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sheet masks

Korean beauty products are now popping up in Irish shops - here's why you should get involved

Korea doesn’t mess around when it comes to skin.

FROM SHEET MASKS to complicated, multi-step skincare routines, the whole world has gone a bit mad for K-beauty.

If you haven’t been poring over beauty blogs for the last few years, you might be feeling a bit out of the loop. Let us fill you in.

What is ‘K-beauty’?

K-beauty is the nickname given to the Korean skincare and makeup industry, which is a BIG deal over there. Koreans are encouraged to start taking care of their skin early on in life, and have multi-step routines of cleansing, exfoliating, and treating.

While it might seem a bit extreme to some, Western beauty fanatics are fully embracing it.

Why is it so popular all of a sudden?

Korean skincare experts know their stuff, with a real focus on ingredients (more about those later), and they’re always innovating.

Over the past few years, Western brands have started to look to Korean ones for inspiration. Remember when BB creams were all the rage? That started in Korea. All those cushion foundations and blushes that are starting to appear everywhere? Korea.

There’s also the ritualistic side of things – taking some time in your day to tend to your skin, and working on it from the inside out – that plays into the increasingly popular idea of ‘self-care’.

Also, the packaging is often extremely cute. And who doesn’t love cute?

What’s so great about it then?

You’ve probably heard of some of the basic aspects of Korean skincare, but what does it all do? Here’s the skinny on some of the more common products and ingredients.

  • Cleansing oil: According to K-beauty experts, massaging your face with a cleansing oil is the only way to really get all the makeup and grime off your skin. Oily-skinned people needn’t shy away from it, despite the name.
  • Sheet masks: These are tissue-thin, freaky-looking face masks soaked in serum – they generally claim to hydrate, brighten and firm up the skin. They generally don’t cost more than €3.
  • Sleeping packs: More like traditional face masks, except you put them on before you go to sleep, and wake up with revitalised skin.
  • Bubble masks: This is where it gets weird (and fun). Bubble masks foam up on contact with the skin, which is meant to help the ingredients penetrate.

  • Snail slime: You will probably see a few products proudly proclaiming they have ‘snail slime’ in them – don’t panic. Korean skincare uses snail slime for its healing properties, and it’s believed to be a good treatment for sun damage and acne.
  • Egg whites: Apparently egg whites are the key to good pores! Who knew. It’s a common ingredient in masks and cleansers.
  • Essence: These are less concentrated serums, watery in consistency, aimed at deeply hydrating the skin.

How do I try it out here in Ireland?

There are loads of options. Garnier recently launched its own sheet mask, and of course, Penneys has its own range of masks and patches for different aspects of the skin.

If you want the real deal though, head to your local TK Maxx, where they stock a surprising amount of Korean masks, cleansers, and cute little hand creams.

You can also purchase online, of course – Irish blogger Lorraine Haigney rates this eBay seller for sheet masks, while the site YesStyle stocks all sorts of goodies.

What brands should I look out for?

Tony Moly, Elizavecca and Holika Holika are very popular for their masks and kitschy packaging. Mizon are the snail slime experts. Etude House are concerned with your pores.

All of these brands have been spotted in TK Maxx at one point or another, so keep your eyes peeled. Next time we see you, you’ll be GLOWING.

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