The Korean product beauty market has made its way to the top 10 around the world, with an estimated worth of over $13.1 billion in sales since 2018. This may sound extensive, but most Korean women (or men) use up to 10-steps for their skincare routine, twice a day to help keep their skin looking healthy and beautiful. In this article, you will find the best beauty products of all time in South Korea, categorized under each step! Here are your top 36 beauty products of all time, let’s get started!
Step 1: Oil Cleanser
1. BANILA & CO Clean It Zero
This award-winning skin-care product is a lush, comforting balm that melts off stubborn makeup seamlessly without stripping your skin of its natural oils! It also naturally exfoliates and brightens your skin with Vitamin C and rich acerola extracts.
“It takes off the 10lbs of mascara I put on daily and my lashes look healthier and longer.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
2. HANSKIN Cleansing Oil & Blackhead PHA
This cleansing oil is formulated with PHAs that can exfoliate and help remove blackheads and dead skin cells so it is perfect for those who are dealing with rough skin textures. The product also contains tea tree oil that will help prevent breakouts and aloe vera extracts to keep the skin hydrated.
“This cleanser has made my skin SO soft, and has slowed my hormonal acne breakouts.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
3. SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
Not only is the Miracle Rose cleansing stick rose-scented, the product also contains real rose petals that can gently exfoliate your skin. This is your to-go make-up product when you travel! However, it is currently sold out worldwide, even in Seoul and Busan due to its popularity and rarity of the ingredients. However, you can try opting out for the NEOGEN Green Tea Cleansing Stick that is infused with green tea leaves. “It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth, not tight, after I wash. As a bar soap it’s so easy to travel with, especially if you travel frequently.” (Amazon, 2017)
Step 2: Foam or Water-Based Cleanser
4. APRIL SKIN Magic Stone
April Skin has two types of magic stones under their cleansing line, both which contain ingredients that are used for different purposes. The Natural Cleansing Soap (on the left) is suggested to be used during the night time as it helps with deep pore cleansing, while the Charcoal Cleansing Soap (on the right) is to be used during the morning since it contains ingredients that could help with skin detox. But overall, these cleansing stones contain ingredients that could help with deep cleansing, skin detox, pore cleansing, skin soothing and whitening. Since this product contains a high pH level, it is recommended for those with oily or combination skin types.
“It washes away impurities on your face really well, feels super clean, but a moisturizer has to be applied right after because it gets your face really dry. Great for oily skin.” (Amazon, 2016)
5. COSRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser
A super gentle cleanser that’s great for your morning wash. Falls perfectly at 5 on the pH scale, which is exactly around where you want to be to keep your moisture barrier safe! It’s great for sensitive and dry skin, but does the job no matter what your skin type is.
“I have super sensitive, combination, eczema prone skin, with an allergy to coconut and this works for me! Helps me control my breakouts.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
6. BENTON Tea Tree Cleansing Water
This water-based cleanser contains 70% of tea tree leaf water and extract that can help actively ward off zits, while also remove makeup and other impurities. It has no artificial fragrances, so this product is perfect for those with minimalist skin-care routines and sensitive skin types!
“The Tea Tree Cleansing Water really cleans my face from any makeup or dirty residue, even after wiping my face with a makeup remover wipe!” (Sokoglam, 2018)
WANT TO DOUBLE CLEANSE IN ONE STEP? BONUS: Try the Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser which allows you to double cleanse in one step. Perfect for those who want to simplify their K-beauty routine. This product contains an oil formula that transforms into a light, creamy foam and removes makeup and impurities without drying out the skin!
Step 3: Exfoliating
7. AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Enzyme Peel
The Amorepacific Treatment Enzyme Peel is a gentle exfoliating powder, formulated with natural papaya enzymes. The powder format is activated by water to remove dead surface skin cells gently and even the skin tone for a radiant complexion. This product is recommended for those with sensitive skin-types, as it helps remove dead skin cells in delicacy, leaving you with soft and smooth skin.
“Have an extremely sensitive skin that gets red from everything. With this product, my skin never looked better! So glowing and fresh, and skin flakes are gone!” (Sephora, 2016)
8. NEOGEN Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine
This product is formulated with AHAs and a special ingredient called “Resveratrol”, which is a red wine antioxidant that helps prevent free radicals from pigmenting or forming wrinkles on your skin. This product provides gentle yet effective exfoliation of dead skin cells and impurities, leaving your skin smooth and clear. The dead skin cells are sloughed off the surface of the skin using a unique 3 layer pad technology.
“I have combination and I am prone to acne and as long as I use this at least 1-2 times a week, it helps to keep acne away.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
9. DR. JART+ Dermaclear Micro Milk Peel
These double-layered peels are made with AHAs – lactic and glycolic acid used for lifting dead skin cells, exfoliate, and resurface the skin. Not only does lactic acid makes a powerful exfoliator it also plumps and hydrates the skin. Use this peel daily after cleansing for more balanced skin that glows! “This gentle peel is completely amazing! After just 2 uses, the dry patches on my skin are almost gone and my face feels really soft and smooth.” (Sephora, 2016)
Step 4: Toner
10. SON&PARK Beauty Water
The Beauty Water is not just a cleanser but it mildly exfoliates with willow bark and papaya extract to help sweep away dead skin cells, revealing brighter skin tone and smoother texture. This product can be used in the morning to create the perfect canvas for makeup application, and night after cleansing to whisk away remaining impurities.
“Beauty Water is hyped – and there’s a reason why. Not only is it multitasking (cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating), but it’s also really light in texture and the mild fragrance makes it really pleasant to use. Even after double cleansing, this beauty water can still catch some dirt from makeup.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
11. ETUDE HOUSE 7-in-1 House Wonder Pore Freshener
The Wonder Pore Freshener promises to fit a total of 7 pore solutions into 1 bottle which includes deep cleanse pores, minimize the appearance of pores, control sebum, moisturize, refine skin tone, maintain pH level of 4.5 and keeping the elasticity of pores. This product is made of anti-pore-dex complex and astringent that is great for tightening up pores effectively. “I’m a combination skin, and…my pores are gone! I love this wonder pore toner and I think it’ll be my toner for the many face washes to come.” (Amazon, 2016)
12. KLAIRS Supple Preparation Facial Toner
The Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner is great for all skin types, specifically towards those with sensitive skin types. This product is formulated with all-natural ingredients including amino acids to help reduce irritation and provide deep hydration. “Very moisturizing and fresh. It’s very gentle on my acne.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
Step 5: Essences
13. MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence
Missha’s best selling essence is formulated with 90% fermented yeast, its superstar ingredients to repair damage and even out skin tone in just a few weeks. This product also ensures to contain anti-aging effects and reduce pigmentation, hydrates and tones skin, and enables rapid moisture absorption. You can also opt-out for the Essence Mist, which is a spray-on essence for a more convenient application! “If I had to choose only 3 skincare products- this would be one of them. It was a game-changer for me.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
14. COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
This essence is formulated with 96% of snail secretion filtrate for super intense repair and hydration. Snail mucin can repair everything from dry patches, to acne breakouts while helping zap hyperpigmentation. This product will promise to give you a radiant finish, and also work on fine lines and wrinkles.
“Any redness/irritation or any small blemish is taken care of overnight.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
15. NEOGEN Real Ferment Micro Essence
The NEOGEN Real Ferment Micro Essence contains more than 93% of naturally fermented ingredients used for deep hydration and brightening care. This essence will give you a dewy, and glowing complexion – the current beauty standards in all of South Korea. “It’s so light, but effective. I love how soft and bright my skin is now. I will definitely purchase again.” (Sokoglam, 2018).
Step 6: Serums and Ampoules
16. KLAIRS Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum
This product is made with 5% of Vitamin C extract and has the power to fade brown spots, protect the skin from pigmentation, keeping the skin firm and reduce visible fine lines, and also brighten and even out the skin tone.
“I have been using this serum for over a year. It’s an all-around problem solver: blotches, break-outs, sensitivity, dark spots…. I can switch everything around but not this products.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
17. COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid
The COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid is a serum that contains a higher concentration of Vitamin C than the previous one. While it contains 20.5% of pure vitamin C extracts, this product also contains 72% of black chokeberry, a special ingredient that stabilizes the high concentration of vitamin C to make sure skin remains hydrated and smooth.
“Love this product, I have been using it for about 1-2 months already, I use it every night, only at night. It has worked a lot to erase my dark spots and brightening up my skin.” (Sokoglam, 2018).
18. MISSHA Time Revolution Night Repair New Science Activator Ampoule
Missha’s Time Revolution ampoule is a supercharged serum that contains a higher concentration of active ingredients to reduce signs of aging and improves skin elasticity while protecting the skin. The key ingredient used for this ampoule is Bifada Ferment Lysate and has the ability to repair and hydrate, giving you luminous smooth and even-toned skin with regular use. “I’ve used this for about 2 years now and my skin is glowing. I constantly get compliments on it. I have very sensitive skin and this causes zero irritation.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
Step 7a: Sheet Masks
19. TCFS Egg Cream Sheet Mask
This mask features an ultra-soft microfiber sheet drenched in egg extracts, coconut water, niacinamide, and other botanical extracts to deliver ultimate hydration, nourishment, and brightening benefits. Coconut water provides hydration and quickly penetrates into skin.
“I used this face mask and I was shocked. My skin was glowing, was so soft and just looked amazing.” (Sephora, 2016)
20. DR. JART+ Rubber Masks
The two-step system includes a highly concentrated ampoule serum and a rubber mask that was developed to hydrate and soothe the skin for an instant pick-me-up. The hydrating rubber mask wraps the skin to prevent active ingredients from evaporating, allowing for more complete penetration to visibly improve the appearance of fine lines and pores and make skin look supple and dewy.
“So refreshing, relaxing, and hydrating! My skin was so dehydrated and it made my skin so plump and hydrated. I’ll definitely be buying many more of these!” (Sephora, 2018)
21. MEDIHEAL Sheet Masks
There are various mediheal masks made to fight different skin problems. The popular ones to try out is the tea-tree oil and ampoule one! “I believe pretty much al mediheal sheet masks are great. It is very hydrating and does not leave any sticky-ness on my skin after I use it. I makes my face super glowy, and after I use it, my makeup applies super smoothly.” (Influenster, 2018)
Step 7b: Wash-off Masks
22. SKINFOOD Black Sugar Wash-Off Face Mask
The SKINFOOD Black Sugar Mask is an award-winning product, works as a superb manual exfoliator and slowly dissolves as you massage them onto your face with warm water. After use, you’ll start noticing soft and supple skin that’s clearer than ever! However, it might not be suitable for those with sensitive skin types.
“I wanted to love this product but it was a bit too abrasive for my skin. My skin felt fresh and smooth but I noticed a few scratches, so when using this product be very gentle!!” (Sokoglam, 2018)
23. INNISFREE Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
This Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask is a 6 in 1 total pore care mask that targets pore tightening, sebum control, dead skin cell exfoliating, deep cleansing, and skin complexion improvements through cooling effects. Unlike other masks, you can rinse this mask off with lukewarm water after 10 minutes.
“I just love this clay mask because its helps minimizing my pores so it can look smaller and also remove my whitehead.” (Innisfree, 2018)
24. ETUDE HOUSE AC Clean Up Pink Powder Mask
The Pink Powder Mask by Etude House contains over 60% of pink powder that helps control water and oil balance and eliminates pores and excessive oil and sebum. “Had this for almost a year now, and let me tell you that it is the best product for acne and dark spots. I recommend this to everyone no matter the skin type.” (Amazon, 2018)
Step 8: Eye Cream
25. MISSHA Geum Sul Vitalizing Eye Cream
This gentle eye cream revitalizes and brightens the eye area using powerful ingredients from traditional Korean herbal medicine. Formulated with Ginseng Water, Wild Ginseng Extract, Deer Antler Extract, and Reishi Mushroom Extract, this herbal concoction gently pampers your delicate eye area while treating signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, and dark shadows around eyes.
“I think I’ve tried every eye cream out there and none worked. This is outstanding! I’m 57 so fine lines and wrinkles keep appearing and I will not be without this in future.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
26. INNISFREE Perfect 9 Repair Eye Cream
A complete anti-aging eye solution, this product contains 9 effective ingredients to firm, brighten, and combat the symptoms of aging. It also treats skin care conditions such as dryness, flakiness, blemishes, darkening and reduces elasticity issues and enlarges pores.
“Hands down, this is one of the best eye creams I have ever tried! It is very gentle, hydrating, soothing and yes, effective!” (Amazon, 2016)
27. SULWHASOO Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream EX
The Sulwhasoo Conecentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream is a high-end product used for anti-aging purposes. This eye cream is formulated with red ginseng that helps minimize the look of wrinkles and improves the visible appearance of firmness for youthful-looking eyes. “I really like this cream. Was hesitant to spend the money but I feel it’s worth it and the product will last for quite sometime. I use it at night and feel the firmness under my eyes in the morning.” (Sulwhasoo, 2018)
Step 9: Moisturizer
28. BELIF The True Cream Aqua Bomb
The BELIF True Cream Aqua Bomb is an oil-free gel cream that instantly cools and refreshes the skin while providing intensive hydration. It claims to provide up to 26 hours of moisture, making sure your skin is hydrated at all times.
I love this cream! It’s super lightweight yet moisturizing, and it doesn’t break me out.” (Amazon, 2017)
29. LANEIGE Water Bank Moisture Cream
LANEIGE’s Water Bank Moisture Cream is a richly-texturized moisturizing cream that strengthens and retains moisture all day. As an Allure winning product, this moisture cream is formulated with Hydro Ionized Mineral Water to help replenish and retain ideal hydration levels, preventing future moisture loss.
“LOVE this product, the packaging is so elegant and beautiful that you know you’re getting a good product. It doesn’t have an over-powering scent which is a nice change.” (Sephora, 2017)
30. MISSHA Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream
This superhero repairing and hydrating cream contains 70% snail mucin extract as its star ingredient which supports natural cell regeneration and replenishes moisture to increase firmness in skin. The light gel texture absorbs well while also leaving a dewy finish and fresh scent. “Gives my fave a nice dewy glow, not too heavy and helps my breakouts. I’m addicted to snail products and this one is my holy grail!” (Sokoglam, 2018)
Step 10a: Sun Protection (Morning Routine)
31. MISSHA All Around Safe Block Waterproof Sun Milk
The All Around Safe Block Waterproof Sun Milk provides broad-spectrum protection without leaving a greasy residue or white cast. It absorbs into your skin, leaving a light, soft matte finish, making it the perfect sun protection product to wear under makeup.
“It’s liquidy and goes on smooth. NO white cast. Rubs in very well.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
32. A’PIEU Pure Block Natural Sun Cream
The A’Pieu natural sun screen is great for those with oil and acne-prone skin since the ingredients used can prevent oil from building up on the skin and won’t cause new pimples. It also contains an incredible mix of natural ingredients like aloe extract, orange flower and apple blossom!
“This is the best sunscreen to use with makeup. There are a lot of sunscreens I’ve tried that apply really greasy or dry and it was like there was absolutely no in between.” (Amazon, 2018)
33. ETUDE HOUSE Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF 50+/PA+++
This sunscreen has a light, non-greasy formula that delivers a smooth, matte finish allowing makeup to glide on effortlessly. Apparently the ingredients used also solves oily skin problems and even obviates the need to carry around blotting papers. “Love using it, extremely lightweight. Doesn’t leave a white overcast unlike most sun cream.” (Ebay, 2017)
Step 10b: Sleeping Mask / After Skin-Care Treatments (Night Routine)
34. COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch
The COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch is the holy grail to treat infected acne wounds. These little pimple patches are an overnight fixer to make whiteheads, blackheads and picked zits disappear by morning. With three differently sized patches in a pack, you can choose which one will cover your bases.
“These patches work pretty well whenever I have trouble spot I need to treat. I notice an immediate difference in appearance after using.” (Sokoglam, 2018)
35. LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask
This lip sleeping mask is enriched with vitamin C and antioxidants and has a softening balm texture that closely adheres to lips for quick absorption. A generous layer of this soothing mask at bedtime will help reduce flakiness so you can wake up to lips that feel refreshed, supple and soft to the touch.
“Now, after I finish my skincare and brush my teeth, I put some of this on and it keeps my lips moisturized all night while I sleep. I’m happy to say my lips haven’t cracked at all this winter.” (Amazon, 2016)
36. LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask
The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is an overnight, moisture-recharing gel mask that quickly absorbs while you sleep to deeply hydrate the skin. It’s formulated with highly concentrated Hydro Ionized Mineral Water to deliver high doses of moisture to stressed, parched skin. When you apply this product on after your daily skin care routine, your skin will feel radiant, refreshed and soft the morning after. “Best stuff EVER. My face feels so moisturized in the morning, like I just came from the spa.” (Sephora, 2018)