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K-Beauty for darker skin tones

10 Feb 2020
by S. Hachimi

Hello there Little Wonderlanders,

My name is Siham, and I'm from North-African descent. I am one of the newest members of the Little Wonderland-team. From the first day I started working at Little Wonderland, I became obsessed with skincare and K-beauty.

For years during my puberty, I was dealing with acne. Because of that I got a lot of scars and I thought the only solution was treatments, but a lot of treatments were discouraged because of my medium skin tone. That's when I gave up and started to cover the spots, scars and bad looking skin with makeup. For years I didn’t really pay attention to skincare. But after reading and learning more about K-beauty I learned it is important to take care of our skin with the right products. Even though I am not dealing with acne anymore, I want my skin to glow, be smooth and be healthy like the Korean beauties, without makeup.

First, I had some hesitation... Is it safe for people of color to use K-beauty products? Fortunately I soon realized that I don't have to be afraid of that at all.


Is Korean Skin Care suitable for darker skin tones? 

K-Beauty, also known as the beauty products, routines and practices from South Korea, has established itself as more than just a trend. Korean skin care is infamous in the beauty world. Since there’s such an emphasis on “whitening” or “porcelain, glowing” skin in Korean Culture, many people of color are hesitant to give K-beauty products a try. 

Another reason of their hesitation is because they don’t see themselves represented in the marketing or advertising. As we’re all well aware, representation is extremely important because it allows consumers to feel confident that those products are intended and will work for them. Lucky that has changed a lot the last couple of years. 

On the other hand, K-beauty stands for meticulous attention to UV protection, hydration and cleansing. Your skin is the largest organ your body has, so it’s important to take a few extra steps to protect it.


d'Alba - Ampoule Balm White truffle Whitening Cream


The emphasis on “whitening” was one of the main reasons for me (as a colored woman) to be hesitant to give K-beauty a try, because I love my skin complexion. I’d never want to be misled into thinking that my daily moisturizer is secretly stripping my skin of its precious melanin.

It’s no secret that skin bleaching is a huge beauty practice in Korea and in other parts of the world including China, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Nigeria and Jamaica. But just because skin bleaching still happens in Korea doesn’t mean such agents are in its skin care. After learning about K-beauty and the ingredients that are being used in their products, I came to the conclusion bleaching agents aren’t included at all.

The confusion comes from the fact that a lot of products have terms like “whitening” printed on labels. That emphasis is often understood to mean bleaching and causes a lot of women and men of color to shy away from using K-beauty. In Korean skin care whitening is often synonymous with brightening, meaning to even out skin or fade hyperpigmentation like post-acne dark spots or sun spots. So, to be clear, K-beauty products on the mainstream market do not bleach skin. In fact, during my research I found out there are a lot of products that could benefit brown skin.

Due to factors such as sun exposure, stress and just living on planet earth, our skin can begin to experience hyper-pigmentation or look a bit dull. Freckles, sun spots and acne scars become more visible. Ingredients such as Vitamin C, licorice-root extract or mulberry extract, in these ‘whitening’ products help to gently break down the melanin clusters that cause unwanted freckles or spots and even out the skin tone by getting rid of dead skin cells by helping the skin renew itself.



I almost never used sun protection before I became known with K-beauty. In my mind it was just for lighter skinned people who get burned by the sun fast. But I learned sunscreen is not just for light skinned people. No matter how dark or light your skin is, it’s imperative to wear sunscreen daily. Not only can the sun prematurely age your skin by breaking down elastin, but it can also cause dark spots. After a month of using sunscreen daily, the dark spots started to fade.

If you’re not very familiar with sunscreens, like I was, it’s recommended to read this first to have a better understanding of sunscreens. Go to the sunscreen guide to find a sun protector that suits your skin type and doesn’t leave a white film on brown skin.

Give K-beauty a try and your skin will thank you later!


XXX - Siham

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