Sephora, one of my favorite money dumping grounds, sent an email this morning that looked quite promising.
Then I saw the products in the email.
Don’t get me wrong, these brands are all good and some of the products are good, but overall this lineup is truly random and does not represent the best of Korean beauty. It’s curation like this that will kill the kbeauty trend.
I’m here to offer Sephora some advice on how to get this back on the rails and hopefully direct potential new fans of Korean beauty to better products. These are the 10 products that I think Sephora and Western beauty fans should discover. I realize that there are lots of reasons Sephora stocks some products and not others, but that’s their problem and not mine–I’m only here for the best.
But first a philosophy lesson.
The Idea that can change the game
Skincare can be just as pleasurable, squeal-worthy, and covetable as makeup.
The Western emphasis on skincare as a corrective and a chore combined with the presentation of Korean beauty as a burdensome “10 step routine” or whatever has created an incredible opportunity for a smart retailer. The company that can best provide a narrative about the luscious, luxurious world of East Asian skincare will cause a lasting revolution and profit enormously. I’m not talking about stories concerning ingredients or anti-aging or what people in Seoul are doing. The most powerful story that I don’t think has been fully told and that can transform the Western mentality regarding skincare is pleasure–smells, design, action, surprise, and textures coming together to transport people to something else entirely.
Don’t try to top Western makeup in its own court and don’t aim for the head via logic and numbers: give us something that makes the soul hiccup with pleasure and want, and feels like a reward after a long day. Bubble bath isn’t the only thing that can take one away.
Chosungah 22 Villa de Garden Toner
Why go for a faddish and unwieldy browcara when you could stock skincare divinity: Chosungah 22’s incredible Villa de Garden [moisturizing] toner, complete with floating flower petals. The ingredient list is incredible, it smells amazing, and my skin loves it. How this has avoided the grabby hands of Western retailers thus far I have no idea, but it’s magnificent.
Lovemore Silk Sheet Masks
Ok, ok, these are obviously not Korean (they’re made in Taiwan), but hey: why not spread the love a bit? These silk (!!!!!) masks fit like a dream: they cling to skin, feel super soft, and the essence is hydrating while not being suffocating. These are the masks I buy to give to friends looking to get into masking…and then never actually give away! ahahaha
Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid
Speaking of masks–if you want to feature a Tony Moly mask, why not the best-in-class peeling booties that I think could shock and awe even the most hardened [heels of a] VIB Rouge. As my graphic review demonstrates, these booties are jaw-dropping and conversation-worthy, but also super effective.
Teach makeup fans how to properly remove all of their glorious base and point makeup properly–but make it fun. The Yeon makes a gel-oil first step cleanser that smells divine and feels really good on one’s skin; the initial gel texture makes it less off-putting to people new to double cleansing than straight oil, in my opinion. AHC, among other brands, make what are called “pool” cleansers that require one to use a tiny amount of cleanser on dirty skin, rub it in, and rinse it off–no need for a second cleanser. Total witchcraft–and there’s no temptation to use makeup wipes.
Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask
I think it’s only a matter of time until bubbling masks like this sweep the West. This mask goes on as a clay-gel and then foufs up wildly and actually bubbles on your face. Think Glamglow minus the caustic ingredients, at a fraction of the price, plus a growing bubbly fouf on one’s face. The instagram possibilities are endless. Pick up this product yesterday and stock it ASAP.
Su:m 37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
This isn’t even a favorite product of mine, but think about it: it’s a tube of low-pH cleanser that smells like roses in a travel-friendly tube. Honestly, the fact that this hasn’t been grabbed up by Cult Beauty or whatever makes me think that LG, like Amore Pacific for the most part, is dragging hard on their international marketing. This is such a no-brainer jfc–customers would adore this.
Dr. G Hydra Fresh pH Mist
When I go to my local Sephora I see the same Evian face mist that I bought as a high schooler. That was HALF A LIFETIME AGO.
Change up the game with a fresh take on mist–this Dr. G mist has a skin-friendly pH of 5.5, which is perfect for maintaining one’s moisture barrier and keeping skin acidic to discourage the growth of acne-causing bacteria. The pink canister smells extra delicious, too.
I know I said this was about skincare, but Sephora honey, I’ve seen your own-brand lashes and they are RAGGEDY. Get some k-lashes in stock: they’re cheap, tend to mimic the swoopyness of Disney character lashes, and look surprisingly natural but va-va-voom when you put them on. Major upgrade.
Aromatica Rose Absolute Line
This line is basically skincare porn. It smells like actual roses (because it’s made out of them). The ingredients are fabulous. And it hydrates my skin like crazy. I realize now that I’ve mentioned three different rose products in this post and the funny thing is that rose isn’t even my favorite scent–but when the smells are so true-to-life and divine it’s hard to resist them. If anything can lure Urban Decay fans up to the second floor skincare displays it’s this.
illi Fresh Moisture Body Lotion
I hate body lotion, but I love this. It’s lemon-scented (again, a true-to-nature scent), light body lotion that packs an enormous, lasting moisture punch. We’re talking days of ungreasy, deep moisture following its quick absorption.
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