It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Korean skin care has changed the game for many of us. Some of us have ushered in the practice of double cleansing with cleansing balms and oils (never to look back at traditionally harsh makeup removers again), while others have adopted essences and ampoules into their beauty routines or swear by the redness- and dryness-soothing abilities of herbal ingredients (also known as “hanbang”) like lotus, ginseng, and cica.
We can always look towards the epicenter of Korean skin care — Seoul, South Korea — as the hot spot for the latest skin-care innovations. There, you’ll discover prominent brands like AHC and Kahi developing multi-balms, which essentially combine serums, essences, and moisturizers into one convenient, portable tube, as well as products that cater to a growing need for counteracting and treating maskne. And, while nothing can replicate the effects of in-office lasers, tech-savvy brands are putting research, money, and time behind the development at-home devices that allow your products to absorb more deeply and give you skin-plumping effects anytime of the day.
Overall, K-beauty is known to focus on gentle, hydrating ingredients that strengthen your moisture barrier and treat inflammation as a way to (preventatively) tackle skin concerns such as acne and fine lines and wrinkles even before they develop. Look out for ingredients like peptides, niacinamide, red ginseng, hyaluronic acid, and licorice root extract starring in ingredient lists. And, of course, sunscreen is a given in any well-rounded skin-care routine — especially since Korean brands are responsible for some of the lightest and most hydrating formulas we’ve ever come across.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best Korean skin-care products — and a few picks from our favorite Korean-inspired brands, helmed by Korean beauty experts, of course — to add to your skin-care routine for glowy, healthy skin. (You’re welcome.)
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