[unpaid/purchase/affiliate/ad] I wish I had not discovered the Sephora Korean Beauty page – these lightweight SPFs are like cat-nip to me. I actually didn’t buy the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun Rice & Probiotics cream at Sephora – I bought it on the Charing Cross Road which is self-styling into an Asian food and beauty destination in a store called Pure Seoul which is why I have such a little tube. Try-me sizes are even more irresistible than the decorated donuts in the shop down the road (although I bought both!).
Beauty of Joseon is a relatively young brand, founded by Sumin Lee in 2018. The inspiration for the brand? A book called “Gyuhap chongseo” written by Yi Bingheogak, a female scholar of the Realist School of Confucianism from the Joseon Dynasty – more on this in a moment. Yi Bingheogak gave advice for all women on how to take care of their skin in her book, in which ancient herbal beauty recipes didn’t seem to differ very much from what is required of modern skin care. With some updating, these heritage formulas could be more or less replicated. All current formulas take their lead from medicinal herbal books and research. Once again, Wiki has been my friend on learning about the Joseon dynasty. Very, very briefly – it was the last dynastic kingdom of Korea lasting between 1392 and 1897. Early in this period, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to Seoul. Boundaries and borders were changed and Confucian ideals were encouraged, while Buddhism was discouraged. Much of Korean culture, language, etiquette and societal attitudes are attributed to the Joseon period.
The title of this SPF tells you all you need to know really, but all formulas are based on sensitive skin and on using actives meaningfully rather than plentifully. Ginseng pops up quite often – it’s indicated in reducing inflammation, strengthening the skin barrier and boosting hydration – the Ginseng Essence I have is a softening, hydrating essence that’s cool on the skin and I see why it might be worthwhile with the top ingredient being ginseng root water followed quite closely by glycerin and niacinamide. It’s £16 HERE which I think is very reasonable. The Relief Sun Rice & Probiotics SPF cream is interesting – the word ‘relief’ is used in accordance with the brand’s value of ‘beauty in relief’ which I am not sure translates well – it’s the idea of finding relief in skincare products that leads to health and peace within. The SPF is a chemical sunscreen containing 30% rice extracts and grain probiotics to balance the skin’s microbiome. It’s ultra lightweight, weightless on the complexion and hydrating. I’m wearing it now and will upsize in due course. The 50l tube is £16 HERE showing us that very decent facial SPF doesn’t have to cost the same as a new coat.
*some info taken from a Stylevana interview with Sumin Lee HERE.
non affiliate HERE
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.
Oh, BOJ is a lovely brand! I buy it nowadays mostly from Stylevana online shop and this ginseng essence water became HG and staple in both mine and my daughter (16) routine as a toner (3 bottles used, more to come and go) – love-love-love to splash it first thing on the face straight after washing… Their cleansing balm is also rather decent (and does not need cloth to be removed, true hydrophyl one), my only complaint (which is I guess blessing for many people 😉 ) is that it does not have any pleasant aroma and I don’t like my skincare totally scentless… As for sun protection – Japan and Korea are my sun, moon and stars on that, hands down (on Stylevana lately was very nice offer on Farm Stay ones – yet another nice brand of the same origin 😉 )
Yes, there’s a lot available on Stylevana but for us in the UK it’s quicker to use Sephora. I had a Stylevana order that took literally weeks to come. I want to try other products from BOJ including the balm you mention..so pleased you give it a glowing review!
This is available on Amazon in the US.
Beauty and Seoul in the UK also provide many Korean brands. Can highly recommend them
Ah thank you for the recommendation!
When I was a little girl I saw my mother wash her face with the water she saved from washing rice for dinner. We didn’t have much money in Korea and she didn’t spend much money on herself but her skin always looked great. Leave it up to Koreans when it comes to sunscreens, I think they are part vampires:) Not me I love to tan, of course I use sunscreens. Thanks for your thoughtful review, algorithm brought me here and I’m glad.
Oh, well welcome to the fold Jenny 🙂 There’s definitely something special about rice water but haven’t quite dipped into the water yet – however, we are having curry tonight so….. !!!
All hail Asian brand suncare- the ones I have tried are all lightweight, don’t sting my eyes, high protection and, as you say, don’t cost the price of a new coat. I honestly don’t know how UK/French/US brands get away with pushing SPFs which seem, bluntly, so sub par and expensive still ( and yes Anthelios- I am looking at you- you’re not light, you’re greasy). Will def try that recommendation! As ever, thanks so much for being a Beauty Blogging Queen and all the time and care you take!
Like you, I really question the price of facial SPFs. Some of the Asian ones – Mermaid Skin for example -are less than high street prices and feel so superior. Thank you for your very kind words – off to give that crown a polish ;-)))
Crown glimmer is well earned ; ) Beauty of Josean has just received my cold hard cash for SPF and the Ginseng Toner …. you are a TEMPTRESS!
thanks Carrie – please let me know how you get along with it! Sorry for (urgh) influencing ;-)))
Ha! Quality SPF is an essential so you’re on safe ground. I must confess I think of your writing as journalism rather than ‘influencing’ ( which to my mind has the whiff of PR inanity and lack of critical analysis).
Oh thank you so much – I’m really stuck in a strange space between influencing and journalism – I keep thinking to change the site name. I’m honestly so bored with ‘conventional’ beauty writing – the mag supplements, mainly, where nothing has changed since 2000. I just think come on, shake it up!
I’m a recent convert to this spf – its lovely! I get it on amazon uk for approx €32 for a 2 pack (50ml tubes) I’m in Ireland
Oh that’s pretty good – glad you are a fan 🙂
Love your review of BOJ as I have been using these for a while now. I find their products easy to use and pretty cheap for the good quality. I recommend their eye cream as well, which I got from Jolse. So happy we now have Sephora in UK, not sure my bank balance agrees!
On a separate note, your IG about menopause was great. I think I need to speak to someone other than my GP, I heard they have very little training on the subject.
Thanks Irene! Yes, they’re a new discovery but keen to see more – products seem beautiful. Ah yes, I don’t think they do – some GPs go out of their way to educate themselves but so much health care is formatted now and they sometimes forget that one size doesn’t fit all.
Skinsider is a UK website where I buy this and loads more Korean brands, if you haven’t already you must check it out. They have very fast delivery, I can spend hours on there! x
I will – those hours will be spent!