We’ve decoded the use of ampoules, toners, and essences into our skincare routines. Unconventional ingredients such as bee venom and snail mucin are ingredients we look out for when buying a new product. In the pursuit to achieve the coveted Glass Skin, we’ve curated lengthy skincare regimens with a little over 10 products. It’s safe to say that one of the biggest influences in our everyday vanity routines come from the Korean beauty industry, and we have yet to scratch the surface.
Over the past couple of years, we have placed more focus on wellness and care over fast fixes, so it should come as no surprise that the next K-Beauty “trend” to dominate our routines is “Hanbang”. As buzzy as it sounds, Hanbang has actually been around for centuries, and serves as the link between health and beauty. To find out what exactly is Hanbang, what’s so great about it, and how you may have been using Hanbang skincare without knowing it – keep on reading.
What is Hanbang?
Hanbang essentially refers to the traditional Korean approach to wellness, which in turn, affects our skin health. Just like how Chinese families consult a traditional medicine physician to find out how to warm up a “cold” body, the experience and manner of treatment is more holistic, rather than alleviating the symptoms. The skin is seen as a part of your overall wellbeing and health, so it’s important to rule out the underlying causes that could be contributing to a sudden breakout or a lacklustre complexion.
In Hanbang beauty, traditional Korean herbs are used as the star ingredients in products. These medicinal herbs have been used in Korea for hundreds of years to treat a myriad of health and beauty problems, and now are seeing a comeback in the form of the trendy K-Beauty.
A haven of herbs
Some of the most popular herbal ingredients that can be found in both Asian and Western beauty products today include licorice root – which has skin brightening properties; ginseng for their regenerative effect; green tea for their high levels of antioxidants and skin-calming qualities; and houttuynia cordata (a.k.a heart leaf) which is beloved for its anti-inflammatory benefits. In fact, you may already be using Hanbang skincare without even knowing it – since these ingredients have even penetrated the Western beauty industry.
These herbs are usually touted for being rich in antioxidants, having anti-inflammatory properties, boast anti-ageing benefits, and having an antibacterial effect. They’re also responsible for giving skincare products a nostalgic, herbal scent – but instead of reaping the benefits of ginseng chicken soup to nourish and warm the body, we’re putting all these nutrients on our face. As for the final product, you’ll usually find them in formulations centred around moisturising, skin-plumping, brightening, anti-ageing, and nourishing.
So if you’re looking to give topical herbal remedies a go, here are some of the most well-known Hanbang skincare brands, and our favourite products from them.
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum
As Sulwhasoo’s flagship product, this anti-ageing first essence contains a hero complex called Jaum Activator™, which comprises of a meticulous blend of peony, sacred lotus, Solomon’s Seal, white lily, and rehmannia to target different elements of ageing skin. It works by activating the cells to nurture the skin from within, while balancing the microbiome composition on the outer layer of the skin. W sulwhasoo.my
The History of Whoo Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Cream
To help improve sagging skin while delivering elegant radiance to the skin, the Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Cream is an intense moisturiser that contains a maximised concentration of Deer Antler - a strengthening and rejuvenating agent, and pearl-shaped wild ginseng root to firm the skin while supporting its regeneration. W whoo.com.my
Beauty of Joseon Repair Serum
This lightweight yet nourishing serum contains 63.36% of ginseng root water, which is a powerful antioxidant and a rich source of B vitamins to help rebalance the moisture levels in the skin, while supporting its natural regeneration against skin ageing and the formation of dark spots. Together with popular K-Beauty ingredient snail mucin, it’s a powerful serum to repair and deeply moisturise the skin. W beautyofjoseon.com
Abib Heartleaf Spot Pad Calming Touch
Enriched with 40,000ppm of Heartleaf extract (houttuynia cordata) from Jiri Mountain, the gauze side of this toning pad helps to smooth out the skin texture, while the plain side infuses the skin with the refreshing toner to calm and hydrate the skin. Heartleaf extract is a popular ingredient for dry, sensitive, and even acne-prone skin thanks to its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. W shopee.com.my
Su:m37 Secret Essence
Known for using fermented ingredients in their products, Su:m37’s signature Secret Essence is formulated with 80 fermented plant extracts to nourish and beautify the skin. It includes ingredients such as licorice root extract, citrus unshiu peel extract, millet seed extract, black tea ferment, and goji berry extract, with the blend going through 365 days of fermentation so that it can penetrate deep into the skin to rejuvenate and nourish the skin. W tangs.com
107 Beauty CHAGA Jelly Low pH Cleanser
This mild cleanser works at a skin-friendly 4.0 - 5.0 pH level to cleanse the skin without drying out the skin. The standout ingredient of this jelly face wash is 107 Beauty’s proprietary 7-year aged Korean vinegar, which contains amino acids, probiotics, alpha hydroxy acids, and acetic acid to help maintain the skin’s crucial moisture barrier, while keeping it smooth and healthy. Paper mulberry root and green tea leaf extract are also included to help calm and soothe the skin. W 107beauty.com
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