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K-beauty: Best face forward

From bird's nest to bee's venomHarshna Bijlani, medical head, The Ageless Clinic, on radical Korean skincare

Harshna Bijlani.
Harshna Bijlani.

Han Kang might have reached our bookshelves only last year but South Korea has been a trendsetter in the global beauty industry for half a decade now (never forget that they gave the world BB creams).

I was gifted a pack of Goat Milk Embo Gel Packs last year by a friend who received a stash from Seoul, with reminders that they are things you only give to people you truly love.

For those without such friends, The Ageless Clinic, a skin clinic with branches across Mumbai, has just launched a premium Korean facial. Lounge spoke to dermatologist Harshna Bijlani, medical head, The Ageless Clinic. Edited excerpts:

What are the factors that have led to Korean skincare becoming the global gold standard?

No ingredient is off the table: bird’s nest, snail slime, bee’s venom. No concern is left unaddressed: brightening, lightening, tightening, acne and things you perhaps never even thought of, like “glass skin". They have taken the best of Western ingredients and added so much more (without parabens and other nasties) at a compelling price.

What finally pushed you to launch Korean facial services at The Ageless Clinic?

We have been incorporating professional Korean skincare products as part of our treatment regimes for the last five years. But this is our first treatment that exclusively uses Korean skincare products called The AgeLess Luxury Seoul Glow Facial, as we feel the market has matured now. We use products from Shangpree—they have been called the “pinnacle in Korean skincare" by Forbes magazine. Even three years ago, clients would only consider products from Europe and the US fit for use in premium facials but brands like Shangpree are rewriting these rules. Some Shangpree rubber masks, for instance, have 20 active ingredients compared to an average of five-six in leading Spanish brands.

How would you respond to client doubts about products and techniques formulated for Korean skin being as effective for South Asian skin?

Skin pretty much reacts the same way to different ingredients and formulations. For example, an acne spot cream would work the same way on Caucasian, Asian and South Asian skin. In fact, the concerns that Korean skincare addresses are largely similar to the concerns of the average South Asian, which is more to do with sun damage, pigmentation and melasma. Western skincare is more focused on fine lines and wrinkles; in Asian and South Asian skin, the onset of fine lines and wrinkles is a later concern.

The AgeLess Luxury Seoul Glow Facial is priced at Rs3,950.

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