Pretty unmasked

The Korean skincare trend lands at Barneys with Peach & Lily’s natural, eye-popping ingredients

Upper East Siders may not be used to enthusiastically applying snail mucin, the goo that the creatures use to protect their skin from damage, infection, dryness and UV rays— to their faces. But perhaps that’s about to change. In February, Korean skin care savants Peach & Lily partnered with Barneys to create beauty bars at both of the store’s Manhattan locations.

What sets Korean skincare  — or K-Beauty, as the trend is called — apart is the idea of layering different products. It focuses on hydration and aims to protect the skin from harmful factors like UV rays and pollution to slow the aging process. The exhaustive routine can be unnerving and the ingredients unusual at times.

“There are so many skin-savvy people out there now, it’s almost as if our customers are seeking even more unusual ingredients that they have never heard of. We’re going beyond snail mucin to sheep oil, egg membrane extract and all sorts of innovative ingredients that are new to market,” said Alicia Yoon, the founder of Peach & Lily.

“Being at Barneys allows customers to discover K-Beauty in a way that they might not have been privy to before,” she added.

“We’re going beyond snail mucin to sheep oil,
egg membrane extract and all sorts of innovative
ingredients that are new to market.”
–Alicia Yoon, Peach & Lily

Until recently, sourcing the best K-Beauty products here typically meant shopping online, or taking a trip to Koreatown in Midtown, or heading all the way to Flushing, Queens. But now, New Yorkers are able to check out the products in person and get some personal instruction. The trend is also hitting a wide range of stores. Drugstore chain CVS is rolling out K-Beauty lines to its stores. (Yoon’s new sister brand, Peach Slices, is part of the assortment.) And Nordstrom recently ended a five-week pop-up shop at select locations featuring Korean fashion and beauty products.

The Barneys collaboration will feature a rotating collection of 30 individual sheet masks curated by Yoon herself, who launched Peach & Lily in 2012. Products will range from eye masks to water jelly masks, and luxurious rose stem cell sleeping masks, which cost $60.

K-Beauty actually goes far beyond masks. Yoon suggested some must-have products for beginners that can be bought on the Peach & Lily website: Shangpree S-Energy Facial Mousse Cleanser, $35, a gentle cleanser that removes impurities from the skin without disturbing moisture levels; Shangpree S-Energy Long Lasting Concentrated Serum, $120, Yoon’s favorite serum, which is filled with antioxidants and hydrators; and Kicho Sheep Oil Cream, $58.

“The components of this cream are so special because lanolin, an animal oil that is obtained with zero harm to the sheep, is very similar to the sebum in our own skin,” said Yoon, meaning it absorbs much faster and more effectively.

Beauty and wellness trends are increasingly focusing on daunting procedures (witness intravenous vitamin pick-me-ups, hyperbaric chambers, sensory deprivation rooms and cryotherapy, brr!). K-Beauty fits in nicely, making skincare just a little more daring, with stores like Barneys offering a comfortable way to get in on the trend.