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No country has launched as many beauty trends and skin care crazes as South Korea. We can thank them for sheet masks and doubling cleansing, just to name a couple. Known for innovative formulas and striking packaging, the country doesn’t mess around when it comes to skin care. To start your own K-beauty skin care routine, these are the top Korean skin care products.
Best Overall: Missha First Treatment Essence Mist
Missha is one of the most beloved brands to come out of South Korea, and their First Treatment Essence Mist has racked up plenty of awards. Just a spritz of this fine mist delivers a burst of skin-loving ingredients, including fermented yeast extract to boost skin-cell renewal. Perfect for an afternoon pick me up, it revitalizes skin and freshens you up.
Best Budget: Neogen Pink Cactus Hydramax Knit Mask
One of the most popular beauty staples from Korea is their face masks, and this one is essentially a sweater for your face. The knit mask is made of thick, woven fabric that actually helps the actives penetrate deeper into your skin, plus it feels less slippery than its traditional sheet mask peers. Prickly pear cactus and vitamin C bring on major moisture and brightness in just 20 minutes. It’s also infused with pink algae to strengthen skin, jania rubens algae to calm, and snow lotus flower to smooth fine lines.
Best for Dry, Sensitive Skin: Make P:rem Safe Me Relief Moisture Green Ampoule
Even the most sensitive skin will fall in love with Make P:rem’s Safe Me Relief Moisture Green Ampoule, as it’s designed to heal, sooth, moisturize, and improve skin with only 18 ingredients. It’s packed with antioxidants like Brazilian Green Propolis, which protects from environmental stressors.
Best for Combination Skin: The Plant Base Nature Solution Hydrating Bamboo Water
Finding just the right toner can do wonders for combination skin, since they bring on balance—they can keep excess oil in check while delivering moisture for scaly spots. The Plant Base’s Nature Solution Hydrating Bamboo Water is made with 86.85 percent bamboo water extract to hydrate and protect the skin barrier, plus the multitasking ingredient is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants.
It has ECOCERT certified organic ingredients and is also infused with 15 natural oils, including sunflower seed oil and olive, to smooth, moisturize and deliver anti-aging perks. The dual-layer formula (be sure to shake it up first to mix and activate the oils and water!) forms an oil barrier over the skin to prevent future moisture loss.
Best for Acne Prone Skin: Acropass Trouble Cure
If pimple patches are your go-to for treating breakouts, then you’ll love Acropass’ Trouble Cure, which basically takes them to the next level. These patches use microneedling technology to allow ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to penetrate deep into the skin to zap that zit faster. They’re even strong enough to heal cystic acne, which can be notoriously tough to treat.
The system works in two steps: First sanitize and treat the pimple with a pad with salicylic acid and tea tree leaf oil, then apply the patch directly to the blemish. Each microneedle on the patch is slimmer than one-third the width of a hair, so it’s completely painless.
Best for Pores: Manefit Natural Gift Green Tea Pore Care Sheet Mask
Maneft is Soko Glam’s top selling sheet mask brand, so you know it’s good. Their Natural Gift Green Tea Pore Care Sheet Mask is infused with whole green tea leaves to bring the highest quality ingredient, and the natural antioxidant works to calm redness and inflammation, and give a gorgeous glow. The cooling hydrogel mask is especially great for acne-prone skin.
Best Serum: Liz K First C Pure Vitamin C Total Care Serum
The praises of vitamin C simply can’t be sung enough. Liz K’s First C Pure Vitamin C Total Care Serum contains 13 percent pure vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid) to brighten, even skin tone, and fight fine lines. The formula is infused with 10 anti-aging ingredients, including green tea and mushroom, to majorly turn back the clock.
Best Double Cleanse: Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser
Double cleansing is one of many skin care crazes to come out of Korea. The practice entails cleansing your face twice: first with an oil-based cleanser to break down any makeup and remove excess oils and dirt, and then second with a water-based cleanser to make sure your face is completely purified.
Mamonde’s Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser lets you do the double cleanse in just one step. The oil formula transforms into an airy, cream foam with water to remove all makeup without drying out skin. It’s contains 100% USDA-certified organic damask roses, which are famed for their moisturizing and soothing powers—and of course their fragrance.
Our writers spent 3.5 hours researching the most popular Korean skin care products on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 35 different Korean skin care products overall, screened options from 30 different brands and manufacturers, read over 40 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 15 of the products themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.