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The American beauty market evolves at the speed of light—hurtling a slew of different trends and innovations that either leave us astounded or stumped. Everything from need-now ingredients (hello, CBD) to beauty tech (skin-scanning apps, anyone?), the market is saturated with trends. While some of them are fleeting—we’re looking at you, vampire facials—one has stood the test of time: Korean skincare. It all started with BB cream, then CC cream, and then suddenly the need for Korean beauty products ballooned. It’s no secret why: As innovative as these products are, they’re also very effective.
From makeup to skincare, keep scrolling for our picks of the best Korean beauty products.
Best Overnight Mask: Laniege Water Sleeping Mask
This hydrating overnight mask gives the term “sleeping beauty” a whole new meaning. Catch some zzz’s while packing on moisture with this smooth, gel mask. It absorbs into the skin almost immediately, delivering much-needed hydration with hydro ionized mineral water—a combo of six minerals, including magnesium and calcium, that are deeply penetrating and provide a long-lasting moisturization. Plus, the mask features ingredients like sandalwood and rose, that calm and soothe your face, while evening primrose softens and brightens.
Read reviews of the best overnight masks that make skin look better by morning.
Best BB Cream: Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++
This fan-favorite BB cream offers medium coverage over blemishes and imperfections while working to even the skin's tone and protect against damaging UV rays. On days when you're not in the mood for foundation, this lightweight BB cream can still help you put your best face forward.
Check out our guide to the best BB creams available for purchase.
Best Mascara: Tony Moly Panda's Dream Smudge Out Mascara
Take your lashes to new heights with this lengthening formula that also provides major volumizing benefits. Just a few sweeps are all you need to add definition, length, volume, and more without smudges or uncomfortable clumps.
Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best mascaras you can buy today.
Best Cleanser: Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Purifying
Using an oil—specifically a non-comedogenic one — is effective in breaking up dirt and makeup, without stripping your skin. When your skin is void of any oils whatsoever, the first thing it does is overly replenish it, resulting in—you guessed it—a total grease fest. To prevent that, this hypoallergenic purifying balm goes on like a rich cream and dissolves into a super silky oil that melts off everything from waterproof eyeliner to liquid lipstick, all while continuing to moisturize the skin.
Read reviews of the best natural face washes your skin will thank you for.
Best Essence: Botanic Farm Rice Ferment First Essence
Essences are a must in the Asian skincare routine. Typically used right before moisturizer, the ultra-light, hydrating liquid preps your skin post-cleansing. Sound like a toner? Not necessarily. A toner removes leftover dirt and oil on the face and dries quickly, whereas essence is creamier in comparison with a higher level of active ingredients to not just clean off the skin but to actually penetrate it and leave skin feeling plump and hydrated. Which is actually what this particular essence does. A powerful combo of fermented rice bran, lactic acid, and licorice root moisturize, exfoliate, and brighten the skin for a beautiful, youthful-looking canvas.
Check out our picks of the best anti-aging essences available online.
Best Exfoliating Mask: Skinfood Wash Off Black Sugar Mask
You can’t beat a budget facial. Made with unrefined black sugar, this naturally exfoliating mask sloughs off dead skin and promotes skin’s circulation for a healthy base. The grainy texture is infused with minerals and vitamins that penetrate the outer layer to transport moisture. A natural humectant, sugar draws moisture in and retains it for supple, soft-to-the-touch skin. The granules work together to decongest clogged pores, encourage new skin cell growth, and decrease excess sebum.
Take a look at the best face exfoliators available now.
Best Moisturizer: Peach & Lily KBeauty Rescue Balm
For those with flaky, patchy skin, this reparative balm is your new best friend. While the texture is rich and creamy, it is quickly absorbed when rubbed into the skin. There’s no mineral oil or petroleum here—instead, sunflower seed oil provides incredible long-lasting hydration, especially to those with severely chapped skin. Perfect for cold weather, the formula rebuilds moisture levels while ceramides strengthen your skin’s barrier.
Best Sheet Mask: SKINRX LAB MadeCera Express Mask
Is your face on the fritz? Give it some much needed TLC with this sheet mask bundle. The microfiber sheets are soaked in an ingredient called madecassoside, a derivative of centella asiatica, a perennial plant that when extracted is packed with amino and fatty acids. The centella is known to quell redness, build collagen, improve circulation, and even stimulate new cell growth. Also known in Asia as gotu kola, this plant’s healing properties are known in ancient Chinese medicine as the longevity herb. But, wait—it gets even better. It also helps heal wounds by restoring antioxidants and strengthening skin.
Interested in reading more reviews? Peep our guide to the best Korean skincare products on the market.