The Korean skincare community, as a whole, is incredibly creative and innovative. From snail goo to laboratory-made ingredients, it seems as if nothing is off limits and that something new is always being invented. I love that, as it makes the skincare world a very exciting space to inhabit, and because it means people are working hard to ensure my skin looks goods.
I enjoy writing about and researching different ingredients, and today I’m here to dish on a very special one: volcanic ash. Not just any ash, though. Ash that’s collected from South Korea itself and used in Korean cosmetic products.
Where Volcanic Ash Comes From
Volcanic ash can be found anywhere a volcano – either live or dormant – exists. However, Korean skincare companies typically uses volcanic ash from the country itself, and one place, in particular: Jeju Island.
This island is home to numerous skin-nourishing ingredients that are utilizes in many Korean skincare products. It’s actually a volcano island, though it hasn’t erupted in roughly 5000 years. Still, the island is rich with aged volcanic ash from all those years ago. The ash is collected and sifted and then utilized as an ingredient.
Volcanic Ash Skincare Benefits
Volcanic ash has been used as a skincare ingredient all over the world for centuries, and it’s valued for its ability to purify the skin, disinfect, and exfoliate. It’s somewhat similar to charcoal that way, only volcanic ash is often found already finely sifted and feels like soft beach sand. Like sand, it doesn’t dissolve in water, which allows it to effectively slough off dead skin.
You’ll find volcanic ash in various Korean skincare products, including thick mud masks, sheet masks, nose packs and cleansers. Its detoxifying abilities are what you’ll usually see advertised on the aforementioned product labels, and volcanic ash truly works wonders in that department. However, this ingredient can also help soothe rashes, smooth the skin, ward off and treat acne, and fight aging. It’s also been proven to soothe and treat skin ailments, including eczema and psoriasis.
Where to Buy It
InnisFree makes its popular Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask ($13), which is 1.3 ounces of nourishing, skin detoxifying goodness. You slather it on your skin, let it set, and then rinse it off to reveal brighter, deeply cleaned, purified skin. It’s especially good for those with oily skin types, or as a PMS treatment when your skin produces more sebum.
Another fun one is The Face Shop’s Jeju Island Lava Nose Strips ($6). They come as a set of seven, making them less expensive than the leading nose strip brand, and utilize Jeju’s own volcanic ash to help clear impurities and reduce pore size. It’s a gentle blackhead treatment, but it’s also really effective. And how satisfying is it to use these strips and examine the work they’ve done?
Lastly, I want to suggest The Skinfood Volcanic & Egg White Pore Hot Steam Pack ($14) which combines Jeju volcanic clay (to absorb excess sebum and draw out impurities) with egg extracts (to help tighten pores). This is a unique blackhead treatment because it actually warms up on the skin to help open up pores!