The best K cosmetics and products for darker

There is no denying that K-beauty, the term for beauty products and routines originating in South Korea, has been successful in mainstream US markets. Slice Intelligence estimates that sales for the category have risen 300 percent since 2015. It is everywhere, from Sephora to Duane Reade. Even your phone provides proof of its ubiquity, where skin masks, a principle of K-beauty, are memorized and photographed over and over for the entire Instagram to see.

It makes sense – the colorful, cute packaging is a sign of itself – and because you have to set aside a decent amount of time to execute the ten-step or so daily plan (essences, serums and ampoules abound), it feels indulgent yet relaxing. More importantly: does it seem to work? It doesn't really take much effort to stop the glowing testimonials of hydrated, happy customers at every turn. But for someone with a darker skin, it can feel exclusive.

& # 39; A quick Google image search of the term K-beauty better explains why. There, I count one, two … maybe three black women? And it is based on results from today– the images that populated my screen a few years ago, when I started my first K-beauty journey, were even more homogeneous. I know K-beauty's transpacific origins can account for its diversity vacuum (Seoul is not exactly known to the large black population), but two years ago, Chloe – curious and completely green in the category – really & # 39 requires a navigator with a similar skin.

It wasn't just a mental barrier I wanted to overcome. Although, to try out a new routine that doesn't seem to speak to people who look like me is & # 39; an obstacle. But what worries me most is more from a practical perspective. Would these products even be work on me? Would it work well with my darker skin tone, which is more prone to hyperpigmentation and skin sensitivity due to the melanin abundance? Was I even welcome in this space, with so many K-beauty products advocating their & # 39; whitening & # 39; ability?

"I believe there was a misconception about K-beauty," Charlotte Cho, founder of K-beauty retailer Soko Glam, said after bringing all my K-beauty concerns to her. & # 39; In K-beauty, terms like & # 39; whitening & # 39; to describe products or ingredients. In K-beauty, the term whitening is synonymous with brightening, not physically changing the color of the skin. & # 39;

While the explanation & # 39; lost in translation & # 39; & # 39; copy a product, I still wanted someone, anyone, to tell me what would work well for the specific case of my brown skin. It was when I looked at influencers in space who showed a similar or darker skin that I found my gold mine. Their product reviews informed me, made me feel comfortable. Eventually, they attacked my K-beauty fears and I ran to the ground. I will go through my favorite products below, but first, if you were like me – intimidated and unsure of where to start – here are some familiar faces that made me feel welcome.

Although she has just returned, Sheryll Donerson has lived in Korea for a while – and upon her return she made sure to pack all her K-beauty knowledge. Do yourself a favor and follow her Twitter for regular updates on what is cooking in the K-beauty space. Don't have Twitter? Do not worry; she also blogs at, where she also compiled a K-beauty glossary. And that skin! Oh my. The proof lies in the selfie.

I found Deborah on a Reddit thread last year. She's not a dermatologist or a beauty editor, but a woman with thirty things living in England who are obsessed with skincare. K-beauty is her specialty. You can find her at Adoredee, her blog, and read her list of holy grail products, which she refers to as "unusable". Deborah.

Hurricane Lala suffered from her PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome), and decided to challenge herself to use only K-beauty products for a week. The results were incredible. You have to watch the full video before and after its reveal, but it will definitely give you the full offer of Skin Foods (yes, I know that Weleda is not & # 39; part of K-beauty, but it does definitely a nice supplement).

Check out this post on Instagram

One day it will all make sense. I couldn't sleep much that week thinking about where my passion for skin, beauty and inclusion would take me. Do we as creators see the true value we offer to brands? Do our brands recognize and recognize our value? No one sees the grind, wherever you are. It works 9 to 5 and then creates 5 to sleep. Contracts are negotiated while you take care of clients. It advocates for yourself as a creator and remains appreciative. Wherever you are, know your value (then add taxes), stick to your values ​​and don't give up. Yours sincerely, 4am thoughts ✨ (Can delete later)

& # 39; A post shared by @ beauty4brownskin on

Beauty4BrownSkin's biography says it all: "Pushing the Agenda of Inclusivity." She assesses & # 39; a number of beauty markets, but offers & # 39; a premium to K-beauty. Her blog contains many useful and specific overviews of important products to try. Cho also recommends following this account!

Software engineer by day and K-beauty blogger at night. Joyce usually sticks to makeup reviews, but she creates useful skincare routines in her Instagram stories with the K-beauty products that worked for her. She also gives K-beauty products on her YouTube page, so don't miss out!

Kristian is an incredible beauty photographer, besides being a skincare enthusiast. He tries all the latest and greatest state-of-the-art products and delivers portrait style photography of his tests on his feed. His Instagram story highlighting his routine is a must-watch.

And now, for the products. Here are some recommendations for dark-skinned people who want to use K-beauty but don't know where to start.

For hydration:

& # 39; Essence is like a moisturizer, but it hydrates without the skin of a cream. & # 39; A good introductory version is Then I Met You & # 39; s The Giving Essence. It is formulated with over 80 percent bacterial-rich fermented ingredients (think probiotics for your skin), as well as polyglutamic acid, which is like hyaluronic acid, but even more moisturizing (in fact up to ten times more). To use, apply a few drops after cleaning but before applying serum.

For clarification:

The shining star in K-beauty is vitamin C. Cho likes it because he adopts hyperpigmentation, which can appear after pimples, after the sun or as a more common sign of skin sensitivity. The best is concentrated and stable – exposure to the sun and oxygen weakens the antioxidant over time. One I enjoy? Cosrx's Triple C serum is made with ascorbic acid (a powerful and one of the more stable forms of vitamin C). And even if you're not necessarily worried about the uneven skin color, it also fights the environmental pollutants that can lead to endangered skin.

For protection:

For the people behind: sunscreen is one of the most critical steps in everyone's skincare routine! Especially (yes, especially) for darker skin colors, which can develop hyperpigmentation if exposed to too much sun. (Of course, it also prevents skin cancer …) My favorite SPF from the K-beauty world is Suntique's pure Pica Cica Cream. It offers SPF 50 protection, and it contains galactomise in the formula, which is a K-beauty star ingredient known for its moisturizing capabilities. The formula is also fast-absorbing, sticky and leaves no white. Perfect!

—Chloe Hall

Photo via ITG

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