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Dispatch From Korea: K-Beauty Is Going Clean and These Are Our Favorite Brands to Shop

Welcome to Dispatch From Korea, a series where you’ll get the inside scoop on the latest K-beauty news straight from our friends at Soko Glam’s Seoul office. Today we’re talking about the clean beauty movement and why K-beauty brands are getting on board.

Clean beauty has been a growing trend in the U.S. for the past year or two, and now it’s taking off in Korea as well, largely as a response to something called microdust.
Microdust, a form of air pollution, is a major issue in South Korea right now. The government frequently issues warnings about high dust levels and encourages people to wear masks when outside. In addition to posing a serious general health risk, the poor air quality also affects the health and appearance of the skin.
Personally, my skin was always pretty much concern-free – even during my teen years – but the continued attack of fine dust and air pollution changed my skin overnight. It was more irritated and I was waking up to breakouts and pimples. In response, I knew that I needed to try something different from my usual skin care routine so I sought out products free of toxins that could irritate my very stressed, sensitive skin – and I’m not alone in this. 
More and more women in Korea are searching for cleaner and non-irritating choices for their skin as well as their body. Korean women do not hesitate to stand in the middle of H&B stores (Korean drugstores) to read the ingredient labels on the back of products – and even enjoy it. Many people use HwaHae, an app with over a million monthly users that conveniently let’s you analyze ingredients in specific products and read authentic reviews.
As more Korean consumers become more conscious about non-toxic ingredients, the number of “clean” beauty brands and products available is growing.
Now, it’s important to point out that “clean beauty” is an unregulated term with a very broad and loose definition. In my opinion, a product is clean if it doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, silicons, triclosan or synthetic fragrances. With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite Korean brands in the category. 
The Plant Base


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All products from The Plant Base are formulated with 80% natural extract ingredients and are free of parabens, mineral oils, pigment, and synthetic fragrance.
Instead of water, the brand formulates their products with liquid from a plant. The Natural Solution Hydrating Bamboo Water, for example, contains 86.9% of bamboo extract and chamomile flower water. 


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Olivarrier’s products are formulated under the concept, ‘Worry-free Clean Beauty’. The brand has certifications from various consumer protection organizations including EWG.
Its best selling Toning Lotion, a moisturizing and calming formula that strengthens the skin barrier, is unscented, features plant-derived ingredients, and is cruelty-free.


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The name Sioris originated from the combination of words “simple” and “original” and the brand’s motto is “Fresh, Safe, Honest”. To maintain freshness of natural ingredients, ingredients are harvested from local farms and manufactured within a year.
The A Calming Day Ampoule contains 86% of Omija fruit extract, an antioxidant-rich adaptogen usually found in Korea, China and Japan that fights stressors like pollution.

+What are YOUR favorite clean beauty brands?

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