Franki + Seoul is one of the newest online Korean beauty stores in Australia. It’s run by two identical twin sisters Jayme and Jenny who are massive beauty nerds – they spent a year in Seoul testing beauty products and working with skincare companies, then received a grant from the City of Seoul government to start Franki + Seoul.
Franki + Seoul curate brands and products “based on efficacy, high quality natural ingredients, gentle formulations, innovation and commitment to R&D”. They currently stock products from Aromatica, Huxley, Lagom, Lee Ji Ham (LJH), Whamisa and Lindsay, and the prices are pretty much on par with US K-beauty e-tailer prices, which is always a welcome change! (Screw the Australia tax, seriously.) Jayme and Jenny are super friendly and knowledgable, and happy to promptly answer whatever questions you have. I haven’t tried any natural Korean skincare brands before, so I was pretty excited when Franki + Seoul sent me a selection of products to try! Here’s what I thought…
Lagom Cellup Gel-to-Water Cleanser
I don’t use cleanser in the morning, mostly because I hate trying to rub cleanser off my face over the sink in the morning. I simply splash water on my face, rub it a little and blot it off (yes it’s OK to not remove all of your nighttime skincare – your skin is made of cells embedded in oily lipids, so you’re never going to remove all the oil from your skin without turning your skin into shredded coconut flakes). I made an exception for Lagom Cellup Gel-to-Water Cleanser, a lightweight cleanser that’s touted to be an amazing morning cleanser.
It’s a clear gel that spreads into a watery texture as you rub it on your skin, and a little goes a long way. It’s at a skin-friendly pH of around 5 and has a light citrus/lavender scent. I was surprised by how easy it was to apply and more importantly, how easy it was to wash off, so it’s not that much more effort than washing with water. It isn’t foaming and doesn’t feel drying, and I managed to forget to put on moisturiser for a few hours after using it despite having dehydration-prone skin (there are lots of humectant ingredients in this cleanser!). I also tested this against a full face of makeup and it fared better than I expected, though not as well as a standard cleanser. If you’re using it as an evening cleanser and you wear makeup or oil-based sunscreen, I’d recommend using a cleansing oil first. I’ll be using this in the mornings after using heavy creams (hello winter!).
Ingredients: Water, Dipropylene Glycol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, 1,2-Hexanediol, Yeast Amino Acids, Carbomer, Tromethamine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Urea, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Inositol, Betaine, Trehalose, Taurine, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Rose Flower Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Saponaria Officnalis Leaf Extract, Sapindus Mukurossi Fruit Extract, Styrax Benzoin Gum, Commiphora Myrrha Oil, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glycerin, Disodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin.
Whamisa Organic Flowers Creamy Foam Cleanser
Whamisa is a brand that prides itself on natural, organic products, and being “waterless” in that they use botanicals instead of water (which is more of a clever marketing trick to me than a true benefit, since you could just mix the water into the botanical extract before you add it to the product and it would be technically “waterless”, since most botanical extracts are like 99% water… but anyway). Whamisa Organic Flowers Creamy Foam Cleanser is a foam cleanser that uses decyl glucoside as the surfactant, and includes lots of fermented ingredients.
The creamy cleanser has a citrus scent, a bubbly texture, and lathers up into a rich, dense foam with just a pea-sized dollop. The pH is a little on the high side (I measured it to be pH 7-8), but while it left my skin feeling a little squeaky, it didn’t feel dry, itchy or dehydrated at all. Again, I managed to forget to apply moisturiser afterwards! It’s good at taking off makeup, and I found that I didn’t need to use a cleansing oil first to remove foundation with this cleanser.
Ingredients: Aloe Maculata Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Decyl Glucoside, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus/Maculata Aloe Leaf/Molasses Ferment Filtrate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Beeswax, Lactobacillus/Chrysanthemum Sinense Flower Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus/Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus/Dandelion Leaf/Root Extract Ferment Filtrate, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Potassium Hydroxide, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil.