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The Promise of the Orient

Xposé Irish Beauty Bible editor, Deanna O’Connor reveals the hottest Asian skincare products

Essences, ampoules, sheet masks, moisturisers containing snail excretions and starfish extract; it’s a far cry from the simple cleanse, tone and moisturise we were reared on. Asian skincare routines have a reputation of being extreme, time consuming and incredibly effective, which is why confirmed beautinistas are looking to the Orient when in search of beauty’s next big thing.

The Asian beauty customer is sophisticated and always looking for the next big thing. Korea and Japan have for a long time been up there in terms of importance in the cosmetic industry - beauty companies on that side of the world pump a lot of resources into R&D, and where they lead, we follow–BB creams and skin brightening and lightening products being the two most high profile trends to take off there first in recent times.

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The skincare wardrobe is tailored to make sure that every concern is catered to with a step in the daily routine. Their dedication is impressive, and it’s all about prevention rather than cure, being proactive rather than reactive. A complete skincare routine would typically comprise from 8 to 11 steps or products. Sounds like a lot of hassle for every day? Sure, but as they say, you have to suffer to be beautiful. And unique products are a lot of fun!

Here are some of our favourites….


Konjac sponges are made from the root of the Konjac plant, a traditional Japanese detox diet staple; it is naturally alkaline and leaves skin perfectly balanced. The natural fibre absorbs a lot of water and makes a rich lather using less product. It cleanses and exfoliates in one, as the fibres help unclog pores, and it dries quickly between uses which prevents bacteria buildup, making it ideal for acne sufferers.

WHERE CAN I GET IT? Here at home! They are available at selected outlets across Ireland for stockist details or to buy online.


Koh Gen Do began life as a skincare collection based on traditional Asian botanicals and homeopathy, 25 years ago. The creator, actress Ai Saotome, then brought the concept into a make-up line, created specifically for hi-def cameras. It is an insider secret with actresses and make-up artists worldwide. Jessica Alba requested the Moisture Foundation, Pressed Powder and Liquid Concealer be used on her whilst filming Sin City 2 and her make-up artist Evelyne Noraz also used the range on American Hustle, starring Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. Mylah Morales used it on Rihanna for a video shoot. Nick London used it on Carey Mulligan in Shame and Liv Tyler and Susan Sarandon in Robot & Frank. The list goes on, and on, and on…

WHERE CAN I GET IT? Sephora in the US stock it but their international shipping only extends to the UK–however you can get around this if you have a Parcel Motel account. Obsessed? Us? We’ve already booked our flights to Tokyo to stock up.


The crazy thing about starfish is that they can regenerate limbs, or sometimes even their entire body from a portion of severed limb. We’re not quite sure how they haven’t managed to take over the entire world yet, but anyway, they obviously aren’t too bothered when wily face cream companies rob some of their arms to make fabulously skin-regenerating face cream with.

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