23 Life Changing Korean Beauty Products That Dermatologists Are Obsessed With

Soko Glam

Korean beauty products have been progressively more popular, but this year, they're more accessible than before. With so many brands hitting the shelves at Sephora and other beauty counters, the selection process can be a little overwhelming. That's why I asked dermatologists what the best Korean beauty products on the market are to help you get started, because who else is more qualified to recommend a beauty product than a skin doc?

If you're new to K-beauty, let me tell you why you should be obsessed. For one thing, Korea is way ahead of the skin care game, prioritizing the fresh and clean feel and offering groundbreaking formulas and ingredients that the U.S. hasn't caught up on yet. You can thank Korea for introducing us to beauty trends like BB and CC creams into your beauty bags, gimmicky, fun products, and getting you to try weird but oh-so effective skin ingredients (like snail mucus). And personally, I would be nothing without my cleansing oils introduced by, you guessed it, Korea.

To help you get on your path on the wonderful world of K-beauty, I've narrowed down the best Korean beauty and skin care products that dermatologists love. Even they understand that Korean beauty is no joke, so it's time to learn about their favorite products.

by Bianca Mendez

1. Too Cool For School Egg Mellow Cream

Too Cool For School Egg Mellow Cream, $28, Amazon

Debra Jailman, M.D., creator of Sea Radiance, is a fan of the Too Cool For School Egg Mellow Cream because of its glycerin and hyaluronic acid ingredients which helps with hydration. It also has niacinamide which is beneficial for rejuvenating the skin as well as anti-inflammatory, says Dr. Jailman.


2. Laneige 2015 Renewal Water Sleeping Mask

Laneige 2015 Renewal Water Sleeping Mask, $21, Amazon

"This sleeping mask is actually a gel that is applied over the moisturizer and boosts the benefits of it," says Marnie Nussbaum, M.D. "It allows for intense hydration and supple, soft skin, especially great for long plane rides where dehydration leaves us looking less than stellar in our new destination!"


3. BELIF True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

BELIF True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, $33, Amazon

BELIF True Cream Moisturizing Bomb has glycerin and macadamia seed oil which is great for soothing the skin, says Dr. Jailman. It moisturizes your skin for up to 26 hours, making it perfect for those brutal wintery days.


4. IOPE Air Cushion XP

IOPE Air Cushion XP, $36, Amazon

Cushion compacts are becoming big in the United States, but Korea is where they got started. "Koreans are known for their cushion compact which basically delivers makeup in an effortless, airbrushed look that minimizes pores and eliminates flaws," says Dr. Nussbaum. "They have these cushions that are made up of specially designed pores that deliver a BB cream-like substance that offers SPF 50 protection and flawless coverage."


5. AmorePacific Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque, $32, Sephora

This face mask's glycerin and chamomile ingredients work wonders for sensitive skin says Dr. Jailman. "It has caffeine as well, which can help with swelling since it shrinks blood vessels."


6. Sulwhasoo Balancing Water

Sulwhasoo Balancing Water, $50, Amazon

If you think toners are unnecessary in a skin care routine, then think again. "This gel based toner prepares the skin for intense hydration without the burning redness or irritation," says Dr. Nussbaum. Plus, it has a pleasant ginger smell.


7. It's Skin Snail Moisture Mask

It's Skin Snail Moisture Mask, $20 for 5, Amazon

Snail is all the rage in Korea, so when Alan J. Parks, M.D., founder of DermWarehouse made a visit he and his family had to try this ingredient. "My wife experienced the most profound effect from the mask; it completely rid her of the under eye bags she hadn't been able to get rid of throughout our entire trip," says Dr. Parks.

8. AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel

AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel, $65, Amazon

This water-activated, plant-based enzyme peel works to exfoliate and brighten the skin, and also has soothers and hydrators that won't irritate the skin. "I'm obsessed with how light it is and truly eliminates the dead skin cells," says Dr. Nussbaum.


9. Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator, $8, Amazon

"The Skin Food Black Sugar Mask is packed with minerals and vitamins that exfoliate and revitalize skin, leaving your face feeling super polished and smooth," says Joyce Park, M.D., dermatology resident in New York Cit. It's made from Brazilian black sugar granules, which work to ward of pesky blackheads and unclog pores.


10. Nature Republic Shea Butter Steam Cream Fresh

Nature Republic Shea Butter Steam Cream Fresh, $20, Amazon

This steam cream serves two purposes: moisturizing dry skin and freshening up oily and combination skin. Dr. Park loves using this night cream because of its long moisturizing effects that work overtime while you sleep.


11. NEOGEN Code 9 Sebum Clear Pore Mist

NEOGEN Code 9 Sebum Clear Pore Mist, $11, SokoGlam

"While we are all crazed with the hydrated dewy look, there are also some of us with combination skin types; that are both oily and dry at the same time," says Dr. Nussbaum. She loves this face mist because it hydrates and mattifies at the same time, solving all your combo skin problems.


12. Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask

Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask, $8, Sephora

You can thank Korea for your sheet mask obsession. "I love the Dr. Jart+ sheet masks like the water replenishment cotton sheet mask,” says dermatologist and RealSelf Contributor Sejal Shah, M.D. “They’re insanely hydrating and immediate boost skin's radiance.”

Dr. Jart+

13. SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick

SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick, $28, Soko Glam

Not only is this gentle cleanser great for washing your face, but its stick application makes it easier to take with your everywhere says Dr. Shah.

Soko Glam

14. Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask, $48, Sephora

"Sleep masks have their roots in Korea, and help give the skin a boost when it needs it, right before bed," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D.. This water sleep mask recharges your face by locking in moisture and other nutrients while you can focus on getting your sleep. Perfect for anyone who prefers to be lazy with their skin care routine.


15. The SU:M37 Water-Full Timeless Moisturizing Cream

The SU:M37 Water-Full Timeless Moisturizing Cream, $110, Amazon

Wouldn't it be nice to cut the number of beauty products you use in half? Well, Dr. Shah recommends this water-based moisturizing cream because it basically does that. It contains ingredients like bamboo sap and snow lotus that work as anti-aging fighters, and repair and brighten skin. Plus, it comes with a tiny magnetic spatula to help you apply the product.


16. Soothing & Healing Green Tea Splash Mask

Soothing & Healing Green Tea Splash Mask, $45, Sephora

Who says green tea is just for sipping? In this in-shower face mask relies on green tea's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to calm inflamed skin says Dr. Zeichner. You'll leave your shower with smoother, brighter skin.


17. Binchotan Facial Puff By Morihata

Binchotan Facial Puff by Morihata, $15, Amazon

If you're looking for a great exfoliator, Marie Jhin, M.D. is a fan of this binchotan facial puff made from 100 percent natural sponge! Made from vegetable root fibers and binchotan charcoal, this facial puff exfoliates dead skin cells and balances its pH level by just adding water.


18. Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask

Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask, $15, Amazon

"I love how paper thin and light these Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Masks are, which is great because they are more breathable," says Dr. Park. Can't decide on one sheet mask? This set lets you try them all.


19. Nature Republic Chamomile Cleansing Oil

Nature Republic Chamomile Cleansing Oil, $19, Amazon

I've been telling you, if you haven't tried a cleansing oil yet, I suggest you do. Dr. Park says that this Nature Republic Chamomile Cleansing Oil gets rid of everything including mascara that's impossible to get off and other makeup gunk.


20. MIZON B.B. Cream Snail Repair Blemish Balm Spf 32

MIZON B.B. Cream Snail Repair Blemish Balm Spf 32, $8, Amazon

Snail mucus is one of the top skin care ingredients in Korea. Dr. Jhin loves this BB cream because provides the adequate coverage of foundation, while healing your damaged skin. That includes firming wrinkles and banishing troubled marks like acne scars.


21. HERA UV Mist Cushion

HERA UV Mist Cushion, $42, Amazon

This mist cushion compact not only provides amazing coverage, but it has SPF 50 says Dr. Jhin. While it only comes in limited shades, the light texture that blends the product into your skin perfectly, leaving you with a natural, dewy complexion.


22. Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion

Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion, $41, Amazon

"This staple Korean skin care brand is one that my patients rave about," says Dendy Engelman, M.D., dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. "With multiple shades, the Perfecting Cushion moisturizes skin with apricot kernel oil, hides imperfections and protects the skin barrier with SPF 50."


23. CremorLab Perfection Hydrating Mask

CremorLab Perfection Hydrating Mask, $12, Amazon

"Another great mask for traveling or improve skin texture," says Dr. Engelman. The Perfection Hydrating Mask combines algae extract, vitamins and amino acids deep cleanse and hydrate rough, dry skin, she says.

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