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Mugwort Is the Buzzy K-Beauty Ingredient of the Moment – Here’s What It Can Do For YOUR Skin

A powerful skin care ingredient that has stood the test of time, mugwort can bring much needed soothing and healing relief, nourishment, and moisture to sensitive, acne-prone, and dry skin. But what exactly is mugwort, and how is it used in skin care? Read on!

Korean mugwort, also known as ssuk, is an herb that has been used for generations in Korean medicine, skin care, and cooking. In recent years, mugwort has seen a growth in popularity as a key ingredient in Korean skin care products, so we know it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing it in products on beauty shelves everywhere.

Mugwort has a reputation as a soothing and healing powerhouse ingredient and its effectiveness at treating redness and skin sensitivities is slowly becoming more widely-known.

Here, we’re taking a closer look at the history of mugwort, what it does for your skin, and where you can find it.

A History of Mugwort in Korea

Mugwort, like many hanbang ingredients (aka traditional herbal ingredients), is part of the history and traditions of Korea. In fact, mugwort plays a role in one of Korea’s oldest origin stories. In this story a bear and a tiger wished to become human. A heavenly prince promised them that if they stayed in a mountain cave for one hundred days, with only pungent garlic and mugwort to eat, that he would grant their wish. The tiger could not wait, but the bear remained in the cave and was transformed into a beautiful woman. She later had a son who founded the first kingdom of Korea.

In traditional Korean medicine, mugwort is known as a “warming” ingredient for the body and has been used for hundreds of years to improve circulation and relieve muscle pain. To this day, it is commonly used in herbal baths at Korean bathhouses, or jjimjilbangs, to relieve and soothe the body.

My first experience with mugwort was at Olympus Spa, a Korean-style spa located in Lynwood, Washington. Before and after soaking in the heated pools, guests are encouraged to rinse off with refreshing, cool mugwort-infused water to help soothe the body.

Mugwort has also long been used as a cooking ingredient. Best picked in early spring through April, the aromatic, green herb has a mild, slightly bitter taste, and is commonly-used in rice cakes, savory pancakes, teas, salads, soups, and more.

Mugwort in Skin Care

Mugwort, often listed on skin care products as artemisia, is a powerhouse ingredient with a range of properties that make this ingredient a great fit for sensitive, acne-prone, and dry skin types.

Most well-known for its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, mugwort soothes, heals, and nourishes the skin, helping treat redness, psoriasis, and other skin sensitivities.  

Mugwort is also packed with antioxidants and vitamin E that help protect and nourish the skin barrier.

If you’re interested in incorporating mugwort in your skin care routine, here are few products to consider:

Manefit is a leader in sheet mask technology and its Beauty Planner Mugwort Sheet Mask Set, currently curated on Soko Glam, contains a blend of powerful ingredients, including, you guessed it, mugwort extract. The mask gently exfoliates the skin to help clear pores, while simultaneously soothing sensitive skin. This is a great product for those with acne-prone and sensitive skin.

Hanyul is a Korean skin care brand that uses traditional folk remedies and the latest skin science technologies to create its products. The Pure Artemisia skin care line contains a full range of soothing products that feature artemisia extract as their key ingredient. A couple of their most popular products include the Watery Calming Cream and Purifying Mask.

Popular K-beauty brand Missha’s Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence is a fan favorite. This concentrated essence contains double-fermented artemisia extract to soothe and moisturize skin.

You may have recently read about the VELY VELY Artemisia Balance Essence, featured in this Klog article. One of VELY VELY’s most popular products, this essence is packed with mugwort to help clear, strengthen, and hydrate skin. VELY VELY also carries several other products that feature Artemisia, including the Artemisia Return Emulsion and Artemesia Ultra Moisture Body Lotion.

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