Last Saturday, some of Korean Beauty's top experts in the industry gathered at KCON LA to discuss the ins and outs of skincare regimens, essential beauty products, and hot makeup trends. From rubber masks to lip tints, panelists Christine Chang and Sarah Lee of Glow Recipe, Charlotte Cho of Soko Glam, and YouTuber Sunny divulged all their secrets for achieving a glowing complexion, and let the audience in on what Korean beauty products we should all have in our arsenal. It might seem like an intimidating beauty scene to dive into, but with this list of beauty must-haves, you'll be ready—and radiant—in no time.
Over the last few years, Korean beauty has completely dominated the skincare and makeup scene, thanks to the rise in popularity of the no-makeup makeup trend, which can be found on the faces of models across fashion's runways and beauty editorials. As a result, taking care of our complexion has become a huge priority, no matter the age. That's where the world of K-beauty enters the scene. Previously, the cosmetics industry turned to Paris and Japan for skincare trends and product knowledge, but over the last decade, the focus has been on Korea, according to Glowrecipe's Chang and Lee.
If you don't believe me (or the hype), the proof is in the pudding. Take a look at any of Korea's top beauty vloggers, models, or celebs (see: Irene Kim). You'll find that their skin will speak for themselves: flawless, pristine visages that look so perfect, it's almost unreal. But the good news, ladies, is that it's not! All it takes for a glowing, dewy complexion is consistency, patience, and well, in this case, a handful of kick-ass Korean beauty products.
Here are 8 Korean beauty must-haves that the experts swear by.
Christine Chang, Glowrecipe
Chang considers ampoules a must in her beauty routine. If you're not familiar with ampoules, think of them as a higher-concentrated serum. The particular ampoule Chang recommends is by LJH, and contains 50% Propolis extract and 20% Multi-vitamins. In other words, lots of good stuff. Not only will it help you achieve a smooth and soft glow, it will revitalize tired skin while toning and smoothing your complexion.
You've probably already heard of or used sheet masks, but more recently, beauty-obsessed K-beauty lovers, like Chang, prefer next generation sheet masks that are made with hydro-gel and natural materials. They're easier to wear and are made for all skin types. A win-win!
Sarah Lee, Glowrecipe
If you don't have a facial mist in your makeup bag, Lee recommends you do yourself a favor and grab one. Facial mists, like this hybrid mist and toner from LJH, is a quick and healthy way to refresh, hydrate, tighten, and protect your skin.
The latest innovation to hit the face mask world are rubber masks. Lee says that the dense rubber, which can be found in Lindsay's mess-free modeling rubber masks packs, helps to seal in minerals into the skin, leaving it smooth, clear, and oh-so-soft. Plus, it's super fun to use. Make a girls' night in out of it (mask and wine night is the best night!).
Charlotte Cho, Sokoglam
Charlotte Cho bets you could find this product in every single Korean girl's purse or makeup bag, because it's that good. IOPE's sponge-soaked cushion compact provides medium-coverage foundation that evens out your skin tone and covers up blemishes. Oh, and it's good for your skin, too, thanks to Vitamin B5, Vitamin E derivatives, Vitamin P, and mineral water. How could you resist?
If you're a newbie to K-beauty, sheet masks are a great place to start (and also an easy way to get hooked, so beware). Cho credits sheet masks as the reason why Korean women have such radiant, blemish-free skin.
Sunny, "Sunny's Channel"
Sunny says she can't live without her BB cushion compact (she used it in her tutorial transformation into a K-pop star) and here's why: they're able to do it all—cool, refresh, prevent shine, and provide SPF 50.
Sunny believes lip tints are definite must-haves because of their ability to stain lips while also hydrating them. Wear one coat for a sweet, natural look or apply a few extra layers for a bold lip.
Image: Courtesy of CJ E&M America; Courtesy of Brands