Beauty-obsessed millennials can easily divide their lives into two chapters: pre and post the day they discovered the wonders of effective and affordable Korean beauty products. Sure, there was life before Korean beauty skincare when designer and drugstore makeup products took over your bathroom cabinets, bags, and vanities — but was anything as exciting as the day you discovered charcoal sponges, bubble masks, and rice water brightening cleansers?!
K-beauty stormed the scene years ago, but remains one of the most exciting categories of beauty. Many Korean brands continually update their lines and aren't afraid to push the envelope with creative, innovative products we never knew we needed. From Korean pore minimizing cleansing balms to weird, but genius K-beauty products like lipsticks infused with flowers and serums rich with snail discharge, Korean beauty isn't bound by the limits of conventionality and caters to a millennial's desire for quality, highly personalized, and effective products that multitask and get the job done.
And, of course, in a world filled with luxury, prohibitively expensive skincare and beauty, it's a treat to know many K-beauty goodies won't break the bank.
These 22 genius Korean beauty products are trending with millennials for two big reasons: they're affordable — and actually work.
1A Peptide-Rich Mask That Gives New Meaning To 'Beauty Sleep'
When the only things standing between your skin and good-for-your-skin mask treatments are a crazy work schedule, family and friend obligations, and about a million other commitments, the solution is simple: get beautiful while you sleep. This sleeping mask is rich in peptides that stimulate cell turnover and hydrating ingredients like rosehip seed oil, green coffee bean oil, and malvaceae lipid extract. Apply the mask over your night cream and eye cream and wash it off in the morning. Reviewers say the effect is immediate and that it gives you baby-soft skin, fresher-looking skin.
2A Fruit-Colored Water Stain For Lips And Cheeks
This cherry-tinted water stain can be used to create gradient colored lips, but you can also make it work double-time as a super natural-looking blush that provides a healthy flush to cheeks. Customers rave about how incredibly pigmented they are and how all three shades — cherry, peach, and strawberry — work on a variety of skin tones.
5A Bold, Drink-Proof Lip Stain
Some lipstick are bold, lasting, and feel like they weigh a million pounds on your lips. Others are light and lovely, but seem to vanish before your first morning coffee. Peripera Peri's Ink is that rare combination of lightweight texture and vivid, highly pigmented color — but the real draw here is that they are waterproof and smudgeproof. Yep, I know lots of other lipsticks make that same claim, but reviewers swear this is the real deal — and the proof is the special ink remover that comes with each order.
3Brow Makeup That Lasts For Days On End
The worst thing about applying brow makeup is finally mastering the perfect brow, only to have to wipe it off that night. Clio's tinted tattoo eyebrow pen and mascara is genius because, instead of creating dark and obvious lines, it delivers a light tint that looks natural and stays in place for days. No, seriously — up to 7 days! Reviewers say it's simple to apply and that it stays put, even while you're washing your face. The brow mascara is waterproof and helps make brows look thicker and more elegant. It truly is the perfect brow tool.
4A Cult-Favorite Beauty Water Made From Flowers And Fruits
This well-loved Beauty Water will clean the skin and prepare it for moisturizer, more cleansing, or even your makeup routine. Made with lavender water, rose water, papaya extract, and exfoliating willow bark, it's good for any skin type. Reviewers are falling fast for the stuff: "AMAZING! I mean have you read the ingredients?? This has improved my skin SO MUCH and I'm glowing! Forever a staple in my skincare routine."
6A Serum That Makes Lashes And Brows Thicker & Stronger
Lash serums are not new — but there's still a great deal of skepticism out there about whether they actually work. Reviewers were shocked to find that Etude House My Lash Serum, which costs less than a fancy latté, truly makes brows and lashes stronger and adds major volume to both areas. True, the jury is still out on whether this product strengthens lashes so they don't fall out as much, actually makes them grow, or does a little of both — but does it matter? Apply it to brows and lashes before bed at night and then again under mascara and brow makeup.
7Remove Dead Foot Skin With Fruit Extracts
As sandal weather approaches, the temptation to scrub and file our calluses until our poor feet are sore and irritated is high — but there's no need to succumb to this torture. TONYMOLY super peeling liquid is a foot peel rich with fruit extracts that naturally exfoliate skin, removing dead skin cells and leaving you with super-soft baby feet. It doesn't contain artificial dyes, synthetic fragrances, or parabens.
Reviewers call it a painless treatment that requires nothing more from you then to soak your feet, apply the plastic booties, leave them on for an hour or so while you binge-watch your favorite shows, and then be patient and wait a few days. The peeling process will leave you amazed — and satisfied as you see your new, silky, sandal-loving feet.
8Your Golden Ticket To Brighter Eyes
Apply these patches, which are infused with moisturizing colloidal gold, to the skin under your eyes and let them work their magic for 20-30 minutes before removing them. Tired eyes will look smoother and brighter and skin will look tighter, diminishing the appearance of fine lines. Reviewers who say they wake up with puffy eyes swear by these patches, which make them look more well rested. These patches can also be placed on dry spots and areas that can use a little more hydration and TLC.
9Cleanse Your Pores With Bamboo Carbon
The activated bamboo carbon in this konjac sponge works to remove excess oil and deep clean pores for a clearer, cleaner complexion. Acne-prone and sensitive skin types will benefit greatly from this plant-based sponge, which is free of chemicals, pH balanced, and can be used alone or with your cleanser. Reviewers say this sponge controls oil production, is effective on adult acne and prevents breakouts, and gently exfoliates skin without feeling too harsh.
10A Sunscreen That Leaves Your Skin Silky Smooth
This thin, lightweight physical sunscreen feels silky smooth on the skin and absorbs quickly, drying to a soft matte finish. It contains a zinc oxide base and soothing plant extracts. Reviewers with oily skin say a little product goes a long way and that this milk-like formula never feels greasy or leaves a white residue behind. It isn’t sticky, has a light floral scent, and you can apply makeup to your face immediately after an application.
11Hydrate And Heal Dry, Damaged Hair With An Argan Oil Mask
This hair mask treatment nourishes dry, damaged hair and leaves it smooth and shiny. The key ingredients in this product are argan oil and 18 amino acids, proteins, and peptides such as vitamin E and squalene. All hair types, including fine hair, benefit from this lightweight serum, which is applied after shampoo and left on for just five minutes. Reviewers say this helps make their hair softer, glossier, and less prone to frizz and flyaways.
12Clear Up Breakouts And Blackheads With Pimple Pads
The natural BHA and Salix AlaBark extract in these daily pads remove excess sebum and help clear up acne and prevent future breakouts. Since this product doesn’t contain drying acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, reviewers with sensitive skin say they are able to use these on a daily basis without irritation. One side of the pad is texturized for light exfoliation and most reviewers agree that these really work.
13Make Blackheads Vanish With Volcanic Ash
If it's an ingredient that can remove blackheads and prevent new ones from forming, count me in — even if it's the volcanic ash found in this amazing Innisfree clay mask. One reviewer said "nothing" clears our her pores like this deep cleansing mask, which exfoliates, tightens pores, and removes blackhead-causing sebum. And other reviewers agree: it dries quickly, washes easily, makes skin look instantly cleaner and brighter, and could make your pore strip regimen a thing of the past.
14A Portable Rose Cleansing Stick That Works Like Magic
Talk about convenient. Tote this hypoallergenic cleansing stick, made with fermented rose extracts, everywhere you go and simply swipe over skin to remove dirt, oil, and even makeup. It's often used as step two in the double-cleansing method that begins with an oil-based cleanser and reviewers rave about its ability to work wonders on all skin types, from dry to acne-prone — no to mention, it's great for travel!
15Get To The Root Of Your Blackhead Problem With This Power Liquid
Stubborn blackheads need all of the help they can get. This treatment, which you use after cleansing skin and before serums and moisturizers — deep cleans, removes excess sebum, and gets to the root of blackhead problems. It contains natural BHA and white willow bark water and is completely free of parabens and artificial colors and fragrances. In addition to killing the bacteria that causes blackheads, this keeps skin hydrated and protected.
16A Carbonated Mud Mask That Bubbles On Your Face
What do you get when you combine mud and carbonated water? This fun carbonated bubble clay mask that actually bubbles up on your face like a super-cool science experiment. But there's more to this pore-cleaning mask than bubbles: it contains green tea, charcoal powder extract, and pomegranate to remove excess sebum and reduce the appearance of pores. Reviewers say the carbonation feels soothing and that this mask leaves feeling smoother.
17A Silky-Smooth Powder Foundation That Can Calm Skin
This cushion compact foundation powder by Missha is a star because it's easy to apply with a sponge and has buildable coverage, lasts all day without darkening on the skin, contains SPF 50, and is made with silica-bead powder that absorbs sweat and sebum. Customers rave about its ability to actually add moisture to and calm the skin, thanks to ingredients that include bamboo water and hazel extract.
18Cute Panda Pre-Makeup Eye Prep
Got tired eyes? Join the club — and then join us in applying Panda's Dream Brightening Eye Base over eye cream and under concealer to help brighten under eyes, de-puff, and prep them for way smoother makeup application. Even the most skeptical reviewers say a little goes a long way and that the brightening effect is real.
19This Superfood For Your Skin
Purified water can move right along because the latest and greatest skin-brightening treatments contain broccoli. This moisturizing cream has 77 percent broccoli extract, niacinamide, vitamins A, C, and D — and no purified water, parabens, mineral oil, or artificial colors. Reviewers say it’s very moisturizing and can even help heal inflammation.
20A Must-Have Multi-Purpose Makeup Brush
Instead of purchasing 100 separate makeup brushes for various cosmetic purposes, this multipurpose makeup brush can be used for foundation, eye makeup — almost all makeup, actually. You can swap and replace one brush head for another, and even for a blending sponge, helping you get the most value possible from your purchase.
21A Sweet Solution To Softer Skin
This vegan black sugar scrub gently exfoliates dead skin, helping to prevent blackheads and pimples in the process. It’s made with natural ingredients: black sugar, shea butter, cranberry oil to control oil production, anti-inflammatory andiroba oil, and Vitamin E. And it has absolutely no parabens, alcohol, or artificial colors so it’s safe on sensitive skin.
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