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The latest pore-clearing Korean beauty trend? Volcanic ash


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Photo: Instagram/@innisfreeusa
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When you look at the beauty innovations to come out of Korea, you’ll notice one overarching trend: an obsession with having clear pores. (It’s one I happen to share.) From pore vacuums to sheet masks, K-beauty brands have become uber-creative at finding ways to pull gunk from your skin for your glowiest complexion ever.

Since 2000, the cult-fave, natural-leaning K-beauty brand Innisfree—which has over 1,600 stores globally, including its New York City flagship opening on September 15, and never uses parabens—has been using things like green tea and orchids as well as locally sourced ingredients from off the coast of South Korea in its products. Think lava seawater, camellia, marine seaweed, and a certain earth-made compound that’s particularly good at clearing your pores: volcanic ash clusters.

“Volcanic clusters are naturally porous, so they have a natural ability to absorb oil and gunk on your skin,” says Julien Bouzitat, general manager of Innisfree US. “They also deeply cleanse and gently exfoliate to minimize the look of your pores.”

“Volcanic clusters are naturally porous, so they have a natural ability to absorb oil and gunk on your skin.”

The clusters Innisfree uses in its products are all responsibly sourced from Jeju Island, a protected volcanic oasis. “During the time of volcanic eruptions on Jeju Island, hot lava fragments were scattered across the land, forming clusters as they cooled,” Bouzitat says. “Today, they’re a protected natural resource renowned for their impressive mineral content and ability to draw out deep-dwelling impurities.” Score.

The brand gathers these bits of ash—from solely pesticide-free regions—and dry-sterilizes them at uber-high temps. Then they work them into balms, mousses, masks, and the K-beauty version of those old-school Biore nose strips. So it works in much the same way clay, mud, and charcoal cleansers do—dirt cleans up dirt.

Even if you choose not to rub volcanic ash on your face, you can follow the K-beauty path to radiant skin. “One thing that works well when dealing with clogged pores is a K-beauty staple: the double cleansing method,” notes Bouzitat. “Washing with an oil-based cleanser followed by a high-foaming one will not only dissolve impurities but also deeply cleanse—which can help prevent breakouts, blackheads, and just decongest the clogged area.”

Whichever method you go for—the ritual, the vacuum, or the volcanic dust (or all three)—there’s a high likelihood you’ll be looking glowy afterwards…and not spending hours in front of your magnifying mirror studying your pores.

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But is it truly possible to shrink your pores? Either way, you *must* check out how to DIY this pore-clearing bubble mask that’s all over Instagram.

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