September 30, 2016

“A long, long time ago, there was a volcano living in the middle of the sea…” In this case, we’re talking about the Hallasan, Jeju island’s highest peak and an iconic dormant volcano. It’s from the Hallasan that the island itself was birthed forth approximately two million years ago, and the volcanic activity has led to Jeju being built on layers of volcanic rock. After two million years of letting nature do what it does best, we get to reap another result of this fateful eruption: lava seawater, which is seawater that has been filtered through layers of volcanic rock called basalt, creating pure water that’s chock-full of anti-ageing minerals. That’s why we lava Innisfree’s Jeju Lava Seawater line already.

Jeju Island, located on the southern tip of South Korea, is a wonder of nature that is the source of many a wonderful thing: black pork, some of the freshest seafood dishes in the nation, a whole bunch of seriously picturesque tourist attractions and, as we just found out, the next best thing for our skin: Jeju lava seawater. We learnt plenty about this youth-preserving elixir when we headed straight to its origin, Jeju Island, with Innisfree recently. Apparently, lava seawater is only found in two places in the world: Jeju Island, as well as Hawaii (the other famous volcanic island).


Jeju Lava Seawater Essence and Deep Essence. If you try one thing from the range, make it this lightweight serum. We all need our skincare to absorb quickly, especially in the mornings, and this one definitely does that. And it’s made up of a whopping 84.5% Jeju lava seawater. For extra dehydrated skin, this “deep” version of the essence contains ceramide in the same proportions as naturally-occurring ceramide in the skin, to replenish what the skin lacks and rebuild the skin’s barrier.


However, as Koh Ji Hyun, who’s from Innisfree’s skincare product development team explained to us, in Hawaii the seawater is located too deep for it to be commercialised – which leaves Jeju island as the only and very precious source. So the Jeju lava seawater is the ingredient Innisfree has based its newest anti-ageing line upon – the products are powered by this extra-pure seawater that has been naturally filtered by the volcanic island’s basalt layers. That means that any pollutants and harmful substances are taken out; more importantly, it contains the rare minerals vanadium, germanium and selenium, which are what give lava seawater its anti-ageing effects.


Jeju Lava Seawater Lotion and Skin. If oily skin is more a concern, this lotion helps with balancing oil levels on the skin, while strengthening the skin barrier at the same time. While the word “skin” used as a name for the skincare product type is confusing, but within Korea, that’s what they call what we know as a “skin refiner” or “toner”. It has the texture of water, and is to be used before the essence step to prep the skin to absorb subsequent products better.


“They help create moisturising factors that make skin cells strong, and also help circulate moisture in skin. All this strengthens the skin barrier,” explains Koh. Another power of these minerals: reducing collagenase activity, the enzyme that breaks down collagen. “Basically lava seawater has two effects,” Koh sums up. “First is that it strengthens your skin cells so your skin can better retain moisture, and secondly, it limits the collagenase enzymes so you will have more collagen in the skin, and the skin remains firm.”


Jeju Lava Seawater Cream and Ampoule. You’ll see ceramide capsule bits mixed in with this gel-cream, and they burst upon application on the skin. The ampoule is an intensive antioxidant treatment, and one cool thing you can do with this ampoule is to mix it with the Jeju Lava Seawater skin, shake well, and get a moisturising antioxidant treatment in a light texture that the skin can absorb freely.


The sheer power of the Jeju lava seawater allows it to remain the main ingredient in each product’s formula, which means they get to be more lightweight than traditionally richer and heavier anti-ageing products. That’s not the only reason we can delight in slathering it all on, though – the range carries a scent that has notes of orange and clove, that come together to make a refreshing fragrance that smells… clean. And that’s always a smell we know we can get behind.


Jeju Lava Seawater Eye Serum and Mist. The metal applicator on the eye serum is a treat for the eye contours, as it’s cool to the touch. Massage it in, and the improved circulation will help with reducing dark circles. The mist has the highest proportion of lava seawater – 88.4% – and is also infused with coconut oil for a richly moisturising treatment that is applied in ultra-fine particles.


In South Korea, you’re also able to buy bottled drinking water distilled from Jeju lava seawater, if you like your water to come with with extra mineral goodness – so the Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater line is like a tall drink of rare mineral-filled water for your skin, to show it the tender lava-ing care it deserves (okay, we’ll stop with the lava puns now).


Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater Line, $28 to $46. Available at Innisfree stores from October.