My Top 10 Favorite K-Beauty Skincare Products
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Korea with AMOREPACIFIC and get a further look into their brands. If you are unfamiliar with AMOREPACIFIC, they are one of the top cosmetic brands in Korea and have been growing rapidly within the U.S. market in recent years. They’re sold in Sephora and Neiman Marcus, but you can also order directly from their website.
While AMOREPACIFIC is its own brand, it also has a wide portfolio of brands under them as well, which includes Innisfree, Laneige, Mamonde, Primera, Sulwhasoo. These are the brands I also had a pleasure exploring and learning more about during my trip to Seoul and Jeju Island.
I have to admit that I’ve always been a “one-trick pony” when it comes to my skincare routine. I firmly do believe that if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it, meaning if the products work then why change right? During my trip, I realized that while I love the items I’m using now, I do notice a different type of glow with Asian beauty products. Mainly because their formulas are tailored for my skin specifically , therefore the ingredients are aimed to work better on Asians/Asian Americans. After two weeks of testing a handful of items that were gifted to us during the trip, I’ve narrowed down the top 10 favorites that I’m certainly will be restocking on (once I’m out).
*Please note that these are products that I found works best for my skin/skin type, which is mostly dry and acne prone. These products do work differently on everyone and I always suggest getting samples from Sephora first to try before you splurge.
This is literally my favorite product ever because I’m so lazy when it comes to masking. I hate clay masks and always hate the mess those make, but with Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, all I have to do is put it on and go to sleep then rinse off in the morning. I use this at least twice a week and always after vacations/flights. It hydrates my skin every single time and doesn’t have any scents or weird textures. It’s gel and goes on transparent, no residue or stickiness at all. Highly recommend this one!
Another favorite by Laneige and this one is travel friendly. There is also a lip balm version of this that I keep in my bag at all times (Berry is my favorite flavor). Both items I cannot live without and don’t know how I did until now. My lips used to get pretty chappy and dry, sometimes crack (sorry TMI), because I am not a huge water drinker. I’m working on that but in the meantime, these two products have saved me from all the embarrassment. They have rave reviews on Sephora (6K+) and my boyfriend loves them too so get your man some as well ;) He’ll thank ya!
I’m going to admit that I’m not huge on face peeling things but I decided to give Primera’s Mild Facial Peeling Gel a try because it seemed simple to use. so why not? Upon first use, I was disgusted — not at the product but of my face. So much dead skin came off and surprisingly, there was no burn or smell or any weird chemical things you’d expect from a peel. This literally washed away my dead skin cells and left me with soft, smooth skin. I automatically became obsessed and love using this once a week, as I don’t wear make-up on the daily. If you do, I’d suggest twice a week.
I have a few serums listed on here and just to clarify, I don’t use them all at once (LOL). I alternate between serums depending on what I’m going to do for the day. When I’m at home, just working, I use the Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea Seed. Why? Because of it’s lightweight and retains moisture longer, and its water-light texture absorbs pretty quick. When I’m at home, I’m usually really passive with my routine. I shower, throw on some skincare and do what I need to do. Therefore, I want something quick and easy, that absorbs right away while keeping me hydrated all day. This one does the trick!
Paired with the above, for my work at home days, I love rolling on the Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Eye Roll-On with Green Tea Seed. It’s compact and also great for traveling, in which I use it on flights all the time. There’s no mess, sometimes excess product does squeeze out so I suggest being light on your pushes. Otherwise, I love how this is such a no-fuss product that does what it’s supposed to do.
If you don’t know, I’m a huge huge huge fan of mists! In fact, I literally just grabbed this Innisfree Hydrating Mist with Green Tea and sprayed it on me, at my desk. Hah. I have the travel size and you can bet that it’s always in my carry-on bag for flights and whenever if I’m carrying a larger handbag. I love the feeling of the mist, there’s no weird smells, it absorbs onto my skin quickly, and I feel instantly “alive”. Well, I look more alive as it gives you a healthy glow once sprayed on. I’m actually running low already and need to buy the larger one soon.
This is one of the two pricer products on the list so I totally get it if you’re weary on purchasing. As mentioned earlier, try sampling it at the stores first, to see if you like the texture. The Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX is meant to be the first thing you put on your face, even before your toner. It sets the tone for the rest of your skincare routine, activating and boosting the effects of each one. There are actually 5 different types of serums you can choose from with this line, each with different scents to pertain to your mood, but all moisturizes & provide radiance — Forest Morning, Gentle Blossom, Original, Capturing Moment, Inner Fullness.
The second expensive item on this list and one of the top sellers of AMOREPACIFIC. There are two sizes and the $150 price is for the .5oz; the 1.7oz is $450. The AMOREPACIFIC Time Response Skin Reserve Creme is a luxurious cream, meant to fight anti-aging with antioxidant-rich green tea power that helps improves the firmness, hydration, and overall skin tone. Those who are concerned with loss of elasticity, dryness, uneven texture, and dullness are recommended to try this cream. Within the last two weeks, I’ve noticed my skin texture becoming slowly getting better and am awaiting to see what a month to three months will do!
Yes, it smells like roses but it’s not overpowering! Of course, everyone’s sensitivity is different but the smell does not bother me one bit and I have a pretty sensitive sense of smell. I have the travel size of this gel cream and love using it in-flight. The gel makes it easy to glide across my skin and keeps me hydrated throughout super long flights (ex: 13 hours+). No stickiness, no mess. Also easy to use as you can either use your fingers or a small spoon/spatula to scoop out the product.
Mamonde Rose Water Toner | $23
This is my forever favorite, always need in my life product out of all the things on here — ok well except for the water sleeping mask and lip mask/lip balm, those are forever favorites too. However, this is what really got me hooked into K-Beauty because I was skeptical at first. This toner has really changed my skin, I use it day and night, even have a travel version, and have recommended it to everyone. Why? Because it’s the BOMB. FYI: it does smell like roses, but faintly. This toner hydrates, moisturizes, and nourishes my skin all day long. If I’m in a rush, I throw this toner on and some serum, and I’m good. Don’t even have to use moisturizer sometimes! It’s that good, but then again, don’t take my word for it — go try it out at Ulta ;)
Bonus: Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer ($33) is a newer item (to the U.S.) and can be bought at Laneige’s website directly. It’s not listed in Sephora yet! This is a great product for those who hate multiple steps and/or are lazy (like me). The 2-in-1 hybrid preps skin like a toner while leaving it super soft as it moisturizes. Great for normal to dry skin and can be used day and night.