There's no shortage of exfoliators out there to choose from: after deciding whether to go physical or chemical, prestige or drugstore, you've then got your pick among countless different serums, toners, cleansers, and masks. But for this article's purposes, we'll be focusing on the
best Korean exfoliators for all the K-beauty obsessives out there. And these isn't just a guide to the best exfoliators for your face; you'll find some great picks for your body, too.
But first, some key
exfoliating tips. As with any new exfoliant, you'll want to start off slow — after all, over-exfoliating will undoubtedly do more harm than good. So start by using your new exfoliant once or twice a week, then work your way up to more frequently as your skin starts to adjust. And, as the American Academy of Dermatology suggests, make sure to follow up your exfoliating session with a good moisturizer to prevent dryness (if you're using an exfoliant on your body, any of these great body lotions will do).
Deciding between a
physical vs. chemical exfoliant mainly comes down to personal preference (though you'll of course want to take your skin type into consideration), and you'll find both types of exfoliators on this list, which includes toners and peel pads, cleansers and masks, and even more innovative forms of exfoliators that you probably didn't even know existed.
Now that you're armed with some exfoliating basics, scroll on to shop the best Korean exfoliators you can buy on Amazon right now.
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The Best Korean Exfoliating Toner
If you're looking for a chemical exfoliator you can easily incorproate into your skin care routine,
this cult-favorite toner from Some By Mi is a great choice. Not only does it contain three different types of chemical exfoliants — an AHA, a BHA, and a PHA — but it's also rich in other skin-balancing, pimple-preventing ingredients like tea tree, witch hazel, and papaya extract. To counteract the potentially harsh effects of the exfoliants, there's soothing allantoin and moisturizing glycerin in the formula, as well as niacinamide, an incredible ingredient that helps promote more even-looking skin. Use it after cleansing before moving onto your serums and creams.
The Best Korean Exfoliating Pads
Combining the powers of physical
and chemical exfoliation, Neogen's Bio Peel+ gauze pads are smartly designed with a handy little pocket for your fingers to slip into, making exfoliating about as fuss-free of a process as possible. The pads are dual-textured — one side exfoliates dead skin cells, while the other softens skin and lifts away residue — and soaked in an essence containing vitamin C-rich fruit extracts, as well as lactic and glycolic acids. The immediate result is brighter, smoother skin, while over time, you can expect enhanced clarity and a more even-looking tone. Use them a few times a week, or everyday if your skin can handle it.
The Best Korean Exfoliating Cleanser
Achieve smoother, brighter skin with
this SRB powder cleanser/face scrub — call it what you will. The key ingredient here is rice bran extract, which is rich in tons of good-for-skin nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants, while soothing and hydrating ingredients like allantoin, aloe leaf juice, and collagen round out the pH-balanced formula. The powder cleanser can be mixed with water in the palm of your hand, where it will turn into an ever-so-slightly gritty foam, or applied directly onto wet skin for more heavy-duty exfoliation. And, since you never have to worry about spills or TSA guidelines, it's the perfect cleanser for travel.
The Best Korean Exfoliating Mask
Skinfood's iconic black sugar mask is perhaps one of the
most popular Korean beauty products of all time. Maybe that's because it's one of the rare exfoliators that doesn't strip your skin or leave it feeling dry and tight. Instead, once you wash the mask off (after about 10 to 15 minutes), your skin is left moisturized and soft, thanks to the nutrient-rich black sugar granules in the formula. You can use it on your chest and body, too.
The Best Korean Exfoliator For Combination Skin
These Dr. Oracle exfoliating sticks are ideal for combination skin types because of their clever design. They're shaped like giant Q-tips, which makes them perfect for using on your T-zone — aka, the area where combination skin types tend to get the most oily and congested. This makes it easy to target the parts of your face that need to be exfoliated the most, while leaving the drier parts alone.
Sold in a pack of 10, the sticks are soaked in an essence comprising two powerhouse chemical exfoliators — glycolic and lactic acid — as well as tea tree oil and bamboo water. Use them once a week to help keep your T-zone free of blackheads and whiteheads.
The Best Korean Exfoliating Body Wash
The easiest way to incorproate a body exfoliator into your routine is to swap out your go-to shower gel with a body scrub, like
this one. It contains four different variations of coconut — ground coconut shell, coconut water, coconut oil, and coconut butter — to simultaneously exfoliate and moisturize your skin. Not only will it leave your skin smooth, clear, and soft, but it also smells absolutely delicious.
The Best Korean Exfoliating Cloths
Give yourself a traditional Korean scrub-down — the type you'd get in a Korean
jimjilbang — with these heavy-duty exfoliating washcloths. Sold in affordable packs of eight, they're a staple in spas and households across Korea. They might be simple, but they're the most effective body-exfoliating product I've ever tried.
After soaking your body in a hot bath or shower (the longer you soak, the more effective these will be), rub the cloths in a back and forth motion across your body until you start to see gray rolls of dead skin shed off. It sounds gross, but it's oddly satisfying — and your skin will be left as soft as a baby's. Just to be clear: These are designed for use on your body only.
The Best Korean Exfoliator For Your Feet
If you've got dry skin on your feet and/or rough, cracked heels, you need to try
these TonyMoly foot peels. Each package comes with two sock-like sheet masks drenched in an exfoliating essence made up of salicylic and glycolic acids, argan oil, and lavender and peppermint extracts. Simply apply the sheets to your feet, pour in the essence, seal them shut, and leave them on for a little over an hour. Then, give your feet a rinse and watch as your skin starts to shed off like a snake's within four to six days. It sounds gross, but it's actually super satisfying, especially given how smooth and soft your feet will feel afterwards.