Sometimes the best substances that work wonders on skin come from unexpected places. Enter birch sap, otherwise known as birch juice and birch water. A common component of many Korean beauty products (and now in the West), it's derived from birch trees and "has an abundance of amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and minerals that help your skin retain moisture and protect the skin barrier function," according to Charlotte Cho, founder of popular K-beauty site Soko Glam. It's also said to provide more hydration to skin than hyaluronic acid, which has long been lauded for its moisture-boosting abilities.
"Birch juice (betula platyphylla japonica juice) was one of the top trending K-beauty ingredients in the last two years because of its gentle yet effective hydrating properties. It continues to be a prominent addition to skin care products from Korea as it is often used to replace water in skin care formulations," Cho adds. Birch sap is incredibly lightweight, wears well under makeup and can be worn by all skin types — on a daily basis, too.
And beyond the world of skin care, it has a plethora of medicinal uses and has been used to treat lung, stomach and kidney problems. Pretty impressive, right? On the beauty front, we've compiled our favorite products — moisturizers, essences and more — with the skin-loving ingredient. Consider it your cheat sheet to a luminous complexion.
Another staple in Korea, sleeping packs or masks are great for delivering nutrients to your skin while you're sleeping. This one dries quickly so as not to rub off on your sheets. Complete your nightly skin care routine and layer some on top and wake up to a well-hydrated face.
Achieve a natural glow sans highlighter with this lightweight facial oil infused with organic birch leaf extract and moisturizing jojoba seed oil. Wear it alone, mix it with your favorite moisturizer or tap some on particularly dry areas that need extra TLC.
While you can never turn the clock back to your younger years, you can minimize some of the effects of aging with products like this. It's an oil-free moisturizer (great for warm weather) from beloved brand Origins that's chock-full of antioxidants. It also creates a skin barrier to protect you from external aggressors and the sun's ultraviolet rays.