Features niacinamide to protect and brighten skin along with probiotics that are activated by prebiotics. Moisturizes and evens tone for a visible glow. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and texture. Good for sensitive skin.
Some users experience breakouts.
Thick clay mask that deep-cleans the skin with volcanic lava clusters and lactic acid. Helps minimize pores and exfoliates to leave skin clearer and softer. Clay absorbs excess oil. Gentle enough for sensitive skin and dry skin.
Consistency makes it hard to wash off.
Designed to be used after toner in your skincare routine to even skin's texture and tone and prepare skin for serums and creams. Comes with cotton pads for application. Has a very mild scent and leaves skin smooth and hydrated.
Not hydrating enough for very dry skin.
Features hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin and hibiscus flower alpha hydroxy acid to improve skin's texture. Has a pleasant watermelon scent and applies in a very fine, even mist. Can be used before makeup as a primer or after as a dewy setting spray.
Not everyone is a fan of the fragrance.
Lightweight gel formula hydrates without weighing skin down. Great for protecting skin from the elements and improving damaged skin. Gentle enough for sensitive skin. Soothes and strengthens with brand's microbiome complex.
Not oil-free and may cause breakouts.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Korean beauty practices and products have taken the world by storm. Also known as K-Beauty, Korean skincare products are known for their thoroughness — you may or may not be familiar with the famous ten-step routine — practicality, and the scientific research that makes these products the best of the best.
Before you dive into the vast world of Korean skincare, there are some factors you should keep in mind. Consider whether your skin is oily, dry, or a little bit of both. You’ll also want to think about skin sensitivity, scent, and hydrating properties. A number of Korean skincare products contain anti-aging ingredients, another feature that may be of interest to you.
We’re pleased to help you settle on a final decision. Below, you can read our product guide to learn more about the ins and outs of Korean skincare. We’ve included some of our favorites, too. We’re positive that you can find a product that will suit your skin and lifestyle needs. In no time, your skin will have that trademark healthy, dewy glow.
If you’re unfamiliar with K-Beauty, you may be scratching your head at its sudden rise to fame. Korean skincare is top-notch for one reason: the demands of the Korean consumer. Korean shoppers place a high value on cosmetics and quality skincare, favoring a moisturized, translucent appearance over a cakey-foundation one. The high demands of Korean consumers requires Korean skincare and beauty manufacturers to stay at the top of their game.
Luckily, you can find quality Korean skincare at a variety of price points. That’s because skincare isn’t a luxury. Since Koreans value quality skincare so much, you can easily improve your skin without breaking the bank. Besides, if you’re a regular makeup user, there’s a decent chance you already use a K-Beauty product. BB creams, cushion compacts, and sheet masks all originated in Korea.
Sensitive: Your skin may be sensitive for a multitude of reasons. It could be due to a medical condition like eczema, side effects from medication, or genetics. You’ll want to avoid harsh products with artificial perfumes and alcohol. Search for UV protection (a must, even at nighttime) and hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, green tea, shea butter, and ceramide. Ceramides are lipids that penetrate the skin to lock in moisture. With consistent use, you should notice plumper, better-moisturized skin.
Oily: Unlike people with dry skin, if you have oily skin it means you’ve got an excess of sebum production. You’ll want to be on the lookout for ingredients that will help control and contain the sebum. Quite a few of these ingredients are found naturally as well as in K-Beauty products. Common ingredients include green tea, egg white, and volcanic clay. Volcanic clay in particular is an organic exfoliant. In addition to treating oiliness, it can also clear up blackheads and remove dead skin cells.
Dry: Those with dry skin should keep an eye out for K-Beauty products with extra hydration. There are a few key ingredients you should know about. Hyaluronic acid, a sugar that naturally occurs in skin, acts as a humectant to draw in moisture. B-complex vitamins provide a moisturizing boost as well. Along with promoting collagen production, they also soothe skin and brighten uneven spots.
Combination: Like people with dry skin, those with combination skin may find relief in the ten-step skincare routine, or at the very least focus on a few of the steps. A gentle toner is a must-have. Find one that can control oiliness while leaving skin refreshed. Peppermint oil is quite effective at balancing the two. Also, keep an eye out for a light moisturizer and a natural sunscreen.
It’s always a fine idea to check the labels of any ingredient you put on your face. Note that quite a few K-Beauty products are mainly labeled in Korean. Take a closer peek at online product reviews and consumer questions to inform your purchase.
Beauty products in general, especially those geared toward women, are often scented with fruity or floral notes. Sometimes the scent comes from the ingredients themselves. Green tea, for example, has a distinct scent. Otherwise, these scents may be manufactured. Those with sensitive skin (or noses, for that matter) may wish to avoid scented Korean skincare entirely. You can search for a product labeled “scent-free” or “fragrance-free.” If you don’t mind a subtle scent, you can also search for products that are primarily sourced from natural ingredients.
More and more consumers care about the organic integrity of what they buy. Over recent years, they have started questioning the use of parabens. Parabens refer to a type of preservative common in household and beauty products. Parabens extend an item’s shelf life by preventing the growth of mold and bacteria. Studies have shown that parabens can penetrate the skin, possibly disrupting normal hormonal functions by mimicking estrogen. While there are no conclusive studies, you may wish to search for a “paraben-free” label on the packaging. Even so, the amount of parabens used in typical cosmetic products is relatively small.
As mentioned earlier, you can find Korean skin care products at a range of prices. Pricing largely depends on the type of item, ingredients, and quantity. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. You can expect to pay between $15 and $60 for an item.
Inexpensive: Korean skincare products in the $15 to $25 range are often masks of some kind. It’s possible to find paraben-free, natural products in this price range. They may include ingredients such as volcanic clusters, green tea, or fruit essence. You can also find things like a light face mist. While the face mist may be packaged in an 8-ounce bottle, a jar of clay will be closer to 4 ounces.
Mid-range: Spending $25 to $35 widens your options, particularly if you’re seeking a serum. Since serums include more expensive ingredients — hyaluronic acid, for example — they cost more than other Korean skincare items. This is also the price range in which you can find under-eye creams and essences, both key components of the ten-step skincare routine.
Expensive: A number of products in the $35 to $50 range focus on anti-aging ingredients. In addition to any of the ingredients mentioned above, these items may contain ceramides and less common ingredients like fermented soybean essence.
Premium: There’s no need to spend more than $50 for a Korean skincare product, but your skin is worth the splurge. These luxurious skincare products are almost certainly a serum or essence of some kind, with even more exclusive ingredients to set them above the rest.
Unsure of your skin type? If your skin tends to feel itchy and tight, you likely have dry skin. If you have slick, shiny skin at the end of the day, it’s on the oily side. Of course, it’s possible to have oily and dry patches, and that’s combination skin.
A. As with beauty products manufactured anywhere in the world, it depends. There are several K-Beauty manufacturers that do not test on animals. Be sure to do your research on K-Beauty manufacturers that sell products you like.
A. A few differences to note are that K-Beauty has a greater emphasis on cleansing the skin, along with keeping skin hydrated and moisturized. The K-Beauty way is to layer multiple products over another (hence the ten-step routine) to achieve maximum results.
A. It depends on what your allergies are. Regardless, you should have no trouble coming across items that are gentle enough for your skin. Because of K-Beauty’s emphasis on hydration and moisturization, quite a few products already use gentle and natural ingredients.