I’m such a K-beauty addict, my friends said they considered staging an intervention. I dream about it, I obsess about it and I look forward to the day I can go back to Seoul to curate some more! I geek out about different formulas, ingredients and packaging because there is always something innovative and new coming out of Korea. When I find a gem that really is a game-changer, I’m thrilled and I can’t wait to share my finds with you guys. When people let me know that they’ve just found their HG product, now that’s the most rewarding part of my job as a curator!
As you can imagine, I take my K-beauty curation very, very seriously. So when Allure and Refinery29 recently called us “one of our favorite places for checking out the latest and greatest Korean beauty products,” I almost imploded with happiness. (I think I danced around in my PJ’s while Rambo barked at me in excitement).
If you haven’t noticed, your reviews and feedback also highly effect the curation! If it made the cut, but a lot of people aren’t really into it, I remove it permanently from the site. So, many kudos and thanks to you all because really, you are the reason why Soko Glam is considered the legit source of the best K-beauty products.
Now I have something exciting to share with you… I’m so darn proud of our finds this year, I decided to make it full on official with the 2014 Soko Glam Best of Beauty Awards!
Before we get into the winners, I want you to know how they become part of the winners circle!
1. Received glowing reviews from you!
2. Popular in Korea: Korean locals, trusted beauty influencers and editors
3. Team Soko Glam’s official stamp of approval (i.e. innovation, effectiveness, we can’t live without it!)
Because I love celebrating awesomeness and want to give every product their own special fanfare that they deserve, I’ll announce my favorite K-beauty finds for 2014 one by one, for the next 10 days.
So, without further ado… our Soko Glam Best of Beauty winners!
No joke– it’s like crack for the skin. Without it, my skin is just not the same and I feel guilty if I miss out on this step. Every night and every morning after cleansing and toning, I spritz this essence onto my face and let it soak in, and I swear my face has gotten brighter and more supple with regular use. And I think everyone else has caught on to this holy water, just check out these reviews. No doubt about it–this is Soko Glam’s Best of Beauty.
As I’ve learned in skin school, dehydrated skin (which occurs when your skin lacks water, not oil) means you not only need to drink more water but also hydrate your skin topically with ingredients that help your skin retain water and moisture. Because sleeping masks are a fairly new concept in non-Asian countries, many people may picture waking up with a face-print of goo on their pillow. The reality is sleeping masks are not messy at all! All you need is a nickel sized amount to massage into your face, which will absorb quickly upon application. The revitalizing effects are extremely addicting, with your skin feeling softer and looking brighter and refreshed.My all-time favorite sleeping mask is by Lioele. You can not only see water droplets magically forming when you massage the product onto your skin, but also you cannot deny the results you see in the morning. Softer, brighter and hydrated skin awaits! Congratulations to the Lioele Sleeping Pack for winning the Best of Beauty Award!
Hydrated, supple skin awaits!
I’m big on sheet masks because it is so effective while being affordable. Hydrating your skin plays a huge role in keeping wrinkles away and sheet masks do exactly that. Have you ever looked in the mirror after peeling the sheet mask away? Try it – you’ll notice that your skin will look brighter and even a little bit more supple than it did before. This immediate effect is what I look forward to when I try on these sheet mask treatments. If you want to learn more about the proper way to use sheet masks, check out my tutorial.
I stumbled upon this brand while doing some research last year. I found out while Manefit is relatively unknown in Korea – it was a brand created by the manufacturer who produces a large percentage of sheet masks in Korea for popular Korean brands. And to top it off, Manefit owns the top patents for the leading hydrogel and microfiber sheet masks in the world. So they’re basically sheet mask experts!
This was all very intriguing and valuable to me, because I love curating products to Soko Glam that are unique and are in a sense, trade beauty secrets. I consider Manefit a true Soko Glam Best of Beauty winner for being a high quality sheet mask with a price that is too good to be true.
The Tony Moly Petite Bunny Gloss Bar did not just win because its adorable bunny packaging (with various facial expressions from annoyed to surprised–dawww). It was only until I actually started using it that I discovered it was a perfect sheer tint, smelled deliciously of strawberries and gave long-lasting moisture to the lips.
It’s just one of those daily use beauty products you can’t live without and best of all, puts a smile on our faces.
When I stumbled upon the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick, I knew I had found a winner in the packaging alone. Never have I ever used a cleanser that so conveniently came up solid in a stick form. I was sold. And then, to my surprise, it got better. In the cleansing stick, there were real rose petals (for exfoliation purposes) and smelled sweetly like them too. It was extremely gentle and thus could be used daily as my water-based cleanser (aka part two of the double cleanse). Then I became obsessed with the entire Su:m37 line for its use of fermented ingredients (which is the next big thing in Korean skincare). I really could go on and on about Su:m37 if you let me.
Then I shared the Miracle Rose Cleansing stick to my bud Sheryll at Wanderlust, who in turn shared it with her followers and then all my favorite K-beauty bloggers such as Kerry from Skin & Tonics and Coco from The BeautyWolf shouted their praises for it on the mountaintops. Now it’s so popular, it’s hard to actually keep it in stock!
There is no question that this product deserves the Soko Glam Best of Beauty Award. Even though we’re currently out of stock (boo!) we’d love to pay tribute to the Su:m37 line by offering a flash sale on the rest of the Su:m37 products I love today!
Whether you are oily, dry, acneic, sensitive or normal skin type– cleansing is the most important skincare step in any regimen. When you start off the cleansing process with an oil cleanser, you’re doing your skin a huge favor by dissolving oil-based debris (like sebum, makeup, sunscreen, pollution). This minimizes breakouts and contributes to the overall health of your skin because it casts out impurities without stripping the skin of beneficial oils.
One of my favorite curations to the site this year is the Clean it Zero cleansing balm, because I love the creamy, solid texture, it’s easy to travel with and it doesn’t drip down my elbows. I love the scent, sturdy packaging and how soft and moisturized my face feels after using it.
For these reasons, I’m proud to give it the Soko Glam Best of Beauty award!
7. IOPE Air Cushion XP
The IOPE Air Cushion is one of those once in a decade game-changers that completely flips your beauty world upside down and even impacts the global beauty industry as a whole.
What is it? It’s a unique formula-soaked sponge that has all the benefits of a BB cream (anti-aging, moisturizing, skin-evening coverage and SPF protection). It comes with an equally innovative non-absorbing puff that wicks the formula off of the sponge and effortlessly applies evenly onto your face, for that dewy no-makeup, makeup look.
I give big props to IOPE Air Cushion because it is the first cushion compact to be made. Ever. There are now dozens of knockoffs (and I’m sure if they’re smart enough, Western brands will follow suit shortly) but Soko Glam hopes to acknowledge their OG-ness through the Soko Glam Best of Beauty Award!
Did you know? IOPE is a sister company of AmorePacific.
Snail mucin is not the oozy gooey slime that you may think it is. It’s an extract packed with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial and copper peptides, and proteoglycans, all ingredients commonly used in beauty products and proven to be beneficial to the skin. These ingredients have been seen to stimulate the formation of collagen and elastin (i.e. anti-aging), repair damaged skin, and restore hydration. Here is a study that was recently done on snail mucin.
I’ve been fascinated with snail cream, and out of the dozens I’ve tested, I keep going back to Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream because of its light, gel-like consistency, subtle cucumber scent and… let’s face it– the results. With 70% snail extract in this formula, seeing supple, bright skin makes me come back for more. One of our reviewers said it best– “Missha snailed it!” More details on the product here.
I want sugar in my exfoliants for two reasons: It’s a natural humectant so it’ll nourish and hydrate the skin and its natural, texture is a gentle way to remove skin cell debris. Exfoliating is a once-weekly “must” in my book because it allows your skin to absorb your skincare products better, promotes blood circulation (for that healthy glow) and gently removes excess oil and any debris that will contribute to breakouts!
For years, I had indulged in Fresh’s Sugar Face Polish. But at $58, I didn’t miss it one bit after I was introduced to Skinfood’s Black Sugar Mask Wash Off! It’s true what all the reviewers have raved about– after one use it made my skin feel clean and baby butt smooth. I love massaging it into my neck and décolleté as well. It’s no surprise that it’s a best seller at Skinfood and Soko Glam, and I’m more than thrilled to give it the official Soko Glam Best of Beauty Award!
I was never, ever a liquid liner type of person until I met the Clio Waterproof Pen Liner. For the first time ever, I felt in control of the liner. With a quick swipe, the formula is intensely black (or deep brown) and it doesn’t smudge. With its sturdy brush tip, I can make thick or thin lines easily. Currently, the Kill brown version is my favorite, because brown actually makes eyes bigger (black can make my eyes look narrow). I don’t go outside of the house without it on so this is my desert island product, and based on your feedback this has become yours too. This year, Clio actually upgraded their formula and the packaging (more pigmented and improved how the ink is stored) so that its black and brown inkiness stays true throughout. Soko Glam Best of Beauty award winner? A no-brainer.