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Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like

November 11, 2022

Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like

Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like

Episode Description - Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like 

It may surprise you that I don't love the vast majority of products I try. When it comes to cult K-Beauty products, there are plenty that I don't rate for a whole range of reasons.  What are they and why didn't they work for me? Tune in to find out. 



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Episode Summary 

It may surprise you to hear that the majority of products I try never make it into my skincare routine on a permanent basis. There’s a variety of reasons for that - not only do I have extremely sensitive, reactive skin that responds poorly to a whole lot of products, I'm also acne prone. Not only that, I get dermatitis really easily (especially at the moment thanks to COVID face masks) and my skin is on the dry side.

As a K-Beauty expert and also someone running a Korean Beauty store, I try a lot of different products. I go to a lot of expos, work with a lot of brands & manufacturers and also live in Korea, so I'm able to test a lot more products than most people. 

However, the vast majority of products I use I patch test or briefly try but never work into my routine on a permanent basis (don't worry; they all go to very good homes and none are wasted). 

A bunch of those products, however, go onto become very famous, if not cult Kbeauty products for other people. 


Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like


Why Do Some Beauty Products Become Famous? 

At the outset, I want to point out that the point of this episode is not to rag out on a bunch of products. Instead, I want to talk about how just because a product is a cult favourite for many or gets a lot of good press doesn’t mean it works for everyone. 

The reason a product becomes a cult beauty product are many and varied. 

  1. Firstly, and rarely, it might be because the product is brilliant and really out of the box; unlike anything on the market.
  2. Oftentimes, it has got more to do with the marketing budget of the company behind it.

Many of the products on this list are owned by conglomerates or wealthy beauty companies with giant marketing budgets. They have enough money to open offices in other countries, open branded stores overseas and enough money to pay PR and marketing teams, do huge send-outs to influencers, arrange beauty box collaborations with famous YouTubers and other things to stay in the headlines.

Unfortunately, in the beauty industry, that’s often what propels a product to the top of the best-sellers list. It has little to do with the formula, ingredients or anything else being inherently better than everything else. It’s just marketing, pure and simple. 


    Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like 

    Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like

    So what cult Kbeauty products or brands was I not impressed with? Or just didn’t work for my skin? Let’s take a look: 

    COSRX Snail Mucin Essence

    • STYLE STORY was one of the first Korean Beauty stores to start stocking COSRX when the brand launched. COSRX's Snail Mucin Essence was one of the first releases and is a beloved Korean Beauty for a lot of people.

    • Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction to it years ago that caused acne. I had similar issues with a popular Japanese product, Hada Labo Premium Lotion. 

    • Both products caused me to break out and get whiteheads. 

    • This is not the case for the vast majority of people who try and love the product, but it was for me. 


    Illiyoon Ato Ceramide Moisture Cream

    • Many people adore this moisture cream for compromised skin barriers and people who react poorly to other moisturizers.

    • Unfortunately for me, after the product got reformulated last year, I found that the latest reformulation really didn’t agree with my skin.

    • I got red bumps almost immediately and found that it caused my dermatitis to flare up. 


    Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like 

    Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum 

    • Innisfree's Green Tea Seed Serum is a beloved product for many people both in Korea and around the world.

    • The brand markets it as a good option for dry skin.

    • Unfortunately, I found that this was not hydrating enough. I therefore always make a point of telling people that i don’t think this is a great fit for dry or mature skin. It’s much better for oily skin. 


    I’m From 

    • Anything. I gave up after the honey and mugwort masks. 

    Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like


    Dear Klairs

    • Nothing wrong with the brand at all. I just thought the whole brand was very average. 


    Blithe Pressed Serum 

    • I was so excited about Blithe's collection of Pressed Serums because I absolutely loved the first one they released.

    • Unfortunately the others were nowhere near as good and the Gold Apricot variety made me break out like anything. 


    Heimish All Clean Balm

    • Heimish's All Clean Balm is one really popular cleansing balm that I didn’t enjoy. Firstly because of the herby smell. Secondly, because it made my eyes cloudy.
    • However, this is a really popular cleansing balm option for a lot of people, particularly because of how affordable it is. 



    • The signature scent was overpowering for me and not one I enjoyed using, which made it really hard for me to like any of the products in their line.
    • That’s the issue with a signature scent, if you don’t like it you can’t really enjoy anything else from the brand because they all smell the same. 

    Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like


    Sioris Cleansing Milk

    • The Sioris Cleanse Me Softly Milk Cleanser is touted as a great option for those with sensitive, reactive skin because it doesn't contain fragrances. 
    • There was nothing wrong with the product itself and it didn't cause me to breakout. 
    • BUT and the big but was...unfortunately for me, I found the raw smell of the ingredients (unmasked by any fragrance) so off-putting that I really dreaded using this cleanser every night. 
    • As someone that places a lot of value on my nightly skincare routine because it is the point where I conclude my working day and start relaxing at home with my family, starting my routine off with a product that I really didn't enjoy ruined my experience.
    • I found it really hard to continue with this product. 


    Laneige Cream Skin Refiner

    • For me, there was absolute nothing wrong with this product, i just didn’t think it was anything special. 

    • I think I am particularly picky because I've tried so many styles of toners and toning methods over the years and I've worked out exactly what I like and don't like.

    • For me, I find really watery textures harder to work with. I don’t like having to use a cotton round on my face because of how sensitive my skin is. I prefer something with a thicker texture because it’s easier to work with. Thicker textures are also much better for traveling with because you don't need to take a whole bunch of extra stuff to easily use them. If you forget to bring your makeup wipes, it's not the end of the world. Also, hate the sensation of watery products dripping down my arms or the feeling that I'm wasting them.


    Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like


    Cult K-Beauty Products...I Don't Like TL;DR 

    At the end of the day you don’t need to like the same products that everyone else likes. In fact, you don’t even need to try them all. The most important thing is listening to your skin and what it’s telling you. If less is more for your skin, then stick with that. If you have particularly textures you really like or don't like then keep that in mind when making new purchases. 

    Try to avoid buying products just because everyone else is buying them. 

    If there are certain trending ingredients that don’t work for you then steer clear of them. 

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    "Just because a product is a cult favourite for many or gets a lot of good press doesn’t mean it works for everyone."

    - Lauren Lee, Kbeauty Expert

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