How To Do The K-Beauty Diet

From our K-beauty columnists, Glow Recipe’s Sarah Lee and Christine Chang

At Glow Recipe, we curate products that highlight unique, natural ingredients for their skin benefit. In many cases, those same ingredients are as nutritious for your body as they are for your skin. A large part of the secret to glowing skin is eating healthy. It is commonly known that dietary habits can affect the skin, such as the connection between greasy foods and blemishes. Try this Korean beauty diet to glow from the inside out.

When speaking on the topic of Korean food, the pungent, fermented side dish of Kimchi cannot be overlooked. This spicy and tangy pickled cabbage is packed with “good” and “friendly” bacteria known as probiotics in addition to being rich in vitamins A, C, and E. When ingested, probiotics work in the gut to fend off the bad bacteria, promote healthy digestion, and prevent inflammation. Try adding kimchi to stir fry dishes or on its own as a side dish.

We are no strangers to fermented ingredients in Korean food and in Korean skincare. In skincare, the fermentation process breaks ingredients down to a size that the skin can more easily receive and absorb, making fermented ingredients far more effective. One of our favorite brands, Whamisa, leverages fermented ingredients to create effective treatments like the award-winning Water Cream and the lightweight, yet nourishing Eye Essence. Each features fermented florals to hydrate and brighten skin.

Another fermented staple in the Korean diet is doenjang, or the Korean take on fermented soybeans. The soybean paste is commonly concocted into a salty and filling stew with tofu and vegetables. Soybeans alone provide proteins and amino acids that are essential to a balanced diet, but when transformed into doenjang, soybeans’ nutritional value is significantly increased through the fermentation process, which breaks minerals down into more soluble forms. In their smaller form, minerals are more readily absorbed by the body, while probiotics regulate digestion.

The key component to Primary Raw’s DoYou line is fermented soy bean and soy milk extract, which is fitting since DoYou means soy milk in Korean. Primary Raw’s DoYou Soy Milk Cream is a waterless cream, which increases the concentration of pure ingredients such as fermented soy and soybean extracts. The fermented soy beans broken down to instantly and deeply penetrate the skin, effectively nourishing, brightening, and firming the skin. The soft, milky texture enriches and smooths, leaving skin supple all day long.

When you think of dark, leafy greens, superfoods like kale or spinach come to mind. Lesser thought of is the leafy green of the sea – seaweed. Rich in vitamins A and C as well as calcium, seaweed also provides iodine, an essential mineral that many other greens lack. Seaweed comes in many edible forms, from seasoned dried sheets, to broth-flavoring leaves, but a birthday tradition in Korea is to drink seaweed soup for a simple, yet healthy and nutritious meal.

One of our perennial bestsellers is the Whamisa Sea Kelp Sheet Mask, which our customers have affectionately dubbed the ‘ocean-to-face facial’. This sheet mask is a breakthrough as it not only is drenched in a full bottle of fermented sea kelp serum, but the sheet mask itself is made of skin-beneficial, nutrient-rich sea kelp, which imparts nutrients and minerals to brighten and hydrate skin. While artichokes aren’t a particularly Korean ingredient, this superfood green vegetable is actually an incredibly effective ingredient to provide dramatic firming for the skin. The Yuripibu Artichoke Power Essence features artichoke extract to minimize the appearance of pores, boost collagen production, and increase moisture retention for a youthful appearance.

Have you read Glow Recipe’s post on fermented skincare products? Also see here for their guide to exfoliating correctly.