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How To Choose The Right Korean Sunscreen

June 13, 2023

How To Choose The Right Korean Sunscreen

How To Choose The Right Korean Sunscreen - Episode 203 

On this episode of the Korean Beauty Show podcast, Lauren discusses how to choose the right Korean sunscreen as recommended by an industry veteran. Plus, do women need to be in leadership roles in the Korean Beauty industry or is it enough for them to just to work in it?

Finally, we've got new releases from Mixsoon and real customers tell us why they purchased products from Heimish, Beauty of Joseon and Subi.




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How To Choose The Right Korean Sunscreen

Cos In Korea's Professional Member Park Geun Hyung shared how to choose the right sunscreen for you

  • He is a director of the Clinical Trial Division 
  • I have translated his interview from Korean to English below
  • He explained that the important things to take into consideration when choosing the right sunscreen are "your skin type, lifestyle, and purpose of use"
  • He believes that there is no absolute standard for sunscreen selection because it is subjective. However, these are some general factors to take into consideration:
    • SPF
      • "'SPF represents the degree of UVB blocking and PA represents the level of UVA blocking. The larger the number after SPF and the higher the + after PA, the higher the blocking and protection effect of UVB and UVA."
    • Components of the Sunscreen 
    • "It is important to understand the meaning of "inorganic sunscreen," "organic sunscreen," "chemical sunscreen," and "mixing sunscreen"
    • Inorganic components
      • Inorganic oxides extracted from minerals, which are made into fine powder form to form a physical protective film on the skin to block ultraviolet rays.
      • Representative inorganic components include Zinc oxide and Titanium Dioxide
      • These components physically bounce ultraviolet rays and shield them, hence the name "physical sunscreen".
    • Organic components
      • Are made of chemical bonding structures
      • Avobenzone and Oxybenzone are representative.
      • These components have a method of converting ultraviolet rays reaching the skin into thermal energy and dissipating them. So it's called a chemical blocker. 
    • Why are these important?
      • Because it affects the degree of ultraviolet shielding, blocking efficiency (efficacy), safety, stability, and sense of use.
      • In the case of inorganic sunscreens, they have an immediate UV protection effect upon use, but depending on the skin type, they may not apply well and/or may give you a white cast 
      • With organic sunscreens, there is no white cast and they have the advantage of good applicability. However, they may cause skin irritation or eye pain. 
    • Compatibility of the SPF with Your Daily Life & Skin Type 
      • In general, it is important to check whether you have dry skin, oily skin, moisture-deficient oily skin, complex skin, sensitive skin, or acne prone skin
      • Check whether your skin texture is smooth or has a lot of pores, (i.e rough skin texture)
      • It is also important to accurately identify your skin tone.
      • In general, inorganic SPF products have less skin irritation and eye pain.
      • They also have the effect of covering pores or rough skin texture, as well as tone-up
      • On the other hand, if you are looking for products that feel nicer to apply, then organic SPF products can be good.
      • Depending on your skin type, you can narrow the range of products again. 
        • In the case of dry skin, it may be good to choose a product with a watery formulation that feels close to essence or lotion and moisturises your skin.
        • In the case of oily or water-deficient oily skin, use matte products that are less oily after use.
        • If you have sensitive or easily irritated skin, use inorganic products. If you have a lot of acne, pores, or rough skin on your face, it is also a good choice to choose products with excellent coverage.
    • Tone-Up SPF Functions
      • If you prefer a more vibrant looking skin tone, you can choose a product with a slight tone-up effect, but it is better to avoid products that have too much difference in skin tone.
    • Performance of the SPF Throughout the Day 
      • If you spend a lot of time outdoors, one of the effective ways to use sunscreen is to apply it every two to three hours.
      • It is good to use it with bare hands when using the product, but it is also a good way to use a brush or puff.
      • In the case of organic products, it is not recommended not to use a puff for retouches because active ingredients may be absorbed into the puff and quantities may not be used on the actual skin.
      • If you are sweating a lot in the weather that is getting hot due to the recent rapid rise in temperature, it is recommended to choose products with cooling effects.
      • Take into account whether you need functions like water-proofing and sweat-proofing.
  • Finally, erasing SPF is as important as putting it on! 
  • For clarify, Korean sunscreens are not legally allowed to be sold or promoted in Australia unless they are registered on the ARTG
  • STYLE STORY therefore does not distribute, promote or advertise Korean sunscreens, as required by law. 
  • For more, check out this TikTok on Kbeauty Sunscreens in Australia

 Korean Sunscreens in Australia


Previous Podcast Episodes & Blog Posts on Korean Sunscreens:


Discussion of the Week: Women in K-Beauty 

In response to my discussion a few weeks back about how there are more female founders working in the K-Beauty industry but that Korea in general has a long way to go, I had a local Korean beauty brand founder reached out to tell me I was wrong. That there are "Plenty of women work in the Korean beauty industry" and "lots in marketing". She seemed to be of the belief that it didn't matter whether women were leading these companies because there are plenty of women working in the industry. 

And she's right. There are plenty of women working in the Korean beauty industry. 

As Of 2021, AmorePacific had 8,117 female workers, which accounted for 74.8 percent of its total workforce at 10,800, according to Korea CXO Institute. 

But it's hardly enough when South Korea remains at the very bottom of the glass-ceiling index that measures the role and influence of women in the workforce.

In that same year (2021), Statista reported on the major Korean companies with the highest share of women on boards of directors. Amore Pacific was the biggest of the "K-Beauty" companies, with 23.9%. LG Household & Health Care was the next biggest, at 18.8% .

So, females account for almost 75% of Amore Pacific's work force, but men account represent about 75% of their board. This is exactly what I was talking about.  

According to the annual index released by The Economist, South Korea's score on the "glass ceiling index" hovered around 20 out of 100, making it the lowest ranked among 29 OECD member nations. This marks the 10th consecutive year that Korea has ranked dead last on the list since the British news magazine began compiling the index in 2013. 

This is hardly something to be proud of. 

Women in Korean Beauty

Even one of the local Korean newspapers, the Korea Times, says that companies that do have female representation on the board do so "purely because it is mandatory and not because they feel it is truly necessary."

This is certainly representative of the attitudes I have seen to women in Korea. A necessary evil. 

However, research shows that the more diverse a company is, the more likely it is to be successful. A 2020 McKinsey report found that a strong relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance. And this was my original point: Diversity ensures a diverse pool of thought and is far more representative of the end users of a product; the consumers as well.  

It is a sentiment echoed by Kim Sang Kyung, who heads the Korea International Finance Institute and doubles as chairwomen of the Korea Network of Women in Finance. She said "(great representation) results in greater profits, which is what matters for companies."

Particularly given how hierarchical Korean society is, it is not the same thing to have women working in the companies when they aren't also leading them. There is no such culture of "frank and fearless" debate and discussion among colleagues of different ranks like we see in western companies. 


New K-Beauty Releases


MIXSOON Bean Essence

  • This is a hydrating essence that regulates excess oil production and minimises the appearance of large pores

  • It's a great option for anyone looking for a vegan or snail-free alternative to COSRX Snail Mucin Essence. It has a similar texture and offers many of the same benefits as this cult K-Beauty skincare product!

  •  1% For the Planet. Share your love of beauty with the planet every time you shop at STYLE STORY. 

  • It contains Soybean Ferment Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extractand Barley Seed Ferment Filtrate



MIXSOON Heartleaf Essence

  • This is an extremely calming essence that helps soothe and relieve stressed skin. 
  • This essence contains 100% pure Heartleaf (Houttuvnia Cordata) for gentle yet effective relief of skin that requires moisture and soothing.


Why Did You Buy This K-Beauty Product? 

How to Choose the Right Korean Sunscreen



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"If you have sensitive or easily irritated skin, use inorganic products. If you have a lot of acne, pores, or rough skin on your face, it is also a good choice to choose products with excellent coverage."

Park Geun Hyung, Director, Clinical Trial Division

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