansing foam that has a promised ph level of 5,5. It is super mild and very “no nonsense” – no alcohol, no added perfume, no mineral oil. It is hypoallergenic and formulated to fight breakouts and excess oiliness while maintaining the skin’s natural protective barrier. I absolutely love this cleanser and have used it almost every evening these past weeks. It’s so gentle, my skin really feels clean without drying out or being stripped off its natural oils.
My favourite product from the Klaren line is, however, the Klaren AC Behandlungs-Lotion (the name means “treatment lotion”). I wish this product existed in my 20s, when I was dealing with some pretty severe hormonal acne and super oily skin. This is just the perfect emulsion-type moisturiser for very oily or oily combination skin. I have used this a lot during summer, as it feels so wonderfully refreshing and light on the skin. The Klaren cleansing foam has a price of 21,56$ for 150ml.
The texture of the Klaren Lotion is just so unique and beautiful! I have tried quite a few lotions and emulsions lately, but the Klaren Lotion remains my favourite for my oily combination skin. It even has a noticeable mattifying effect on the skin, which was great during summer since I tend to be extra oily in hot weather (sigh). The Klaren Lotion retails at 31,57$.
The last product in the Klaren lineup is the Klaren Spot treatment, which comes in a fun syringe type packaging. This quite pricy spot treatment with fruit acids and willow bark extract meant to even out skin tones and fight breakouts is one of the few Ärztin products that didn’t really wow me. I mean, it certainly does the trick in helping to reduce breakouts and help shrink annoying pimples, but given the high price tag I would say that cheaper products like the Cosrx pimple patches* do the same job. The Klaren Spot treatment costs a whopping 50,82$ for 12ml of product!
I love both the Klaren foaming cleanser and the Klaren lotion, which are wonderfully gentle products that are perfect for sensitive skin types prone to acne and excess sebum. Let me know if you want a more in-depth review of the line!
Anti-Aging Goodness: Ärztin Regeneration Line
The Regeneration line offers anti-aging products that are formulated with one of the buzziest skincare ingredients currently out there: EGF (epidermal growth factor), a peptide that may be able to stimulate collagen production and thus smooth out wrinkles.
The Regeneration Nanofiber Maske is a sheet mask which was specifically formulated to soothe and nourish skin after facial procedures such as laser treatment or peels. Its essence has a very rich, almost oily texture that took some getting used to for me. I am also not 100% keen on the nanofibre material, which feels kind of like thin paper – I personally prefer cloth-type sheet masks. I’ve still come to love these sheet masks, since they make my skin look super dewy and ultra moisturised! These are the types of sheet masks you bust out before a date or a special event, to make sure your skin is extra awesome on the day. The Regeneration Maske costs roughly 32$ for a 4 mask pack.
Alright, let’s talk about the Regeneration Schild Ampulle! This stuff…you guys, how can I even begin to describe how amazing this ampoule is? I swear, the first time I used this, I whispered a reverent “wow!” while staring at my face: my skin looked so dewy, plump and visibly brightened, it really seemed quite miraculous!
This ampoule contains a myriad of super exciting, ultra nourishing anti ageing ingredients such as fermented soybean, fermented mistletoe, bifida ferment lysate, niacinamide, arginine, and green tea extract. The texture is super rich and close to a face oil, so be mindful that this can potentially break you out.
Once applied, the Regeneration Schild Ampulle sinks into the skin super quickly and gives it this gorgeous glow, I absolutely love it! My skin always feels so velvety and smooth after I’ve used this ampoule, it’s a real treat. This would be a beautiful anti ageing product especially for maturer skin types, and it’s also wonderfully nourishing for dry skin. My combination skin also loves it – as long as I use it sparingly since it is very rich! The Ärztin Schild ampoule costs 59,29$ for 30ml.
Another favourite of mine is the Regeneration Schild Crème, which is both a skin-calming, post-surgery or post-laser treatment ointment, as well as an anti-wrinkle moisturiser. The Schild Crème has a most unique texture: it’s a cream, but feels more like an emulsion or gel. It seems to sink into the skin very deeply and leaves absolutely no residue, just this wonderful velvety feel that I’m super in love with. I really haven’t experienced anything like the Schild Crème before, it’s the perfect mix between lightweight and nourishing, and I always feel like I’m giving my skin a really special treat when I use this. I think this will be my go-to moisturiser for my AM winter routine, since it works beautifully underneath makeup. The Ärztin Schild cream retails at 34,65$ for a 50ml tub.
Ärztin Sheet Masks: Whitening Coating and Aqua Coating
Last but not least, the Ärztin sheet masks. These two sheet masks, one for hydration and one for whitening/brightening, are cotton sheet masks. The Whitening Coating Mask is my favourite out of the three types of sheet masks Ärztin carries, since it has a noticeably brightening effect on the skin. Both the Whitening and the Aqua Coating masks are super hydrating and plumping, and they work great for any skin type.
They only have a very faint, fresh scent that doesn’t annoy me as much as many other sheet masks, and they feel “clinical” in a good sense – no-nonsense delivery of moisture for that “chok chok” K-beauty skin we all want! These are definite re-purchase candidates for me as soon as my boxes are empty. A 10-mask box of either the whitening or aqua coating sheet mask costs 23,10$.
Ärztin Skincare – the Bottom Line
Pfew, that was quite the mammoth post, wasn’t it? I sincerely hope that I have managed to get you excited about Ärztin skincare, since this young brand deserves to hit the mainstream in my opinion. Their unique mix of European pharmacy skincare brand philosophy and Korean derma brand high-tech feel has managed to create a fascinating Korean-German hybrid that caters especially well to sensitive skin types.
If you only want to try one Ärztin product I would recommend either the Klaren cleansing foam and/or lotion for acne-prone skin types, the Ä-Barriere Crème for dry and ultra sensitive skin types, and my very own favourite: the Regeneration Schild Ampulle! Or start with the sheet masks, which you are sometimes sold separately at a smaller price than the multi item boxes.
You can buy Ärztin products online at kmall24, which offers worldwide shipping at a reasonable price. Kmall24 is an official reseller, I’ve checked with Ärztin, so you don’t have to worry about fakes. The brand is quite high-end, and this is definitely reflected in the prices, but the products also last for quite a while, especially the ampoules and creams.
Learn more about Ärztin in this interesting article about the brand, or visit their Korean mall website and experiment a bit with google translate (careful: the website auto plays an annoyingly loud video when you open it!). Interested in more English K-Beauty reviews? Make sure to check out my review of the By Wishtrend Green Tea & Enzyme Powder Wash, and the awesome Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask. There will also be more English k-Beauty reviews in the near future, promised!
Have you heard of Ärztin before? What is your favourite niche brand from Korea/Asia?
Take care guys!
°products shown here are PR Samples, kindly provided by Ärztin for review purposes