Photo Credit: us.sulwhasoo.com
Looking for the edgiest of the edgy beauty products – look eastward. Japan and Korea have been at the forefront of innovative beauty products for years. The BB and CC cream craze just hit the U.S. in the last couple of years, but has been a staple in Asia for eons. Western consumers in-the-know, who are looking for high quality and special formulations, have been buying up cult Asian products online and in specialty boutique stores in the U.S. and abroad. And since Asian beauty products are always changing, sometimes it’s hard to keep up-to-date. Read on for a list of our old and new faves.
Osiao from the Estée Lauder Companies is a new brand specifically formulated for the unique needs of Asian skin. It offers a full range of benefits from anti-aging to renewing skin’s youthful luster and radiance and debuted last fall at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. Osiao also can be found on Cathay Pacific Airways flights going in and out of Hong Kong.
“As a luxury skin care line developed in Asia, for the Asian woman, Osiao delivers on what they have known for centuries: radiant skin glowing from within is beautiful skin. We are thrilled to be able to offer her a truly unique and customized line of products that meets her desires,” stated Veronique Gabai-Pinksy, Global Brand President of the Lauder Companies’ Aramis & Designer Fragrances, BeautyBank, and IdeaBank.
Combining the expertise of traditional Chinese medicine, Western dermatology, and product formulation science from the East and the West, the Osiao Asia Skin Institute was created to focus solely on the science of how light bounces off and radiates skin. Extensive studies of the skin of thousands of women in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea, fueled the development of Osaio and it’s product line dedicated to restoring natural radiance.
Forget about heading to the lab; Japanese brand Forlle’d has done the science legwork for you. Scientists in the Forlle’d laboratory claim to have developed a method to deliver hyaluronic acid deep into the skin without an injection. This HA delivery system is at the heart of all Forlle’d products.
Hyalogy Platinum Lotion, formulated with powerful antioxidant properties and deep-skin moisturizing, firms up loose and flabby skin, reduces hyperpigmentation, and helps eliminate dark spots and blemishes caused by blackheads. Using Forlle’d low-molecular ionized processes, your skin absorbs more moisture than with traditional lotions. The extracts of Mediterranean aloe, chlorella, and kudzu stimulate cell metabolism, improve hydration, and stablizes the cells’ ionic balance. Aloe protects skin against free radicals and the combination of aloe with kudzu has anti-inflammatory effects. It’s ideal for all skin types and all ages, especially those with hyperpigmentation problems and oily skin.
Forrle’d products can be found in beauty spas and clinics around the world, including the US.
Known for being a hair color innovator in Japan, Bigen now offers styling and treatment products. Formulated with botanically-derived ingredients, the products work to control frizz and flyaways, and nurture and repair hair follicles for silky and smooth hair.
Protect & Repair Shampoo ($4.99) and Deep Conditioner ($1.99) features a centuries-old beauty secret of Asian women—rice water. Traditionally, women would bathe in the water leftover from washing rice to keep their hair and skin moisturized and supple. Combined with sunflower oil in the shampoo and conditioner, rice water helps repair and protect hair from breakage. For dull, flat hair, Bigen Sheen Spray ($4.99) is just the answer. It’s formulated with sunflower oil and shea butter, and one allover spritz will freshen up and shine to your hair. Bigen Polishing Serum ($5.99) is a multipurpose, daily serum containing sunflower seed oil and shea butter to infuse moisture and shine into your hair. Perfect for those with damaged hair, the serum hydrates, detangles, shines, and smoothes away frizz.
Combining traditional Korean herbal medicinal and the esthetics of Sangseng—a philosophy for achieving harmony between opposite energies—Sulwhasoo was born. Geared towards maturing skin, Sulwhasoo was developed after years of research on ginseng, one of Asia’s oldest medicinal remedies.
For example, Concentrated Ginseng Cream ($220) is formulated with the roots, berries, and water of a rare six-year-old Korean ginseng. The cream is designed to stimulate cell regeneration and revitalize, and ultimately restore youthful luster. Other Korean herbs like milk-vetch and white mulberry promote flawless, ageless complexions while jojoba, avocado, mango seed, and sunflower oils moisturize and condition.
When founder Victoria Tsai chanced upon a modern-day geisha in Kyoto, her entire outlook on skincare changed. Immersing herself in Japanese culture, she discovered centuries-old beauty secrets that have been passed down through generations. Working closely with teams of scientists, scholars, and geishas to decipher the rituals and ingredients from sacred texts, Victoria developed formulas for Tatcha that pay homage to this timeless heritage. Containing green tea, Okinawa red algae, and rice bran, Tatcha products take traditional Asian herbal skincare treatments into the modern world.
Tatcha is well known for its Original Aburatorigami ($12), natural oil-blotting sheets that absorb excess oil without smudging makeup. Powder-free, fragrance-free, and pulp-free, Tatcha sheets can help all skin types lose the shine without losing moisture. Radiant Deep Brightening Serum ($150) restores the color clarity of skin damaged by sun and environmental exposure. It combines time-tested Asian botanicals as well as Tatcha’s HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex: just two pumps a day will give you radiant, hydrated skin.
Korean-American founder Charlotte Lee realized it was difficult to find Korean beauty products in the states, that is, until she created Soko Glam. An online retailer that exclusively sells Korean beauty lines, Soko Glam carries products from TheFaceStory, Skin Food, and Missha. And better yet everything has been vetted; Charlotte only offers items that she has personally tested and approved. With a flat rate of $7 for shipping (or free if you spend over $100), you can experiment with colorful and effective Korean skincare and makeup without breaking the bank.