For many women in Asia beauty is a lifestyle, and age-old secrets are passed down through generations. Routines for daily cleansing are often followed religiously, and for the most part they seem to work pretty well; we all know the stereotypes of flawless Asian skin! But despite this, Asian cosmetic manufacturers and their devoted consumer base are far more open to new and often strange ingredients that us Westerners often balk at! So here I’ll explore some of the most weird and wonderful beauty trends from the other side of the globe!
1. Snail Slime
Possibly the longest-lasting trend, and one that has been accepted by many outside of Korea where it was first applied as an acne-healing, anti-aging, moisturising facial. Popular and affordable brands like Mizon and Tony Moly have snail ranges that include everything from masks to night creams to lip balms! The slime is harvested from snail farms and is said to be healing and anti-inflammatory, making it perfect for treating acne, chapped lips, stretch marks and wrinkles.
2. Bee Venom
Nobody enjoys being stung by bees, but the use of bee venom in face masks and creams has really taken off. The venom induces an inflammatory response on the skin surface, stimulating healing antibodies that repair and revitalise the skin. It’s also been likened to botox for triggering the production of collagen; smoothing wrinkles and giving skin a fresh, taught appearance. This treatment already has it’s fans here in the UK, with Kate Middleton reportedly having a bee venom facial before her wedding to Prince William! If it’s good enough for royalty…!
3. Silk Cocoons
This is the newest trend to hit the market, using the cocoons of silk worms as exfoliators in scrubs and peeling creams. The silk fibres contain Sericin which moisturises the skin, while gently brushing away dead skin cells. Silk powder residues have whitening properties loved by the Japanese and Korean markets. Nature Republic sells packs of 100% natural cocoons which fit over your fingertip to rub over problem areas such as the nose or chin to cleanse away impurities.
4. Snake Venom
Another venom, snake venom is rarely used in its dangerous natural form and is often replaced with Syn-ake, a synthetic alternative to the real deal. Similar to bee venom, the synthetic venoms relax facial muscles and aid the production of collagen to reduce wrinkles, and studies have shown decreases of up to 52% in forehead wrinkles through use of Syn-ake products! All without any of the harmful effects of botox or real snake bites. This is another one with a celebrity following, with Cheryl Cole, Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham all reportedly using it to keep their skin fabulous.
5. Placenta Essence
This is one that, unsurprisingly, hasnt made such a splash in the UK in recent years. While placentas have been used for centuries for many different applications, in modern times they are much less well-recieved. In most placenta-based cosmetics, serum from sheep placentas is extracted containing proteins such as oestrogen and hyaluronic acid, which apparently helps growth and repair of cells. It’s popularly used in hair treatments and face creams.
So there you have it: 5 Weird and Wonderful Beauty Trends from Asia! Which, if any, of these would you be willing to try? I’m tempted to give Snail Slime and the Silk Cocoons a go, but I’ll probably steer clear of the venoms and placentas for now! If I do decide to try any of these products, they’ll definitely crop up in a future JaKwave beauty article.