When it comes to must-have Korean beauty products, face wash may not be the first thing you think of, but it certainly should be. While ampoules and sheet masks might sound more fun, they'll be pretty useless if your skin hasn't been properly cleansed first. And if you're wondering how to decide upon the best Korean face wash for you? It all comes down to which ingredients will serve your skin best.
As a whole, K-beauty products tend to use more innovative ingredients backed by science and sourced by nature. If you have sensitive skin, you'll for sure want to use a cleanser with centella asiatica extract towards the top of the ingredient list. The herb has been a longtime staple in Korean skin care routines because of its ability to soothe skin and calm inflammation.
For dry skin, you'll want a cleanser that removes makeup, dirt, and oil, but is still moisturizing. Hyaluronic acid and squalane are popular choices for ingredients, and Korean beauty products also have a tendency to include snail mucin, which might sound a little gross, but is actually full of hydrating and healing properties. If your skin is on the oily side, egg white is a go-to ingredient in Korean beauty products because it's said to act as an astringent that shrinks the appearance of pores while helping to control oil production. And, like many products in the U.S., to help clear up acne, look for a face wash with a low concentration of salicylic acid.
To help you find the best Korean face wash for your skin type, check out these five top-notch picks below.
1. Best Korean Face Wash For Sensitive Skin
This pH-balancing cleanser works to soothe sensitive skin as it removes makeup, dirt, and oil with its micellar technology. In addition to including gentle hydrators like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, the Neogen Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Foam also contains calming centella asiatica extract — or cica as it's often called. A herb that grows in Asia, cica is popular in Korean beauty products because of its rich in amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants that help soothe irritation and strengthen the skin's natural protective barrier.
"Very soft and gentle! Since I have a sensitive skin, it is very important for me to choose a right cleansing foam," writes one reviewer. "The best thing about this cleanser is that it leaves my skin clean and hydrated. It doesn’t dry out my skin right after cleansing. I highly recommend this product!"
2. Best Korean Face Wash For Dry Skin
Designed to hydrate dry skin, the Klavuu Pure Pearlsation Revitalizing Facial Cleansing Foam turns into a creamy lather when it meets water. Using natural plant extracts to remove makeup and impurities from your skin, Klavuu also contains multiple hydrators like glycerin, squalane, and hyaluronic acid in their formula. Even more soothing and moisturizing benefits are offered by algae extract and centella asiatica extract, and pearl extract is also included to help brighten skin.
"This product powerfully removes all makeup and dirt in one wash, but is extra gentle on my skin," writes one Amazon user, who adds, "It doesn't dry my skin out, and after using this, all of my tiny dry bumps disappeared." Another reviewer says, "Not only does it smell heavenly, but my face feels so nice and clean afterward without the tight, dry feeling a lot of cleansers cause."
3. Best Korean Face Wash For Oily Skin & Clogged Pores
Egg white face masks are known for helping to shrink pores and absorb excess oil, and Skinfood applies that same practice to face wash with their Egg White Perfect Pore Cleansing Foam. It also includes sulfur to decongest pores and absorb excess oil, as well as a low concentration of salicylic acid to help fight off blemishes, too.
One Amazon reviewer writes, "Not the writing review type but I want everyone [who has] oily skin to know this is magical! You'll see results after one use. Not kidding. This morning I woke up with minimal oil on my face and throughout the day I don't have to blot my face constantly." Another raves, "One wash and my face was HOLYYY clean!! Pores were smaller, and my entire face was so soft and smooth."
4. Best Korean Face Wash For Acne-Prone Skin
To really target blemishes, the COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser combines several acne-fighting ingredients in one non-irritating face wash. To keep skin clear, COSRX uses a 5 percent concentration of the BHA salicylic acid, which is able to work its way through the oil on your skin and clear out pores of the debris that causes acne. To further combat breakouts, the brand added willow bark water and tea tree oil, which are both natural ingredients known for their ability to treat acne by reducing excess oil production and calming inflammation.
"Great for sensitive skin and hormonal acne," shares one reviewer. "I have VERY easily irritated skin. I use this every evening, then moisturize after [showering] and my skin is never irritated. It helps prevent pimples on my face and my back. I noticed when I ran out and didn't use it for a few weeks my skin broke out badly!"
5. Best Exfoliating Korean Face Wash
If you're looking for a face wash that exfoliates your skin without stripping it of moisture, the SRB Stabilized Rice Bran Enzyme Powder Wash is for you. Unlike the creamy foams found above, the SRB face wash is actually a loose powder made from stabilized rice bran extract that transforms into a foam when exposed to warm water. In addition to providing gentle exfoliation, rice bran extract also contains nutrients and enzymes that are anti-inflammatory and nourishing, making it suitable for more sensitive skin types. Reviewers claim it's a dupe for Tatcha's much more expensive Rice Polish exfoliator, and they also rave about how such a small amount of product goes a long way.
"I have extremely sensitive skin (to the point where even the face wash products labeled for sensitive skin were causing me pain). So, I started searching for alternatives and found this. To my surprise, it not only hasn't caused me any skin irritation but it's also helped clear my skin up (when nothing else was)," shares on fan. Another writes, "I’ve noticed my acne and old acne marks are fading. And when I do get a spot, it doesn’t last as long as usual."
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