Korean skincare is well-known for using weird and wonderful ingredients such as snail slime, bee venom and donkey milk, so much so that little attention is paid to the usage of Korean herbs. In fact, there’s a subset of Korean beauty that focuses on harnessing the benefits of traditional herbs: hanbang.
Hanbang refers to traditional Korean medicine – think of it as the cousin of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). While it was influenced by TCM in its advent, hanbang is different from its Chinese counterpart. Below is what you need to know.
1. What are the types of herbs used in hanbang?
Korean ginseng is well-known around the world for its health benefits. Naturally, it’s also heavily used in Korean skincare. Besides ginseng, other commonly-used Korean herbs include chaga mushroom, lotus root, ginger, angelica root, licorice and goji berries. However, you’ll notice that these ingredients aren’t exclusive to Korean skincare, and neither are they exclusively Korean. So what sets them apart? It’s the process.
2. What is the process involved in hanbang?
The key highlight of hanbang is the process of ageing and fermentation. Hanbang skincare products typically rely heavily on fermented ingredients, and this process gives rise to probiotics and good bacteria.
Probiotics and good bacteria are not just good for your gut – it’s also great for your skin. It helps keep acne-causing bacteria at bay, and also strengthens your skin’s barrier function.