Skin care

15 Best Korean Skincare Products to Elevate Your Routine 2021

korean skincare products

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Korean skincare brands have taken the global beauty market by storm, and after just a few weeks of product sampling, the reason behind everyone’s curiosity becomes clear.

Korean beauty, or K-beauty as it’s often called, brands are known for their innovative skincare products that tend to opt for gentle-but-effective ingredients, accessible price points, and aesthetically pleasing packaging. After all, who can say no to a sheet mask that is fun and comfortable to apply, leaves you and your skin feeling post-spa rejuvenated, and costs just a few dollars?

While there are a virtually unending number of fantastic brands that are worth a closer look—especially depending on the sensitivity of your skin and your own unique skincare needs—we’ve found a few standout options that are consistently delivering products that really help to take your skin to the next level.

From retailers like Soko Glam, an online bazaar for all-things K-beauty, to cult-favorite brands like COSRX, Peach & Lily, and Laneige, there’s no shortage of companies looking to help you achieve your best skin yet. Whether you’re looking for a calming serum, a daytime moisturizer, or an everyday toner, we’ve rounded up the best Korean skincare brands and products that deserve a spot in your routine.

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1

BEST MASK

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

Glow Recipe says it best on its site: “Unexpected sensorial textures, colorful packaging, and innovative ingredients are our thing.” The woman-owned brand creates skincare that’s rich in fruit ingredients to unleash your inner glow. Try the best-selling Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, which is packed with anti-inflammatory watermelon extract and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid.

2

BEST ANTI-AGING SERUM

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum

Unsurprisingly, peaches are a powerhouse ingredient in Peach & Lily’s products, thanks to the many vitamins and minerals found in the delicious stone fruit. A fan favorite is the Glass Skin Refining Serum that is designed to help you achieve, you guessed it, skin that is smooth as glass as it calms, brightens, and firms the complexion.

3

BEST SHEET MASK

LAPCOS Revitalizing Sheet Masks

For sheet masks that are inexpensive but highly effective, check out this diverse lineup from LAPCOS. They have lip, eye, and full-face masks that contain a variety of active ingredients to serve whatever skincare woe you want to address, from soothing honey to oil-controlling charcoal. Plus, they come in metallic, shiny packaging for an overall luxe experience. 

4

BEST CREAM FOR REDNESS

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream

Dr. Jart+ offers a wide range of skin-soothing products, but one of the best is its Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Gel Cream, which helps to relieve irritated skin and provides deep moisture for parched patches. Another great product? The Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment—it works wonders for redness. 

5

BEST EVERYDAY GEL CREAM

Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb

Belif’s products combine modern skincare science with 19th-century herbal apothecary techniques from Korea. The result? Products that are rooted in natural ingredients, effective formulation, and unique textures that feel pleasantly lightweight and calming. The brand’s True Cream Aqua Bomb is a big favorite, thanks to its gel-like feel and deeply nourishing effect.

6

BEST EYE CREAM

COSRX Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream

COSRX is a beloved K-beauty skincare brand geared toward alleviating irritated skin. If you’re looking for an innovative eye cream, the brand’s cult-favorite Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream is not only super lightweight but also helps to brighten and reduce the appearance of dark circles. The brand’s pimple patches are also super popular.

7

BEST PRESSED SERUM

Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum

Designed with city-dwellers in mind, Blithe’s goal is to address the unique skincare challenges spurred by an urban environment. Its pressed serums are not only beautiful to look at, but are also soothing, nourishing, and exactly what skin needs when it’s need of a pick me up.

8

BEST LIP PRODUCT

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Launched nearly 30 years ago, Korean skincare brand Laneige’s name comes from the French word for “the snow,” which perhaps refers to the unblemished canvas that its products seek to make of your skin. Its lipcare line is especially notable, namely the Lip Sleeping Mask, which helps to heal and soften lips while you snooze.

9

BEST SUNSCREEN

Suntique I’m Pure Cica Suncream SPF 50

For all things sun-related, Suntique is a great option. The brand offers a variety of higher-SPF products that don’t look or feel chalky, including this Pure Cica Suncream, which helps to moisturize, protect, and tone-correct all at once. For something truly unique, check out the brand’s treatment dedicated to sun protection for your hair.

10

BEST GENTLE TONER

Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

Krave aims to “shake up” the beauty industry; following a constant stream of unrealistic promises and harsh ingredients, the brand launched with the mission to make skincare basic, easy, and effective—to go back to the basics, if you will. One of its popular picks, this toner contains alpha hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate, hyaluronic acid to hydrate, and aloe to soothe—as well as tons of antioxidant-rich greens.

11

BEST EVERYDAY CLEANSER

Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser

Time-honored Mamonde was launched in 1991, and it still remains as one of the best-selling and K-beauty brands around. Its flower-powered lines are carefully formulated with science-backed floral ingredients—and this multi-tasking rose-based cleanser is no exception, gently dissolving makeup and cleaning skin with a unique oil-to-foam formula.

12

BEST EXFOLIATING TONER

Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner

Some By Mi is a Seoul-headquartered brand, which is best known for its hydroxy acid-powered toner—boasting ‘miracle’ in the name for a reason. The exfoliating acids get to work smoothing rough skin and unclogging pores, while 2% niacinamide calms any angry patches.

13

BEST MAKEUP REMOVER

Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm

BANILA CO
amazon.com

$18.68

Founded in 2006, Banila Co now has over 80 stores across Asia, and claims to sell its famous Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm once every 3.1 seconds. This creamy formula removes makeup and hydrates your skin all in one go, thanks to the addition of nourishing vitamin E.

14

BEST HYDRATING SERUM

Thank You Farmer True Water Deep Serum EX

THANKYOU FARMER
amazon.com

$34.00

This K-beauty brand is “rooted in the mentality of a farmer,” and to that end, uses naturally hardworking ingredients. We love the True Water collection for its hydrating properties, as the products are gentle enough to use daily.

15

BEST ALL-OVER CREAM

Dear Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream

If you have sensitive skin, then the vegan and cruelty-free products from Dear Klairs are for you. The Rich Moist Soothing Cream is a huge favorite; thanks to rich shea butter and slippery glycerin, it never feels thick or goopy, only pleasantly hydrating with a barely-there slippery feel for easy application and absorption. 

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