This Korean (K-Beauty) Serum Is All Over Your Instagram Feed — But Is It Worth the Hype?

This Korean (K-Beauty) Serum Is All Over Your Instagram Feed — But Is It Worth the Hype?

The notion that Korean beauty is light years ahead of the rest of the beauty world is practically an industry trope at this point. Just when it seems like we Americans may have caught up (sheet masks are trending stateside, after all!), a product like the Private Doctor Minus SerumTM ($49) zooms in and lands on Sephora® shelves to prove us wrong.The packaging — shiny, peony pink — looks like some sort of galactic gemstone, while the bottle is chiseled and smooth. (Perhaps that’s a nod to the results it promises: smooth, taut skin.) According to Dr. Sang Hoon Park, Lead Doctor and Founder of ID Hospital and skincare brand, Private Doctor, “Minus Serum embodies the idea of firming and defining the face.” It’s no coincidence that Park himself is a cosmetic doctor who specializes in just that — albeit usually via injectables and surgery.

How does Minus Serum work?

For a topical product to noticeably tighten and contour the face, it requires ingredients worthy of a K-Beauty masterpiece. There are countless serums promising to tighten skin, but the particular technology in Minus Serum relies on something called “micro-tingling spicules.” As the name suggests, they do, in fact, deliver a satisfying sensorial zing.

For many of us, the feeling is ample assurance that the product is getting to work. The formula contains tiny needle-like fibers, which create a channel for the product to sink into the skin more deeply than it otherwise would. The so-called “needles” are made from refined, dried freshwater sponge, Park explains, which “allow the product to fill the pores with active ingredients.”

But what are the active ingredients?

Sodium deoxycholate is the hero ingredient in Minus Serum. Thanks to the aforementioned “needles,” the ingredient is able to work more deeply in the skin and effectively tone less-than-taut areas over time.

Can this serum replicate tightening, contouring, and smoothing treatments done in office?

When asked whether he believes the Minus Serum — or any topical product for that matter — can work as effectively as injectables, Park keeps it honest. “Topical products have a good, sustained, and preventive effect,” he says “ but the results are less discernible [than injectables and similar in-office treatments].” But that doesn’t mean it’s not a powerful, effective formula. After all, before spearheading this product, he was (and still is) one of Korea’s top doctors!

As for the future of the Private Doctor brand: “There will be more products to complement the Minus Serum and work in conjunction [with the product],” he shares. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

Product was gifted to the author for the purpose of writing this article.