The Best Korean Beauty Products To Minimize Pores

by Lisa Fogarty
Originally Published: 

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Can we talk honestly about pores for a minute? There's a lot of misinformation out there, 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. Before getting into the best Korean skin care products to minimize pores, 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.


A Gentle Glycolic Acid Peeling Serum That Can Brighten Your Skin

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, promoting faster turnover, helps keep pores from getting clogged with sebum and dead skin, which will help make them look smaller. Apply it after your cleanser, toner, or essence, but before your moisturizer and sunscreen.

It's a popular pick on Amazon too, with hundreds of positive reviews. One reviewer in particular noted, "I have tried other Korean toners and was looking for one that would not dry out my skin. So far I am really liking this toner. I use it twice a day. I feel that it has helped clear my skin and does not dry it out."


A Silky Balm Cleanser That Removes Stubborn Makeup And Excess Sebum

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.

Reviewers wrote that it removes every stitch of makeup, including waterproof mascara, and that it leaves your skin hydrated, but never oily. "Thumbs up for removing heavy eye makeup, liquid lipsticks and all facial products," wrote one reviewer, "It does not strip your natural oils, nor does it irritate, burn, sting, nor dry out the eye area."


A Gentle Green Tea Foaming Cleanser For Dry Skin

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. 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 real fruit and plant water, and it also comes in cranberry, blueberry, or cereal.

"Absolutely in love with this face wash! My skin looks so clear and healthy!" wrote one reviewer.


A Red Wine Exfoliating Treatment

The key ingredients in the Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze are lactic acid and resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that comes from red wine. These two superstars gently and effectively exfoliate dead skin cells without scratchy particles. After cleansing your skin, slip your fingers into the gauze peeling wine pad and use gentle, circular motions to 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, with reviewers writing that 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.


A Moisturizing Primer That Makes Pores Look Invisible

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. IPKN Radiant Cream Primer is even better than your average primer because it's made with broad spectrum SPF 15, plus 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 noted that 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.


A Gentle Exfoliating Peeling Gel For All Skin Types

Ingredients like hydrating cellulose ensure that this exfoliating exfoliating peeling gel suits both oily and dry skin types — because all skin benefits from the occasional sloughing away of dead 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. One reviewer wrote of it: "I am on my third bottle of this. It has become a crucial part of my skin care routine."


A Quickie Essence Paper Sheet Mask For Busy Days

If 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 ingredients like cucumber to soothe and soften and tea tree to calm and refresh. After cleansing your skin, apply the sheet mask, relax for 15 to 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 is even suitable for more reactive skin types. One reviewer wrote: "I want to love masks but I have sensitive skin and have been disappointed in the past. I've used all six types of these and none have caused me irritation and all have left my face smooth and moisturized."

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