The 9 Best-Selling Korean Skin Care Products
It's no secret that many of the best, most innovative skin care products come from Korea. And with the growing K-beauty marketplace in the United States — even stores like Sephora and Urban Outfitters now boast impressive K-beauty sections — getting your hands on these imported products is easier than ever. But for the most expansive selection of best-selling Korean skin care products, Amazon is where it's at.
Whether you're just getting into Korean beauty or you're a seasoned ampoule expert on the hunt for some new goodies, ahead, you'll find eight of the most popular (and most effective) Korean skin care products on the market: sheet masks, serums, exfoliators, et cetera. While these products all come highly recommended by beauty bloggers, devoted Redditors, and yours truly, they also boast hundreds of Amazon reviews vouching for their excellence. And though it's hard to generalize a beauty product as the overall "best," since effectiveness varies so much from person to person, all of the formulas on this list have been chosen for being suitable for every skin type.
From red wine-soaked peel pads to a cult-favorite essence made with snail mucin, scroll on to discover nine powerhouse Korean beauty products — listed in the order you'd use them — that'll revolutionize your skin care game.
1. Best Korean Clay Mask
Made from volcanic ash sourced on the Korean Island of Jeju, this creamy clay mask is surprisingly powerful when it comes to detoxifying. In addition to clearing out pores, soaking up shine, and gently exfoliating, it also helps brighten and even out skin tone.
One reviewer says, "This mask is to die for ... Very effective on acne, clears up my skin from blemishes and leaves it feel fresh and squeaky clean." Another fan calls it the "Best thing I've done to my face."
2. Best Korean Sheet Mask
A classic: TonyMoly's I'm Real Sheet Masks. Available in 23 variations — including honey for nourishing, pearl for illuminating, lemon for brightening, and cactus for purifying — these sheet masks are simple, cheap, and effective. The sheets are soaked in a hydrating essence that, depending on the "flavor," also targets other specific skin care concerns — from tight skin to congested pores — and there's always enough left over to apply on your neck and chest. Pro tip: keep them in the fridge — they'll feel even more refreshing when you put them on.
3. Best Korean Cleanser
This is the cleanser for people who like their faces looking bright and feeling squeaky clean. A personal favorite, this face wash is infused with rice water, soapwort, and moringa oil to leave skin feeling fresh and smooth. Though it's a foaming formula, it leaves your skin surprisingly soft, instead of tight — and it's one of the few skin care products I've used that lives up to its promise of visibly brighter skin.
Though this might be a con for some people who don't love fragrance in their skin care products (for what it's worth, I typically don't either), the fresh, clean scent is absolutely divine. Plus, the fragrance is the last ingredient on the list, which means there's only a tiny bit.
4. Best Korean Exfoliator
Another product that lives up to the hype, Neogen's gauze peeling facial pads are a revelation in exfoliating. Cleverly designed with two different textured sides, plus a handy pocket for your fingers on one side, these pads work to shed dead skin cells, clear out pores, and refine unevenly-textured skin.
In addition to the pads themselves, the formula they're soaked in offers its own unique benefits. For example, the red wine "flavor" (pictured) helps firm and tighten skin, while the green tea is soothing and refreshing. The lemon pads, on the other hand, which are brightening, leave skin looking not only smoother, but impossibly radiant.
5. Best Korean Toner
It can be hard to find a toner that's safe for use on dry and/or sensitive skin — which is perhaps what makes this one such a fan-favorite. Great for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin types as well, this unscented version of Klairs' Supple Preparation Facial Toner is a gentler take on their classic formula. In addition to nixing fragrance, it also leaves out essential oils, as well as alcohol and parabens. Use this toner after cleansing (and exfoliating) to remove any leftover residue, be it oil or makeup. The formula also works to soften and moisturize your skin and balance your skin's pH levels.
"Never knew how much toner could make/break your skin," one reviewer raves "My redness? Gone. Pores? Unseen. Forehead texture? Bumps gone for the first time in a decade. My skin looks so SOFT and SUPPLE and it’s winter time where I’m at. Unheard of. Can’t recommend this enough. I finally understand what a true holy grail product is.
6. Best Korean Essence
This cult-favorite essence from K-beauty mega brand Cosrx has been hailed as a life-saver for people dealing with damaged, troubled skin. Formulated with snail mucin, which, in addition to being moisturizing, is also known for its healing and repairing abilities, this essence is a hero when it comes to curing dry patches, smoothing out skin, and fading unwanted scars.
Reviewers also say it's helped with everything from cystic acne to hyperpigmentation to congested pores — one calls it a "must-have if you're acne-prone." Another fan, who hails it it as "literally a miracle in a bottle," says "It has erased all my dark spots and even severe scarring from my cystic acne."
7. Best Korean Serum/Ampoule
One of the absolute best Korean beauty brands is also one of the lesser-known. MAKE:PREM prides itself on its clean, natural formulas that are geared towards people with sensitive skin. This particular serum (or ampoule, which is basically the K-beauty term for a supercharged serum) works to strengthen the skin's natural protective barrier and soothe irritation, making it especially beneficial for dry or damaged skin. All of the ingredients in the formula have been rated "green" by the EWG, which is the highest possible rating — so you know you're getting good stuff.
8. Best Korean Moisturizer
One of the most popular moisturizers on the market, belif's The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb is a powerful moisturizer that leaves skin soft, supple, and hydrated. The botanical-rich cream hydrates skin for up to 26 hours, restoring plumpness and elasticity in the process. Plus, the cruelty-free formula doesn't contain any parabens, mineral oil, synthetic preservatives, or dyes, making it a safe option for even the most finicky of skin.
"This is hands down the best moisturizer I've ever used, especially in winter when it's extra dry outside. No oily residue, no shiny skin, works great!" one reviewer raves, while another calls it "The best skincare product possibly ever." Other fans note that a little product goes a long way, so it's worth the investment.
9. Best Korean Sunscreen
One of the most popular Korean sunscreens on the market is this Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++ from Cosrx. Great for both dry and oily skin — one reviewer calls it an "oily girl's dream," while another says it's "'perfect for dry skin/rosacea" — the formula contains aloe to moisturize and soothe skin. It also contains a high SPF of 50 PA+++, which means you'll be heavily protected from both UVA and UVB rays. Fans with dark skin love it too, because it doesn't leave behind a white cast.
"This is very hydrating without feeling heavy," one reviewer writes, while another says, "It leaves my skin looking glowy without the oil and has a satin finish." Another fan notes, "Soothing, completely non-irritating. My sensitive skin did just fine with this and the aloe is beneficial for hydration and calming redness. Holy Grail of Sunscreen! Never using another American drugstore brand again."
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