Black Girls are Obsessed with K-Beauty, Here’s Why

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In what seems like an overnight sensation, K-Beauty has truly taken over. With a reputation for being gender-neutral and health-centric, K-Beauty has been hailed as a movement that caters to everyone, and we mean everyone. Brands like Dr Jart+ are front and center; K-Beauty trends are flying across Tik Tok and products are becoming more and more accessible to us in the West. K Beauty is here to stay! 

“The technology and the ingredients behind K-beauty are hailed as the most innovative and advanced around, much more so than Western brands – we can thank them for the introduction of BB creams into the Western market in around 2012 after using them for 20+ years.  – Grazia Daily

So why are women loving K-Beauty? We spoke to advocate and avid K-Beauty user Laura, a dental surgeon based in Kingston, Jamaica. Laura’s Instagram page, @thesheepylife is a shrine to all things K and J (that’s Japanese) beauty and she shares her favorite products, posts reviews and gives us a glimpse into her routines. In our interview Laura reveals why she loves K-beauty, how her PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) symptoms pushed her to look for an alternative routine, which brands have helped those symptoms, and why Black women are falling head over heels for K-beauty.

Hey Laura! What are some of your favorite Korean (K-beauty) skincare brands?

Three of my favorite Korean skincare brands are I’m From, Beauty of Joseon, and Torriden. I’m From and Beauty of Joseon products have a feel of being traditional, nourishing, and minimal. I also find the packaging of both brands to be very elegant and aesthetic, which is a lovely bonus since it adds to the calming atmosphere of my skincare routine. Torriden products are very hydrating and not fussy. They also have very minimal packaging, which again, is calming to look at. The products I use from each brand are all relatively affordable for me and are the products I feel most comfortable using repeatedly after trying many products from many brands. I’m sure I have tried more products from I’m From than any other single beauty brand! 

Why do you think more and more Black women are gravitating towards K-Beauty?

The main difference I’ve noticed is that Korean skincare seems to focus on hydration, prevention, and general maintenance, while more of the Western skincare products focus on combating specific issues such as fighting acne or fading hyperpigmentation. I find that Western products tend to have higher percentages of the active ingredients that target those issues, while the hydrating and soothing effects of Korean skincare are more profound.

I think many of us have found that in some cases, excessively attacking/drying out our skin with harsh products in an attempt to get rid of our acne, has still left us with acne, but also with a lot of other sensitivity and dehydration issues. This helped lead us to Asian skincare, which prioritizes hydration and soothing, which unexpectedly turned out to be the answer to some of our issues, and has helped many of us in ways we may not have known we needed.

I have also had far better luck with Japanese and Korean sunscreens than with Western ones. As a Black woman with oily skin, I find more options among Asian sunscreens that do not leave a white cast, hold up in a hot climate, and at the same time don’t leave me looking and feeling excessively shiny/greasy. I have some great reccomendations and guides on my Instagram for different skin types.  

Also, while there is a range of prices on both sides, I find that when it comes to value, Asian skincare has more high quality, yet affordable options than Western skincare. More people have now either switched over completely to Korean and Japanese skincare, or have settled into a balanced combination of Asian and Western products.

How does PCOS impact your skin?

Due to PCOS I experience more hormonal acne than the average person and I have a very oily face. In the past, before I got it under control, I had constant breakouts of painful cystic acne, and went years without any periods of clear skin. Now that I am managing my PCOS better, and have also found skincare products that work for me, I have less breakouts, that are more superficial and usually not painful. I also finally have times when I’m not actively breaking out, allowing my skin time to recover.

What are the three most important steps in your skincare routine?

Cleansing, hydration, and sun protection.

  • My morning routine usually consists of the following steps: cleanse, hydrating serum, moisturizer, sunscreen. Sometimes I may add an antioxidant serum, and sometimes I may remove moisturizer if the sunscreen is very moisturizing.
  • My night routine usually consists of the following steps: oil-based cleanser, water-based cleanser, prescription tretinoin every other night (for acne treatment), moisturizer. Sometimes I may add a hydrating serum and/or a product that targets hyperpigmentation.
  • With the exception of the prescription tretinoin, all the products are usually Korean and Japanese skincare.

And finally, how can we get your glowy skin?

Much of my “glow” is just from having oily skin lol. But I think my skin has become more glowy largely thanks to focusing on hydration and sun protection. Check out my Instagram page @thesheepylife to see my favorite skincare products, some of my routines, and many detailed reviews of the products I’ve tried. If you’re specifically looking for sunscreens that leave no white cast and/or greasiness, check out my Guides to see those reviews all in one place.

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Kristen Bingle
Kristen Bingle

I've been natural since 2014. Since then I've been obsessed with watching hair tutorials and learning more about how to keep my hair healthy — and sharing that with others. I'm based in London, work in Marketing and love herbal tea.

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