10 Bizarre Korean Beauty Ingredients

Facials with flecks of gold and Russian caviar
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Care for some horse oil, snail mucus, or bee venom? Well, perhaps they aren’t on your daily beauty regimen, but fans of Korean skincare beauty products swear by certain odd ingredients not typically used in other countries. Here are some plus their beauty benefits.

1. Pearls

A. Korean women love sheet masks. B. Pearl powder brightens one’s skin, keeping it supple and looking younger. Put the two together and get yourself a pearl mask sheet.

2. Gold

Yes, you read correctly. There’s nothing like some 24K magic to revive and nourish a dull and tired skin. Facials with flecks of gold don’t cost as much as you think and if you’re serious about the gold ingredient thing, splurge on a cream that combines both gold bits and Russian caviar (yes, this does exist).

3. Volcanic Scoria

Using facial foams, clay masks, nose pore strips, or scrubs containing tiny fragments of lava (volcanic scoria), leaves the skin smoother, clearer, and brighter by giving it a deep clean that draws out sebum and other impurities and making it absorb minerals better.

4. Snail Slime

One of the most hyped ingredients used in Korean beauty products is … brace yourself…. snail slime. Cringe-worthy, but snail mucus actually has proven itself to have excellent anti-wrinkle properties. It also tightens the pores, improves skin elasticity, and provides optimal hydration.

5. Horse Oil

For 72 hours of skin hydration invest in the rich extracts derived from animal fat. The linolenic oils from horse fat, in particular, also help with dark spots. Some swear it whitens armpits and reduces chicken skin.

6. Bee Venom

Still on animal excrements, while bees produce honey, they also produce bee venom. As with a bee sting (minus the pain), applying the toxin forces blood to rush to your face stimulating your skin to naturally produce collagen and elastin for a smoother complexion.

7. Pig Collagen

Extracted from pig skin, porcine collagen supposedly helps plump the skin, smooth out wrinkles, and reduce the size of pores.

8. Salmon Oil

Omega-3 is known for its health benefits, but who would have thought to use it to lighten the dark circles around the eyes? Thank heavens, creams containing this ingredient aren’t malansa.
9. Tomato

Tomato is an unbeatable natural homemade beauty treatment and one of Korean’s best kept skincare secrets. As a super intensive source of nutrients with a high content of antioxidants, tomatoes shrink large pores, reduce acne, soothe sunburn, brighten dull skin, and more.


10. Dragon’s Blood Extract, Starfish Extract, and Donkey Milk

These bizarre, yet powerful, vitamin-rich ingredients moisturize the skin and improve the complexion. Some hard-to-come-by products include Mizon’s Returning Starfish cream, the Fresh Gore sleeping pack, and SAEM’s Donkey Milk moist drop cream!

As weird and perhaps wonderful as all these Korean beauty secrets may seem, your skin may not react well to all of them. Best to consult a dermatologist before adding them to your daily skincare regimen — especially if you have allergies or sensitive skin.


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