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"Hanbang:" Traditional Korean Ingredients Get a Modern Upgrade

A brief lesson in Korean skincare history
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Korean beauty brands are superstars when it comes to skin care innovation. They aren't afraid to try new or wacky ingredients (salmon sperm, anyone?), and often serve as brave pioneers when it comes to trends and formulations. That said, they also embrace the old school, medicinal ingredients of their country's long and winding past. In the Korean language, these traditional ingredients are referred to as "hanbang," and the skin care products we're talking about today put them in the spotlight. Whether shiny-new or tried-and-true, hanbang products take their cue from authentic Korean herbal medicines — and here are 7 of our favorites.

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With a name like "Beauty of Joseon," you'd expect this skincare brand to channel Korea's rich history of traditional medicinal ingredients — and they do! This luxurious sleeping mask combines ingredients like black soybean to help improve skin elasticity, orchid to soothe, and ginseng to regenerate the skin. It's a thick cream meant to be worn overnight, giving new meaning to the whole "beauty sleep" adage.

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The spongy lotus root is abundant in South Korea (it's even part of the cuisine), so it makes sense that its use in skin care goes way back. This ampoule contains extracts from the entire plant — including the root, flower and leaves — for a triple-threat skin care treatment. Oh and since it's an ampoule, it's meant to be applied after your toner and before your serum.

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The tundra chaga mushroom is an ancient adaptogenic ingredient, meaning it helps the skin adapt to environmental stressers. In other words? South Koreans basically knew adoptogens were cool way before they became a thing in 2018. In addition to tundra chaga, this pressed serum also contains a blend of fermented argan and olive oils.

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In addition to looking absolutely beautiful sitting on your vanity, this eye cream will make you feel beautiful, too. This anti-aging product puts ginseng front and center by combining ginseng water with ginseng extract. It also contains reishi and other mushroom extracts, deer antler extract, and ardisia crenata extract.

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