The beauty industry in South Korea is pioneering. You know those sheet masks that shops across the capital have been peddling as ‘new’? Well, they’re really not. In fact, they weren’t even the hot-new-thing the first time I holidayed in Seoul, and that was about nine years ago. That isn’t to say they’re not great, though, they totally are, even if wearing them makes you look like a vain Hannibal Lecter. Similarly, the now ubiquitous BB cream – which didn’t make it here until 2012 – was developed in Korea in the 1980s.
But if you don’t fancy trekking to Seoul for a moisturiser, we recommend heading to Selfridges instead. The department store has stocked a decent selection of Korean lotions and potions for a couple of years, including seriously cute products from Tony Moly. But this week ramped things up by unveiling a mini-department dedicated to East Asia’s most progressive beauty brands.
The launch will see the incorporation of some sleek science-y products, as well as continuing to house brands from the more adorable end of the skincare spectrum. Selfridges’ beauty buyer has put together a ten-step routine, but if your morning rush doesn’t allow time for all that we reckon these products will serve you well.
The Oozoo is a pioneering brand for face masks: the active ingredients are kept separate in the syringe so the plumping concoction is fresh when applied. These medicinal-looking masks are a very affordable £8.
Skin 79 is the brand credited with bringing the science of BB creams to the Korean skincare market and it’s continuing to make waves with its brilliant products. This luxe oil moisturises your face at the same time as ridding it of make-up. Talk about multi-tasking. It’s also reasonable at £22.
If your morning routine usually involves running for the bus clutching a piece of toast then this three-in-one product should help. Another Selfridges exclusive, Neogen is a high-performance bio-cosmetic brand, using a mix of ingredients that should be in your lunch – such as avocado and olive oil – this is a toner, essence and moisturiser wrapped up in one £32 cream.
Selfridges, 400 Oxford St, W1A 1AB. www.selfridges.com
In need of a face spruce? Check out our list of London’s best beauty shops.