Five weird K-beauty ingredients you need in your skincare

By now, most of us probably understand that the Koreans take beauty very seriously. K-beauty is not just a fad; it’s a whole new beauty genre that’s here to stay. I must admit that dedication of K-beauty brands to developing newer and better products is pretty amazing and charged with a lot of creativity – who else would have thought that snail slime or horse fat would be good for our skin? They’ve turned our beauty routines into a very real adventure, complete with a taste for the strange and exotic.

To fuel your thirst for esoteric beauty, we’ve listed five more “non-traditional” ingredients that you should definitely check out and consider adding to your regimen!


Though it sounds like something that came from outer space, galactomyces are gathered from the yeast used in the sake-making process. It became popular for being the miracle ingredient in Japanese brand SK-II’s coveted skin care products. K-beauty brands like Missha and CosRx soon followed suit and released their own versions of galactomyces skincare, though at comparatively cheaper price points. Also sometimes known as GFF, this ingredient induces the production of hyaluronan or hyaluronic acid in the skin so it looks moist, plump and youthful.

Try: Tony Moly Intense Care Galactomyces Lite Essence (P1,828) at Tony Moly boutiques


While mangoes are considered our national fruit, bananas are actually our daily staples. Just think of how it’s in our turon, nilaga, halo-halo, and even our ketsup! The Koreans had a different idea for putting them to good use though and decided to slap it on their skin because of its natural antioxidants and exfoliant properties. Tony Moly even has a dedicated banana-inspired line that may look fun and whimsical but deliver serious skin care!

Try: Tony Moly Magic Food Banana Hand Milk (P378) and Tony Moly Magic Food Banana Sleeping Pack (P528) at Tony Moly boutiques


Scientific research says that a glass of red wine every day can be good for you, and apparently it can also be good for your face. The reservatrol found in red wine is apparently pretty awesome for combating free radicals that cause wrinkles and skin discolorations, so K-beauty has been incorporating this boozy ingredient in their skin care.

Try: Innisfree Wine Peeling Jelly Softener (P560) at Althea PH

Sea Cucumber

If you ever see what a sea cucumber actually looks like, you’ll probably be repelled by its gross appearance. It’s amazing how something so ugly can be beautifying though! This ingredient supposedly prevents wrinkles and brightens the complexion, so it’s been used as a star ingredient for essences and sheet masks.

Try: Holika Holika Prime Youth Black Sea Cucumber Skin Treatment Essence

A demo of the Osaemeein Carbonated Bubble Mask

A demo of the Osaemeein Carbonated Bubble Mask

Carbon Dioxide

No, we don’t mean simply exhaling our breath onto our skin. Carbonated bubble masks started to trend when videos of YouTube beauty gurus became online hits. The mask also contains clay and combined with the bubbling action of the carbonated water, it exfoliates and gives a deep pore cleansing without causing the skin to dry out. As it sits exposed to the air, the applied mask foams up on its own and produces a tingly, fizzy sensation just like soda!

Try: Elizavecca Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask (P550) and ONSAEMEEIN Carbonated Scoria Bubble Mask Pack (P360) at Althea PH

Have you tried Korean skin care with these strange ingredients? What’s the weirdest K-beauty ingredient you’ve seen so far?