korean-skincare

10 Best Korean Skincare Products of All Time, According to a Korean-American Beauty Editor

From anti-aging to hydrating to soothing, these superstar K-beauty products do it all.
By Hana Hong
July 19, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Fact: I'm a sucker for skincare. And within the world of skincare, I'm especially partial to Korean beauty products. I use Korean face masks religiously, double-cleanse obediently, and know the 12-step Korean skincare routine by heart. 

Okay, as a Korean-American beauty editor, I do admit I have a liiittle cultural bias in my preference, but there's a reason why K-beauty is such a buzzword in the Western world. If I tried to list all the reasons why Korean skincare products are so great, I'd probably be typing until tomorrow. To cut to the chase, K-beauty products focus on gentle and innovative ingredients over harsh exfoliants, meaning you get quality formulations for sensitive skin without the hefty price tag.

However, with so many products available (and some of them in Korean), K-beauty shopping tends to feel a little overwhelming. So I compiled a little guide for you to reference; that way, the next time you're looking for the glass skin of your dreams, you'll know exactly where to turn.

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best-korean-skin-care-products-Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

1 Best Korean Lip Mask: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

$22, sephora.com

From eating to talking, your lips go through a lot. Give them some overnight love with a sleeping mask. Solid in the jar, this moisturizing formula melts into a thick, buttery texture when applied on lips. Its proprietary Moisture Wrap technology is made with hyaluronic acid and minerals that are time-released as you sleep, while also forming a protective film over lips to ensure those ingredients stay locked in. We don't recommend eating it, but all the flavors are utterly scrumptious (might I suggest the limited-edition peach iced tea?). 

best-korean-skin-care-products-Amorepacific Treatment Enzyme Cleansing Foam

2 Best Korean Face Wash: Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Cleansing Foam

$52, sephora.com

This makeup-melting foam cleanser comes with impressively pampering hydration and a lineup of superstar ingredients. There's green tea-derived probiotic enzymes to strengthen skin's moisture barrier, hyaluronic acid to hydrate, and cotton extract to soothe irritation.

best-korean-skin-care-products-Medicube Red Toner

3 Best Korean Toner: Medicube Red Toner

$23, medicube.com

A toner may seem like a skippable step in your skincare routine, but a few swipes with this will leave you wondering why you didn't try it sooner. The non-sticky formula maintains and balances sebum production, while white willow bark extract and ginger extract prevents overdrying and irritation.

best-korean-skin-care-products-Erborian CC Water

4 Best Korean CC Cream: Erborian CC Water

$42, ulta.com

This skincare-makeup hybrid goes one step beyond its little sister BB to address issues like redness and sallowness with light-diffusing particles and color technology. Erborian's formula stands apart from fellow CC competitors because of its refreshing gel texture that feels practically weightless on skin (read: perfect for people who hate foundation).

best-korean-skin-care-products-Neogen Day Light Protection Airy Sunscreen

5 Best Korean Sunscreen: Neogen Day Light Protection Airy Sunscreen

$32, sokoglam.com

Too often, white casts and greasy skin is the default when creating sunscreens. Not so with this airy chemical sunscreen, made with 20 kinds of plant extracts including aloe, avocado, acai, and hibiscus to nourish sensitive complexions. And don't fear clogged pores—these ingredients help control sebum production as well.

best-korean-skin-care-products- Dr Jart Ceramidin Eye Cream

6 Best Korean Eye Cream: Dr. Jart Ceramidin Eye Cream

$39, sephora.com

Does the current state of your undereyes rival a zombie's? You need some ceramides. Luckily, Dr. Jart's formula is chock-full of them (a blend of five to be exact) ​​to prevent water loss that causes puffiness and fine lines. 

best-korean-skin-care-products-Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm

7 Best Korean Cleansing Balm: Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm

$38, sokoglam.com

Cleansing isn't exactly the most enjoyable part of a beauty routine, but this sensorial cleansing balm might actually make you look forward to washing your face. Created by Soko Glam co-founder Charlotte Cho, the creamy formula features antioxidant-rich seaberry (sea buckthorn) oil, which gives the formula its sorbet-like texture and bright yellow color. Other skin-benefiting ingredients include anti-aging persimmon extract and nourishing vitamin E.

best-korean-skin-care-products-Peach and Lily Glass Skin Serum

8 Best Korean Serum: Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum

$39, ulta.com

Glass skin is a term used to describe a complexion that is so poreless, so glowy, that it's almost reflective. This serum aims to do just that with its gel-like formula; in addition to hydrating hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, it's infused with peach extract to help keep skin visibly plump and "glassy." 

best-korean-skin-care-products-Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

9 Best Korean Serum 2: Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

$89, sephora.com

Recently reformulated, Sulwhasoo's cult-acclaimed serum has the same soothing herbal smell and golden color the original is known for, but with new extraction methods so the ingredients are more potent than ever. Those ingredients include lotus, white lily, and Solomon's seal, which help with moisturizing, soothing, and brightening, respectively. 

best-korean-skin-care-products-Cos RX Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream

10 Best Korean Moisturizer: Cos RX Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream

$18, amazon.com

Snail mucin might sound like an odd ingredient to smear on your face, but don't underestimate the power of mollusk juice. Not only is it intensely hydrating, it's also said to help with ​​violent bouts of irritation, including redness, eczema, and dryness from overzealous acid use (trust me, I've had all three).