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K-beauty is a global phenomenon which has swept across the shelves of beauty stores worldwide, from Boston to Berlin. It’s not known for its simplicity – Korean beauticians are perhaps most well-known for advocating a 10-step daily skincare regime, using a minimum of 10 products. Korea is also a technologically advanced society, and you’re more likely to see a young Korean leave the house without their wallet than without a power bank to recharge their smartphone on the go. So it’s no surprise that the country is home to a number of high-tech beauty solutions; here are some of the coolest gadgets on the market.
In 2015, a Korean nail art printing machine made headlines worldwide when a video showing the machine in action was shared on Facebook. It created a smudge-free, perfect manicure by printing designs directly onto users’ nails; you could choose from a number of preset templates, or even upload your own images and photos. Today, Korea has a number of nail art printing shops in cities around the country (if you’re in Busan, the best place is Fingernails2Go in Seomyeon) and you can also buy the machines to use at home.
Taking the humble sheet mask several light years into the future, LED light therapy masks are this year’s Hollywood beauty must-have. With the appearance of a space-age hockey mask, the technology originated in Korea, but has taken off across the globe. The masks are used by celebrities like Kim K and Madonna, and work by exposing your face to therapeutic red and blue lights, which can correct and reduce skin ailments like wrinkles, redness and acne. They come with a hefty price tag: the Korean-designed Déesse Spectrum Mask, for example, retails at $2,900 in the US.
At the more affordable end of the beauty spectrum, face cleansing brushes are becoming popular across Korea. They work by deep-cleaning skin and pores with fine, soft bristles. Whilst manual versions exist, most face cleaning brushes incorporate sonic vibrations for a more intense clean. They’re great for removing stubborn blackheads, especially in hard-to-reach places like the corners of the nose. Cleansing brushes are also waterproof, so they can be used with other products, such as cleansing foam.
This technology uses ultrasound waves to deep-clean skin, shrink visible pores and promote the absorption of cosmetics containing health-boosting nutrients. It’s delivered through a plastic wand with a blunt metal blade on one end that delivers the ultrasound waves to your skin. The combination of ultrasound waves and moistened skin creates a stream of bubbles which deep-clean pores. Beauty has never been to high-tech.