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We have the beauty geniuses of South Korea to thank for a handful of our favorite skincare products; essences and sheet masks are just a few. Known for innovative formulas (snail mucin, anyone?) and striking packaging, Korean beauty products are considered the gold standard for flawless-looking skin damn near everywhere. To kickstart your own K-beauty skincare routine at home, follow our lead.
Here are the top Korean skincare products available stateside.
Best Cleanser: Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser
Double cleansing is one of many skincare trends 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 with a water-based cleanser to make sure your face is completely clean.
Mamonde’s Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser lets you double cleanse in just one step. The oil formula transforms into an airy, creamy foam with water to remove all traces of makeup without drying out the skin. It contains 100% USDA-certified organic damask roses, which are famed for their moisturizing and soothing powers—and of course their fragrance.
Best Sheet Mask: Neogen Pink Cactus Liftmax Knit Mask
One of the most popular beauty staples from Korea is a sheet mask, 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 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% pure vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid) to brighten, even the skin's tone, and fight fine lines. What's more, the formula is infused with 10 anti-aging ingredients to help turn back the clock.
Best Acne Patches: 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 to penetrate deep into the skin to zap zits.
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 Ampoule: 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, soothe, moisturize and improve skin with only 18 ingredients. It’s an ampoule packed with antioxidants like Brazilian Green Propolis, which helps protect the skin from environmental stressors and damage.
Best Hydrogel Mask: Manefit Natural Gift Green Tea Pore Care Sheet Mask
Manefit's Natural Gift Green Tea Pore Care Sheet Mask is infused with whole green tea leaves; 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 that's easily irritated.
Best Toner: The Plant Base Nature Solution Hydrating Bamboo Water
Finding just the right toner can do wonders for all skin types since they balance the skin post-cleansing. The Plant Base’s Nature Solution Hydrating Bamboo Water is made with 86.85% 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 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 Essence: Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment 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 leaves it feeling fresh.