WHEN this pandemic struck so unexpectedly and unprecedentedly, all of us had to set our priorities straight. For many, skincare took the back seat and was deemed unessential. That’s totally OK. For others, skincare became an important part of a holistic self-care. This too can’t be discounted.
Admittedly, I felt lucky to be one of those who could afford the latter. It also became an opportunity for me to finally shift to clean and green skincare products to better take care not only of myself, but also of the environment.
Having been trying to avoid and minimize use of plastics for years already, I am aware that my beauty products are the bane in this cause. As we all know, plastics pollute our planet, from those brought to landfills to those that end up in our seas, and there to stay for eternity. (Plastics do degrade but for a very long time, and often, they just turn in microplastics that seep into the earth, or worse, fill the stomach of the fish we eat.)
Unfortunately, some of the world’s biggest plastic waste contributors are brands that we have on our bathroom shelves and racks. And this isn’t the only impact that they leave. Natural resources are being consumed, products are being tested cruelly on animals, communities are being ripped off, among others.
But while the beauty industry is among the most unsustainable, it doesn’t mean we can’t. We simply need to start somewhere, somehow. Yes, we can’t become zero-waste overnight but we can lessen our personal footprint.
We also need to be aware that there are already beauty brands that are revolutionizing the industry in ethical and eco-friendly ways. Best of all, their products also deliver the results we desire for our skin.
So began my journey in finding these brands—in a bit of a rush because I was already experiencing the dreaded maskne. If you haven’t heard of this yet, it is simply an acne breakout as a result of extended wearing of face masks. It sucks but we have to uphold this safety protocol.
Thanks to recommendations from my friend Coleen and countless YouTube reviews by Hyram, I started building a fortified skincare routine that makes me feel good inside and out.
Here are the brands that I started the shift with, plus the products I am already using:
K-beauty has already made waves in many parts of the world and Korean skincare is quickly catching up due to its plant-based ingredients and effective formulations, but with competitive price points vs. Western counterparts.
Coxrx, in particular, is one. I have already heard about this brand from my officemates since last year but it’s only now that I actually considered it.
Providing skin solutions globally only since 2015, Cosrx combines the concept of cosmetics + RX (prescription). It uses skin-friendly ingredients to alleviate various skin concerns, according to its website. On the clean beauty front, it has blacklisted all possible harmful ingredients, has promised to be against animal testing, and is hypoallergenic and tested in Korea.
I am now using the Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser and the AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner to wash away all the sebum and impurities on my skin derived from our humid weather and also, the extended wearing of mask. Salicylic acid also targets acne and I love how my face feels so clean after every wash.
2. Some By Mi
A pretty new kid in the K-skincare block, Some By Mi has gained traction already and is being reviewed all over YouTube by beauty vloggers, Hyram included. It’s most known for its AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle line, which from its name alone, promises to clear breakouts in 30 days. In fact, Some By Mi means Something By Miracle. And so far, it’s doing quite a good job in soothing my acne.
Aside from the AHA BHA PHA components (watch Hyram explain these ingredients here), the line also has the raved about Centella Asiatica, a medicinal herb that has wonderful benefits for skin, especially Asian skin.
I got the sample / travel kit with toner, the serum and the moisturizer (though I haven’t used the toner yet) for just P700. Its regular sizes is priced similar to Cosrx products.
Still on Korean wonders, another skincare brand that is getting a cult following for its sunscreen is Purito. Its Centella Green Level Safe Sun is all goodness in one: a refreshing and soft product that leaves no slimy feeling and no white cast by a combination over 70% of water base and three essential ingredients, Centella Asiatica extract, Hyaluronic Acid and Tocopherol. This makes it 100% vegan, aside from being cruelty-free, artificial-fragrance-free, compatible for combination skin, with UVA-UVB protection, at pH 6.5, and good for everyday use.
Purito applies this clean formulation on all its products. According to its website, Purito is derived from the words “purify,” meaning purifying natural ingredients to create safe and clean products, and “To,” a Chinese character symbolizing going back to basics to strengthen and repair collapsed skin barriers.
So the Centella Green Level sunscreen was one of the first products I knew I needed for my improved skincare routine because I also started drinking collagen supplement.
While I love how simple yet effective these three Korean skincare brands are, their products mostly still come in plastic packaging. A down side to competitively priced products.
The Korean skincare fascination is not yet over. Already on the way for delivery is my Krave Kale-Lalu-yAHA (read has hallelujah) Resurfacing AHA exfoliator.
Now Krave is one promising brand, currently with just five products on its arsenal meant to cleanse, moisturize and protect. It is founded by beauty vlogger Lia Yooh with the philosophy “press reset.” Its brand story from the website reads: “Skincare should be easy, a stress-free zone, a supplement to our lifestyle. And most of all, skincare basics should be, basic.
“And that’s what we, KraveBeauty, believe in. We believe in the power of simplicity by urging every women and men to step back, press reset, and listen to your skin’s true needs. And we’re born in this industry to offer truly Krave-able skincare essentials that respect the skin and restore it to health.”
What I even love all the more from this brand is its sustainability efforts on recycling and packaging, which you can read all about here.
Those are my recommended Korean skincare brands to look out for if you are also wanting to start a cleaner and greener skincare journey.
On Part 2, brands from the other side of the planet and one, our very own.
Read Part 2 here.