An Intro to Korean Beauty Products
This definitely won't be the last time I mention this, but I figgin’ love Korea! I love everything about it: the food, the culture, the technology, the people and most certainly their beauty products. During my time in Seoul, I made every attempt to try out as many of their beauty products as I could, for a very simple reason: Korean women are beautiful! Sure, they stay out of the sun and this is a huge help, but they harness the power of natural ingredients more so than any drugstore product found in the Western world.
I developed a list of brands and products that I loved in Korea, and attempted to stock up as many as I could before heading back to the States, but of course they didn’t last long. However, I was very excited to see that Korean brands are popping up all over the place from Sephora to Urban Outfitters. Americans are finally jumping on a bandwagon of Korean brands because they are highly effective.
Some products may make the average consumer scratch their heads and go, “no way” – foam facial cleansers made out of egg whites and cloth masks made with horse fat and snail slime.
Before you run away screaming just note that I’m not discussing those today; instead I want to share with you a few products that will (slowly) introduce you to the awesome world of Korean skincare and for each I’ve provided the link of where to find them in America, so no Passport required! Ready?
A quick note before I begin: you’ll see that a lot of negative reviews from users say they are mad because the product was “expired” when they received it. In Korea, the date printed on the product is the manufacturing date, NOT the expiration date. In general, these products do not expire, so don’t listen to them.
Best for Beginners: Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask, $24
Probably the best Korean beauty product you will ever use is a sleeping mask (or ‘pack’ as they call it) because it tackles one of the most difficult beauty woes: hydrating your face overnight. To use one, you apply a thin layer over your face after you have cleansed, toned, and moisturized at the end of the day. The sleeping mask essentially locks in all of the ingredients that you just put on your skin and keeps them rejuvenating the cells overnight. When you wake up in the morning, you’re left with soft and supple skin. Be aware that some sleeping masks are too harsh to use every day, but this one is gentle enough that you could use it every day if you wanted to. The Good Night White Sleeping Mask from Mizon is formulated with natural extracts and relaxing lavender, and the product itself actually smells like lavender. If you’re looking to discover sleeping masks, start with this one and I’ll recommend more for different skin types.
Matcha Green Tea
Best for Beginners: Eborian, Perfect Morning BB Mask, $32 for 8 sachets
Matcha green tea is an absolute staple for good health, both on the inside and the outside. It is essentially green tea leaves ground up so fine that it has the consistency of a powder that can be semi-dissolved in water. Other than drinking green tea, you can give your skin an instant perk-up with these to-go powder packs from Eborian – a company that combines beauty experts from Paris and Seoul, oh boy! These packs are quite expensive so I’ve been using just one per week. First thing in the morning, wash your face, then the contents of the sachet into your hand, mix with a little water to create a paste, apply to clean skin and leave on for a few minutes. Before it dries completely, rinse off with warm water and be absolutely amazed how great your skin feels from just one use. This is the perfect nutrition boost for your skin; it tightens pores, cleanses the skin and leaves a radiant glow – this is no joke.
Best for Beginners: TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream So Cool Eye Stick, $10
Not only is this product adorable like most Korean beauty products, but it serves a very important function: soothing tired eyes with a unique cooling cream. The stick works wonders as it de-puffs and revitalizes tired, dry under-eyes. And who doesn’t smile when they find a panda stick in their purse?
Best for Beginners: TONYMOLY I’m Real Mask Sheets, $11 to sample all 11 varieties
These cloth masks from TONYMOLY are the perfect way to get used to using cloth masks, mostly because the ingredients make sense to put on your skin and the packaging is not intimidating at all. Each pack contains a cloth mask that is soaked in a serum (clear), you unfold it and lay it on your face – don’t worry there are holes for your eyes, nose and mouth. Leave it on for about 10-20 minutes then remove and rub the excess serum into your skin, but do not rinse or you’ll undo the work it just did. Cloth masks are another way to give a nutrition boost to your skin, but are not necessary to do every day; once per week will do. You can sample all 11 varieties from Amazon for $11 if you would like to try each one for yourself. Each ingredient looks to accomplish something different: Avocado is for nutrition, rice is for clear skin, pomegranate for elasticity, etc. It really depends on how your skin feels at the time.
Best for Beginners: SkinFood Green Tea Bubble Cleansing Foam, $12
I love SkinFood and their shops in Korea are so much fun to visit – they’re everywhere in Seoul! This was the very first product I ever tried from them and I absolutely loved it for a basic everyday cleanser. Once again, your skin (and body) will really eat up green tea and all the nutrition from it. This is a gentle foam cleanser that can be used by any and all skin types twice per day. The bottle is green, but not the foam. Sorry to disappoint.