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2020 K Beauty Roundup

Trends come and go – and the K-beauty industry is no exception to experiencing this

Every year, around the start and end of each year, Korean Skincare brands announce some of their new products and skincare lines prelaunch which pave the way for trends for that year. Reoccurring concepts include clean and natural beauty products, pollution tackling skincare and the use of ancient remedy ingredients such as ginseng, rice and artemisia vulgaris (mugwort).  

In 2020, the K-beauty industry saw a peak in the creation and purchase of moisture retaining hyaluronic acid and panthenol based skincare products, products specifically for pore and acne care as well as skin barrier strengthening skincare which contain either ceramide or probiotics. Understandably, this year’s incline in the demand for such products stems from having to wear face masks/coverings to protect ourselves and others throughout the current pandemic.  

Other than the usual key ingredients which appear to continuously stand as favorable – e.g. centella asiatica (Cica) and collagen – which three skincare ingredients rocked the K-beauty scene in 2020?… 


Black and white truffle extracts aren’t new to K-beauty, but last year the ingredient didn’t excel as much as initially suspected. This year, several additional skincare brands jumped on the ship that brands like D’Alba had already sailed years prior – resulting in a surge in truffle’s popularity. D’Alba Piedmont is a skincare brand which combines both Korean and Italian ingredients and skincare ideals to curate products which harness the rich essential fatty acids and vitamins which are held within truffle. Furthermore, truffle extracts possess great anti-oxidant, anti-wrinkle and hydration benefits.  

Truffle skincare is luxurious and often in the high-end category in terms of price point, although it is becoming more common to find mid-range truffle skincare products to make the decadent ingredient more affordable and accessible to a variety of budgets.  

La Muse were one of the latest to introduce a Truffle infused skincare product with their Royal Comfort Essence, which primarily serves as anti-aging care but further claims to nourish and protect any skin type from external aggressions. It also contains royal jelly extract to heighten the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content of the essence.  


Philodendron cordatum – otherwise commercially known as ‘heartleaf’ or houttuynia cordata’  is a common houseplant native to South Asia and some parts of South America. It’s purposes in skincare are to soothe and cool down skin irritation, control sebum production which is excessive among oily and acne-prone skin types, in addition to preventing or reducing inflammation. If you are familiar with the “glass skin” trend, which promises to achieve a dewy and youthful appearance to dry, dull or reddened skin – heartleaf is an ingredient which often surfaces in skincare guides which promote how to achieve immaculate “glass skin”. 

As briefly mentioned above, the spike in usage of heartleaf is a result of more people than ever experiencing skin irritation due to friction between skin and face coverings. As Heartleaf is a flavonoid, specifically Polyphenolic, it contains active compounds which exhibit similar properties as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Some research suggests that it is also an antibacterial. What’s more, heartleaf extracts contain Polysaccharides which in skincare act as humectants and skin hydrators. It is a multifunctional ingredient which is hypoallergenic, making it reliable for even sensitised skin.  

Korean Skincare brand ‘Anuacentre all their skincare products around heartleafAnua’s latest product is Heartleaf Clear Pads – toner soaked cotton pads gentle enough to use everyday, once per day. They are very refreshing and return skin to a more comfortable state after deep facial cleansing.  


Probiotics in skincare have the same biome-balancing abilities as ingestible cultured yoghurts and supplements when applied topically to the skin. The skin-friendly bacteria in probiotic ampoules, moisturisers, sheet masks, etc. – aim to soothe sensitive and sensitised skin by strengthening the weakened skin barrier with consistent use. To think about the role of probiotics for skin simply, they serve as protectants and encourage skin cells to function naturally and healthily. 

Probiotics also warned off pathogens and repair existing skin damage incurred by environmental factors such as UV rays, which is why it is often seen as an essential ingredient in anti-aging skincare. There are plenty of methods for recovering a weakened skin barrier: using less harsh cleansers and wearing sunscreen everyday is a good starting point. Althoughif you are looking to speed up the process of repair, probiotic skincare is a highly sought-after route.  

Among K-beauty brands, Neogen are notorious for their extensive probiotic skincare collection. They have formulations to suit a wide range of skin types all year round. Whereas the Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Probio Ampoule has been praised for being both affordable and highly effective.  


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