Have you ever watched a Korean drama and wondered how the leading actress maintains her flawless complexion? Well, us North Americans are one step closer to achieving K-beauty perfection thanks to the fact that Korean skincare and beauty brand Laneige is now available at Sephora. You may remember me raving about their BB Cushion Compact in a recent post; their skincare is no slouch either. More details after the jump!
Before I dive into each Laneige product I tried, a couple of important notes:
The water-based Laneige skincare products are all meant to hydrate, above all. The cleanser, serum, moisturizer, and sleep mask I tried are supposed to rehydrate the skin above all other skin concerns, as some issues like breakouts, oiliness, or wrinkles might simply be caused by dryness. Re-hydrate first, Laneige insists, and then fix any outstanding problems after that.
These products are great on their own, but work much better together. If you happen to fall in love with the cleanser or the sleep mask, it will play nicely with the rest of your skincare regimen, but the textures and formulas of these products complement each other so perfectly and are made for layering one over the other.
Now, onto the products themselves!
Laneige Brightening Sparkling Water Foam Cleanser ($30) uses sparkling ionized water and fruit-based alpha-hydroxy acids to cut through oiliness, brighten, and exfoliate while cleansing. The product dispenser produces a rich, scented foam that cleanses gently yet effectively, without any dryness or tightness. Koreans are big on double cleansing, so don't expect this cleanser to take off your foundation and mascara and wash everything in one go; you will need to use a separate makeup remover beforehand. I found that a little foam went a long way, and my skin was always noticeably calmer and brighter after a good cleanse.
After cleansing comes the Laneige Water Bank Serum ($46). Think of this as the pre-moisturizer hydration step, if you will: this light, gel-based serum uses ionized water to tone and prime the skin so any moisturizers and serums you apply afterward are better absorbed. (Oh, that's another thing about Korean skincare: they're big believers in having one skincare product perform one task specifically. No fooling around with multi-taskers here.)
Because it's gel-based, I found it difficult initially to gauge how much I needed and how to apply it. The key is to apply this product like a thin, watery film all over your face, and to let it absorb without rubbing it in. If you try to rub it in like a regular serum, you only end up pushing the gel around without letting your skin drink it in, which it will do very, very quickly if you don't interfere. The lightweight texture makes this serum suitable for day and night use and layering under other serums, plus it leaves skin feeling velvety.
I ran into the same gel formula learning curve with Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream ($42), a cooling, non-oily yet intensely hydrating moisturizer. The cooling action is meant to lower the surface temperature of skin so that it "naturally" produces less oil and it lasts for hours. (The first time I used the Laneige skincare line, I couldn't stop touching my face in wonder because it always felt a couple degrees cooler than the rest of my body.) I really like the soothing sensation of this moisturizer when it's first applied, but because I wasn't used to the gel consistency, would end up under-applying (hello, dehydration lines on my forehead). As with the Water Bank Serum, apply a thin, watery film over skin, wait for it to absorb without rubbing it in, and then apply another thin, watery film over the areas that need more hydration. I can use this moisturizer day or night.
I recently learned that skin's oil production is at its lowest during the night when we sleep, which explains why Laneige Water Sleeping Mask ($30) is so beneficial, especially during the dryer winter months. In case you've never heard of sleeping masks, they're hydrating restorative masks that can be worn overnight and essentially "seal in" your moisturizer and serums underneath. Laneige's version promises to re-hydrate using ionized mineral water and ceramides, while the trademarked Sleepscent—a combination of orange flower, rose, and sandalwood—relaxes. The Water Sleeping Mask has the thickest gel texture of the three and is meant to be applied thickly, but no matter how much I put on my skin just gulps it thirstily. I tend to pat a little extra on my forehead for the dehydration lines there.
Hydrated skin is happy skin, especially in the winter. Would you be willing to give Laneige Water skincare a try?