I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
There are loads (seriously, LOADS) of Korean skincare brands out there, lots of which offer similar products, but each one often has a star product of its own. After all, in a particularly rabid beauty culture, the competition is really stiff so we (the consumer) are spoiled for choice when it comes to which essence, toner, serum, ampoule, face pack or emulsion we want to throw our money at.
My love for K-beauty products is seconded only by my love for natural skincare products, so when I got wind of one all-natural Korean beauty brand, Belif, I had to check them out hard, in all their natural glory.
I’ve talked about their toner before—it’s my go-to morning toner, swiped on right after cleansing. You can squirt a drop in your hands and pat it on, too. This toner’s gel-like consistency is super-hydrating by itself as it preps my skin for even more hydration to come.
Belif’s star product is The True Cream – Moisturizing Bomb. Yeah, they went so far as to call it THE ONE TRUE CREAM. It promises to moisturize for 26 hours. I don’t know how that number came up, but I can say that it is a workhorse of a moisturizer without feeling greasy at all, sinking into your skin as soon as it hits it.
It contains things called comfrey leaf and a moisture formula that may as well be like raindrops parceled up in each molecule. Belif sponsored skincare backstage at Betsey Johnson’s NYFW show, and each model got a proper slathering of this stuff before makeup application. A good moisturizer is so key for your makeup wearing well, so 26 hours of moisture sounds pretty good to me in terms of “priming.”
If your skin is on the oilier side, Belif even came up with a gel version of the ONE TRUE CREAM (so it’s like The One True Cream-lite?) with their Aqua Bomb, equally coveted and an amazingly weightless but hydrating formula. It contains something called “lady’s mantle” which sounds like the place I put all my Diptyque candles, but is, in fact, a super-hydrating herb.
The First Aid Transforming Peel Off Mask is strange. It’s like no other peel-off mask I’ve tried because you apply a thin layer, let it dry, splash some warm water on it, AND THEN peel it off. At that point, it’s turned into a sticky, Gak-like gel that peels off in strings. It’s… kind of gross. However, I don’t really enjoy the stinging sensation of peeling off a mask from my dry tight skin either.
This is meant to remove dead skin cells via sticking to them, drying, and then removing them when you peel off. You get the pore-tightening sensation, and it tones and clarifies with white willow bark and lemon balm.
I love a good sleeping mask, but don’t really find ones that aren’t really thick and goopy feeling; First Aid Overnight Brightening Mask is decidedly lighter, using black truffle extract to make your skin luminous and also instantly more expensive. After using this for one night, I definitely woke up with way less dull-looking, sleepy skin. Note that there is nothing in the instructions telling you how often to use it… or not to use it every night.
If you are a strict natural-skincare-only type and have steered clear of Korean beauty products because you can’t read the ingredient list or don’t know what the ingredients even are, definitely check out Belif. Everything is so gentle without sacrificing efficacy.
It’s rare that a Korean beauty brand would market itself from an all-natural front, since naturalness isn’t so paramount in desirability as efficacy and safety is. Korean women want their products to work and work well, above all else, so generally if that requires some non-harmful synthetics, why not? But now you can have your (natural) keikeu and eat it, too! After all, winter is coming, and who wants to be caught dead without their ONE TRUE CREAM?