By now, if you’re already a big fan of kbeauty you might have already noticed the Son & Park Beauty Water and Beauty Gel as new arrivals at some of your favorite kbeauty ecommerce sites. The Son & Park Beauty Water is already the beloved Holy Grail item for lots of beauty mavens (I love it as well and it won in my Cleansing Water Battle!). The Beauty Gel is less popular because its purpose is not as apparent as its spot-light hogging older sibling. This review will explain its purpose in your beauty routine and how it performs as it claims. Click to read on!
About Son & Park
The Son & Park brand is founded by Korea’s top makeup artists, Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yun. They were the first duo who pioneered the invention of the BB Cream almost 10 years ago and brought the natural, dewy and glowy look to Korea! With exclusive celebrity clients and frequent appearances to lend their expertise on Korea’s “Get it Beauty” TV show, they’ve certainly earned the beauty expert badge in kbeauty.
Product Claims – What does the Beauty Gel Do?
The Beauty Gel is used as a light gel moisturizer after you’ve used the Beauty Water to prep your face for your makeup routine. If you don’t own the Beauty Water (which is essentially cleansing water and an exfoliating toner in one) you would use the Beauty Gel in your last step after cleansing and right before you apply any makeup. In my testing period for two weeks, I’ve used the Beauty Gel after cleansing, toning, and serum(ing). I stopped using my normal emulsion since the gel is a replacement for your morning moisturizer. The gel is supposed to rehydrate and banish any dry patches in order to provide you with a smoother canvas for your bb cream, foundation, or whatever base makeup you use.
But wait! There’s more! It claims to also provide a cooling sensation that will shrink pores down to further aid in the poreless face effect. The gel is formulated with rose-oil and tiny little capsules filled with hydrolyzed collagen. Often mistaken as air bubbles, the capsules ensure that the ingredients remain fresh since they will break open upon application. You can see a cool Son & Park YouTube here demonstrating all the ways you can smash them open. They tout that there’s also oxygen in there to help refresh the skin, but I’m going to bust this claim right now that oxygen being “applied” onto the skin via a cream/gel won’t provide much benefit to the skin. Oxygen via breathing ftw.
Packaging, Size, Price, etc.
The box and container comes in a very minimalistic style which matches the simple skincare routine the brand promises to deliver. The bottle is made out of very sturdy, clear plastic with a white push-down dispenser. There’s no cap to worry about losing and you can easily see how much product you have left with every use. It seems that I have an older bottle design that matches the Beauty Water’s smaller font across the front because the newer bottles will say “H2O Beauty Gel” instead in much bigger font (I show a picture below from the Son & Park site under Ingredients).
I don’t know why there’s a difference. EDIT: The difference is that the newer H2O Beauty Gel is reformulated to have SPF50+/PA+++ – thank you Soko Glam for your quick response!
Since this essentially a gel moisturizer, it’s a very large size at 330ml. My Missha emulsion is only 130ml to give you a size reference! It towers over my normal bottle so even though it’s $30, you’re getting more product. My Missha emulsion retails normally at $33 (but we all know to buy at their 30% or 40% off sale events ;). One pump of the gel is enough to smooth over your entire face since the gel seems to melt and get runny with your natural body temperature. I think this bottle will definitely last me a full year with everyday use (My Missha one will usually last 6 months).
The price is $30 at Soko Glam, $15.89 at KoreaDepart but I bought it at the Peach and Lily sample sale for $20. I didn’t know what this was for and asked an employee for advice. She said it’s supposed to prime your face ready for base makeup and I wasn’t sure if I really needed that but took a risk anyway.
Click to enlarge (will open in a new tab):
One big pump dispenses enough product for your entire face. You can stare at the little blue capsules that comes out and just spread it out like your normal emulsion/moisturizer. It has almost the same texture and smell as those anti-bacterial hand gels because it gets runny as soon as you work it into your skin for absorption. It also smells like citrus/lemons and I don’t like that because it reminds me too much of the “Kitchen Lemon” scent found in your typical dish detergent. If you handed me Purell and told me it was my Beauty Gel, I wouldn’t have known the difference (file this away as a really mean skincare prank).
Aside from it having the same texture and smell as anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, it does provide a cooling sensation to my skin but there’s no noticeable difference in pore size. It’s definitely hydrated even though I can also smell alcohol in the gel (spolier alert for the Ingredient List). It’s not sticky and provides softness.
So the real test was application of my makeup since its supposed to provide a smoother, flake-free canvas for your bb cream or foundation! It definitely did help my bb creams and bb cushion apply easier because there was a bounce to my skin. The gel absorbed really quickly so it did not interfere with my makeup application at all when it in fact made it easier and faster. Usually if I used my normal Missha emulsion, I would wait a tad longer for the layer of lotion to fully absorb.
I’m testing this in the beginning of fall where the weather is not as hot, but not yet bitter cold so it’s been fine for my normal to dry skin but I wonder if this will be able to stand up to the arctic winds in New York City’s winter months.
The Son & Park Beauty Gel is supposed to make your makeup last longer because of the moisturization and bounce that it will bless your skin with but I don’t know if I would credit how long my makeup has lasted purely to the Beauty Gel. My makeup consisted of SPF, bb cream, eyebrow mascara, liquid eyeliner, lip cream, bronzer, blush, and finishing powder to set the makeup. Remember that I also used a serum and had a whole nightly routine that probably aided in giving my skin a healthy bounce too. The bounce was still there at the end of a long day where I went out to eat twice for both lunch and dinner and didn’t retouch anything. In fact, I would poke my cheeks several times a day like a trampoline because like wow, I didn’t break my cheek yet.
Even though there is some ad copy out there that says it will “prime” your face for makeup, please understand that this isn’t a replacement for actual makeup primer. I don’t usually use a face primer before bb cream so if you have larger pores or uneven skin, continue to use that after the Beauty Gel. My skin does look a bit more lively after applying the gel.
While it did give a cooling sensation at the point of application, the cooling only lasted for 5 minutes before your trusty body temperature normalizes. The cooling sensation didn’t do anything except make me feel more awake because I hate mornings. And coffee without breakfast 🙁
The CosDNA analysis is already up and you can always go the Soko Glam page to get the ingredients as well.
Water, Alcohol, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Phenoxyethanol, Arginine, Carbomer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Octyldodeceth-16, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Disodium EDTA, 1,2-Hexanediol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Butylene Glycol, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Talc, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (sunscreen), Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Jasminum Officinate (Jasmine) Oil, Menthyl PCA, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Ethyl Menthane Carboxamide, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit/Seed Oil, Rose Flower Oil, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Ferula Galbaniflua (Galbanum) Resin Oil, Water, Green 6 (CI 61565) Glycolic Acid, Menthol, Caprylyl Glycol, Oxygen.
Like its Beauty Water sibling, it has a ton of botanical and fruit extracts but it’s also loaded with alcohol if that matters to your skin. The buttload of fruit oils probably explain the citrus smell and they’re good for nourishment and moisturization. There’s also mixed copy out on the web saying the capsules either contain oxygen, rose oil or collagen. I’ll go with what Soko Glam says on their page that the capsules contain collagen that will burst upon application.
I’ll note that anything after the ingredient “Phenoxyethanol” is probably less than 1% of the formula since this preservative and other parabens are not allowed to be greater than 1%. I read this awesome quick guide to reading skincare ingredients from Caroline Hirons (a beauty industry insider) and it’s the one point that stuck in my head! This is important since it puts the list of great ingredients in perspective – that they are actually very low concentration but some extracts are known to have effects even in concentrations of 1%. With this order of ingredients however, the concentrations are probably really low but I’ll let my skin decide that!
Some interesting things:
- Arginine (an amino acid): This is an amino acid and it’s one of the 20 most common ones found in the building blocks of your skin’s structure. Arginine plays a role in wound-healing (but not the heart-break type). This is probably also used bind the water in the formula.
- Hydrolized Collagen (in the capsules): Collagen molecules are known to be too big to actually penetrate into skin to revive your face of its elasticity and firmness but this new form goes through a heating process that makes the molecules smaller although its still not proven to make direct effects in skin structure. Collagen by the way, is made from animal product (skin, cartilage, bones, etc). Sorry for pooping on the party.
- Glycolic Acid (an AHA): Huh, there seems to be a very small amount of this Alpha Hydroxy Acid in here which would help a little bit in shedding some skin, but without knowing the percentage, it’s a bit hard in determining its effectiveness in cell turnover.
- Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (sunscreen): This is a fancy phase for sunscreen.
I saw on the Son & Park website description that it may have a SPF50+/PA+++??? I cannot read Korean, but do I have the wrong assumptions that it has SPF50+/PA+++? Or is it merely recommending that we follow-up with a sunscreen of that strength? I used Google translator and “주요사항” means “Highlights” which means yes, it supposed to have SPF50+/PA+++. This seems too good to be true but I will ask Soko Glam to see if they can confirm this. TBD.
Soko Glam got back to me really quickly (within a few hours of emailing them)! It turns out that there is more of a difference other than just packaging design for the Beauty Gel. On the Son & Park website, they carry the newest version called “H2O Beauty Gel” that has been reformulated to have SPF50+/PA+++ and the older, phased out version (the one I have) is just called “Beauty Gel” with probably no significant concentration in the sunscreen ingredient to to block the majority of the UVA/UVB rays.
Conclusion – Is This Worth My Money?
If you’ve been having trouble in finding a light-weight, fast absorbing moisturizer, then yes I would give this one a whirl for $30 if you can afford it but if you are looking for other skin benefits other than makeup prepping, you should look elsewhere. I was skeptical at first that this would really “prep my face” for makeup but I gotta say, it did the job just right because you don’t want your face to be caked in lotion since it won’t make your base makeup look right or set properly.
I enjoyed how fast it absorbed into my skin even though the citrus scent turned me off. My face did not feel heavy at all. If you’re doing all the right things to maximize the Beauty Gel like doing a full nightly routine, exfoliating, cleansing properly in the morning and setting your makeup with finishing powder then yes, your makeup will enjoy lasting wear. I would not credit the Beauty Gel to do it all.
Recommended Skin Type
Reminder that I have normal to dry skin so the gel was just right in providing the level of moisture that I needed.
I’m not entirely sure if Oily sistas can find this suitable (because of the alchohol) however I would use spot treatment to make sure your acne is in line because this doesn’t provide oil-control or acne needs. You will probably still need to retouch with your powder compact to absorb excess oil whereas I did not have to (not bragging, just explaining the differences in maintenance).
For sensitive skin, check over the ingredient list for anything you’re allergic to. The amount of alcohol is pretty high but my tough skin can take it (I think, eep).
Peeps with dry skin might not find this enough as a stand-alone product to quench the desert you call your skin! I wonder how this will treat me in the winter, I can’t imagine it will be enough for harsh North East blizzards. Winter is coming…
Would I Repurchase?
Other than providing a fast way to inject moisture into my skin I’m not sure if I would repurchase this quite yet. This gel is simplistic in nature and it’s supposed to give The Minimalist a minimal morning routine but I somehow want more from it. I like my brightening and anti-wrinkling benefits and this gel does not promise to do either so I’m a little sad that makeup prep is all I get (
unless the SPF50+/PA+++ labeling is true, then it doubles as a mega-good sunscreen! Soko Glam confirmed that the Beauty Gel they’re carrying is not the same “H2O Beauty Gel” on the Son & Park website which is reformulated with SPF50+/PA+++). I suppose I’m The Multi-Tasker!
The slew of botanic/fruit extracts, Arginine, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Gycolic Acid is supposed to contribute to the deeper layers of skin health but isn’t this product made mostly out of water and well, gel? It’s unclear just how much of a difference the beneficial ingredients in here will ultimately do to my skin in the long-run. I’m going to finish the bottle to see but I don’t think this is anything earth-shattering. I feel like there are other great light-weight gel moisturizers that would also do the trick (as in moisturize the skin just enough for smooth makeup application but not too much that your makeup doesn’t set).
But hey, prove me wrong Beauty Gel, prove me wrong.
Rating: 3/5 – I like it enough to keep but I don’t love it enough to repurchase.
Note: I’m using the Son & Park Beauty Water alongside with the Beauty Gel and you can read my review of the Beauty Water in this Cleansing Water Battle!
Do you have the Son & Park Beauty Water or Gel yet? Are you loving it as much as I am? I’m starting to love the Son & Park brand, is there anything else that caught your eye? Please share! What must I get?