Best Korean cosmetics to transform your skin!

Updated

By Alyssa Prado

Looking for the best Korean cosmetics? So read this post and discover the best products and brands to make your skin look amazing!

Discover the best Korean cosmetics to transform your skin in this post!

I've always liked skin products and having a skincare routine. I remember using the basic Clean & Clear line when I was a teenager (hello red astringent toner), moving on to brands like The Body Shop when I started my travels and, after a few years, reaching The Ordinary, a wonderful brand with a great price outside Brazil. The products are so good that I followed the same skin routine for years, only repurchasing what I ran out of.

Unfortunately, in 2020, even with daily hydration (including hyaluronic acid and oils), my skin is not coping with the European winter. Even though it's not that cold here in Portugal, the low temperatures and low humidity leave my skin dry and lifeless, no matter what I do. So, I decided to change my skin routine again.

This time, I decided to embark on an extremely popular trend in recent years: Korean cosmetics. I had already heard great things about the country's products, but as I was satisfied with my previous routine, I hadn't made the effort to test them. However, when the need for more potent products arose, they were the first ones that came to mind. After all, if Korean women make the effort to follow a routine of 10 products every night, it must be because they are wonderful.

So, I researched several beauty sites, magazines, reddit forums and found out which ones were best korean cosmetics, those most popular that made this type of product so popular. 

At first, I didn't know the brands, I didn't understand what each product was for, and I was confused about what should be added (or not) to my routine. And thinking about that, and how popular Korean cosmetics are right now, I thought you might be experiencing the same problem as “I even want to try it, but I don’t know where to start.”. That's why I decided to write this post.

I've gathered the best Korean cosmetics to transform your skin, those indications that I have seen thousands of times on the internet. Not only that, I also separated each of them according to the step in which they fit into the Korean skin routine, in addition to explaining what each of the steps is for. 

Want to try some Korean beauty products? So keep reading this post!

Where to buy Korean cosmetics?

First of all, let's talk about where buy these products. The best place, in general, is directly on Brazilian Amazon, where you already pay in reais and don't need to wait for the good will of the post office. Unfortunately, only the most popular products are available there, but I left all the ones I found linked here in the post.

For the rest, my suggestion is to buy from international sites that ship to Brazil. Among my favorites are YesStyle and the iHerb, but you can also test others like Jolse. Remember that, in these cases, products are subject to customs fees, and the only one of these sites that guarantees reimbursement of these fees is YesStyle.  

Best Korean cosmetics for those who want to follow a skin care routine

Just a quick explanation before we start: the classic Korean skin care routine involves 10 different steps, ranging from cleansing to moisturizing, passing through different treatments. This post has recommendations for each of these steps, but you You don't need to follow them all, it depends on what your skin needs and what your budget allows. I, for example, follow three to five steps, it varies depending on each day. 

In general, the steps are as follows (in order):

  1. Oil-based cleaning
  2. Water-based cleaning
  3. Exfoliating
  4. Tonic
  5. essences
  6. Serums
  7. Masks
  8. Cream for oils
  9. Moisturizing
  10. Sunscreen

Exfoliants and masks (steps 3 and 7) do not need to be applied every day, while sunscreen should only be part of the morning routine, not the nighttime routine. Oil-based cleansing (step 1) also only needs to be done at night, as its main purpose is to remove makeup, which you don't wear to bed, lol.

Now, let's start with product recommendations for each step: 

Oil Cleansing

The first step of the Korean skin routine is oil-based cleansing. This step is mainly used to remove makeup and remove impurities that accumulate on our skin during the day. Contrary to what many people believe, oily skin can also use this type of product, which often helps with hydration and causes the production of natural oil to decrease.

The most recommended products are:   

Then I Met You Living Cleansing Oil is the most popular oil-based cleanser among Korean products!

Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm

This balm has a texture of sorbet and is rich in nutrients. The main oil in its formula is sea buckthorn, which is used to leave the skin soft and remove impurities such as sunscreen and makeup. Furthermore, olive oil and vitamin E are also present among the ingredients, making Living Cleansing Balm a product that helps your skin in addition to cleansing it.

Banila Co Clean It Zero

With acerola extract, this cleansing oil removes even the most resistant makeup, but without destroying the skin's natural hydration. It also has vitamin E and other oils to make the product even more powerful, meaning you need to use very little to remove all residue. Clean It Zero is so famous that, according to Allure magazine, one is sold every three seconds. It is one of the easiest products to find, and you can even buy it on Amazon in Brazil.

Banila Co.'s Clean It Zero is an oil-based cleanser that's perfect for taking off your makeup! Discover this and other best Korean cosmetics in this post!

Water Cleansing

The second step in the Korean skin routine is to use a water-based cleanser. This step is to ensure that the previous product managed to remove all impurities present on your skin, leaving it really clean for the treatments that will follow. For those who have a simpler routine, this step is the equivalent of using a facial soap.  

Discover the best Korean facial soaps to keep your skin clean without drying it out in this post!

COSRX Low PH Good Morning Cleanser

As you can imagine, there are a lot of Korean face washes, but none are as well talked about as this best seller from Cosrx. This product is designed to be a gentle cleanser, which will not harm your skin or remove its natural hydration, just any residue that may be left over from the previous step. Although the name indicates that it is made for use during the day, it can also be used at night. 

If you have acne-prone skin, soap with salicylic acid from the same brand is also great.

Exfoliating 

The exfoliant is used to remove dead cells that may be on the surface of your skin. Once you get rid of them, the next products in this skin routine (the ones that will really help treat) will penetrate more easily and have more effect. In the past, the exfoliants used were physical, that is, they contained small particles that were massaged into the skin to remove dead cells. Currently, chemical exfoliants are more popular, as they penetrate deeper without “scratching” the skin.

Remembering that this step should not be done every day. Personally, I only do it once a week, but I know that some people do it twice or even three times, depending on how much their skin needs it.

NEOGEN Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine

With several versions, Neogen's Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling contains 30 exfoliating discs, each with a three-layer technology, serving for physical and chemical exfoliation using lactic acid, AHA and wine-derived Resveratrol (yes, the wine the name is actually wine). 

Among the best Korean cosmetics is undoubtedly this exfoliant from Neogen! Discover other incredible products for your skin!

Toner (Tonic)

The toner is used to prepare your skin to receive the next treatments.. Using an analogy I read on SokoGlam, it's like your skin is a sponge – and it's much easier to moisturize it if it's already a little wet rather than dry and hard.

One of the best Korean toners is the AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner from Some by Mi!

Some by Mi AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner

This toner is a bit of an all-rounder – not only does it prep the skin, but it also exfoliates due to its combination of AHA, BHA and PHA acids. Furthermore, its formula also contains papaya, witch hazel, tea tree and even niacinamide, for more vibrant and healthy skin. It does not contain mineral oil, parabens and silicones.

Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner

If you don't want a toner as strong as the one above, the suggestion is to use a more moisturizing product, like Pyunkang Yul's Essence Toner. It has a light texture that is quickly absorbed by the skin, and is made up of more than 90% of Astragalus root extract, which helps to leave the skin renewed and re-energized.

This toner from Pyunkang Yul is great for those with dry skin, as it promises good hydration!

Essence

Starting now with treatment products, which are generally divided by their consistency. Essences tend to be lighter, and you can apply countless essences for different purposes without feeling like you've used too many products, as they tend to be easily absorbed. 

COSRX Advances Snail Mucin Essence is one of the best Korean cosmetics on the market! Discover more about this product that will change your skin!

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

I did not even know or that it was an essence or that this type of product existed until I saw countless recommendations for this product on YouTube and Reddit. As you can imagine from the name, Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (phew) has snail mucin (a type of protein) as its main ingredient, an ingredient widely used in Asian products. It's like a vitamin for the face, as it serves both to hydrate and for other purposes such as calming acne.  

First Miracle Seed Essence

With amino acids and lotus seed in the formula, this essence is present on all lists of the best Korean cosmetics. It helps to leave the skin with a softer, more hydrated texture, and also protects it from “stressful factors” that can hurt it during day-to-day life.

Primera's Miracle Seed Essence is perfect for those who want softer, more hydrated skin!
Neogen's Ferment Micro Essence is made from over 90% fermented ingredients! Discover this and other best Korean cosmetics in this post!

Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence

One of the most different products on the list, as its formula is made up of more than 90% of fermented ingredients, making your skin hydrated and vibrant. It also has antioxidants and even rice extract to leave skin with a glow that comes from the inside out. It is an excellent product for those who want to follow the trend “honey skin” (honey skin), which consists of hydrated and luminous skin. 

Serum

These are treatment products that can serve different purposes, such as helping with hyperpigmentation, blemishes, acne and more.. Unlike essences, serums (and ampoules) tend to have a thicker consistency and more concentrated ingredients.

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refine Serum

The perfect serum for those looking for a glass skin (glass skin). With hyaluronic acid, peach extract, niacinamide and peptides, this cocktail It will leave your skin calmer, brighter and firmer. Suitable for all skin types.

This brand is a little difficult to find online, but in the United States I know it is sold at Ulta.

JOLSE - 2.5COSRX Snail 96 100ml - US$14.99 Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner 100ml - US$12.32 ETUDE HOUSE Soon Jung 2X Barrier Intensive Cream 6 - US$15.77 ILLIYOON Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream 200ml - US$19.47ROSE ROSE - 22ILLIYOON Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream 200ml - US $10.47 COSRX Snail 96 100ml - US$15.70 [ETUDE HOUSE] Soon Jung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream - US$9.11NOTINOYESTTYLE - 8.7LITTLE WONDERLAND - 11.52479 2578 3469 3568Clean It Zero by Banila Co. is an oil-based cleanser perfect for removing your makeup ! Discover this and other best Korean cosmetics in this post!The Living Cleansing Oil from Then I Met You is the most popular oil-based cleanser among Korean products!Discover the best Korean facial soaps to leave your skin clean without drying it out in this post! Among the best Korean cosmetics is undoubtedly this exfoliant from Neogen! Discover other incredible products for your skin!One of the best Korean toners is the AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner from Some by Mi!This toner from Pyunkang Yul is great for those with dry skin, as it promises good hydration! Advances Snail Mucin Essence from COSRX is one of the best Korean cosmetics on the market! Discover more about this product that will change your skin! Primera's Miracle Seed Essence is perfect for those who want softer, more hydrated skin! Neogen's Ferment Micro Essence is made from more than 90% fermented ingredients! Discover this and other best Korean products in this post! Trying to have "glass skin"? Then you need to add Peach and Lily's Glass Skin Refine Serum to your skin routine!

KRAVE BEAUTY Great Barrier Relief

A mixture of oils that promises to reduce irritation in your skin, as well as discolorations and even acne that may have been caused by dehydration or everyday aggression. It promises to leave your skin clean, calm and nourished. 

 

Sheet Mask

Another step that does not need to be followed every day (because there is money and masks). These masks serve to provide super hydration, as they are soaked in moisturizing products and often with ingredients that are also present in essences and serums. Remembering that the ideal, after removing the mask, is to massage the rest of the product onto your face, and not rinse it off.

Mediheal

Putting a brand here instead of a specific mask because I read recommendations for several of them on the internet. Tea tree (melaleuca) is very popular among those with acne, with ingredients such as chamomile to calm skin redness. Another best-selling product is NFM Intensive Hydration, focused on hydration and with hyaluronic acid. 

Mediheal masks have different properties, such as moisturizing, treating acne and much more! Check out this and other amazing Korean beauty products in this post!

Eye Cream

I think this section is self-explanatory, right? Just like in Western skin routines, The Korean routine also has exclusive products to care for the area around the eyes. Many people believe that normal moisturizers already do the job, but those made for the eyes serve to take care of other problems, such as dark circles or puffiness. 

Jeju Orchid Eye Cream is one of the best Korean eye creams on the market!

innisfree Jeju Orchid Eye Cream

This innisfree cream uses a unique technology to extract the properties of the orchid from Jeju Island, making its formula full of antioxidants that help leave the skin looking younger and firmer. Ideal for those who have drier skin around the eyes, without elasticity and with fine lines or wrinkles.

Moisturizer

Finally, after all these products, it's time for moisturizer. In this case, you have probably already used several products for this purpose (such as essences), however, now it tends to be a slightly heavier product to “seal” everything that came before and ensure that your skin will retain all its hydration.. There are different formulas and consistencies, but the most famous are creams:

SKINRx Lab MadeCera Cream

A multipurpose moisturizer, which serves both to maintain hydration and prevent skin aging. It is made with centella asiatica (another ingredient widely used in the best Korean cosmetics), which means it helps reduce inflammation and redness. It has already appeared on several k-beauty recommendation lists, and despite being a super nourishing formula, it is light enough that it can be used both morning and night.

Among the best Korean cosmetics is this moisturizer from SkinRx Lab Mad Cera.
Soon Jung 3x Barrier Intensive Cream is a Korean moisturizer with great value for money!

ETUDE HOUSE Soon Jung 2X Barrier Intensive Cream

I thought Etude House only manufactured makeup, until I discovered that the brand is responsible for several skin products, including a very famous line called Soon Jung. Its formula is made up of more than 90% derived from natural ingredients, in addition to also having panthenol, vitamin B5, centella asiatica and sunflower seed oil, to provide you with even more hydration.

Sleeping Mask

Another step that doesn't necessarily need to be done every day, many people like to apply a sleeping mask two to three times a week. If you want, however, you can apply it whenever you feel necessary (in winter, for example, your skin may need even more hydration). From what I've read, you can either use this type of product in place of your moisturizer (previous step), or complete your skin routine and only then, moments before bed, apply this type of mask. It's up to you.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

One of the first Korean brands I discovered, Laneige has two flagship products, this mask being one of the most famous among the best Korean cosmetics. It is formulated with ionized mineral water to provide intense hydration, in addition to having orange and rose flowers in the formula, for radiant and rested skin. 

One of the most popular Korean cosmetics is Laneige's water-based sleeping mask.
Glow Recipe is a Korean cosmetics brand with a more natural feel, to make your skin look amazing!

Glow Recipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask

According to the company itself, this mask is “pillow proof”, and will leave you with softer and more radiant skin due to its high concentration of hyaluronic acid and watermelon extract, as well as AHA acids that will gently exfoliate your skin while you sleep. The Watermelon Sleeping Mask is made with watermelon life, so don't be surprised if you find small pieces of fruit in your mask.

Lip Mask

This part is not considered one of the 10 parts of the Korean skin routine, but that doesn't mean that there aren't countless good products from the brands already mentioned for this purpose. You know that cocoa butter we usually apply before bed? This product has the same objective – to leave your lips hydrated – but with even more powerful ingredients.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask 

From the same line as the face mask, the Lip Sleeping Mask is made with Moisture Wrap™ technology, which covers your skin with a moisturizing layer throughout the night, in addition to leaving it firmer and eliminating dead skin. There are several versions available, the most famous being the red fruit and mint chocolate versions. 

Laneige's Lip Sleeping Mask is one of the best Korean products on the market, being super popular in several countries. Great for leaving your lips soft and hydrated and getting rid of dead skin.

Sunscreen (Sunscreen)

The last step in your morning skin routine (if you're not going to put on makeup) is also one of the most important. Although the products above take care of your skin, the best thing you can do is protect it from sun exposure.. Sunscreens Japanese (hello blue Biore) are the most famous on the internet, but Korean brands also have great options!

Sunscreen is a fundamental step in your skin care routine. This one from Thank You Farmer is dry and protects you without leaving your skin oily.

Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sunscreen FPS50

A sunscreen with high moisturizing power, due to its formula loaded with hyaluronic acid. It guarantees a natural, non-greasy finish without that whitish appearance that some protectors end up leaving. This brand is very famous for its sunscreens, and if you have red or irritated skin, it's worth trying Sun Project Light Sun Essence, also with SPF 50.

BONUS: Acne Patches (acne bandages)

Before ending with the skin routine and the best Korean cosmetics, I wanted to leave you with a product that I saw recommended on practically every website, video and discussion on reddit. 

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches

These bandages (or protectors, whatever you want to call them) for acne help both to protect the area against second infections and to keep it hydrated, facilitating recovery and reducing possible marks. The pack has bandages of different sizes, so you can choose the most comfortable one according to your acne, in addition to being transparent, making it almost invisible on the skin.

Cosrx acne bandages promise to get rid of those annoying pimples in no time.

And here are some of the best Korean cosmetics to make your skin even healthier.

Do you have any questions? Do you have a favorite product that didn't make this list? Leave it in the comments!

2 comments on “Best Korean cosmetics to transform your skin!”

  1. Goodnight! It is difficult to understand the products recommended for each step. My skin is mature and I do simple skin care, but I want to improve. Can you recommend the 10 best? One for each step?!?!? I am a little confuse….
    As I'm in the USA, I take the opportunity to buy them all. Thanks.

    Reply

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