5 K-Beauty Ingredients You Need To Know About

From snail mucin to birch tree sap, the top ingredients found in K-beauty ingredients are packed with essential nutrients that will restore skin glow

By E! Asia Staff 08 Nov, 2018 7:13 AMTags
Song Hye-kyo, K-Beauty, SulwhasooCourtesy of Sulwhasoo

There's no denying that Korean culture has taken the world by storm. Be it K-pop, K-dramas or K-beauty, people all over the world are looking to Korea and lapping up everything it has to offer. This includes western beauty companies, which have taken K-beauty brands' cues and introduced their respective versions of products such as facial essences and cushion foundations. But beyond innovative product formats that changes the beauty game, Korean beauty companies are serious about formulas. Referencing age-old Korean remedies, K-beauty companies often combine traditional Korean herbs with cutting edge technology to produce salves and potions that are not only easy to use, but also pack a punch in restoring skin health.

Here, the five top K-beauty ingredients you need to know about, and the products that contain them:

Snail Mucin Extract

A popular ingredient in several K-beauty products, snail mucin extract might sound slimy and gross, but it is actually packed with skincare benefits. Think of it like a multi-vitamin pill for your skin as it contains a blend of skin-conditioning ingredients that's suitable for all skin types, including those prone to acne and those susceptible to inflammation. When applied topically, it has the ability to help soothe dry patches, heal breakouts, stimulate cellular repair and refine skin texture. With continued use, skin becomes smoother, more even toned, plumper and even brighter.


Try COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, $28.90 for 100ml, available at watsons.com.sg. It contains 96 per cent snail secretion filtrate for an intense dose of skin repair and hydration.

Birch Juice

Also known as birch tree sap or birch tree water, birch juice is tapped and extracted from birch trees. And since it contains high levels of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, birch juice is perfect as a skincare ingredient to infuse these nutrients for healthier skin. Vitamin B3 (or niacinamide), for example, helps to even out dull skin, vitamin C reduces pigmentation, amino acids keep skin hydrated while antioxidants help strengthen the barrier layer, hence making it the perfect choice for those with sensitive skin.


Try Neogen Dermalogy Real Ferment Essence, $50 for 150ml, at cocomo.sg, which is also fortified with fermented essences to further support skin's self-regeneration for firm and plump skin.


Highly prized in traditional Korean medicine, ginseng is widely used in Korean health remedies as well as in topical skincare products, thanks to its ability to improve sluggish circulation and restore vitality. Try Erborian Ginseng Infusion Tensor Effect Day Cream, $99 for 50ml, at sephora.sg. Formulated with ginseng root and ginseng sprout, this day moisturiser improves nutrient flow to the skin for accelerated regeneration against wrinkles and sagging while tightening enlarged pores at the same time. It is also infused with antioxidants to guard against free radical damage and stave off premature ageing.

Centella Asiatica

Known for its rapid healing properties, Centella Asiatica has been used for centuries to aid in wound healing. And thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-scarring benefits, the herb has been used in skincare products that target acne and sensitive skin. In addition, it is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins for remarkable anti-ageing uses. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Cream, $68 for 50ml, is a balm-like cream that instantly calms, hydrates and protects compromised skin. Featuring an advanced delivery system, it also contains a slew of botanical extracts to further support skin repair. Minerals like potassium and magnesium also helps re-energise the complexion and improve moisture level for a healthy and soothed mien.

Pine Tree

A symbol of longevity in Korean culture, the pine tree is synonymous with health and vitality. And who better to harnessing the regenerative properties of this revered ingredient than luxury K-beauty brand, Sulwhasoo? Through a painstaking extraction method, DAA (De-Aging Active) is obtained from red pine and infused into the Timetreasure Renovating Cream EX, $558 for 60ml. When absorbed into skin, this sumptuous cream reverses skin damage by stimulating cellular renewal and collagen synthesis for a smoother and firmer complexion.