The Best of Korean Skincare

The Korean beauty industry is known for its nourishing approach to skincare, and many of its products are formulated with reverence to your skin’s natural microbiome. As this personalized approach to skincare becomes more mainstream (plus the rise of K-beauty popularity on social media), there has been increased Western interest in Korean beauty products. Here are our top Korean product picks for every step of your skincare routine!

AM Cleanser: CosRx Low-pH Good Morning Cleanser ($14, shop here)

Finding a face wash that doesn’t strip the skin dry can seem impossible – especially for those with particularly oily skin types. But this gentle, cruelty-free cleanser was designed to be nondisruptive to your skin’s natural pH balance. The face wash works for all skin types and is made without irritating or drying ingredients.

Toner: The Lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid 5000 Toner ($19.90, shop here)

A big component of Korean beauty is keeping skin hydrated and moisturized. The hyaluronic acid in this fragrance-free, noncomedogenic toner holds a low molecular weight, easily penetrating the skin’s surface and allowing it to hold onto moisture for longer periods of time. You can use this toner in the morning or nighttime. It also comes with cotton pads that can double as a sheet mask when your skin is particularly parched.

Exfoliant: Isntree Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence ($15, shop here)

Gone are the days of using harsh facial scrubs to smooth skin! You may be familiar with chemical exfoliants to improve texture and acne over time, but Korean skincare has mastered products that are both exfoliating and gentle on the skin. This water-based product with 4% glycolic acid and 4% lactic acid restores hydration and radiance to skin cells while preserving the strength of the skin’s moisture barrier.

Moisturizer: Peach & Lily Glass Skin Water-Gel Moisturizer ($40, shop here)

You likely don’t want to finish your morning skincare regime with a heavy moisturizer! Peach & Lily harnesses the benefits of prebiotic and probiotic complexes, antioxidants, and vitamins in this powerful yet lightweight formula that sits comfortably on the skin. The 100% clean, Leaping Bunny-certified moisturizer is oil- and silicone-free – nothing short of a treat for any skin type.

SPF: Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen ($15, shop here)

If there’s any part of your skincare routine that we would rank as the most important, it would be high-quality sunscreen. Not only does this lightweight, white cast-free product have SPF 36, but it also contains green tea, cica, and sunflower seed oil. Combined, these ingredients calm and soothe the skin while preventing sun irritation. They also add a barrier of moisture, yielding a healthy and more youthful-looking complexion.

Makeup Remover: Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover ($40, shop here)

Using makeup wipes or foaming cleansers to remove your makeup can leave your skin feeling dry or stripped, which is why we’re big fans of K-beauty’s use of oil-based cleansers as the first step of a double-cleansing regime. This luxurious oil contains tangerine extract and apricot oil, which pull dirt, debris, and waterproof makeup from the skin. And the best part? Your skin will feel baby-soft upon rinsing – no residue or redness in sight. This sulfate, paraben, and phthalate-free formula is so well-loved that it won Allure’s 2020 Best of Beauty Award.

Night Cream: Etude House SoonJung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream ($20, shop here)

Most of the skin’s reparative process occurs at night, so it’s important (especially for those with dry skin) to seal in their PM skincare routine with an enriching cream-based moisturizer. The naturally derived ingredients in this low-pH cream work to repair existing damage while nourishing and healing the skin’s natural microbiome.

Have you tried any of these Korean skincare products? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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