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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

Best Korean skincare products

Learn about Korean skincare

If you’ve walked down any beauty aisle, you may have seen the multitude of sheet masks and BB creams, and you have Korean skincare to thank for that. They’re pioneers when it comes to innovative skincare products made with gentle ingredients. Many of them are affordable and come in adorable packaging.

Taking care of your skin is a part of the Korean lifestyle, which results in a clear and youthful complexion. Without a doubt, Korean beauty products have transformed the standards of global skincare. Keep reading to learn more about how these products can benefit you.

What is K-Beauty?

Korean Beauty is the term used to describe all things skincare- and beauty-related from South Korea. K-Beauty first gained popularity in Asia before making its way to the U.S. K-Beauty focuses on the overall health of the skin to achieve a luminous complexion. Korean skincare is renowned for being among the best in the world because its methods really work.

K-Beauty is about a personalized approach to skincare, and it’s prioritized as much as nutrition or physical activity.

History of Korean skincare

In the ancient Chosun era (1392–1898), people in Manchu used lard to soften their skin and protect it during the winter. Later, many used natural ingredients like plants and oils on their skin because it was thought that physical appearance was related to one’s inner self.

Skincare habits are formed from childhood in Korea because preventative skincare is a part of their lifestyle. Many Koreans learn their best skincare secrets from their mothers.

The 10-step Korean skincare routine

K-Beauty includes the 10-step routine, which is more of a lifestyle for many in Korea. Korea’s cultural fascination with healthy skin is a result of using the right products in the right order to achieve glowing skin.

Oil cleanser

Banila Co Clean It Zero 3-in-1 Cleansing Balm: available at Ulta Beauty and Amazon Double cleansing is the base of Korean skincare to remove all makeup and grime. You can double cleanse by gently massaging oil cleanser on dry skin and rinsing with lukewarm water. Banila Co makes a hypoallergenic cleanser that can remove all dirt and waterproof makeup, leaving your skin deeply cleansed, gently exfoliated and very hydrated.

Water-based cleanser

Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser: available at Sephora and Amazon The second step of double cleansing is using a cleanser recommended by dermatologists to remove remaining impurities that may cause breakouts and were left behind by the oil cleanser. This cleanser is packed with antioxidants and cleanses while preventing blemishes.


Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off: available at Ulta Beauty Exfoliants help remove dead skin and clean pores for smoother and brighter skin. They also help products absorb more easily. Skinfood makes this hydrating wash-off mask with sugar granules for gentle exfoliation.


Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner: available at Ulta Beauty and Amazon A toner removes the last traces of dirt, impurities and makeup left behind after you cleanse your face. It cleans your pores and restores the skin's pH level. Klairs toner is hydrating with hyaluronic acid to boost moisture retention, and it has Centella asiatica to calm sensitive skin.


Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence: available at Ulta Beauty Essences are light mixtures of hydrating and brightening ingredients that help in cell turnover. This essence has 10% royal jelly extract and 10% black honey extract for radiant skin. It helps build a firm skin barrier.


U Beauty Resurfacing Compound: available at Space NK, Violet Grey and SkinStore Serums, ampoules and boosters are filled with concentrated ingredients to target and treat specific skin concerns like fine lines, acne, dullness and dark spots. This powerful multitasking serum has vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid to brighten, tighten, renew and protect your skin.

Sheet masks

TONYMOLY Sheet Masks: available at Ulta Beauty, SkinStore and Amazon In addition to allowing your skin to absorb the nutrients applied to your skin prior, sheet masks are made of concentrated essences and serums to provide 15-20 minutes of relaxing ritual. Founded in South Korea in 2006, TONYMOLY is an ingredient-driven skincare line and their masks come in fun packaging. They have over 50 types of sheet masks to address any skin concerns.

Eye cream

belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb: available at Ulta Beauty, Sephora and Amazon Eye creams are gentle and help treat the thinnest and most delicate skin around the eyes. They help reduce puffiness, dark circles and fine lines. This popular lightweight eye cream can boost elasticity and reduce fine lines and dryness.


Oh K! Chok-Chok Glowing Moisturizer: available at Ulta Beauty, SkinStore and Amazon Depending on your skin type, you can use gel, cream or lotion to hydrate your skin and seal in the moisture to reduce fine lines, dark spots and acne. Oh K! makes moisturizers with hyaluronic acid to plump skin and reduce lines, and their overnight moisturizers revitalize skin with lavender oil.


Erborian CC Crème: available at SkinStore, Ulta Beauty and Space NK Sunscreen protects you from UV rays that cause aging and skin cancer. Erborian CC Crème enhances the skin to give it a radiant finish while protecting it with broad spectrum SPF 25. It's available in three flattering universal shades.

Korean makeup

When it comes to makeup, accentuated eyeliner, a pop of color on the lips and cheeks and glass skin is all you need for a K-Beauty look.


Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 40: available at Sephora and Amazon K-Beauty focuses on radiant and clear skin and doesn't go for the matte look. Try Dr. Jart's BB cream to achieve a dewy complexion while protecting your skin from UV damage. It's available in three radiant finish shades that work for all skin tones.


Kaja Wink Wing Eyeliner Stamp & Pen: available at Sephora and Amazon In K-Beauty, straighter brow shapes are preferred as opposed to the curved or feathered look popular in the U.S. Instead of a cat eye, puppy eyeliner is more popular — it makes eyes appear bigger and cuter with a subtle glitter underneath. Kaja eyeliner is a double-ended stamp pen to get the perfect wing every time.

Lips and cheeks

Etude House Colorful Vivid Tint: available at Amazon You can try an Etude House lip tint for a pop of color or gradient lip. It comes in nine shades and can also be used as a blush. Koreans tend to use just enough blush on their cheeks to make them look naturally flushed.


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