South Korea is the skin-care gift that keeps on giving. And lucky for all of us, more bestselling Korean skin-care products are coming our way: Primera, a skin-care line from leading K-beauty brand AmorePacific, is landing stateside this spring.
The brand is launching in the U.S. this summer through an exclusive partnership with Sephora - on sephora.com on June 25 and in Sephora stores this July.
In Korea, Primera's product line ranges from skin care to hair care and even baby products. For the U.S. launch, however, there will only be skin-care products available (24 of them, for now), including four of the brand's hero products: Alpine Berry Water Cream, Clean Berry Lip Mask, Miracle Seed Essence, and Mild Facial Peeling Gel
As you can infer from their names, all of Primera's skin-care products are formulated with some type of plant or fruit seed. Seeds, and more specifically, the moment that a seed sprouts, are the inspiration behind the brand. The ingredients in each product are cultivated through what the brand calls germination energy technology, which harnesses the nutrients of seeds when they sprout (or germinate). The name Primera is actually a combination of the words "prime" and "era," which is meant to symbolize the very moment a seed sprouts and is supposedly at peak vitality.
"Every plant's journey begins with a single seed and the energy of sprouting is a crucial moment of growth," says Jessica Hanson, president and general manager of AmorePacific in the U.S. "Each of our formulas utilizes ingredients at that prime moment of vitality to optimize each ingredient's efficacy."
What's more: All of Primera's products are free of parabens, animal-derived ingredients, silicones, mineral oil, synthetic dyes, and artificial fragrances. The brand is super committed to sustainability, so all of its packaging is eco-friendly. Meaning, in addition to using recycled paper boxes, plastic bottles, and glass jars, Primera prints all product information directly on the box (in enviro-friendly soy ink) so as to reduce waste.
"Consumers want their skin care to do more than help their skin," Hanson explains. "They want brands to make a positive impact on the world. Primera offers consumers the innovative products synonymous with K-beauty, but our formulas are free of harmful ingredients and housed in eco-friendly packaging."
Back to those innovative products: All of them contain various potent combinations of plant and/or fruit extracts, each one harvested from a sprouted seed. For example, the brand's Alpine Berry Water Cream is perhaps the most popular skin-care product of the entire line. A "delicately dewy moisturizer," it features a blend of wild strawberry sprouts and antioxidant-rich blackberries (named the Alpine berry complex), as well as coconut-derived oil and artemisia extract, a botanical that can help reduce signs of sun damage in the skin. The Clean Berry Lip Mask is another hero product, which features a plant-based mix of conditioning butters and extracts, including Seaberry Fruit, a potent antioxidant with high levels of vitamins C and E.
Another stand-out product from the brand is the Miracle Seed Essence, which is formulated with lotus seeds, a rich source of amino acids that has been shown in studies to have a positive impact on smoothing fine lines. ICYMI, essences, which are a staple in Asian skin care, are liquid-like formulas with high concentrations of active ingredients that are meant to be applied right after cleansing (before serum and moisturizer).
While there is absolutely something to be said about chemical- and fragrance-free skin-care products that maintain efficacy and eco-friendliness, when I consulted a cosmetic chemist and dermatologist for their thoughts on germination energy technology, they weren't quite sure what to make of it.
"I like that the products are free of fragrances, excess chemicals, and are overall eco-friendly," says Los Angeles-based dermatologist Nancy Samolitis. "Many of these ingredients have a long history of anecdotal use for their skin benefits, [but] I'm not sure that I understand there is any additional benefit from harnessing the germination energy."
Cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski seems to agree. "There is no evidence I've seen that they can extract anything special from seed sprouts that will have any extra potency," he says. However, he adds: "It intuitively makes sense that there is something special about a seed and the process of germination, [but] that doesn't mean, however, [that] it will be something special on your skin."
Could it be that the research we have available to us in the U.S. on this supposed technology is limited? Perhaps - and it certainly wouldn't be the first time that the Korean beauty industry was onto something (a new technology, ingredient, or even skin-care category) long before we caught on.
Primera's Alpine Berry Water Cream retails for $40, the Miracle Seed Essence for $58, the Clean Berry Lip Mask for $20, and the Mild Facial Peeling Gel for $38. The initial launch of 24 Primera skin-care products will be available on sephora.com starting June 25, and in Sephora stores beginning in July. Additionally, a Primera intro kit and three holiday sets are set to launch later on in the year, on September 6.
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