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If you can think back to the first Korean skincare product you’ve ever tried, what was it? For me, it was an overnight sleeping mask—scroll down to find out which one (hint: it’s best overall)—and it changed the way I viewed and treated my skin.
“The world of Korean skincare brings a lot of awareness and excitement when it comes to caring for your skin,” says Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in NYC. “It also offers exposure to a variety of ingredients that can give you a glowing complexion.”
The K-beauty market also gave us some of our most popular trends of all time, including sheet masks, BB cream, the 10-step routine, and more. But, like all skincare, regimens, and products should be tailored to each person. “What works one may not work for others, so when building a skincare routine, it’s important to introduce new products slowly to your skin,” says Garshick.
And when it comes to the best Korean skincare products on the market, we’ve rounded them up right here.
Best Overall: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
With a cooling gel texture, this light overnight mask is just what’s needed after a long day. As the last step in your nighttime skincare routine, your skin will quickly drink it up before bed. Plus, the formula will deliver major moisture all throughout the night.
Best Toner: Son & Park Beauty Water
This gentle cleansing water is a cult favorite—and not just because of its chic, minimal packaging. It’s laced with exfoliating papaya extract and calming hazel water to help brighten and smooth your skin. Use it all throughout the day whenever your skin needs a quick refresh.
Best Eye Cream: Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Eye Cream
Star ingredient red ginseng works to strengthen and firm the delicate skin around the eyes while reducing puffiness. Pro tip: Stick your eye cream in the fridge overnight for extra depuffing.
Best Cleansing Balm: Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm
What starts off as a balm quickly turns into an oil as you massage it into your skin. The thick and powerful formula—with ingredients like vitamin E and olive oil—melts makeup and debris. Add warm water to emulsify the product and wash off.
Best Cream Skin: Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer
Streamline your beauty routine with the newest K-beauty trend. “Cream skin combines a toner and moisturizer, so it offers lightweight hydration that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin,” says Garschick. This one is packed with amino acids to boost skin’s barrier. Simply shake the product onto your hands and lightly pat into the skin.
Best Facial Oil: Olivarrier Fluid Oil 100% Squalane
A few words reviewers have used to describe this face oil are soothing, non-greasy, hydrating, and plumping. Plus, its only ingredient is squalene derived from olives. It doesn’t get any cleaner than that.
Best Cushion Compact: AmorePacific Cushion Compact
One of my favorite trends to come from K-beauty is the skincare and makeup hybrid. This compact fits the bill—it provides some serious skincare benefits that hydrate and brighten, while it delivers seamless coverage that looks and feels like your skin.
Best Exfoliating Pads: Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon
Hate to choose between a physical and chemical exfoliation? With these exfoliating pads, you don’t have to. Lactic and glycolic acids provide the chemical exfoliation, while the innovative 3-layer pad delivers the physical component.
Best Brightening Serum: Peach and Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum
This gel texture slides on to give you that coveted “glass skin” complexion—a poreless, clear, and radiant look. A mix of peptides, hyaluronic acid, and peach extract work together to give you firmer, brighter skin.
Best Overnight Mask: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
Garshick gives this mask her stamp of approval. “Not only does it include hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin, but it also contains alpha-hydroxy acids to help exfoliate, so it leaves my skin looking renewed and refreshed,” she says.
Best Face Mist: A'PIEU Pure Pine Bud Moisture Calming Mist
If your skin tends to be irritated or fussy, this gentle, plant-based mist is exactly what you need. It provides a fine, even mist that moisturizes your skin and doesn’t leave it feeling dry. Use it in addition to or in place of toner within your skincare routine.
Best Ampoule: MISSHA Time Revolution Night Repair Probio Ampoule
An amplified version of a serum, ampoules contain higher concentrations of active ingredients. This one in particular contains 10 probiotics that improve the look of wrinkles, strengthens skin’s elasticity, and smooths skin’s texture.
Best Makeup Primer: Laneige Glowy Makeup Serum
Here’s another hybrid to fall in love with. It works as both a hydrating serum and lightweight primer to repair dullness and dryness. Smooth over skin right before you apply makeup.
Best Lip Mask: TONYMOLY Kiss Kiss Lovely Lip Patch
“It’s important to remember to take care of your lips, and this patch definitely emphasizes that,” says Garshick. Infused with vitamin C, strawberry extract, and collagen, this super cute lip mask helps to soften and plump your lips. Apply after cleansing and remove after 30 minutes for a healthy pout.