For those that have missed the Kbeauty train, it’s time to jump on! Korea is the number one destination for skin care and beauty products; their innovation is so far ahead the Western world, by the time a trend hits the Western world, Korea has already moved onto bigger and better things. In the past few years, there has been a large emphasis on Kbeauty. Stores such as Sephora, Target and Ulta have started stocking popular products and brands bringing the magic that is Kbeauty to wider audiences.
One of the iconic drawing features of Kbeauty is the packaging. It’s so cute! But don’t be fooled and think that because a product is packaged in a shiny red apple that the quality is low, it’s not. In fact, beauty standards in Korea are some of the highest in the world and Koreans have some of the most intense beauty regime around. I’ve been a lover of Kbeauty for several years so thought I’d start a mini blog series talking about Korean beauty products as it can’t be summed up in just one blog.
Lets get started with an overview of my top 10 favourite products.
1. Sheet Masks
Easily the most popular type of skin care in Korea, sheet masks are generally paper or gel face shaped masked that are soaked in an essence and come in a small pouch. Upon taking out the mask, place onto a cleansed face for around 15-20 minutes and then take off. You can rub the excess essence into your skin. Try not to rinse as you’ll wash away the essence you just put on your skin.
Some people sheet mask daily but personally, once a week is enough for me. Brands I recommend are Innisfree, Leaders and Dr Jart.
2. Banilla Co – Clean it Zero
This cleansing oil is a life saver. As soon as I come home from a shoot, this is the first product I reach for. After scooping out a decent amount onto the palm of my hand, I let the oil melt and then start rubbing it onto my face. Almost instantly, my makeup breaks down and starts melting away. Whilst rinsing with water, the oil emulsifies and turns into a cleansers that helps clean my skin and leave it soft and moisturized.
Don’t be fooled, just because I have oily skin doesn’t mean I should avoid products like this. In fact, after using this product for so long, it has really helped improve my skin. Also, the way it melts my makeup off means I don’t have to scrub as hard and risk breaking my skin. It also comes in a ‘Sensitive Skin formula’ called Clean It Zero Purity.
3. Innisfree – Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
This clay mask contains super volcanic cluster capsules from Jeju that effectively absorb sebum and cleanse pores. As the capsules burst on the skin, the mask exfoliates and removed dead skin cells whilst the AHA ingredients chemically exfoliate and smooth the skin.
I use this mask once a week for about 10-15 minutes as it can dry out the skin because it’s so strong. I find that its best to exfoliate before using the product just to remove the outside dirt and oils so the mask can penetrate the skin deeper. The mask is easy to rinse off and doesn’t clump and clog the sink.
4. Cosrx – Acne Pimple Master Patch
I wish these pimple patches were around when I was in highschool. These patches are an overnight (or during the day) fix that make whiteheads, blackheads and infected pimples be minimized and even disappear. The patches are made of a thin, clear, hydrocolloid sheet that adheres to your skin and absorbs and pulls out the pimple gunk whilst you sleep or go about your day. It stops bacteria and dirt entering the pimples and also works as a barrier to stop you picking at your face.
These patches come in a pack with 24 round patches of different size.
5. Elizavecca – Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask
Whenever I do a pamper night with friends, this product is always a crowd favourite. This mask has jelly like consistency and when applied to the skin, it starts foaming and ‘growing’. The carbonated mud and charcoal in the mask, combined with the foaming action, allows effective cleaning of the skin removing oil, dirt, sebum and black heads. It leaves the skin smooth, moisturized and super soft. This mask is suitable for all skin types. It’s also a lot of fun to watch your face puff up and pretend to be a cloud.
Note: this product does not contain any substances from a pig. It’s just a name and the brand logo for Elizavecca.
6. Mizon – Snail Recovery Gel Cream
If I could only live off one Kbeauty product, this would probably be it. This product is a lightweight gel cream that helps nourish and rejuvenate the skin. It contains 74% snail extract; don’t be freaked out, yes it is practically a tube of snail mucus but this ingredient has been used for hundreds of years because of its healing and repairing of skin, reduction of acne scars, dark spots and fine lines and nourishing properties. It has helped me so much with my acne and especially my cystic acne.
I apply this product before I moisturize at night. If you double the amount of product you use, it can be used as a sleep mask.
7. Laneige – Water Sleeping Pack
Next to the Snail Recovery Gel, this is my second top Kbeauty product that I recommend to everyone. The Laneige Water Sleeping Pack leaves you with glowy, fresh soft skin. It is a jelly like overnight mask that helps your skin moisture over night and leave it plump and beautiful.
Before going to sleep, this is the last product I put on my skin. It absorbs really quickly and a little goes a long way (I even keep a spare tub in my night stand just incase I forget). In the morning, just wash your face as usual and you can really see a difference. SO much love for this product especially when my skin has been super dry and flakey.
8. Son and Park – Beauty Water
There has been a lot of hype around this product and let me tell you, the hype is real boo boo! This is a multi-taker of a product; it is a toner and cleansing water all in one. It helps create a smooth base for your skin care routine or before you apply makeup. It also helps exfoliate and remove dead skin cells and leaves your skin bright, moisturized and smooth. It smells really good and has ingredients such as willow bark, papaya extract, lavender water, orange fruit extract and rose water.
I use this in the morning before I apply my makeup and after I wash my photoshoot makeup off to give my skin an extra cleansing boost and a bit of love after all that heavy makeup.
9. Etude House – Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ /PA+++
It’s no lie, I like to keep my pale skin as pale as I can so a huge thank you to Kbeauty sun creams! As opposed to many Western brands, I find that Korean sun creams are lighter, less sticky, don’t impact my makeup or make me look super shiny and generally have a high SPF. This sun cream in particular sinks into the skin really quickly, doesn’t leave a greasy residue and doesn’t make me look oily throughout the day.
It is amazing for summer months when my skin looks a little more oily. I like to apply it in the morning before I do my makeup. Etude House and other Kbeauty brands often have a range of sun creams to suit many skin types. I tend to stick with those that help acne prone skin and are waterproof.
10. SkinFood – Black Sugar Wash off Mask
A cult favourite Kbeauty product, this Black Sugar Mash Wash Off can be tailored to your skins needs. As I don’t like super abrasive manual exfoliators on my skin, I scoop out some of this mask and pour in a few drops of the Etude House Wonderpore toner and then mix together. This melts the sugar a little bit and when applied to the skin, it is more gentle. This mask smells absolutely amazing and leaves my skin moisturized and glowing.
I like to use this product once a week or if I feel my skin needs a good scrub. Skinfood has a range of these wash off masks which include Black Sugar and Honey and Strawberry (which smells super yummy).
As it’s so difficult to choose only 10 Kbeauty products that I recommend, here are some very Honourable Mentions:
Etude House – Wonderpore
Wonderpore is a great first toner for baby Kbeauty fans. It is a multi-purpose product that cleanses, controls sebum, tightens pores, helps elasticate the skin and deeply cleanse. Simply pour a little on a cotton pad and wipe over the face after cleansing. Massage it in a circular motion.
Innisfree Foam Cleaners
These are a really popular range of skin cleansers. From a cream consistency, they foam and emulsifies on the skin and help remove makeup, dirt and oils. They come in a range of types including green tea, apple and Jeju volcanic clay. If getting into Kbeauty, I recommend these cleansers as they do not dry out the skin, have a really light fragrance and come in a decent sized tube.
Nature Republic – Aloe Gel
When it comes to Kbeauty cult products, this Aloe Vera Gel is always on the list. Nature Republic Aloe Vera soothing gel contains 92% real alow vera and comes in a pretty hefty sized tub. The product can be used to mildly moisturize the body; I like to use it after going to the beach or pool as the salt/chemicals can dry out my skin. I sometimes apply it to my arms and legs before a shoot to make sure I look smooth and not ashy or dry.
Missha – Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence
I use this as the first step in my skin care routine by pouring a little onto my fingers and then gently patting the essence onto my skin. This essence is water like and helps plump, brighten and reduce the appearance of fine lines on the skin. This product also comes in a moisturing and night version for those that want an extra boost. I find that my skin is nice and plump, smooth and bouncy after using this product.
The world of Kbeauty can seem really vast and daunting and in a way it is, new products come out all the time, brands revamp old products, and sometimes trying out new skincare can cause breakouts and fail on us. I recommend reading reviews on products and starting slowly; perhaps just try a new cleanser, then add a nice moisturising toner, maybe try out a sheet mask or two?
The most important thing to know if what your skin type is; there is no point buying products for dry skin when you have oily skin, know your skin and realize it can change season to season.
Kbeauty is super fun and I use it as a form of self care. If you try any of the above products, let me know how you go. Maybe you find a holy grail for yourself or try something out of the ordinary.
Good luck on your Kbeauty journey!