Want your skin to look glow from within’? When it comes to beauty, we look towards the Koreans for that radiant glass skin we all covet. Their secret? The best Korean skin care products, used in Korean skin care routine that has only helped more women achieve the de-rigueur look in South Korea.
If you’ve been confused about what each step is needed for and when, then let’s break it down with product recommendations for each step. You’ll also realize that products are applied in layers for each product to work its magic. Follow our handy guide and be one step closer to beautiful skin!
Your morning routine should be simple yet effective. You’d want your skin to be able to take all the external stressors of the day and to also sit well under any makeup that you might have on.
- COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
For newbies to the K beauty world, you might want to start with COSRX — one of the most affordable and best Korean skin care brands! Our skin is naturally mildly acidic at a pH of 5.5 and to maintain this acid mantle, we should use a cleanser as close to our skin’s natural pH as possible. The Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser has a pH of 5-6, is gentle on our skin and also contains BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) the oil-soluble ingredient that cleans out dirt and sebum from our pores — especially those nasty whiteheads and blackheads!
- Mamonde Rose Water Toner
You would want to prepare your skin with a soothing toner so it can better absorb subsequent skin care products. Mamonde’s Rose Water Toner is made with 90.97% Bulgarian Damask Rosewater that soothes your skin while removing dirt and dead skin cells. This toner is free of synthetic pigments, animal oils and mineral oils that can be harmful to skin, thus making it the best Korean skin care product to reach out for if you’re battling with sensitive skin.
- Needly Daily Toner Pad
- An essential everyday product for your Korean skin care routine, the Needly Daily Toner Pad is a gentle toner pad formulated with natural tea extract to exfoliate skin for a smoother, brighter skin tone. Core ingredients such as salicylic acid calms redness and irritation while poly hydroxy acid contains antioxidant properties to reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Suitable for a host of skin types ranging from oily skin, dry skin to sensitive or acne-prone skin, simply wipe your face with the Needly Toner Pad clean up gunk and dirt from the day. Use this as part of your skin care routine and say hello to brighter, younger looking skin today!
- Huxley Secret of Sahara Oil Essence
- An essence is a concentrated formula that helps with cell regeneration and turnover. They are lightweight and have water-like consistency meaning absorption happens within seconds, hydrating your skin much quicker than ever!
Huxley’s Secret of Sahara Oil Essence combines the goodness of both a face oil and essence. It comes in a minimalist dropper bottle and from what we hear, has a divine scent. The hero ingredients here are the Sahara Prickly Pear Seed Oil and Cactus extract — both are sourced straight from the Sahara desert! Combined together with extracts of other botanical ingredients — Acai Berry, Yerba Mate Leaf, Quinoa — this product is perfect especially for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Squeeze a few drops of this and tap it (don’t rub) into your skin. Observe revitalised looking skin after a few uses — you can thank us later!
- Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum
Serums contain a high concentrate of active ingredients to target specific skin care issues like wrinkles and dark spots. They can be distinguished from their thicker consistency and smaller bottles.
Ranked no. 1 in the anti-aging and serum category for seven consecutive years, the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is one of the best Korean skin care products to use for your morning and nighttime routines. Formulated with the fifth generation JAUM Activator™, it boosts the skin’s ability to rejuvenate itself daily. It’s no wonder why top Korean actress, Song Hye Kyo, is the brand’s ambassador. Use your fingertips to apply the product on your skin and gently wrap your face with your palm to improve absorption.
- MQ Skin Ginseng Repair Serum
The MQ Skin Ginseng Repair Serum boasts a 100% natural formulation with ingredients such as Korean ginseng root, black turmeric powder, lemon essential oil and more. Its main ingredient, ginseng, contains nutrients capable of penetrating up to five times more deeply to nourish aging skin!
Ginseng also protects, restores and eliminates toxic substances from the skin more effectively, while improving circulation for natural and healthy skin.This is definitely one of the best Korean skin care products to take note of!
To use, apply and massage the serum into your skin with your fingertips to improve absorption. This should be done after cleansing and moisturising your face for the best results!
- ETUDE Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream
- One of our favourites is the Etude Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream. It packs small-sized, specially formulated water particles that penetrate the thin skin around our eyes to leave it bouncy and dewy. It also does away with nasties like the mineral oil, silicone oil and surfactants. To use, simply dot the cream around your under-eye area and pat it in till absorbed.
- Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
Once you’ve done the hard work, seal all the goodness in with a hydrating moisturizer. Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Cream is a well-loved moisturizer for all skin types. The star ingredient here is undoubtedly the ceramides itself which limit moisture loss and protect the skin against other environmental stressors. It is also one of the best Korean skin care moisturizers if you wish to target skin concerns including dryness, fine lines and wrinkles.
Night Skin Care Routine
- Banila Co. Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
Koreans swear by double cleansing to keep their skin in top-notch condition. They believe face washing should involve two steps; first using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based one. The former draws out oil-based impurities like sebum, sunscreen and makeup while the water-based cleansers tackle sweat and dirt.
Banila Co’s famed, Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balmsorbet-like textured oil-based balm is an all-in-one cleansing balm that removes makeup and other pore-clogging impurities. Massage it into your face in circular motions before rinsing off with lukewarm water!
- Lagom Cellup Gel-to-Water Cleanser
Reach for a water-based cleaner to remove any oil residue and leave your skin feeling extra clean. The Lagom Cellup Gel-to-Water Cleanser is one of the best Korean skin care products to try in 2020! This cleanser activates aquaporins (cell proteins) in our skin. Aquaporins facilitate the transport of water and this cleanser fills these water channels up to hydrate our skin from within. Use it as the second cleanser and massage into your skin before moving on with the rest of the nighttime routine.
- Use the Mamonde Rose Water Toner above
- Use the Huxley Secret of Sahara Oil Essence above
- innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum
We also recommend the innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum.
We’ve raved about this product in our article about the best innisfree products every Singaporean should try but this Korean skincare bestseller deserves another spot in this list. Formulated with the no. 1 “Beauty Green Tea”, a moisturising ingredient that was only developed after a huge study of 2,401 Korean green tea varieties, this bestseller is able to nourish your skin from within, and retain moisture without adding too much shine. It’s really no wonder how Innisfree managed to sell over 10 million bottles of this holy grail since its launch!
- Dr Jart+ Cryo Rubber Masks
We were equally shocked when we saw these scary-looking masks but trust us when we say they’re actually scarily good. These two-step Korean skincare sheet masks contain a concentrated ampoule serum and a cooling algae-derived mask to lock the active ingredients in.
The Dr Jart+Cryo Rubber Masks comes in four variants to suit your skin concern. If you’re facing dull and lacklustre skin, go for the Cryo Rubber with Moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid mask. It helps hydrate your skin by attracting moisture from the atmosphere, while kelp extract boosts moisture retention to prevent water loss.
How to use it? Simply apply the stick ampoule onto your skin after cleansing and then apply the mask. Leave it on for 30 – 40 minutes for deeper absorption. The best part? This is one of the best Korean skin care products that’s suitable for all skin types.
- LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask
Alternatively, you could also use a sleeping mask. Sleeping masks are typically a moisturiser or cream that is to be left on overnight while you snooze away.
One of the best Korean skin care products and also probably the product that skyrocketed Laneige to fame is the LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask Lavender now in lavender scent! An award-winning formula, this bestseller purifies the skin and relieves skin fatigue, giving you a well-rested appearance the next morning. Besides this, its lavender scent allows your mind to relax and rest well during sleep.
Word of caution though! Use it only 2 – 3 times a week as the last step of skincare and leave it on overnight instead of washing it off.
- Use ETUDE Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream from above
- Use Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Cream from above