I Used K-Beauty Products for a Month And My Hair Has Never Looked Better
It’s just as great, if not better, than K-Beauty skincare.
This is part of our new weekly series called Test Drive, where our team of beauty experts demystify products and tools, as well as explore new techniques IRL.
Korean Beauty, better known as K-Beauty gets a lot of press in the skincare and makeup realms. You may be familiar with the idea of the 10-step skincare routine, or skincare trends like double cleansing, BB Creams. In addition, quirky, fun packaging, and wild ingredients like snail mucus are all things that started in Korea.
But hair care is quickly becoming the next big K-Beauty trend. What’s unique about K-Beauty haircare is that it’s scalp-focused, so it typically incorporates skincare ingredients. It also tends to involve innovative packaging inspired by K-Beauty makeup. I love “dressing up” my shower with these cool bottles (a hair mask posing as mayonnaise, for example). To learn more, I tapped beauty pro, formulator Mary Schook, who’s well versed in all things K-Beauty and is even credited for first bringing it stateside more than a decade ago. She says that Korea is big on hair growth and scalp care, and that many skincare companies also have hair products since the scalp is considered an extension of your face in Korea. Here, I tested out a few products Schook's come across in her research, plus some favorites I discovered myself.
This liquid hair treatment subs in for your regular conditioner to deliver rich moisture. The formula boasts three types of natural keratin and 17 types of natural amino acids to smooth and defrizz hair quickly. I like that it warms up as it works in the shower—so you can actually feel it doing its thing.
The Beauty Spy Doctorcos Sheer Protein Hair Treatment is a spray-on, leave-in conditioner that gives hair the intense moisture it craves. It’s the perfect hydrator to spray in before air-drying or blow-drying. Layer it under your styling products or use it solo to strengthen hair and keep it healthy.
Buy It: The Beauty Spy Doctorcos Sheer Protein Hair Treatment ($33, HSN)
Have you heard of the old beauty tip of using mayonnaise as a hair mask? It’s beneficial for hair, thanks to amino acids from the egg yolks, which promote hair growth. Egg yolks also have biotin, in addition to vitamins A, E, and D. Additionally, vinegar offers shine and helps balance your scalp’s pH levels. This mask is an upgrade to the straight-from-your-fridge concept. “In the U.S., masks and treatments are up [in sales] because of the pandemic, but Korea shows how it can be fun and serious at the same time,” Schook says. This one is everything you love about K-Beauty: fun packaging with a hard-working formula.
Forget teasing, this brush and styling wax set replaced the mousse and backcombing combo I’ve relied on for years. Just brush through hair with the plastic brush to apply the accompanying wax for non-sticky, lightweight heft that leaves hair looking full yet shiny.
Schook calls this product a BB cream for your hair, as it imparts color to cover up roots using a cream formula. Use this product to make thinning hair look more robust, cover-up receding hairlines, or touch up graying hair quickly. It provides up to 30 hours of waterproof, sweatproof color.
Sally Hershberger colorist Dana Ionato is a regular at K-Beauty store Kosette in New York City’s Koreatown. Her pick is Turn-Up Color, by Korean brand April Skin. “The temporary dye isn’t as strong, so you’re less likely to make a mistake when you DIY,” Ionato explains. This foolproof, vegan color also has a pleasant scent. Ionato likes the ash color to make your hair look more “mushroomy.” This color fades after 10 washes, so it’s a low-commitment way to switch up your look.