The 15 Best Korean Beauty Face Masks of 2023

With picks from Glow Recipe, Missha, and more

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Korean Beauty Face Masks

Byrdie / Kevin Liang

It’s a well-known fact that Korean skincare is, simply put, on a whole other level than anything else. The entire approach is different from what we’re used to stateside. “Korean skincare is different from American skincare not only in terms of trendy packaging and innovative formulations but also in the approach to thinking about skincare itself. It’s a daily way of life,” explains New York City board-certified dermatologist Dr. Y. Claire Chang. “K-beauty emphasizes hydration, nurturing your skin, and preventing damage rather than treating damage that has already occurred,” she adds, noting that that’s why hydrating, soothing ingredients are so popular in these formulas. 

And while mimicking the oh-so-famous 10-step Korean skincare routine can feel daunting, reaching for a K-beauty mask is one of the easiest ways to reap these benefits, fast. K-beauty masks are very versatile. They are all formulated with different ingredients to help address a variety of skin concerns, and their classic sheet masks are even made of different materials, allowing your experience to be different each time.

To help you narrow down your search, we conducted hours of research on the best Korean beauty face masks, evaluating them on active ingredients, how easily they absorb, skin feel, and how well they hydrate. After consulting with a board-certified dermatologist, and considering dozens of options, we landed on these top-rated choices.

Best Overall

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

4.8
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

Amazon

What We Like
  • Unique gel texture

  • Hydrating ingredients

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

You’d be hard-pressed to find ANY brand, Korean or not, that consistently launches products that sell out at the rapid rate that Glow Recipe does. Their newbies sell out, quite literally, within hours; this is one of the OGs, well-worth all of the hype. The overnight treatment works while you snooze, loaded with hydrating watermelon extract and hyaluronic acid, as well as an AHA blend for gentle exfoliation. The result? Smoother, plumper, bouncier skin. It also feels incredibly luxurious on the skin, with a soft, fruity scent. And it couldn't be any easier to use: just glide an even layer across your skin as the last step in your nightly routine—no need to rinse.

Price at time of publish: $44

Benefits: Smooths, plumps, hydrates | Active Ingredients: Watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 / 2.7 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore

Missha Airy Fit Sheet Mask

Missha-airy-fit-sheet-mask

Walmart

What We Like
  • Feels light on the skin

  • Adheres easily

  • Comes in three varieties

What We Don't Like
  • Not as intense as other options

Prefer to shop for skincare at the drugstore? Don’t miss this wallet-friendly pick, made of, wait for it, rice paper. As compared to many other sheet masks, it’s super thin and extremely lightweight, adheres well, and feels virtually undetectable on the skin. It also comes in three variants, so there are choices for whatever your skin needs. Rough, dry skin feels softer and smoother after regular use.

Price at time of publish: $1 for 1 mask

Benefits: Softens, hydrates | Active Ingredients: Arginine, licorice root extract, allantoin | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 count | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Brightening

Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Sleep Mask

4.8
Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Sleep Mask

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Boosts radiance in dull skin

  • Formulated with multiple actives

  • Can be left on overnight

What We Don't Like
  • Can feel sticky

This sleeping mask from buzzy brand Saturday Skin is packed with powerful active ingredients, like vitamin C, vitamin E, niacinamide, and vitamin A (retinol), so that you wake up with radiant, hydrated skin. It gets its high vitamin C content comes from the yuzu fruit in the formula, giving it anti-aging and skin protective properties. We love that it can just be applied after your night moisturizer and doesn't have to be rinsed—an easy step to take for overall brighter and more nourished skin.

Price at time of publish: $29

Benefits: Brightens, hydrates | Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, yuzu, vitamin E, vitamin C | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Runner-Up, Best Brightening

Mediheal Vita Lightbeam Essential Mask Ex

Essential
What We Like
  • Makes skin look radiant

  • Helps fade dark spots

  • Adheres easily

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging could be improved

“I love the Mediheal line of sheet masks, which stay moist for a long time and stick well to the skin’s surface,” says Chang. This one, in particular, is one of her favorites, a cellulose mask that contains vitamin C and salix alba (white willow bark) extract to brighten and nourish the skin, she says.

Price at time of publish: $2

Benefits: Boosts radiance | Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, vitamin C, white willow bark | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 count | Cruelty-Free: Yes

For this or any sheet mask for that matter, Chang recommends applying any remaining liquid in the pack to your neck, chest, and arms.

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

Mediheal Tea Tree Essential Healing Solution Mask Sheet

Mediheal-tea-tree-essential-healing-solution-mask-sheet

Sokoglam

What We Like
  • Calms redness

  • Effective formula

  • Value pack contains 5 or 10 masks

What We Don't Like
  • A little watery

Per our point above, Chang also recommends this option from Mediheal. “It’s ideal for red, inflamed, or acne-prone skin,” she says, citing the use of ingredients such as naturally antibacterial tea tree oil and extra-soothing, healing centella asiatica. The formula is hydrating as well and touts protective antioxidants also. Though it contains actives that are tough on breakouts, the formula is balanced with soothing ingredients to be gentle on skin.

Price at time of publish: $10

Benefits: Calms acne and redness | Active Ingredients: Tea tree oil, willow bark | Skin Type: Oily, acne-prone | Size: 5 / 10 count | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Customizable

Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask

Innisfree-my-real-squeeze-mask

Us.innisfree

What We Like
  • Feels soothing on skin

  • Biodegradable

  • Softens skin

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

No matter what your complexion concern may be, this brand makes a mask for it. “The 100%, naturally-derived cellulose sheet masks come with a variety of ingredients to suit your skin needs,” says Chang, who adds that tea tree (for purifying), aloe (for soothing), and manuka honey (for moisturizing) are some of her top picks.

Price at time of publish: $2

Benefits: Softens, hydrates | Active Ingredients: Centella asiatica, fig extract | Skin Type: Dry, combination | Size: 1 count | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Overnight

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

4.5
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

Laneige

What We Like
  • Quick results

  • Targets multiple concerns

  • Good value

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

It may be the overnight lip mask from this brand that gets the most buzz, but don’t sleep on (pun intended) this face mask. The gel-based mask is like a tall glass of water for your skin, packed with hyaluronic acid and water infused with moisture-maximizing minerals. On top of all of that, it also uses an exclusive technology to trap all of this hydration in your skin for up to eight hours, AKA while you get a good night’s rest.

Price at time of publish: $32

Benefits: Softens, hydrates | Active Ingredients: Probiotic complex, squalane | Skin Type: Balanced, dry | Size: 2.3 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Soothing

Nature Republic Real Nature Aloe Mask Sheet

Nature-republic-real-nature-aloe-mask-sheet

Nature-republic

What We Like
  • Feels soothing on the skin

  • Hydrating formula

  • Softens skin

What We Don't Like
  • A little expensive per ounce

As the name suggests, a hefty dose of aloe is the start of the show in this sheet mask, another one of Chang’s picks. She says the mask not only helps soothe the skin but also provides long-lasting hydration, and points out that the brand also has a ton of different options that offer everything from more lightweight hydration to heavier moisture.

Price at time of publish: $2

Benefits: Softens, hydrates | Active Ingredients: Aloe leaf extract, hyaluronic acid, hydrolyzed collagen | Skin Type: Balanced, dry | Size: 1 count | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Purifying

innisfree Volcanic AHA Pore Clearing Clay Mask

4.9
innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask

Sephora

What We Like
  • Exfoliating benefits

  • Fragrance-free

  • Non-drying

What We Don't Like
  • Can leave residue behind

Clogged pores don’t stand a chance against this purifying mask, a favorite of Byrdie Editorial & Strategy Director Kathryn Vandervalk. This mask is great for absorbing excess sebum. Couple volcanic lava and exfoliating lactic acid, and you’ve got yourself a great formula to reach for when you want to give your skin an extra deep clean.

Price at time of publish: $16

Benefits: Cleanses, exfoliates | Active Ingredients: Jeju volcanic clusters, lactic acid | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

innisfree super volcanic clusters pore clearing clay mask

Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

Best Skin Strengthening

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Skin Barrier Moisturizing Mask

Dr-jart--ceramidin-skin-barrier-moisturizing-mask

Sephora

What We Like
  • Feels soothing on the skin

  • Calms redness

  • Won't irritate sensitive skin

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

We think this sounds more like a piece of military armor than skincare, but it’s aptly named, given the protective benefits it offers. The focus is on boosting your skin barrier, the secret to keeping moisture locked in and irritants locked out. At work are ceramides, which you’ve likely heard of before, as well as panthenol, a soothing and moisturizing ingredient that also helps support the skin barrier. The point being, this pick is ideal for those with sensitive, compromised complexions.

Price at time of publish: $9

Benefits: Softens, hydrates | Active Ingredients: Ceramides, panthenol, aloe vera | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 count | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Value

The Face Shop Facial Mask Sheets

The-face-shop-facial-mask-sheets

Amazon

What We Like
  • Targets multiple concerns

  • Adheres easily

  • Feels light on the skin

What We Don't Like
  • A little sticky

Ringing in at just slightly over a dollar apiece, this set of 15 different masks is a great way to get your hands (erm, face) on some great K-beauty goods. Each is centered around a different natural ingredient that offers a unique benefit; think olive for moisturizing, kelp for purifying... you get the picture. They consistently pull in rave reviews with shoppers talking about how well they work (and how affordable they are).

Price at time of publish: $29 (pack of 15)

Benefits: Moisturizes, purifies | Active Ingredients: Varies | Skin Type: All | Size: 15 count | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Patch

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

4.8
cosrx-acne-pimple-master-patch-at-amazon

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easily storable packaging

  • Multiple patch sizes

  • Works fast

What We Don't Like
  • Patches aren't individually packaged

Okay, so it may not technically be a mask, but this stick-on patch from Korean mainstay COSRX is next-level good at significantly reducing the look of big ol’ red pimples—overnight. To Chang’s point of K-beauty products, not irritating skin, it doesn’t contain any harsh actives. Instead, the hydrocolloid bandage covers the skin, protecting the blemish from any additional bacteria and speeding up the time in which the skin can heal itself.

Price at time of publish: $6

Benefits: Calms acne and redness | Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid bandage | Skin Type: Acne-prone | Size: 24 count | Cruelty-Free: Yes

cosrx acne pimple master patch

Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

Best for Dark Spots

CosRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

3.9
CosRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

Amazon

What We Like
  • Hydrating formula

  • Exfoliates

  • A little goes a long way

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for acne-prone skin

We love waking up to flake-free, smooth skin. Dry, rough skin needs extra exfoliation and hydration, and this overnight treatment featuring rice extract delivers both. It also contains niacinamide to help with skin cell turnover, a plus if you have hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone. It's a great choice if you want your skin to feel nourished without being greasy. This product sinks into skin without leaving a noticeable residue.

Price at time of publish: $18

Benefits: Exfoliates, hydrates | Active Ingredients: Rice extract, niacinamide | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 2 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Multipurpose

Then I Met You Rosé Resurfacing Facial Mask

4.3
Then I Met You Rosé Resurfacing Facial Mask

Soko Glam

What We Like
  • Works quickly

  • Pretty packaging

  • Skin feels cleansed

What We Don't Like
  • Can be strong for sensitive skin

While we're all for a product that works overnight, it's nice to get results quickly, too. Then I Met You's Rosé Resurfacing Mask works in 15 minutes to reveal glowier, clearer skin. Glycolic and lactic acids work together with resveratrol and Damask rose petals to soften and brighten skin, as well as tone, resurface, and strengthen its barrier. So although the price is a bit steep, this product fulfills several skincare needs. Be aware this will tingle upon application, so if your skin is sensitive, you might want to test it out with just a dab or find a gentler option. This is a great pick if you have textured skin or roughness and uneven tone you'd like to even out.

Price at time of publish: $56

Benefits: Exfoliates, resurfaces | Active Ingredients: 6% glycolic and lactic acids | Skin Type: Combination | Size: 1.76 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Dry Skin

Peach Slices Snail Rescue Intensive Wash-Off Jelly Mask

4.3
Peach Slices Snail Rescue Intensive Wash-Off Jelly Mask

Ulta

What We Like
  • Gives the skin a radiant glow

  • Can be used multiple times a week

  • Lightweight formula

What We Don't Like
  • Slimy texture

Formulated with 95% snail mucin—AKA one of the most popular ingredients in K-beauty—this rinse-off mask is able to deeply hydrate rough, dry complexions for skin that feels soft and smooth to the touch. With consistent use, you'll notice that your skin is more hydrated and healthy, as well as brighter and more even (thanks to the licorice root in the formula). To use, just apply for 15 minutes and then rinse for a complexion that looks nourished and glowy.

Price at time of publish: $17

Benefits: Hydrates, exfoliates | Active Ingredients: Snail mucin, hyaluronic acid, licorice root extract | Skin Type: All | Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

A K-beauty mask is one of the easiest ways to experience all the benefits of Korean skincare. The Glow Recipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask is our overall top pick, an overnight treatment that hydrates and gently exfoliates. If you want to try the skincare trend without spending a lot, try Missha Airy Fit Sheet Mask, a lightweight option that comes in multiple varieties to address skin concerns like dryness and redness.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Y. Claire Chang is a board-certified and fellowship-trained cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. Dr. Chang is an expert in the skin of color and Asian beauty trends, and she frequently travels back and forth from Asia to bring the latest cosmetic trends to her patients.

What to Look for in a K-Beauty Face Mask

Consider your skin’s needs

Chang says the most important thing is to think about what your skin needs and aligning that with a mask that contains an ingredient to help you reach those goals. Many K-beauty masks center around one or two key ingredients that are meant to do particular things, and as such are best for certain skin types. For example, look for vitamin C if you want brighter skin, tea tree if you’re oily or acne-prone, and aloe for soothing. Mediheal Viita Lightbeam Essential Mask contains vitamin C and addresses dull skin. You'll also find the goal of many K-beauty masks is to add hydration to achieve the coveted glass skin look. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which you'll find in Nature Republic's Real Nature Aloe Mask Sheet.

The material of the mask

Many K-beauty masks are sheet masks, but, setting aside ingredients for a second, the material of the mask itself, matters, too, says Chang. “Cotton masks tend to be non-irritating and provide rich moisture. Hydrogel masks have a cooling effect but may rip easily, while cellulose masks adhere well to the skin, allowing its ingredients to absorb better,” she explains. 

Consider your skin's sensitivity

While many sheet and traditional masks are designed to be gentle on the skin, others contain potent actives that may not work for sensitive skin. If your skin is reactive and prone to redness, you might want to avoid products that contain exfoliating acids and essential oils, for example, and go with a soothing, hydrating option. Many options on this list are suitable for sensitive skin, like Laneige's Water Sleeping Mask, a water-based option.

FAQ
  • Is it okay to use K-beauty face masks everyday?

    It depends on the type of mask you use. A K-beauty face mask with hydrating and nourishing ingredients (think aloe, hyaluronic acid, etc.) can be used every day if you feel like indulging yourself or your skin needs some extra TLC. However, if you're using an exfoliating mask (think AHAs, BHAs, etc.), then it's best to only use those moderately to avoid over-exfoliation. If your skin is especially sensitive and reactive, you might want to do a patch test first and work up to regular usage as your skin's tolerance gradually increases.

  • Should you wash your face after using a K-beauty face mask?

    In short, no. Most masks are made to use after cleansing, and you can continue with your skincare routine afterward. Plus, you don't want to wash away the benefits the mask provided. However, some masks are made to wash off with warm water (think purifying masks, like clay or charcoal). If you're unsure, check the product directions. These will give you the recommended time to leave on the mask and what to do afterward.

  • When should you use a K-beauty face mask?

    Generally speaking, you can apply a K-beauty face mask after cleansing your skin. This can be either in your morning routine or evening routine. Some opt to apply their masks after they shower since the steam can soften pores and allow your skin to better absorb the product.

  • What is Korean glass skin?

    Glass skin was coined to mean the dewy, fresh, glass-like appearance of skin after it's been pampered and properly moisturized, typically with a multi-step skincare regime. While there's plenty of shine and bounce, glass skin is meant to look fresh and clean, not oily and greasy.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. While she admittedly will never be able to commit to a 10-step K-beauty skincare routine, she can definitely get down with working K-beauty masks into her M.O.

Updated by Shannon Stubbs
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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