Korean beauty is no longer a secret: From elaborate skincare routines that promise smooth, glass-like skin to Korean haircare products that promote thick, silky strands, more and more beauty consumers around the world are shopping cult-favorite products from South Korea to see what the hype is all about.
In fact, the K-beauty market has inspired many of the most popular skincare trends of the past decade, including BB creams, cushion-compact foundations and sheet masks. You might even already be using Korean skincare products without realizing it — Dr. Jart+ and Laniege are two popular Korean beauty brands that have seen huge success stateside. But what makes Korean skincare products different from westernized beauty? There are three core elements at the heart of Korean beauty's "skin first" philosophy:
- Multi-step skincare routines to achieve clear, glowing skin
- A variety of unique natural ingredients like green tea and snail mucin
- Hydration as a focal point, for all skin types
While the Honayst Institute Beauty Lab has not formally tested the below products, we've put together this list of the best Korean skincare products based on our editors' K-beauty favorites and top-rated, verified online reviews. These must-have skincare products will make your skin glow, whether you're looking to improve oily, acne-prone skin or combat fine lines and wrinkles.
1 Best K-Beauty Green Tea Serum Green Tea Seed Intensive Hydrating Serum
With ingredients sourced from Korea's famous Jeju Island, this brand boasts that its products don't use harmful chemicals or preservatives. Their green tea hydrating serum claims to combat dullness and uneven texture, and reviewers report seeing less redness and irritation with continued use.
- Good for acne-prone skin
- Absorbs without residue
2 Best K-Beauty Acne Product Centella Blemish Cream
Many online reviews point to this blemish cream as a favorite gentle acne spot treatment. The star ingredient is centella, also known as cica cream, which is known to help acne and rosacea without irritating skin. Note that this isn't an all-over moisturizer: it should only be used on affected areas at night.
- Reviews say it doesn't irritate sensitive skin
- Can leave a white cast
3 Best K-Beauty Toner Aloe BHA Skin Toner
With aloe and salicylic acid — two ingredients that promise to soothe and clarify skin — this toner preps your face to absorb your face moisturizer better.
4 Best K-Beauty Anti-Aging Product Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence
While "essence" isn't commonly used in skincare routines in the U. S. , it's an essential step in any typical K-beauty routine. It's designed to target fine lines and wrinkles, and works to regenerate skin and make it look younger. This particular essence uses fermented yeast extract to plump skin and refine texture. Several online reviewers deem it a cheaper alternative to the ever- popular (but pricey) SK-II essence.
5 Best K-Beauty Product for Oily Skin Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser
This brand claims to avoid harsh chemicals, dyes, alcohol and parabens in its formulas. Fans of the brand love this gel cleanser, which uses powerful sulfate- free cleansing agents to draw out impurities without drying out skin. It lathers into a milky-foam texture that cleans and hydrates the skin.
- Can help reduce redness and inflamed skin
6 Best Korean Skincare Product for Dry Skin Water Sleeping Mask
If you suffer from dehydrated skin, this mask contains high concentrations of mineral water to help smooth out parched skin. Note that this rich, ultra- hydrating mask is only meant to be used once or twice a week.
- Provides intense hydration
- Not ideal for those with oily skin
7 Best K-Beauty Face Masks Best of Seven Facial Masks
Whether you're looking to soothe irritated skin or boost hydration and radiation, this set of seven masks has something to offer for everyone. And at less than $2 a mask, the set is a good value, too. "I love all of them, but especially the Sun Bae Mask, " says one of our editors. "It has aloe vera and jojoba seed oil, two relaxing ingredients I love ending the day with. "
- Great variety and price
8 Best K-Beauty Product for Eyes Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream
Reviewers love that this lightweight eye cream absorbs quickly into the skin. It's formulated with peptides, date seed extract and almond protein extract to improve hydration and freshen up the skin. One reviewer notes that she wishes it was easier to see how much product was left in the packaging, however.
- Absorbs instantly
- Opaque packaging makes it hard to see when it's time for a refill
9 Best K-Beauty Skincare Set 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine Set
Soko Glam is the ultimate online destination when it comes to finding the best Korean skincare products — and this all-in-one bundle designed for oily skin types makes shopping for K-Beauty products so easy. The $260 value exclusive kit contains 10 products from popular K-beauty brands, including cleansing oil, essence and eye cream.
- Great value
10 Best K-Beauty Product on Amazon Snail Repair Cream
According to its label, this night moisturizer contains 97. 5% snail mucin extract (yes, snail slime!), which is actually a super-hydrating ingredient known to help promote collagen production. Amazon reviewers concerned about signs of aging swear by this cream, saying their eye bags slowly improved with use.
- Anti-aging benefits
11 Best K-Beauty Moisturizer Ceramidin Cream
Dr. Jart's ceramidin line focuses on hydrating and repairing the skin barrier. Online reviewers seem to especially love this cream for its lightweight feel. "It's not sticky and doesn't feel heavy, but it packs a moisture punch!" says a reviewer.
12 Best K-Beauty Collagen Cream Moistfull Collagen Cream
Online reviewers call this collagen cream "the best affordable moisturizer" — after, all it costs under $20. It uses collagen water to plump up fine lines and produce bouncy, dewy skin. Reviewers like that it doesn't feel sticky, either.
- Smooths fine lines and wrinkles
13 Best K-Beauty Cleansing Balm Clean It Zero
This scoop-able cleanser transforms from a solid balm to an oil as you massage it into your skin. While it dissolves makeup and dirt, it also offers glow-y results thanks to skin-brightening papaya extract and Vitamin C. With hundreds of enthusiastic online reviews, it might just be your new favorite face wash.
- Cleans and moisturizes in one step
14 Best K-Beauty Micellar Water Dermaclear Micro Water
Cleansing waters are becoming more popular as a way to gently remove makeup, and this pick is made with 85% active hydrogen mineral water and 90% natural ingredients, meaning it will swipe away stubborn mascara and oils while being mindful of your sensitive skin.
- Sensitive skin-friendly
15 Best K-Beauty Product for Lips Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Pack
Avocado, sweet almond and apricot seed carry the weight of this moisturizing formula, which is meant to be used in the nighttime. You don't need much to soak in the benefits — "I lightly touch the surface with my ring finger, and that's plenty, " says one online reviewer.
- A little goes a long way
16 Best K-Beauty Pimple Patches Acne Pimple Master Patch
Angry pimple? Just stick one of these little pimple patches onto your blemish to deliver concentrated acne-fighting ingredients right where they need go (and help you stop touching or picking). The best part: It's just six bucks a sheet.
17 Best K-Beauty Cleansing Oil Treatment Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover
Cleansing oil is a gentle way to easily remove your makeup — yep, even that stubborn waterproof eyeliner. This particular pick is made by Amore Pacific, a Korean skincare line that uses green tea flowers to combat anti-aging issues. Simply massage over dry skin, then rinse.
- Gentle on the eye area
18 Best K-Beauty Exfoliator Korean Facial Sponge
Rather than scrubbing your skin with harsh, environmentally unfriendly scrubs filled with microbeads, try this gentle cleansing sponge enriched with charcoal instead. Reviewers say it helped reduce acne and they have smoother skin after use.
- Helps with acne and fine lines
- Some complain the sponge falls apart quickly
19 Best K-Beauty Product for Skin Repair Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule for Face
This ampoule contains 80% snail filtrate extract and promises to solve various skin issues, including aging, dull skin, acne and more. Reviewers testify that while the product is ultra-hydrating, it doesn't feel oily on the skin and makes makeup application so much smoother.