It’s no secret that many of the best, most innovative skin care products come from Korea. And with the growing K-beauty marketplace in the United States — even stores like Sephora and Urban Outfitters now boast impressive K-beauty sections — getting your hands on these imported products is easier than ever. But for the most expansive selection of best-selling Korean skin care products, Amazon is where it’s at.
Whether you’re just getting into Korean beauty or you’re a seasoned ampoule expert on the hunt for some new goodies, ahead, you’ll find eight of the most popular (and most effective) Korean skin care products on the market: sheet masks, serums, exfoliators, et cetera. While these products all come highly recommended by beauty bloggers, devoted Redditors, and yours truly, they also boast hundreds of Amazon reviews vouching for their excellence. And though it’s hard to generalize a beauty product as the overall “best,” since effectiveness varies so much from person to person, all of the formulas on this list have been chosen for being suitable for every skin type.
From red wine-soaked peel pads to a cult-favorite essence made with snail mucin, scroll on to discover nine powerhouse Korean beauty products — listed in the order you’d use them — that’ll revolutionize your skin care game.
1. Best Korean Clay Mask
Made from volcanic ash sourced on the Korean Island of Jeju, this creamy clay mask is surprisingly powerful when it comes to detoxifying. In addition to clearing out pores, soaking up shine, and gently exfoliating, it also helps brighten and even out skin tone.
One reviewer says, “This mask is to die for … Very effective on acne, clears up my skin from blemishes and leaves it feel fresh and squeaky clean.” Another fan calls it the “Best thing I’ve done to my face.”
2. Best Korean Sheet Mask
A classic: TonyMoly’s I’m Real Sheet Masks. Available in 23 variations — including honey for nourishing, pearl for illuminating, lemon for brightening, and cactus for purifying — these sheet masks are simple, cheap, and effective. The sheets are soaked in a hydrating essence that, depending on the “flavor,” also targets other specific skin care concerns — from tight skin to congested pores — and there’s always enough left over to apply on your neck and chest. Pro tip: keep them in the fridge — they’ll feel even more refreshing when you put them on.
3. Best Korean Cleanser
This is the cleanser for people who like their faces looking bright and feeling squeaky clean. A personal favorite, this face wash is infused with rice water, soapwort, and moringa oil to leave skin feeling fresh and smooth. Though it’s a foaming formula, it leaves your skin surprisingly soft, instead of tight — and it’s one of the few skin care products I’ve used that lives up to its promise of visibly brighter skin.
Though this might be a con for some people who don’t love fragrance in their skin care products (for what it’s worth, I typically don’t either), the fresh, clean scent is absolutely divine. Plus, the fragrance is the last ingredient on the list, which means there’s only a tiny bit.
4. Best Korean Exfoliator
Another product that lives up to the hype, Neogen’s gauze peeling facial pads are a revelation in exfoliating. Cleverly designed with two different textured sides, plus a handy pocket for your fingers on one side, these pads work to shed dead skin cells, clear out pores, and refine unevenly-textured skin.
In addition to the pads themselves, the formula they’re soaked in offers its own unique benefits. For example, the red wine “flavor” (pictured) helps firm and tighten skin, while the green tea is soothing and refreshing. The lemon pads, on the other hand, which are brightening, leave skin looking not only smoother, but impossibly radiant.
5. Best Korean TonerIt can be hard to find a toner that’s safe for use on dry and/or sensitive skin — which is perhaps what makes this one such a fan-favorite. Great for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin types as well, this unscented version of Klairs’ Supple Preparation Facial Toner is a gentler take on their classic formula. In addition to nixing fragrance, it also leaves out essential oils, as well as alcohol and parabens. Use this toner after cleansing (and exfoliating) to remove any leftover residue, be it oil or makeup. The formula also works to soften and moisturize your skin and balance your skin’s pH levels.
“Never knew how much toner could make/break your skin,” one reviewer raves “My redness? Gone. Pores? Unseen. Forehead texture? Bumps gone for the first time in a decade. My skin looks so SOFT and SUPPLE and it’s winter time where I’m at. Unheard of. Can’t recommend this enough. I finally understand what a true holy grail product is.