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Asian Beauty and Skincare Ingredients

sheet masksAs the Asian Beauty and Asian Skincare market becomes more popular, due to beauty imports from Japan and Korea, the more exotic ingredients have been trending and can sometimes be found in Western skincare products. Many of these ingredients have only recently become popular, and unfortunately a lot of them do not have readily available research studies in English. Beyond snail extract, I’ve compiled this list of the most popular and lesser-known ingredients.

Hover over the ingredient for a short explanation on its role in skincare and clicking on it will open a new page. You’ll find more information and a list of skincare products it’s featured in.

The More “Exotic” Asian skincare ingredients

You’ll find entire lines of products devoted to these popular Asian skincare ingredients. Some can be seen in Western skincare (venoms in particular, the Rodial brand comes to mind). Skincare brands that have a substantial presence in Asia have been known to jump on to these trends as well.

Snail Mucin
Starfish Extract
Bee Venom
Syn-ake, Snake Venom
(Hydrolysed) Coral
Donkey Milk
Pig Collagen
Gold

Not as popular* Asian skincare ingredients

These are the ingredients that you’ll sometimes see, but aren’t talked about as much as the more “exotic” ones above.

Maple Tree Sap
Baking Powder
Prune Water
Salmon Hatchery Water
Carbonic acid
Horse fat / Horse oil
Bird’s Nest saliva
Cheese
Chia seed extract
Velvet extract
Prunus Mume
Camel Milk
Sea Urchin
Sea Cucumber
Osory Oil (Badger oil)

Other Asian skincare ingredients

These are the skincare ingredients you’ll sometimes find in Western skincare ingredient lists, but most definitely will find in Asian skincare ingredient lists. They’re not exactly star ingredients and usually have a supporting role. (Listed in no particular order.)

Lotus flower extract (the lotus seed extract is seen in Western skincare instead)
Peony extract
White Chrysanthemum
Mung bean
Job’s tears (Coix seed)
Purslane
Chestnut seed extract
Skullcap extract (seen in Clinique products)
Gardenia Florida extract
Orchid extract (are you seeing the white flower trend here?)
Various honeysuckle extracts (especially japanese honeysuckle)
Angelica
Satsuma, Mandarin and citrus everything
Lychee
Blue Mallow flower
Prickly Pear
Yogurt
Centella Asiatica
Harekeke
White nettle
Nettle extract
Jujube
Mangosteen
Ice plant
Water Hyacinth
Tsubaki Oil
Camellia Kissi Oil
Grape seed powder (in exfoliants)
Rice powder (in exfoliants)
Egg white (albumen in Western product ingredient lists)
Volcanic whatever (volcanic ash, jeju volcano rocks, etc.)
Placenta and other animal derived ingredients (though companies maintain placenta can be plant-derived, I don’t know how as plants don’t have placentas?)
Chitosan
Noni extract
Pullulan
Meadowfoam seed oil
Rice bran oil
Rhubarb extract
Water Pepper extract
Bamboo extract
Quince extract
Sesame oil
Adzuki bean
Korean pine

Ingredients you’ll definitely find in both Western and Asian skincare

Unsurprisingly, asian beauty formulators use these ingredients too. Most of these ingredients have been proven to work and have numerous studies backing up the claims behind them.

Ceramides
Niacinamide
Panax Ginseng Root
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid)
Beta Hydroxy Acids (betaine salicylate, salicylic acid)
PHAs: Gluconolactone and lactobionic acids
Azelaic Acid
Retinoids
Arbutin – and all its sources, like mushroom, pear, blueberries, bearberry, mulberry extract
Tranexamic Acid
Vitamin C – and all its citrus-y and non-citrus-y sources
Pomegranate
Astaxanthin
Lycopenewatermelon extract, tomato extract
Ubiquinone
Fermented Soy or Natto extract
Yeast extract
Beta-glucan – and all its sources
Adenosine
Hydroquinone
Fermented Rice extract
Rice Extract
Hyaluronic Acid
Gingko Biloba
Aloe Vera
Algae
Seaweed/Kelp
Green Tea
Licorice (Root/Extract)
Honey
Royal Jelly
Propolis
Tea Tree Oil
Rose oil and rose water
Sea Water
Wild Yam extract
Turmeric
Caviar
Silk protein (sericin)
Pearl extract

Skincare trends from Asia

Skincare “technology” making its way over into Western brands from Asia are listed below. Some have been very popular* (cleansing oils, cushion makeup) and others seem to be less so.

Sheet masks
Cleansing oils
Bubble cleansers
Powder cleansers
Pool cleansers
Stick cleansers
Cushion compacts, foundations, etc.
Carbonated water skincare
Hydrogel or hydro gel masks
Oxygenated formulas
Water drop essence serums (lightly spreading droplet particle “technology”)
Steam creams
“Natural” preservative systems (Benton comes to mind, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, probiotics etc.)

This is by no means a comprehensive list, just a starting point, and will be updated frequently.

*By “not as popular” I mean they’re not discussed as often as the more “exotic” ingredients

Searched 19,072 Products For A Match. Possible Dupes Found:

  • Neogen Code9 Black Volume Cream

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, acetyl glucosamine, arbutin, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, cucumber extract, wild yam extract, yeast, ginseng, aloe, niacinamide, ceramides, mushroom extract, pomegranate extract, sesame oil, scutellarins, propolis, peony, marine compounds, purselane, adenosine, prickly pear, jujube, marshmallow, natto gum, mume extract, lotus flower, korean pine, mung bean, maple, sake/rice extract, rice bran, quince, rose flower, jobs tears ... See more

  • DR.CI:LABO Aqua Collagen Gel Super Moisture EX

    Also contains: hyaluronic acid, acetyl glucosamine, arbutin, cucumber extract, yeast, ginseng, aloe, ceramides, mushroom extract, collagen, scutellarins, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, peony, marine compounds, marshmallow, mume extract, royal jelly, amino acids, probiotics, tomato, rice bran, jobs tears ... See more

  • Missha Geumsul Skin Toner

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, wild yam extract, ginseng, lotus seed extract, mushroom extract, sesame oil, scutellarins, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, peony, marine compounds, purselane, adenosine, jujube, natto gum, lotus flower, amaranth, amino acids, mung bean, jobs tears ... See more

  • SUM37 Water Full Timeless Moisturizing Cream

    Also contains: centella asiatica, cucumber extract, yeast, ginseng, lycopene, ceramides, mushroom extract, pomegranate extract, sesame oil, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, tsubaki oil, ginko biloba, marine compounds, purselane, bamboo extract, natto gum, lotus flower, water hyacinth, probiotics, tomato, sake/rice extract ... See more

  • Avon Mission Luxereve Serum

    Also contains: honey, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, cucumber extract, yeast, ginseng, mushroom extract, sesame oil, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, peony, marine compounds, purselane, natto gum, noni extract, lotus flower, water hyacinth, royal jelly, probiotics, sake/rice extract, rose flower ... See more

  • Missha Geumsul Overnight Cream

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, wild yam extract, ginseng, lotus seed extract, mushroom extract, sesame oil, scutellarins, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, peony, marine compounds, adenosine, jujube, natto gum, lotus flower, amaranth, mung bean, jobs tears ... See more

  • Allergies & Skincare Ingredients Cheat Sheet

    Also contains: honey, beta-glucan, mushroom extract, sesame oil, lactic acid, tea extracts, propolis, marine compounds, snail extract, bee venom, salicylic acid, pearl, natto gum, starfish, albumen, royal jelly, amino acids, caviar, yogurt, donkey milk, jobs tears ... See more

  • Neogen Gold Black Caviar Essence & Gold Tox Tightening Pack Kit

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, centella asiatica, niacinamide, mushroom extract, sesame oil, collagen, scutellarins, propolis, peony, purselane, adenosine, jujube, pearl, mume extract, korean pine, mung bean, caviar, sake/rice extract, jobs tears ... See more

  • Avon Mission Luxereve Cream

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, cucumber extract, yeast, ginseng, mushroom extract, sesame oil, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, peony, marine compounds, natto gum, noni extract, lotus flower, water hyacinth, royal jelly, probiotics, sake/rice extract, rose flower ... See more

  • June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Hydrating Masque

    Also contains: vitamin c, honey, hyaluronic acid, mandelic acid, centella asiatica, ubiquinone, yeast, meadowfoam seed oil, lycopene, ceramides, pomegranate extract, lactic acid, collagen, tea extracts, ginko biloba, marine compounds, silk protein, amino acids, probiotics, rice bran ... See more

  • SUM37 Water-full Skin Refresher/Toner

    Also contains: centella asiatica, cucumber extract, yeast, ginseng, lycopene, mushroom extract, pomegranate extract, sesame oil, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, marine compounds, purselane, bamboo extract, natto gum, lotus flower, water hyacinth, probiotics, tomato, sake/rice extract ... See more

  • SUM37 Water-full Rebalancing Gel Lotion

    Also contains: centella asiatica, cucumber extract, yeast, ginseng, lycopene, mushroom extract, pomegranate extract, sesame oil, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, marine compounds, purselane, bamboo extract, natto gum, lotus flower, water hyacinth, probiotics, tomato, sake/rice extract ... See more

  • Code9 Glacial Magic Pore Mask

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, cucumber extract, wild yam extract, ginseng, aloe, mushroom extract, peony, marine compounds, purselane, prickly pear, marshmallow, mume extract, lotus flower, maple, rice bran, rose flower ... See more

  • Neogen Dermalogy Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, acetyl glucosamine, cucumber extract, wild yam extract, ginseng, aloe, mushroom extract, pomegranate extract, tea extracts, peony, marine compounds, purselane, prickly pear, marshmallow, natto gum, mume extract, lotus flower, maple, rice bran ... See more

  • su:m37 Secret Programming Essence (Advanced Sync Program)

    Also contains: hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, cucumber extract, yeast, ginseng, lycopene, niacinamide, ceramides, mushroom extract, sesame oil, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, marine compounds, purselane, natto gum, lotus flower, water hyacinth, probiotics, sake/rice extract ... See more

  • AmorePacific Time Response Skin Renewal Crème

    Also contains: hyaluronic acid, acetyl glucosamine, arbutin, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, ginseng, meadowfoam seed oil, niacinamide, ceramides, mushroom extract, collagen, tea extracts, tsubaki oil, ginko biloba, prickly pear, jujube, bamboo extract, natto gum, lotus flower ... See more

  • AmorePacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum

    Also contains: hyaluronic acid, acetyl glucosamine, arbutin, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, ginseng, meadowfoam seed oil, niacinamide, ceramides, mushroom extract, collagen, tea extracts, tsubaki oil, ginko biloba, prickly pear, jujube, bamboo extract, natto gum, lotus flower ... See more

  • IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Lines Serum Advanced Anti-Aging Wrinkle-Smoothing Miracle Concentrate

    Also contains: vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, ubiquinone, cucumber extract, aloe, niacinamide, pomegranate extract, collagen, scutellarins, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, marine compounds, adenosine, silk protein, snail extract, marshmallow, amino acids, caviar ... See more

  • MISSHA M Signature Real Complete B.B. Cream Spf 25 Pa++

    Also contains: vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, beta-glucan, cucumber extract, ginseng, ceramides, mushroom extract, pomegranate extract, collagen, scutellarins, tea extracts, ginko biloba, adenosine, bamboo extract, lotus flower, amino acids, mung bean, jobs tears ... See more

  • IT Cosmetics Miracle Water

    Also contains: vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, yeast, ginseng, aloe, niacinamide, ceramides, collagen, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, peony, marine compounds, purselane, pearl, natto gum, amaranth, sake/rice extract, rose flower ... See more

  • June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Hydrating Complex

    Also contains: vitamin c, honey, hyaluronic acid, mandelic acid, centella asiatica, ubiquinone, meadowfoam seed oil, lycopene, ceramides, pomegranate extract, lactic acid, collagen, tea extracts, ginko biloba, marine compounds, silk protein, amino acids, rice bran ... See more

  • June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Hydrating Serum

    Also contains: vitamin c, honey, hyaluronic acid, mandelic acid, centella asiatica, ubiquinone, meadowfoam seed oil, lycopene, ceramides, pomegranate extract, lactic acid, collagen, tea extracts, ginko biloba, marine compounds, silk protein, amino acids, rose flower ... See more

  • AmorePacific Time Response Eye Renewal Crème

    Also contains: hyaluronic acid, acetyl glucosamine, arbutin, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, ginseng, meadowfoam seed oil, niacinamide, ceramides, mushroom extract, collagen, tea extracts, tsubaki oil, ginko biloba, prickly pear, bamboo extract, natto gum, lotus flower ... See more

  • Missha GeumSul Vitalizing Eye Cream

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, yeast, ginseng, lotus seed extract, mushroom extract, scutellarins, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, peony, marine compounds, adenosine, jujube, lotus flower, amaranth, sake/rice extract ... See more

  • Missha MISA Cho Bo Yang Rejuvenating Treatment

    Also contains: hyaluronic acid, arbutin, yeast, ginseng, mushroom extract, scutellarins, ginko biloba, peony, purselane, adenosine, jujube, natto gum, water hyacinth, amaranth, amino acids, mung bean, sake/rice extract, jobs tears ... See more

  • Missha MISA Geumsul Massage Scrub

    Also contains: honey, arbutin, wild yam extract, ginseng, lotus seed extract, mushroom extract, sesame oil, scutellarins, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, peony, marine compounds, jujube, lotus flower, amaranth, mung bean, jobs tears ... See more

  • Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Cream

    Also contains: vitamin c, honey, hyaluronic acid, beta-glucan, ubiquinone, ginseng, meadowfoam seed oil, lotus seed extract, sesame oil, tea extracts, peony, purselane, salicylic acid, mume extract, lotus flower, korean pine, rice bran, jobs tears ... See more

  • Missha Misa Geum Sul First Essence Booster

    Also contains: honey, hyaluronic acid, yeast, ginseng, niacinamide, mushroom extract, sesame oil, scutellarins, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, peony, adenosine, jujube, natto gum, mume extract, amaranth, amino acids, jobs tears ... See more

  • it Cosmetics Bye Bye Lines Serum

    Also contains: vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, ubiquinone, cucumber extract, aloe, niacinamide, pomegranate extract, collagen, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, marine compounds, adenosine, silk protein, snail extract, marshmallow, amino acids, caviar ... See more

  • June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Brightening Eye Cream

    Also contains: vitamin c, honey, hyaluronic acid, mandelic acid, centella asiatica, ubiquinone, meadowfoam seed oil, lycopene, ceramides, pomegranate extract, lactic acid, collagen, tea extracts, ginko biloba, silk protein, amino acids, sake/rice extract ... See more

  • Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Cream

    Also contains: vitamin c, honey, beta-glucan, ubiquinone, ginseng, meadowfoam seed oil, lotus seed extract, ceramides, sesame oil, tea extracts, peony, purselane, mume extract, lotus flower, korean pine, rice bran, jobs tears ... See more

  • sum37 Flawless Regenerating Eye Cream

    Also contains: wild yam extract, yeast, ginseng, ceramides, mushroom extract, sesame oil, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, ginko biloba, marine compounds, jujube, mume extract, lotus flower, korean pine, probiotics, sake/rice extract, rose flower, jobs tears ... See more

  • Naruko La Creme Face Renewal Miracle Essence

    Also contains: arbutin, centella asiatica, cucumber extract, wild yam extract, yeast, ginseng, aloe, mushroom extract, tea extracts, ginko biloba, peony, marine compounds, marshmallow, amino acids, rice bran, rose flower, jobs tears ... See more

  • SU:M37 Secret Programming Essence

    Also contains: wild yam extract, yeast, ginseng, lycopene, niacinamide, ceramides, mushroom extract, sesame oil, ginko biloba, marine compounds, jujube, mume extract, lotus flower, korean pine, probiotics, sake/rice extract, jobs tears ... See more

  • Neogen Code9 Lemon Green Caviar Essence & Tox Tightening Pack Kit

    Also contains: hyaluronic acid, arbutin, centella asiatica, niacinamide, mushroom extract, sesame oil, collagen, scutellarins, peony, marine compounds, purselane, adenosine, jujube, mume extract, korean pine, mung bean, jobs tears ... See more

  • it Cosmetics Miracle Water Micellar Cleanser

    Also contains: vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, yeast, ginseng, aloe, niacinamide, ceramides, collagen, tea extracts, Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, peony, purselane, pearl, amaranth, sake/rice extract, rose flower ... See more

  • AmorePacific Time Response Skin Renewal Gel Crème

    Also contains: hyaluronic acid, arbutin, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, ginseng, meadowfoam seed oil, ceramides, mushroom extract, tea extracts, tsubaki oil, ginko biloba, prickly pear, jujube, bamboo extract, natto gum, lotus flower ... See more

  • KLAIRS Rich Moist Soothing Cream

    Also contains: vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, aloe, ceramides, scutellarins, peony, purselane, adenosine, marshmallow, natto gum, lotus flower, amino acids, tomato, rice bran ... See more

  • ahc ageless real eye cream for face

    Also contains: vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, beta-glucan, centella asiatica, wild yam extract, meadowfoam seed oil, aloe, niacinamide, ceramides, collagen, tea extracts, adenosine, natto gum, snake venom, probiotics, sake/rice extract ... See more

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