Think you’ve nailed down your Korean-inspired skin care routine? You probably haven’t! While lots of staples in Korean skin care regimens have become popular in the West — essences, BB creams, and sheet masks are all now standard fare over here — some things, like ampoules, are still pretty niche. Rounding out your regimen with the best Korean ampoules will certainly satisfy completists, but these highly concentrated products will also deliver targeted skin care benefits, which is arguably more important.
But first, some semantics: Depending on whom you ask, ampoules can be serums, serums can be ampoules, and semantics don't actually matter. But upon deeper inspection, ampoules can often prove to contain even fewer ingredients than serums, in even higher concentrations, though of course, this isn't a general rule across the board. In short: serums and ampoules work pretty similarly.
Because they’re so potent, ampoules should be treated as, well, treatments: Just use your ampoule whenever your skin is in need of whatever it is that product is designed to deliver, whether that’s clearing up breakouts, fading hyperpigmentation, or restoring hydration, et cetera. You can stop using your ampoule/serum when you see results. The general rule is that it takes 28 days for a new skin care product to take effect, but that window can vary. Also, you might not need to use an ampoule all over your face; rather, you might be better served by using it as a spot treatment wherever you experience redness, breakouts, dullness, or whatever it is you’re trying to see less (or more) of. Otherwise, your ampoule can replace your serum in your typical routine — it’ll go on after cleansing and toning, and before moisturizing.
If you're ready to round out your K-beauty regimen, check out one of the best ampoules from this list, according to what your skin really needs.