Ironically, K-beauty products have many properties that benefit black or dark skin. I purposely used the word ironically because dark skin is not the preferred skin tone here in Korea. And so, manufacturers aren’t necessarily making skincare products for black women. However, many K-beauty products are created and include ingredients that target the concerns black women have.
An Ironic Skincare Match
Why are K-beauty Products Made for Black Women?
It is no secret that the Korean culture prefers fair skin. Korean women wear head-to-toe clothing to protect themselves from the sun. The tint on car windows is so dark, you can’t see inside. As a matter of fact, it’s the only place I’ve seen tint on the windshields – which is dangerous. And lastly, spas offer a reverse tanning procedure that promises to make skin iridescent.
I avoided many K-beauty products because they contained bleaching agents. I love my dark skin color, so I have no desire to lighten my skin. As such, there are definitely K-beauty products that are not made for me.
K-beauty Principles Are Made for Black Skin
However, there are a number of K-beauty products that address our main concerns such as anti-aging, hyperpigmentation, acne, and dull skin. These products don’t have lightning agents. In essence, many Korean beauty properties are made with these principles in mind:
- Hanbang Ingredients (holistic & natural ingredients)
- Pampering, ritual experience, ie. 10-step facial
- Gentle exfoliations, avoiding skin damage
- Brighteners (not whiteners)
The last one is more a desire than an actual practice. I initially bought some expensive skin care products when I first arrived in Korea. But it’s not necessary. On the contrary, there are some excellent K-beauty products that give you a bigger bang for your buck.
Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Initially, I used to use a lot more of the Suhwhasoo product line. However, there’s no denying that it’s top of the K-beauty food chain. Unfortunately, it’s also pricey. I found great substitutions for the other products. But I love Suhwhasoo’s Gentle Foaming Cleanser, so I’m sticking with it.
The bottle is huge so I feel it’s worth the price. And you don’t need a lot, trust me. As a result, a little cleanser goes a long way. The foam feels luxurious, and afterward, I feel “so fresh and so clean, clean”. Lol.
The active ingredients include: a rich blend of holistic/ traditional ingredients, brightening citrus peel, and chestnut shell extract
Then I Met You
Some people don’t think an essence is necessary, but I beg to differ. In fact, this essence allows the serums (and everything else) I use to work better. Could I get away without it? Probably. Will I? Nope. The silky-smooth texture nourishes and hydrates my skin. And the antioxidants it packs help to calm my skin from all the effects of living in Korea.
My main goal for skincare is to even out the tone of my skin. I want to brighten, not lighten, my skin to give it a healthy glow. And I believe Then I Met You’s The Giving Essence is a key component in my daily regimen.
Active Ingredients Include fermented sake, niacinamide (brightening), antioxidant-rich red algae, berries, and ellagic acid. It also includes polyglutamic acid (plumps skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles).
Niacinamide Brightening Toner
The Good Molecules line of products is especially impressive. Actually, if I didn’t know better, I’d think this particular K-beauty line was developed specifically for dark skin. I love everything I’ve tried so far. I’ve tried the Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Patches as well as the Gentle Retinol Cream. But the Niacinamide Brightening Toner is undoubtedly one of my favorite products ever.
Active Ingredients include: Niacinamide, Glycerin (hydration), Arbutin (evens tone, brightens, hyperpigmentation), and can help with the appearance of scars, 1,2-hexanediol (boosts the efficacy of other products, skin softener), and Propanediol (humectant and emollient)
Discoloration Correcting Serum
The Discoloration Correcting Serum works well. In fact, it has visibly corrected the dark pigmentation on my cheeks, chin, and neck without over-correcting. Consequently, my skin is bright, not light. And as a result, my skin has a youthful glow.
This is probably the only product with Butylene Glycol which is an alcohol. I haven’t had any problems. However, if you have sensitive skin, I would suggest you do a patch test or avoid using this serum every day.
Active Ingredients Include: Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide
Pineapple Exfoliating Powder
I misunderstood exfoliation for years. I thought it wasn’t working unless the product was harsh, abrasive, and left me feeling raw.
Mix the Pineapple Exfoliating Powder with a couple of drops of water. It instantly turns into a creamy lather that feels like satin. Exfoliation should be gentle, leaving the face feeling refreshed and polished. As a result, the visible effects are gradual. And over time, my skin rejuvenates naturally.
Active Ingredients Include: Vitamin-rich starch & silk powder, Calamine Powder & Allantoin (hydration, hyperpigmentation), and Enzyme-rich Pineapple, Kiwi, & Papaya Extracts.
Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel
The Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel is my other go-to exfoliation product. It is a dry use (no water) gel. Therefore, there are no granules in the gel. Apply exfoliation in circular motions until the dead skin cells and impurities roll off the skin. If I had a vat of this, I’d jump in it every morning. It feels that good.
Active Ingredients Include: Citric Acid and Vitamin C
I love Like Butter, but I don’t use it on my face. Instead, I massage it onto the old scars I received on the playground when I was young. And the newer ones I received from various surgeries.
Like Butter is a fantastic addition to my daily routine. Consequently, I’ve noticed a difference after a few weeks of use. I am in love with this serum! It’s part of my K-beauty routine and helps fade hyperpigmentation on black skin. It’s not magic, and it takes time to see the results. You need to be patient and give it time to work.
Active Ingredients Include: Green Tea Extract, Ginseng, and Chinese Rhubarb Root (anti-inflammatory), Colloidal Oatmeal (calm skin), Turmeric (strengthen the skin’s barrier, hyperpigmentation), and Madeassoside (hyperpigmentation)
Are you as surprised as I am that K-beauty products use ingredients that target the concerns most black women have with our skin? Are there any other K-beauty product lines I should check out?
If you’re looking for more K-products for black women, you won’t want to miss this article on where to find curly hair products in Korea! Click Here to read more.