K-beauty was once a novelty in the American shopping space, but has grown into an expansive category with so many options, that shopping it can prove overwhelming to the handful of shoppers who still haven’t dabbled in it. The demand for Korean beauty products might seem relatively new, but some of the category’s brands have actually been around for decades. One in particular, Laneige, known for its focus on hydration, just so happens to be an ideal place to start for K-beauty newbies—not to mention a source of products that fit right into any routine, whether it has 10 steps or two.
Founded: Laneige was created by the AmorePacific Group in 1994
Based In: Seoul, South Korea
Best Known For: Its “water science” and water complexes that have established the brand as a skin-hydration expert.
Most Popular Product: Lip Sleeping Mask, Water Sleeping Mask
Fun Fact: Although it’s a Korean brand, the name Laneige comes from la neige in French, which means "the snow."
Other Brands You’ll Love: Innisfree, Glow Recipe, Belif
In the more than a quarter of a century that Laneige has been around, its mission has remained the same: making the most of water and the science surrounding it to effectively (and impressively) address any skin concern, whether that’s dullness, excess oil, or—as you might have guessed—dehydration. “We are hydration experts,” says Michelle Shieh, Scientific Communications Manager of AmorePacific US, Laneige’s skincare-titan parent company. “Laneige specializes in water science and believes that hydrated skin is the foundation to happy, luminous skin."
With its years of research and development on hydration mechanisms, Shieh adds, Laneige’s products are the result of advanced skin research and cutting-edge innovations. “Our products are powered by advanced water science and formulated with efficacious ingredients to deliver noticeable results to the skin.”
This is where the brand’s Advanced Water Complexes come into play. There’s the Hydro-Ionized Mineral Water formulated with stabilized minerals like zinc, magnesium, and manganese to help skin look smoother and more toned; the White Tea Leaf Water extracted by a cold-brew process for the ideal amino acid content to strengthen skin's moisture barrier; and the Green Mineral Water, which infuses low-temperature deep-sea water with Brussels sprout, artichoke, and lima bean extracts for long-lasting hydration.
In other words, Laneige really knows water and how to make it work for your skin. And because every imaginable skin type needs hydration, there truly is something for everyone in the Laneige line. Ahead, discover the best Laneige products that have gone above and beyond earning their fan-favorite statuses.
Lip Sleeping Mask
Easily Laneige’s most recognizable product, the award-winning Lip Sleeping Mask has become one of the best-selling lip treatments at Sephora, thanks in part to its fans enthusiastically refusing to use it only as directed. Intended as an overnight mask, the moisture-locking formula features an antioxidant-rich vitamin C blend that’s just too good to not wear as a daytime lip balm in addition to a nighttime dryness remedy. After the original berry version became a runaway hit, Laneige launched a slew of additional flavors, including vanilla, peach iced tea, and apple lime, all house in irresistible candy-colored pots.
Water Sleeping Mask
Consider this the full-face version of the Lip Sleeping Mask, though the texture is more of a lightweight gel-cream than a balm. Shieh says it’s a perfect pick for Laneige first-timers looking to give their existing nighttime skincare regimen an easy and effective upgrade. “Applied at night before going to bed, it helps lock in moisture and deliver hydration throughout the night,” she says of the mineral rich, antioxidant-infused formula. This is especially true if you apply it atop your favorite night cream as the last step to really send your skin the message that it’s getting moisturized.
Dullness is no match for this daily moisturizer, a personal favorite of Shieh’s. “It not only has the Laneige-quality hydration that we are known for, but it also has the brightening benefits of a vitamin C serum built in with the addition of 8.5 percent vitamin C derivative EAE,” she tells us, referring to ethyl ascorbic acid. Furthermore, “It has a cushiony, creamy texture that is lightweight and glides beautifully on the skin,” not to mention it visibly—and quickly—hydrates and softens.
Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer
Name any other product that can legitimately call itself both a toner and a moisturizer—we’ll wait. This brilliant hybrid delivers the kind of moisture you’d expect from a thick cream, but in a more-than-lightweight liquid form. And not just any liquid form, but one with the freshening, prepping qualities of a toner to boot. Its white tea leaf water is an amino-acid powerhouse, so you can expect it to overachieve in the barrier-strengthening department, too.
Multi Deep-Clean Cleanser
The “deep-clean” experience this cleanser promises is actually so much more than just a face-washing session. In addition to efficiently removing makeup and dirt of all kinds (peace out, environmental ickiness that you can’t even see), it gently exfoliates in two ways to ensure more than just a superficial cleanse. Cellulose beads clear away dulling dead skin cells, and papain enzymes make excess sebum disappear. Skin is left super-fresh and, thanks to blueberry extract, supple and well-protected from free radicals, too.
Cica Sleeping Mask
When soothing your sensitive skin is just as important to you as moisturizing it, the Cica Sleep Mask is the overnight option on which to rely. Instead of the usual type of tigergrass most cica-centric products contain, this before-bed treatment features a proprietary fermented forest yeast extract for next-level calming and redness-reducing power while you sleep. And with the help of squalane, glycerin, and shea butter, it’s a no-fail moisturizing formula as well.
Squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene. It is a lipid that is naturally found in the skin and secreted by the sebaceous glands. It calms inflammation, supports the outer skin barrier, and works well with actives like retinol.
Glowy Makeup Serum
Stunning skin and gorgeous makeup go hand-in-hand, so it’s no surprise that Laneige makes a few crossover products—skincare-meets-makeup hybrids that make achieving complexion perfection all the more simple. Glowy Makeup Serum is the prime example, literally. It’s more or less a makeup primer, but with ample skin benefits. Its diamond powder helps skin look both smoother and more radiant while helping your foundation and concealer stay put longer. All the while, ceramides ensure an ideal oil balance while holding onto hydration.