The Best Korean Skin Care Products To Minimize Pores

Can we talk honestly about pores for a minute? There's a lot of misinformation out there about how to minimize pores and some of us have gotten the idea that there's one magical product being created in a lab this very minute that will actually shrink pores so that they become, literally, invisible. Let's separate fact from fiction.

Pores are those small openings in the skin that help flush out sweat and toxins — they have a bad rap, but they're important. And if they could speak they'd probably shout at us: Hey! Not only can you not make us smaller, but we don't open and close, either! But even if you respect the heck out of your pores, that doesn't mean you want them to take centerstage and hog the spotlight from your radiant glow and killer liquid lipstick shade.

Here's what you can do about pores: you can keep them clear so that they're less apparent (and are less prone to blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples). But doing so requires a consistent skin care routine with an emphasis on proper cleansing and exfoliating.

I recommend getting better acquainted with Korean beauty products that gently, but deeply cleanse skin and can exfoliate and remove dead skin cells without irritating your skin. Korean skin care continues to be an ongoing obsession because the innovative products are amazing accomplices that work to help us score clean, healthy, hydrated skin — something that the double cleansing method and kind, caring exfoliation with products that do not contain harsh ingredients can help you achieve.

So, let's get started! These eight Korean skin care products aim to help minimize the appearance of pores and give you a clearer complexion.

1. A Gentle Glycolic Acid Peeling Serum That Can Brighten Your Skin


Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum, $17, Amazon

Glycolic acid is an effective ingredient that has the power to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and lighten sun spots caused by overexposure to the sun. The wonderful thing about this AHA 8% Peeling Serum by Mizon is that it contains soothing ingredients like aloe vera leaf, arnica, and sagebrush extract, so it's gentle enough to incorporate into your everyday skin care routine (but be careful and start off using it two or three times weekly until your skin gets used to it). Its ability to slough off dead skin cells, allowing skin cells to turnover faster, helps keep pores from getting clogged with sebum and dead skin, which makes them look bigger. Apply it after your cleanser, toner, or essence, but before your moisturizer and sunscreen.

Reviewers who helped give this product a 4.3 out of 5 star rating say it controls oil production, keeps pores clean, and that pores look noticeably smaller after using this serum. Bonus point: one reviewer said it helped fade her acne scars.

2. A Silky Balm Cleanser That Removes Stubborn Makeup And Excess Sebum


Heimish All Clean Balm, $16, Amazon

Whether you're a huge fan of Korean skin care products or a curious newbie, there's a solid chance you've heard about the double cleansing method. This popular Korean skin care routine involves washing your face twice — once with an oil-based cleanser like Heimish All Clean Balm, which effectively removes all traces of stubborn makeup (because water and oil do not mix, but oil fighting oil-based products equals success) — and second with a gentle water-based cleanser that deep cleans and lightly exfoliates skin.

So, step one is where this lovely 4.4 star rated product comes in: it's a sweet balm made with shea butter, donkey milk, and essential oils that transforms into an oil cleanser on your skin. It removes foundation, powder, blush, and all of that good stuff so that makeup doesn't clog your pores. Needless to say, this balm also makes an excellent travel companion — spilled oil cleansers in a suitcase will not make you a happy camper once you settle in at your hotel room and start unpacking.

Reviewers say it removes every stitch of makeup, including waterproof mascara, and that it leaves your skin hydrated, but never oily.

3. A Gentle Green Tea Foaming Cleanser For Dry Skin


Neogen Real Fresh Foam, $21, Amazon

If you have dry skin, you’re limited in the number of cleansers that will remove dirt and oil from your pores without stripping your skin of essential moisture. This hypoallergenic foaming cleanser is ideal for all skin types (no, seriously, even sensitive skin), thanks to ingredients like soothing green tea. You won’t find any sneaky fragrances in this cleanser and it won’t irritate skin or pull it tight. There are even green tea leaves at the bottom of the bottle that provide a fresh, natural scent. Use this cleanser alone or as the second step in your skincare cleansing routine, after an oil-based cleanser. The cleanser is made from 100 percent real fruit and plant water and it also comes in cranberry, blueberry, or cereal.

4. A Clarifying Two-Step Mask For Blackheads


Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo Blackhead Steam Pore Pack & Pore Original Pack Duo, $25, Amazon

Forget everything you've been told about how beauty means having to endure a little pain and leave blackheads extractions to professionals. This hot and cool pore pack treatment gently removes blackheads and shrinks the appearance of pores in two steps.

First, you apply the steaming mask (which is made with charcoal extract and gentle grain powder and really does feel warm and soothing on the skin). Allow it to penetrate and deep clean pores, extract excess sebum, and exfoliate dead skin cells. Wash it off and apply the second mask: a cooling treatment that contains 100 percent Alaskan glacial water and menthol and works to calm and tighten the skin.

Reviewers say this treatment makes them look like they've just had a professional facial and that "it does amazing things for your skin."

5. A Red Wine Exfoliating Treatment


Neogen Dermology Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine, $17, Amazon

The key ingredients in the Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze are lactic acid and resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant that comes from red wine. These two super-stars gently and effectively exfoliates dead skin cells without scratchy particles. After cleansing your skin, slip your fingers into the gauze peeling wine pad and, using gentle, circular motions, apply it to your face and neck. Turn over the pad and swipe the softer side along your skin to complete the treatment. Discard the pad and rinse your face with warm water.

This product earned an impressive 4.5 star rating because its reviews say it picks up dirt they never knew their skin was harboring, makes your complexion "fresh and glowy," and can reduce the number of blackheads you typically find in your T-zone.

6. A Moisturizing Primer That Makes Pores Look Invisible


IPKN Radiant Cream Primer, $29, Amazon

I remember the day I discovered makeup primer and realized I had stumbled upon the most genius product of all time: one that minimizes pores and makes your makeup last longer (I'm sure if it's a beauty sin, but I often wear primer without foundation or other makeup, just because it makes skin look so good).

IPKN Radiant Cream Primer is even better than your average primer because it's thoughtful enough to be made with broad spectrum SPF 15, rose extract, pearl powder, and a multi-fruit complex that claims to refine pores, even out skin tone, and protect it from sun damage.

Fans of the primer say it is extremely moisturizing and gives your skin an "opalescent hue." It does contain fragrance, so keep that in mind if you have sensitive skin.

7. A Gentle Exfoliating Peeling Gel For All Skin Types


Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel, $14, Amazon

Ingredients like hydrating cellulose ensure that this exfoliating peeling gel suits both oily and dry skin types — because all skin benefits from the occasional sloughing away of dead skin cells and trapped oils, but not all skin types respond well to exfoliators. Black willow naturally removes pore-clogging sebum that causes blackheads and pimples, while vitamins E and C brighten skin and make it appear clearer and more glowing. You’ll feel the difference when you use this peeling gel — it isn’t abrasive, nor will it create tears in the skin. It gently and effectively makes skin smoother, cleaner, and a less friendly place for acne.

8. A Quickie Essence Paper Sheet Mask For Busy Days


Celavi Essence Facial Masks 12 Pack, $11, Amazon

You only have a few minutes to spare, but want a dewier complexion — these Celavi Essence Facial Masks are here to help make your pores appear minimized in the time it takes you to have a cup of coffee. This 12 pack includes goodies like cucumber to soothe and soften and tea tree to calm and refresh, but for super skin powers, reach for pore-refining charcoal or pomegranate, which brightens and exfoliates skin. After cleaning your skin, apply the sheet mask, relax for 15-20 minutes, and peel it off. Each mask boasts a different essence that will give your skin a quick boost and, if you choose to apply makeup, it will apply more smoothly to your extra-hydrated skin.

Reviewers say this 4.2 star rated product does exactly what it claims and that your skin will look more refreshed and smooth.

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