An In-Depth Brand Review of Beauty of Joseon
My introduction to K-Beauty happened pretty much in sync with my desire to address some skin concerns that I have been battling for years. While I had tried things like Proactiv and Clinique over the years...I never really committed to a routine or stuck with a “system” much longer than a couple of months. Bottles ended up finding their way to the back of a cabinet or under the sink more often than not.
Then in 2018...I had finally had enough. Hyperpigmentation really seemed to speed up around this time and the deep/nearly infected-looking blemishes that popped every now again were taking their toll with pockmarks. Not a good look lol! So I reached out to my cousin and she ushered me into the world of K-Beauty and its affordable and effective offerings.
One thing that kind of had me confused and curious was just the sheer amount of offerings that were out there. I went from thinking of skincare as having just a few major US brands to a whole host of different companies, products, and skincare categories that I had never heard of before...:”What in the world is an essence?”.
So, I took a deep, deep dive into all things K-Beauty...looking for as much information as I could. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a podcast called The Snailcast. Hosted by four awesome skincare gurus (including a featured writer here at Glowie Co. Jude Chao), this wealth of knowledge was just what I needed to decipher the products, formulations, and routines regarding K-Beauty.
As I devoured each episode with much attention I made note that The Snailcast kept mentioning a style of K-Beauty called Hanbang. This subcategory focuses on traditional/medicinal ingredients and formulations that call back to centuries old remedies. Think ginseng, burdock root, honey/propolis, and mugwort. The host praised brands like Sulwhasoo for incorporating these ingredients into modern formulations (not to mention the amazing earthy scents).
Just from their recommendations and descriptions...I was hooked. I began looking for Hanbang skincare and although I wasn’t ready to drop the cash on luxury brands like Sulwhasoo, I found some alternatives that seemed just as intriguing. Beauty of Joseon was one of those finds.
While their Dynasty Cream and Radiance Cleansing Balm were cult favorites and have been on my radar for quite some time, it wasn't until they launched their new line of serums that I became seriously interested. The simplistic packaging, clear focus on a specific skin concern, and great looking formulation drew me in. Luckily enough, Glowie Co. offered to have me put together a review on this new line of products.
As a bonus, I was also sent the Beauty of Joseon Centella Asiatica Calming Mask. I wasn’t as aware of this sheet mask but was more than happy to give it a try. So, without further rambling (lol)...let’s dive into the modern Hanbang brand Beauty of Joseon.
Each of the three Beauty of Joseon Serums focus on addressing a specific skin concern using key ingredients. The Repair Serum with Ginseng + Snail Mucin, the Calming Serum with Green Tea + Panthenol, and the Glow Serum with Propolis + Niacinamide.
Just from reading through the ingredients lists...I was left really impressed with how concentrated the formulations are. Key ingredients make it in the first five ingredients across the board. And while there are shared ingredients between each formulation (Sodium Hyaluronate and Cocoa Seed Extract are found in each)...there is quite a difference in each product which is nice to see.
Rather than slapping all three onto my skin at once (although I was very, very tempted!) I decided to work these serums into my routine one at a time. My hope was to see the benefits/differences between each product and uncover which one might be the best for my oily/combination and hyperpigmentation prone skin.
Beauty of Joseon Repair Serum - Ginseng + Snail Mucin
My exploration of the Beauty of Joseon Serums started with the repair version as my skin was recovering from some excess sun exposure and mild breakouts at the time. Aside from the ginseng and snail mucin in the formula...this serum utilizes licorice root, matsutake mushroom, and three different forms of hyaluronic acid.
This combination comes together in a slightly watery gel-like serum that applies and absorbs into skin very well. There is a very slight glow-inducing/protective residue that is left behind...but I never found it to be uncomfortable (and honestly it totally dissipates after applying moisturizer). And, even though there is a rather concentrated amount of ginseng here...the scent is very mild and ever so slightly sweet.
I typically deal with cyclical acne flare ups on my cheeks, jawline, and temples. These usually pop up every week or so and take about a week to calm back down. The Beauty of Joseon Repair Serum showed its power early on as I didn’t really notice as many blemishes coming to the surface while using it.
Those that did pop up seemed to dissipate or calm back down a bit faster as well. What usually took a week to deal with was taken care of in a day or two. This result was something that I didn’t really notice in the first week or so...but after a couple weeks of surprisingly clear skin I was left looking at the little bottle of Repair Serum with awe and wonder LOL!
The Beauty of Joseon Repair Serum is one that I will keep on hand when breakouts hit or just as an excellent maintenance product. Those with acne prone skin who are also looking for some lightweight hydration will really appreciate this product!
Beauty of Joseon Calming Serum - Green Tea + Panthenol
$17.00 - BUY NOW
After having a great experience pairing the Beauty of Joseon Repair Serum and the Calming Mask into my routine together...I was curious to see what kind of power was behind the Calming Serum.
Slightly more lightweight than the other two serums, the calming version is even more watery and closer to some of the toners I have used in the past from brands like Klairs and Rovectin. Application felt cooling when initially on my skin and absorbed really well.
Key ingredients here include green tea leaf water, centella asiatica, panthenol, and sugarcane extract. Similar to the other two serums...there is no discernible scent here or residue after application. These serums just melt into skin and quickly go to work.
Rather than having a deeply hydrating effect like the Repair Serum...this version left my skin feeling slightly more clarified and free from excess oil. I’m not sure if it is the natural tannins in green tea (witch hazel contains the same types of tannins) or addition of sugarcane which is a natural source of aha but this serum felt closer to an anti-acne treatment than the other serums from the range.
Over time, I did appreciate the mild soothing and calming properties of the Beauty of Joseon Calming Serum. There were a couple of times that the product really helped in reducing redness after a reaction to another product. But, I’d have to say that the overall benefits built over time rather than being immediate.
While my oily/acne prone skin appreciated how this product applied and absorbed...I wish there was just a bit more in the way of immediate soothing/redness relief. If I had to pick I’d probably go from one of the other serums in the range and pair them with the Beauty of Joseon Centella Asiatica Calming Mask.
The sheet mask just has exactly what I am looking for when my skin decides to freak out lol! That plus the reparative or brightening qualities of the other serums makes for a more rounded routine...at least for my skin. Those that hold calming and soothing above all else might like the one-two punch of the Calming Serum and Centella Mask.
Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum - Propolis + Niacinamide
$17.00 - BUY NOW
The final serum from the Beauty of Joseon range that I worked into my routine was the Glow Serum. Featuring propolis extract, niacinamide, turmeric root extract, and lotus seed extract...this formulation is all about brightening and balancing.
Being the thickest of the three serums...this version still absorbed really well into the skin while leaving behind a slightly glow inducing residue. This result isn't an uncomfortable or odd feeling in any way, but rather it provides an instant/almost cosmetic glow that I really appreciate and have really only seen from another favorite serum of mine (we will get there lol).
Over time, I noticed the propolis doing its thing in providing a burst of hydration and nourishment. There are some healing qualities to products containing propolis, honey, and royal jelly that I love and the Glow Serum really brings that home. My skin became more resilient to irritation and redness while using this product.
But we are here to talk about that glow...and I have been most happy in this regard. Niacinamide is a favorite ingredient of mine for brightening and evening skin tone. Even small concentrations prove to be effective in keeping hyperpigmentation at bay and over time the Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum helped to combat dark spots.
I ended up falling in love with this serum's ability to provide an instant brightening effect...but also develop that result over time into something more permanent and long-lasting. It reminds me a lot of my all-time favorite vitamin-s serum...the Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum.
That product wowed in a lot of the same ways. First application brightening effect, hydrating benefits, and long-term skin balancing...these two products offer all of this and more. But, the Beauty of Joseon seems to do this all without vitamin-c (which can be hard to keep happy and can also be potentially irritating) as well as coming in at over half the cost.
While I will most likely continue to use both products for the glow inducing powers...I would absolutely point to the Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum as a more affordable alternative to other more pricey products that have similar claims. Be it the desire to reduce dark spots, getting that K-Beauty glow, avoiding high concentrations of vitamin-c, or dabbling in traditional ingredients...this serum is an excellent pick and one of my new favorites.
Beauty of Joseon Centella Asiatica Calming Mask
$23.00 - BUY NOW
Just from the packaging alone...the Centella Asiatica Calming Mask from Beauty of Joseon is probably one of the most interesting products I have used. The sheet mask sleeve is completely clear which provides a view of the mask and essence that I don't think I have experienced before.
While this sheet mask focuses on calming with the use of centella asiatica...the essence contains some of the key ingredients from ALL of the serums. Niacinamide, panthenol, and three forms of hyaluronic acid are all here. Sunflower seed oil and mugwort leaf extract are also found here to round out the formulation.
Upon opening I was shocked by just how much of the serum-like essence Beauty of Joseon provides. Seriously...there was enough in the packet for my face, hands, and arms! When I get a super-soaked mask like this I tend to set the actual mask aside, squeeze all of the essence out of the packet to apply everywhere I can, and then place the mask over top.
Because of the thick layer of essence and the fact that the mask material holds hydration to the skin really well...I was able to keep it on for about 40 minutes. I was able to really kick back and relax/read from a series of science fiction short stories that I am loving. The thin mask material and lack of any scent made this Centella Asiatica Calming Mask feel like it wasn't even there.
Once removed, my skin was left feeling super hydrated and soft. Plus...there is plenty of extra essence to be patted in which helps to provide a nice dewy and glowy finish. But what impressed me most about the Centella Asiatica Calming Mask was the soothing and calming power.
I have been dealing with some shaving related redness/irritation on my cheeks and jawline...and this mask really helped to bring that irritation down and just balance my overall skin tone. The cooling sensation of the essence also just made everything feel a bit more comfortable which I really appreciated.
The Beauty of Joseon Centella Asiatica Calming Mask is one of those sheet masks that I could absolutely come to on a daily basis as it checked off so many boxes. Soothing, calming, hydration, and mild brightening are all here and it is a product I will absolutely come back to and recommend. A total win!
So there you have it...my journey into Beauty of Joseon has been incredibly positive overall and I totally see why so many people adore this brand.
If I had to pick my favorite product/pairing from the new offerings I think I would have to go for the Repair Serum and Centella Asiatica Calming mask combo. These two products truly deliver a calming and blemish controlling/repairing mix that other products in my routine sometimes lack.
While the Glow Serum and Calming Serum are excellent products...the sheet mask and my vitamin c serum (it will be hard for me to ever let the Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum go lol) have that covered for the most part. Having said that, each person’s skin care needs will help decide which approach to take.
Regardless of direction...the Beauty of Joseon Serums and Mask are amazing finds that will offer benefits across the board. Each product is elegant, effective, and affordable making any selection a winner in my book!