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29 Sep

Mugwort, SPF patches and spatulas: These are big trends

The subsequent era of K-Beauty is all about debunking myths and stripping back skincare routines

What involves mind when you concentrate on K-Beauty? Snail mucin and bee venom, possibly? Or overcomplicated skincare routines with more steps than you thought possible? Well, it seems that we’ve been getting Korean beauty practices unsuitable this whole time. “The most important misconception is the ten-step skincare routine,” says Jin Kwon. “Within the international market, people consider the ten-step skincare routine to be Korean. It never existed in Korea, actually.”

Nobody within the UK is more informed on K-Beauty than Kwon, the founding father of Korean Beauty distributor Tonic15. Highly curated and beautifully organised, the retailer is host to the very best of what K-Beauty has to supply because of Kwon’s insider knowledge and rigorous testing procedures – so who higher than her to offer us the lowdown on what trends and practices are literally getting used by the locals?

Kwon says that certainly one of the fundamental skincare concerns in Korean metropolises like Seoul is the impact of pollution on skin, with many individuals choosing skincare products which are gentle, soothing and non-irritating. Skin that’s well taken care of is the goal. To attain this, the locals imagine in a more pared-back approach. “Most Korean beauty brands and folks think that if you have got two or more [active] ingredients in a single product, the more possibilities that it’d irritate your skin,” Kwon explains.

This also applies to extensive skincare routines. If there are too many steps then there are more possibilities of ingredients not pairing well together, which may result in irritation and inflammation. Plus when using so many products on the skin, it’s hard to inform which of them are working well for you and which of them aren’t.

Because the starting of Tonic15’s journey, Kwon’s mission has been K-Beauty 2.0. For her, it’s not nearly highlighting latest trends, products and ingredients but additionally about re-educating the west on what we’ve got unsuitable so unsuitable about K-Beauty. To assist teach beauty aficionados within the UK the true ways of Korean Beauty, Tonic15 opened a pop-up in London this month, which can run through to January 2023, where customers can replenish on beauty faves, trial out latest brands and get personalised recommendations from the staff. 

Here Kwon gives us the lowdown on what’s really happening within the K-Beauty space and all of the exciting latest brands, trends and ingredients.


“Korean people imagine that keeping your skin hydrated is the premise for all the pieces,” Kwon says. Hydration is a cure-all for a lot of skin-related issues. “Oily skin becomes more oily once you don’t have enough moisture in your skin, it then tries to compensate for that by creating more oil. So the very best method to combat that is to maintain the skin hydrated. Same with pimples and blemishes, I find hydrating your skin helps balance and strengthens the skin barrier. Koreans tackle blemishes this manner reasonably than using strong actives.”

K-Beauty enthusiasts swear by either layering a toner or an essence to assist lock in hydration. Essences are likely to be thicker than toners and lighter than serums, they assist prep your skin for the remaining of your routine and help increase the absorption of your serums and moisturisers into your skin. Kwon tells us you should use them interchangeably as long you discover the suitable one. In case you’d prefer to make use of a toner keep away from ones with synthetic fragrances and alcohol. You possibly can layer using the seven-skin method, which suggests applying your essence or toner seven times to your skin, but Kwon doesn’t think that’s needed. “You don’t must layer seven times, but [Korean] people are likely to layer their toners several times. They put a skinny layer on their skin after which after a bit, apply one other thin layer.”


Long a well-liked sport within the country, golf took Korea by absolute storm this summer and to guard their skin out on the course many Koreans took to wearing not only SPF but ergonomic C-shaped patches that physically block the sun. “Sunscreen is a brilliant big category in K-Beauty because people think it’s the most effective products to make use of for anti-ageing,” Kwon says. 

Once users are done with their day within the sun, they’ll simply peel off the patches and get rid of them. While the trend hasn’t reached our shores just yet, with the recognition of pimple patches skyrocketing these previous few years, possibly it’s only a matter of time before we’re also physically blocking UV rays with cute SPF patches.


South Korea has a strict policy on recycling which has resulted in lots of beauty consumers being more conscious of shopping for products which are packaged in recyclable materials. Kwon believes that the K-Beauty brand that has responded best to the newer policies within the country is Aromatica. The brand uses 100 per cent recyclable packaging materials, houses its products in recyclable glass or finest PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic and launched refill stations at its stores.

Aromatica also goals to be the primary beauty brand in Korea to send zero waste to landfills and incinerators in 2025 by achieving a complete resource circulation via their package tracking control system. “In my personal opinion, that is probably the most sustainable brand I’ve ever seen, not only in Korean beauty, but across all the pieces,” says Kwon, who believes the brand is in a league of its own. “The corporate staff uses older electric cars. They’re putting systems in place to be carbon negative.”

Despite many within the west associating K-Beauty with animal-derived ingredients like snail mucin, Kwon says the vast majority of beauty products, in addition to diets, are literally vegan as that’s believed to be more gentle for the skin. “You see more vegan beauty products than ones with snail mucin or any animal-derived ingredients,” Kwon says. At Aromatica, for instance, product formulations are constituted of 100 per cent pure essential oils and botanical plant extractions.


Mugwort might sound like an ingredient from a witch’s potion however the plant has change into big in Korean culture in skincare and beyond. “Mugwort is very fashionable because it’s really soothing and hydrating,” Kwon says. “In Korea, we use it in our skincare and we use it as medicine. People imagine that mugwort detoxifies the skin, not only the skin but the entire body.” 

Koreans love the ingredient a lot that they even have dedicated mugwort spas to rejuvenate the body from the within out. In case you are on the lookout for somewhere to start out, Kwon recommends the I’m From Mugwort Mask. Centella is one other star ingredient which is used to appease inflammation, increase hydration and strengthen the skin barrier. 


Glass skin is a K-Beauty term to explain skin that’s so smooth, poreless and luminous that it’s almost reflective like glass. You’ve probably seen countless people attempt to recreate it on TikTok where the hashtag #glassskin has over 600+ million views. In Korea, to attain the effect many individuals have been turning to the viral Piccasso foundation spatula, a premium artistry make-up tool which helps apply products easily.  

While the spatula has been popular in Korea for the past yr, Kwon was initially sceptical, unsure if it was definitely worth the hype. “When things are trending in Korea, it makes me very careful as I don’t need to bring back something that may very well be gimmicky,” she explains. “So I actually tried it like a couple of months ago and I loved it.” 

The make-up tool was made in collaboration with Korean celebrity make-up artist Ham Kyungsik. “He got here up with this method, he used it to use foundation after which found it really works rather well. So he modified it by making the blade quite a bit longer after which the sides are quite a bit smoother. The burden distribution is actually good. It’s made specifically for the face,” Kwon explains.


“Isoi, together with Aromatica, is a brand that’s been very fashionable in Korea for around 10 years,” Kwon says. The brand’s best-selling Blemish Care Up Serum is a cult product – one of the vital sold within the country – and made with Bulgarian rose oil and Centella extract for those with acne-prone skin. 

But when this product is so popular in Korea, why hasn’t it also made a giant splash within the west as well? “Quite a lot of [K-Beauty] brands that you simply see within the international market, people in Korea have never heard of. And a whole lot of brands in Korea which are doing so well, oftentimes the international market just doesn’t find out about them,” she says. “Because they’re already doing so well in Korea, these brands don’t have the urgency to launch internationally.”

Kwon partners with a whole lot of brands like Isoi, that need to launch within the UK but aren’t sure how. The Tonic15 founder helps with marketing, translation and product registration to make sure that all the brands she carries are truly successful. “That’s what differentiates us from other retailers,” she says confidently.

So for those who’re ready to come back across latest gems, reunite with longtime faves and get the very best education on what’s really happening within the K-Beauty world then head to Tonic15’s pop-up store, situated at Angel Central, 21 Parkfield Street, London N1 0PS.

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