7 Traditional Chinese Medicine Skincare Brands To Try
From TCM-inspired skincare formulas from big named skincare brands, Sulwhasoo and Herbivore to smaller, independent beauty brands that are passionate about TCM practices, we're listing the best Traditional Chinese Medicine skincare brands and products to try
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for over 3,500 years, but it’s only until recently that people have started taking notice of the age-old wisdom the practice offers. From using TCM to help treat Covid-19 patients in Hong Kong, to the rising number of millennial-friendly Chinese herbal tea shops, TCM has gone mainstream in recent years.
In the beauty world, there’s no shortage of TCM-inspired beauty trends as well. Whether it’s the face sculpting gua sha tool that’s been incorporated into every celebrity’s self-care routine, or the beautifying wellness drinks and supplements that promise to help you glow from the inside out, now, leading skincare brands and TCM believers have taken it one step further by introducing TCM-inspired skincare products.
Boasting natural ingredients frequently used in TCM, many of these skincare ranges are chemical free and use clean ingredients to deliver effective results. Whether you’re a hard-core TCM believer or a wary skeptic, here are 7 Traditional Chinese Medicine inspired skincare brands to try if you’re looking for a clean beauty alternative.
Founded by Wei Young Brian, Wei Beauty is a US-based luxury TCM skincare brand that aims to address the roots of your skincare issues rather than tackling just the symptoms. Incorporating TCM ingredients such as wild ginseng root, ribetan safflower, ginger, red sage and Chinese licorice into skincare formulas, each product is packed with TCM superfoods and ingredients that will make your skin glow.
If anti-ageing is one of your skin concerns, try the brand’s bee venom anti-wrinkle cream mask which will hydrate and improve skin elasticity, as well as diminish the appearance of wrinkles. For daily use, try the Royal Ming Imperial Lotion Moisturiser, a lightweight cream that uses 18 different herb extracts to hydrate and soothe fine lines.
New York City’s hip acupuncture studio, Wthn is known for their modern approach to Chinese healing practices, but the brand also stocks a variety of TCM beauty tools that you can use at home. If you’re someone who finds themselves tensing up your jaw regularly, you might be interested in Wthn’s face cupping set which aims to help boost blood circulation, collagen and relaxes facial muscles—it’d feel as though the cups are squeezing out all the tension off your face.
The brand also stocks a variety of other TCM inspired at-home tools such as an acupressure mat set, acupressure ear seed kit, face roller, gua sha tools as well as easy-to-consume TCM tablets made specially to tackle different issues such as managing stress, encouraging digestion and boosting workouts.
Shop Wthn at Lane Crawford
With Herbivore finally available in Hong Kong, try out some of their best selling products which contain well-known TCM ingredients such as goji berry, red raspberry seed camellia extract and more. The Orchid Youth Preserving Jasmine and Camellia Facial Oil is a good place to start: Made with plant-based and organic ingredients, this product protects you against free radicals while increasing elasticity. Apply a few drops of the oil every morning and night and massage it until the skin fully absorbs the product so that your skin will look plump and youthful all day.
Shop Herbivore Botanicals at Sephora
Developed in Guerlain’s lab in France and sold across the city in China, Cha Ling is a TCM focused brand that’s backed by luxury group, LVMH. Launched in 2016, the group has been heavily focused on expanding Cha Ling in the Chinese market, using Chinese ingredients, TCM techniques and French cosmetic expertise to attract consumers.
The products are centred around Chinese pu’er tea from the southern province of Yunnan, a tea known for its anti-ageing properties. Try Cha Ling’s The Cream, a face cream that infuses five-year-old fermented pu’er tea to help battle ageing concerns, brighten skin tone and improve fitness and elasticity. Packaged in a hand-made porcelain jar and painted with fine gold, one jar of this beauty potion doesn’t come cheap at HK$2,600. The brand also stocks around fifty other products, including a sleek gua sha tool, essences, masks, lotions and cleansing oils.
Shop Cha Ling at Sephora
Inspired by Asian herbal medicine, Sulwhasoo is a K-beauty centred luxury skincare brand that highlights herbal ingredients such as ginseng and rehmannia glutinosa, two of the fifty fundamental herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sulwhasoo’s First Care Activating Serum is the brand’s number one bestseller at Sephora and is formulated with five different herbs to hydrate, nourish and soothe uneven skin.
Shop Sulwhasoo on their Hong Kong site
001 Skincare London
001 Skincare London was founded by celebrity facialist, Ada Ooi who has previously treated a number of A-list celebrities and royals such as Kate Middleton, Ellie Goulding and Lady Gaga. Originally from Hong Kong, Ooi grew up watching her pharmacist grandfather prescribing Western medicine with Chinese herbs to patients, influencing her path to creating a Chinese medicine and Western technologies inspired skincare practice and beauty line.
If you’re not able to get a consultation with Ooi herself, her website stocks an array of skincare kits, tools and products that’ll help you get one step closer to the royal glow. Try the 3-Step Inner Glow Kit which addresses ageing concerns such as dehydration, pigmentation, wrinkles and sensitivity.
Shop 001 Skincare London on their website
Wildling specialises in the facial gua sha system, offering four main products that’ll help you achieve a beautiful glow. The brand’s Empress Oil is infused with three main active ingredients: Balm of gilead, resin nutrient complex and sunstone, all of which are harvested by local US farmers who forage wild plants seasonally. To complement the oil, pair it with the Empress gua sha tool made of Bian stone, a cool black amalgamate made of forty plus healing minerals.
Shop Wildling on their website