Obtaining vegan skincare and haircare is not as difficult a feat as it was many years ago. Nowadays, many products found on drugstore shelves and in luxury beauty departments proudly display the leaping bunny symbol and V-label alongside markers of sustainability such as the FSC symbol and Fairtrade logo – the list goes on. Cult-beauty brands such as Milk Makeup and Aesop have made it easy for beauty lovers to buy high-quality (and trendy) products without compromising on their ethics. So, curating a vegan skincare routine should be easy, right? Sure. But building a vegan Korean skincare routine? Not so much. Some of the most well-established and popular brands such as Missha, Sulwhasoo and Erborian are not vegan nor do they carry vegan lines. So, it proves difficult to find vegan products especially when the most raved about innovations are anything but.

Thankfully, I didn't need to track down the hidden gems because Beauty & Seoul has already scoured the narrow list of vegan Korean beauty brands and curated a "Beauty & Seoul Veganuary kit"; and seeing as though my skincare routine is exclusively Korean products that I hate to part with, I wanted to take up the veganuary challenge.

The kit includes a toner, cleansing/essence pad, foam cleanser, lip balm, sheet mask, essence, bamboo cotton pads and a nifty sustainable bag to chuck them all together. Hands down, my favourite product was the ISNTREE Hyaluronic Acid Water EssenceIt has the tacky texture of a serum but also the weightlessness of an essence and let me tell you: it makes. you. shine. Literally. I noticed its dewy (note: not oily) effect when my forehead was noticeably reflective on our team morning Zoom calls. But its glistening effects are not simply at surface level. The level of hydration runs deep and lasted throughout the day, giving that 'chok chok' moist effect to my skin, making it a strong contender to my favourite non-vegan COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Essence.

What I was most apprehensive to try was the THE VEGAN GLOW Original Shampoo & Conditioner Bar and for good reason. As a thick curly-haired girl, it is not easy to find the right products for my hair, let alone a Korean one. Even the best brands may not have the suitable consistency or effect on my 3B curl pattern. So although I held out hope for the two eco-friendly bars, it was a no go. They looked and smelled great but left my hair feeling dry and did nothing for my curls, which need as much moisture as they can get. But when it comes to any Korean product, I always keep in mind that they're not usually catered to a global audience. The overwhelming majority of Koreans have thick, straight hair so if you fall into that category, this may be the right choice for you. But for me, the search continues!
On the other hand, a product that everyone can use is the TOUN28 Lip Balm in Vanilla. I loved the consistency and light scent – no beeswax or lanolin necessary. 

Lastly, while all the other products were an absolute hit (I'm a long time fan of the Dear, Klairs toner), I want to give special attention to the reusable bamboo cotton pads. Single-use cotton pads have long since been banished from my self-care routine but I do admit they're useful so it was especially nice to bring it back into my bathroom in a sustainable (and super soft) way. Even sustainable skincare products run out and have to be replaced but a reusable skincare tool is forever. 

Buy Beauty & Seoul's Veganuary kit here or shop more vegan K-beauty below!

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