Some beauty trends slap you in the face (think: nail art and alphabet creams). Others sneak up on you. A product here, a product there, next thing you know even Walmart is stocking the stuff.
The new sleeper beauty trend is straight out of Asia (surprise, surprise) and it's … skin care lotion.
I know what you're thinking: you've got a drawer full of lotions. But these new "lotions" aren't the thin creams we're used to. They're liquid gels -- only slightly thicker than water. Some are clear, some are opaque, and they all sink in fast. You apply one of these lotions after cleansing and before moisturizing by cupping it in your hands and pressing it into your skin. They boost moisture levels, balance pH, and help other anti-aging and brightening products penetrate and work better. Since no one has given this new style of lotion a clever name -- you'll see it referred to as everything from "essence" and "liquid" to "fluid" -- we're sticking to lotion.
Sure, it's another step, but that's what Asian skin care rituals are all about. "Because the focus is on perfect skin, we're always looking to new technology to achieve that flawless complexion," says Sena Kang, US Director of Dr. Jart. She says that in Korea, the routine is extremely important. So important, in fact, that the average woman's nightly regimen is 22 steps -- and these lotions are essential. Doesn't just one more step sound doable?
Here are seven skin care gel lotions -- one that's been around for 30 years (SK-II) and six new ones -- and we have it on good authority that other major skin care companies (like Estée Lauder and L'Oréal) will be launching their own gel lotions soon. Move over BB.
This product launched over 30 years ago, but up until now it's been one of the only "lotions" of its kind in the United States. SK-II describes it as "miracle water," which couldn't be more accurate -- it's only slightly thicker than water, and less gel-like than most of the other lotions on our list. It's made from pitera, a derivative of sake, which balances the skin's pH while controlling shine. And, like all of these lotions, it's a great base for other moisturizers.
When Lancôme -- a French company -- launched a lotion, we knew the trend had arrived. Their version was inspired by Chinese rituals, and it contains root extracts that are commonly used in Chinese medicine (rhodiola, gentian, and wild yam). When you pour it into your palm, it feels like it might be sticky on your skin, but it sinks right in. And the scent is the best part: clean and refreshing.
Artistry is an American company that's also getting in on the lotion action with an Asian plant extract called Japanese lilyturf. This extract helps the skin hold onto moisture throughout the day. It has a milky look that's different than the other lotions on our list, and it feels soft and creamy on the skin.
This "liquid" from Dr. Jart+ uses three types of ceramides to seal hydration into your skin -- think of it like plastic wrap for your cells. It also contains licorice root and aloe vera to calm redness.