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Quirky K-Beauty Ingredients That You Never Knew You Needed In a Sheet Mask

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Born and brought up in Indian homes, we are all made privy to the multiple health benefits of ingredients found in the kitchen. Trade rasoi secrets that have been passed on from our great grandmothers to our generation, some of which we have managed to preserve and still swear by for our skin and overall health. Growing up, I saw my grandmother turning to banana peels for her skin religiously every fortnight. The peels are said to be rich in silica and help combat wrinkles by bolstering collagen production. Similarly, neem leaves (for acne), turmeric (for blemishes), and honey (for treating skin inflammations) have been the hero ingredients in the last century proven to promote good skin and overall health. But this infinite wisdom from ancient practices isn’t just limited to our subcontinent. Civilisations spanning the globe have leveraged the health benefits of ingredients inspired by nature in their beauty rituals for years. One such growing beauty industry that harnesses the nourishing elements of nature (passed down from generations) coupled with innovation is Korean beauty.

Constantly blessing the world with advanced rituals and innovations, K-beauty's comprehensive skincare (the popular 10-step routine) was quickly adopted by millions across the globe. Come to think of it, some of the key ingredients that are now omnipresent in the skincare industry like tea tree and charcoal uncloaked and popularised by K-beauty. In addition to some of the more popular ingredients, Korean traditionalists have also been incorporating an array of unconventional ingredients in their beauty regimen— rice water, snail mucin and seaweed to name a few. These quirky ingredients are worth the hype as they are slowly but steadily making a mark in the skin care industries across the globe. But should you consider integrating these elements into your regimen? What are the benefits you can reap and why does Korean skincare swear by unconventional methodologies? We help you ease into this uncharted territory (if you are still wary or contemplating) with a curated list of sheet masks that are all priced under 200. Start with these easy to use, cost-effective and heavy-duty pick-me-ups powered with the unusual ingredients for help that you probably never thought you never needed.

1. Seaweed

TONYMOLY I'M Seaweeds Mask Sheet

While living in the coastal city of Tongyeong, South Korea, I often saw people munching on seaweed crispies and other edible seaweed-derived low-calorie snacks during my commute. Seaweeds (or Gim) have been an integral part of Korean cuisine and culture (seaweed soup being a quintessential birthday meal). Rich in iodine, antioxidants in the form of (A, C and E) that fight free radicals and improve mental wellness, these ingredients are becoming increasingly popular and social media-famous in high-end all-inclusive eateries and not to mention the skincare industry. The TONYMOLY I’M Seaweeds Mask Sheet can be your first-frugal stride towards skincare. The 3-layer pulp sheet soaked in emulsion essence adeptly manages to purify your skin while moisturisation. Wary of using a new product on your skin? No need to fret as The TONYMOLY seaweed masks steer clear of talc, benzophenone, and colour additives which may irritate your skin.

2.Ginseng

The Face Shop Real Nature Red Ginseng Face Mask

If you are always looking to enhance your beauty routine you have probably heard of ginseng and its domination of the Korean realm of skincare. One of the most prized herbs (technically a root), this is a Korean beauty trade secret that dates back to the early 1500s. Red ginseng boasts of bioactive compounds, vitamins B1, and B12 that help bolster the immune system by increasing the oxygenation in human bodies. For reasons galore, as cited, usage of ginseng (in capsules, and extracts) has seen a steady rise in Indian households. So, why not put to good use the revitalising compounds of ginseng in a satiating face mask? This easy-on-the-pocket mask from the Face Shop utilises ginseng extract to give your skin the much-needed energy boost after a long day. Doused in emulsifying moisturising serums it adroitly removes the layer of dead skin and lets the sap percolate into the skin.

3. Snail Mucin

TONYMOLY Pureness 100 Snail Mask Sheet

Yes, snail—a delicacy (not so much in India, unless you are at a fancy restaurant). The skincare industry is yet to delve deeper into this peculiar addition to the beauty industry therefore I recommended not mixing snail mucin with other beauty products, at least for a few days. On its own (again, the results tend to vary on different skin types, textures and tones) snail slime or snail mucin powered with moisturising agents, ergo a healthier skin barrier. Enriched with healing properties, glycolic acid, allantoin, and copper peptides, mucin aims at cell-regeneration, repair, diminishing of fine lines, by stimulating collagen production. The TONYMOLY Pureness Snail Sheet masks packs the aforementioned ingredients into an unbleached 100% cotton mask at a ridiculously low price.

4. Rice

Innisfree My Real Squeeze Sheet Mask - Rice

South-East Asia has always seen production of rice in copious quantities. A dietary staple in Korea, it’s super beneficial in improving the quality of your skin and hair. K-beauty’s anti-ageing skincare is immaculate, which is why our favourite K-pop stars seem to just not age a day (we’ll have what they’re having, thank you). Rich in vitamin A, C, and E, ferulic acid and allantoin, rice water works on multiple ends to fight fine lines, wrinkles, discolouration, acne and dry skin. If you plan on staying a step ahead of the game, you may want to consider using the rice sheet mask by Innisfree. This biodegradable mask (and a Nykaa Femina Beauty Awards winner) is fabricated from eucalyptus and provides the skin with a luxurious, next-level dose of hydration.

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