Korean Skincare Glossary by Sensoo
A - AHA
Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs are a group of plant and animal-derived acids which are water-soluble. The primary use of this is to exfoliate the skin removing dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin. They also promote blood flow with their anti-inflammatory properties, promote skin cell turnover and correct discoloration of scars, prevent acne breakouts, brighten skin complexion, and increase product absorption of your existing products.
Our top products containing AHAs are the COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid with 7% AHA to exfoliate skin and give a radiant glow, Some by MI AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner for soothing irritated skin while gently removing dead skin cells, and, Pyunkang Yul Low pH Cleansing Water that acts as a makeup remover, first cleanser, and exfoliator.
A - Allantoin
Allantoin is an ingredient found in many forms across various products such as shampoo, creams and lotions, and toners. It is a natural compound that could be found in different plants like chamomile. It’s formulated in skin care for its soothing, healing, and skin-protecting properties. It can heal the skin by improving and stimulating the growth of new tissue and rescues dehydrated skin from wind and cold. Overall, it is used to moisturize, exfoliate, rejuvenate and treat aging skin.
We recommend products that use allantoin because of its quick absorption and healing properties. Our top products with allantoin are Pyunkang Yul Deep Cleansing Oil (an oil-based cleanser), CNP Laboratory Invisible Peeling Cleansing Gel (a gel-based cleanser), COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, and COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream. For men, we recommend Nature Republic Africa Bird Homme All in One Moisturizer.
A - Ampoule
An ampoule contains high concentrations of active ingredients that target skin issues and keep skin at its healthiest state. Ampoules act as a booster typically used twice a week or when you are having a skin crisis because they deliver quick results. Ampoules differ from serums in terms of usage i.e., serums could be used every day because they have less concentration of active ingredients comparably. They typically come in small containers and are equipped with a dropper to store and transport single doses of samples or medicine.
Ampoules are applied usually as the 5th or 6th step of your 10-step Korean skincare routine i.e., double cleansing, exfoliator (if exfoliating day), toner, essence, and ampoule. Ampoules may also be mixed with your moisturizer and liquid foundation for a glowing complexion upon application.
Our top picks are the COSRX Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule for a healthy glow and the IOPE Stem III Ampoule for anti-aging.
A - Anti-Aging
Anti-aging products are equipped with natural ingredients and botanical extracts that nourish and protect the skin. Korean skincare is a preventative measure against aging signs and these products are meant to counter the early signs of aging in our skin which typically show up from our 30s to 70s. Although Korean skincare products need not necessarily be labeled as anti-aging, some products contain anti-aging properties or help in improving skin elasticity that would help against aging signs such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles.
Our favorite Korean anti-aging skin care products are Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX and COSRX Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream.
A - Antioxidants
Antioxidants help prevent or slow the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals result from UV rays, pollution, alcohol, smoking, and stress, and could be excessive to damage the skin. Therefore, antioxidants are there to neutralize free radicals. We have a natural antioxidant defense system but we need to strengthen them as we age. That’s why an antioxidants boost is a must. Antioxidants are meant to protect the skin by limiting radical proportion, lessening the visibility of aging signs in the skin, and calming skin inflammation. Antioxidants usually moisturize the skin and provide hydration. In short, this helps reduce the aging of the skin by greatly revitalizing the skin.
Our top brands offering great antioxidants on their products would be Laneige and Sulwhasoo. For Laneige, the best products that are rich in antioxidants would be Laneige Radian-C Cream with vitamins C and E, and Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask with vitamin C and antioxidants to effectively moisturize lips making them soft and supple. For Sulwhasoo, all of their products are rich in antioxidants. Their best-selling products like the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum and Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX are still among the top of the pyramid but they also offer the Sulwhasoo TimeTreasure Renovating Serum EX which cares for the total health of the skin by nourishing, hydrating, firming and delivering the antioxidants needed by the skin. For men, we recommend the IOPE Men All Day Perfect Tone Up All-in-One.
A - Aritaum
Aritaum, along with Sulwhasoo and Etude House, is a brand under Amorepacific that specializes in an on-trend color palette of affordable cosmetics. They may offer affordable products but their quality is pretty great and highly pigmented.
Aritaum’s best products are the Aritaum Mono Eyes and Aritaum Pore Master Sebum Control.
B - BHA
Beta Hydroxy Acid, also known as BHA, is an exfoliant that is used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. The most common BHAs are salicylic acid, beta hydroxybutyric acid, tropic acid, and trethocanic acid. These acids gradually exfoliate the skin while also working to penetrate and exfoliate deep into your pores, making them ideal for people with acne.
BHAs, unlike AHAs, are oil-soluble making them more suitable for normal to the oily skin type that clogs up pores. The top products with BHA would be COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner and CNP Laboratory Anti Blemish Correcting Sun.
B - Blackheads
Blackheads result from a mixture of clogged pores due to dead skin cells, oil, and sebum. The sebum gets clogged up because of excess production or its thickening. Some skin may dry up too much causing it to produce more oil and thereby getting trapped in pores causing blackheads.
There are several great skincare designed to remove these blackheads. The top products are COSRX Two in One Poreless Power Liquid, Mediheal TeaTree Care Solution Essential Mask, and Some by Mi Bye Bye Blackhead 30 Days Miracle Green Tea Tox Bubble Cleanser.
B - BaruLab Seoul
BaruLab Seoul believes in repairing skin damage by focusing on cleansing first. By washing away impurities, breakouts could be prevented and other signs of unhealthy skin. They, then, focus on strengthening the skin for more long-lasting protection to keep the skin in its healthiest state. BaruLab Seoul offers well sought-after skincare like the BaruLab Seoul Barusol Expert Repair Salve Cream which soothes irritated skin and strengthens the skin barrier, and the BaruLab Seoul 7 in 1 Total Solution Black Clay Mask that helps remove dead skin cells and impurities.
B - Belif
Belif offers skincare out of pure herbal apothecary. The brand does away from ingredients that are unnecessary like parabens synthetic preservatives, dyes and fragrances, and others that could irritate the skin. Belif now offers products to moisturize, soothe, and improve skin elasticity. The top products are Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb (which could be found in the best Korean skincare products for the under-eyes), and Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb.
C - Carla
Carla offers high-quality products using fermented flowers. They extract the nourishing substances from the blossoms of these flowers. Made with well-developed technology, the brand provides skin care products that bring skin to its ideal pH level and add soothing elements making them suitable for sensitive skin. The best product of Carla is the Carla Lab Lacto Biome Balancing Cream.
C - Centella Asiatica
Centella Asiatica, also known as coco, soothes and calms sensitive and irritated skin including redness and burning sensations. Centella Asiatica is a plant that could be found in tropical and subtropical countries. Also called Tiger grass, this skincare ingredient is known for its anti-inflammatory, regenerative and healing properties. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant and a good moisturizer that could be compared with Aloe Vera. It is also seen to boost collagen production and improve skin elasticity.
The best products with Centella Asiatica are Dr. Jart Cicapair Cream, COSRX Centella Blemish Cream, and Etude House SoonJung 5-Panthensoside Cica Balm.
C - Ceramide
If you have a dry skin type, Ceramides are your best friends. Ceramide is a fatty acid that could hydrate skin and retain its moisture restoring your skin barrier function. They battle against environmental stressors including extremely cold temperatures and exposure to a hot environment. Ceramides leave skin soft and plump making it look glowing and healthy every day.
Our top picks for products with Ceramide are Dr. Jart Ceramidin Liquid, a lightweight moisturizing toner, and Mediheal N.M.F. Aquaring Ampoule Mask EX, a mask containing active water systems to hydrate skin.
C - Cleanser
The Korean skincare routine features double cleansing using oil-based and foam or water-based cleansers. The routine starts with oil-based cleansers as they effectively bring out the dirt trapped in the skin and not strip it off with the skin’s natural moisture. Most Korean cleansing oils feature a gentle, pH-balanced composition that helps eliminate impurities, sebum, extra oil, and heavy makeup.
The best oil-based cleanser is the Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil; while the best foam or water-based cleanser is the COSRX Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser.
C - Cleansing Water
Cleansing Water is used as the second step of the Korean skincare routine after an oil-based cleanser. They usually clean up the residue left after your oil-based cleanser which includes makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and excess sebum. Cleansing water is one of the 3 forms of water-based cleansers. They may come in a form of gel or foam too.
The best cleansing water is The Saem Healing Tea Garden Green Tea Cleansing Water.
C - Clio
Clio offers skincare and cosmetics that promise moisturized and smoothened skin. Clio has developed award-winning makeup that is highly pigmented yet offered at an affordable price. Moreover, Clio cosmetics swear by healthy skin when your makeup is off. The best products of Clio are the Clio Superproof Pen Liner, Clio Kill Cover Cica Serum Cushion, and Clio Kill Cover Fixer Cushion.
C - CNP Laboratory
CNP Laboratory was created by 50 dermatologists with over 10 years of experience to develop great products such as home-based skincare. The brand specializes in revitalizing the skin by freeing them from skin damage while doing away from harmful substances. This makes their products suitable for sensitive skin. The top product of the CNP Laboratory is the CNP Laboratory Propolis Energy Ampule.
C - Collagen
Collagen is a structural protein that is present throughout our body. It gives the firmness the skin needs to look supple, plump, and youthful. However, the natural production of collagen decreases as we age losing skin’s elasticity. This is why Korean skincare offers products that are rich in collagen to boost collagen production aiding skin elasticity improvement and plumping with intense hydration.
In skincare, collagen is too large to penetrate the skin so manufacturers formulate them as hydrolyzed collagen for quick absorption and deep penetration. This way, your skincare delivers the hydration your skin needs by binding moisture and making it stay there for long-lasting hydration.
Our most recommended product would be the Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream.
C - Corrector
Correctors are designed to make skin look clear targeting uneven and patchy skin tones. It also covers up dull skin making it appear healthy. It corrects hyperpigmentation and areas where there are pimples. Apart from covering blemishes, it also covers up fine wrinkles and makes your skin look glowing all day. Correctors may also be called makeup balancers or starters.
We recommend Hera Magic Starter (available in Mint and Lavender), Espoir Skin Smoothing Glowrizer with light green, lavender, and yellow beads altogether to cover red patches, tone-up dull skin, and smoothen the under-eyes, and Laneige Water Glow Base Corrector (available in light green, light purple, and rosy pink).
C - COSRX
COSRX formulates skincare that is highly specialized to address specific skin issues that people deal with every day. They may be quite new in the Kbeauty industry but have made their name globally with their high-quality skincare being offered at an affordable price. They use high concentration ingredients too and yet they try to keep the pH level of their products as normal as possible. COSRX has won a lot of fans with their bestsellers including the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch, COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, and the COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream that would always show up in Korean skincare best products across these categories.
C - Cushion Foundation
Korean cushion foundation is one of the most hailed innovations of Kbeauty. These foundations come in compact cases that give an instant glass skin look that Korean cosmetics are known for. Korean cushion foundations typically cover up redness, dark spots, and blemishes while giving your skin an instant glow. They are long-lasting and smudge-free.
The top Korean cushion foundations are Clio Kill Cover Fixer Cushion and Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion.
D - Double Cleansing Method
The Korean double cleansing method involves washing the face in two separate steps. The first step involves using an oil-based cleanser and the second step involves using a water-based cleanser. This method ensures that all makeup, excess sebum, and SPF get washed away without drying out the skin. The best double cleansing duos are the Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil and the Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam.
D - Dr. G
Dr. G offers pharmaceutical products that are made with high-quality ingredients and innovative technology. The brand comes from the 2nd largest medical group in the world and is number 1 in South Korea. The founder, Dr. Ahn Gun Young is a dermatologist that specialized in skin restoration. Therefore, Dr. G acts as your skin mentor and offers premium products that reverse damages like hyperpigmentation, dullness, and wrinkles to healthier skin. Dr. G offers the best sun cream called the Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun which is hailed globally as the best sunscreen for sensitive skin.
D - Dr. Jart
Dr. Jart uses advanced ingredients to formulate the best skincare products you would ever need. Dr. Jart means Doctor Joins Art combining science and art in their products. Their innovative ingredients are made into interesting art experiences in their packaging. Their products are also inspired by different sciences may it be microbiology, aerospace, or, material science. Their top products are.
E - Effector
Effectors are lightweight serums that contain different ingredients depending on what your skin needs. They are made of highly concentrated formulations to address specific skin concerns.
It'S SKIN is the brand known for its great effectors in Korean skincare. They offer effectors that specialize in brightening, anti-wrinkle, whitening, sebum regulation, moisturizing, elasticity and hydration, pores shrinking, vitamin E nutrition, tone recovery, overall rich nutrition, and skin vitality enhancement. The best It’S SKIN Effector is the Power 10 Formula CO Effector for elasticity and hydration, and the Power 10 Formula YE Effector for skin vitality and rhythm recovery.
E - Emulsion
Emulsions are applied after your serums or effectors which makes it the seventh step of your Korean skincare routine after the double cleansing method, exfoliator, toner, essence, and serum or effector. They seal in the most active ingredients in your skincare regimen to make them more effective while adding moisture to your regimen.
Our top picks for the best emulsions are Etude House SoonJung 10 Free Moist Emulsion, Etude House Moistfull Collagen Emulsion, Sulwhasoo Essential Balancing Emulsion EX, and It’S SKIN Collagen Nutrition Emulsion.
E - Essence
Essences nourish your skin with moisture, deep hydration, protection, and even improved skin elasticity. The best essence to instantly hydrate your skin and give it an instant glow is the Laneige Water Bank Hydro Essence. Another great essence packed with antioxidants is the IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning which leaves your skin translucent, clear, and shiny.
E - Espoir
Espoir offers skincare and cosmetics to transform women to whom they want to be. They have high-quality and innovative makeup selections that come in a variety of colors and shades to fit every personality. The brand means hope in French and this is embodied in every product giving hope for beauty by making you the trend while expressing your individuality. The best product of Espoir is the Pro Tailor Foundation Be Glow which won the 2019 Singles Best Foundation and was the no. 1 Foundation in the 2019 Powder Room Hit Item in February.
E - Etude House
Etude House is a Korean skincare brand that offers high-quality products at an affordable price. They target young women who would like to take care of their skin and yet couldn’t put out a lot for high-priced skincare. The brand has great products that have won awards and the hearts of users that they keep reordering.
The best product of Etude House is the Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream which won 3rd prize in Web Award Korea.
E - Exfoliator
Exfoliators come in third after the double cleansing method of your Korean skincare routine. However, exfoliators aren’t meant to be used daily. Instead, they’re used twice or thrice a week. Exfoliators are used to eliminate dead skin cells and clogged pores for a clearer, smoother and brighter skin. The best exfoliators are the COSRX Original Clear Pad and COSRX One Step Green Hero Calming Pad.
E - Eye Cream
Eye Creams come after your sheet mask or treatment like ampoules, serums, or effectors. Eye creams protect yours under eyes from signs of aging like dryness, puffiness, fine lines, and wrinkles or dark circles. Moreover, Korean eye creams improve under eyes elasticity. Even if these signs don’t show up yet, an eye cream may already be used as means of protection from these aging concerns.
The best Korean eye creams are the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream, Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb, and the COSRX Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream.
Foundations come after your makeup primer, base, or corrector and act as the first cosmetic product that you place on your skin. They cover impurities and blemishes leaving your skin flawless and smooth. They come in different coverage like sheer where the opacity of the makeup still shows discolorations in the skin, medium coverage concealing some blemishes, and full coverage concealing all imperfections. They can also give you a matte or dewy finish.
Our top pick for the best foundation is the seamlessly blending foundation Hera Black Foundation that hydrates skin while giving a matte finish.
G - Ginseng (Korean Ginseng)
Ginseng or Korean ginseng is a staple ingredient in Sulwhasoo products but also gets used in other Korean skincare. Korean ginseng is rich in saponin, vitamins D, B1, B2, and B12, antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties that boost collagen production for moisturized skin and improved skin elasticity. It also brightens and nourishes skin reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while protecting the skin barrier.
Our top brand for this is Sulwhasoo with its top product being the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum and Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX. The Face Shop Yehwadam Heaven Grade Ginseng Regenerating Cream is pretty great too.
G - Glass Skin
Koreans are obsessed with glass skin (and now we are too!). Glass skin refers to flawless skin that is smooth, clear, even-toned, blemish-free, and glowing like glass. It’s the goal complexion of anyone who likes dewy and youthful skin that gives a moisturized glow from within. We recommend consistent use of Laneige Water Sleeping Mask to achieve your glass skin goals.
G - Glycerin
Glycerin acts as a humectant (like hyaluronic acid) which is a moisturizing ingredient to hydrate and soften the skin. It penetrates the skin barrier to lock in moisture for some time and strengthen it. It is a perfect ingredient to remedy dry, dull, and flaky skin as it softens and smoothens skin giving a hydrated and refreshed look. It also leaves your skin plump and young-looking as it minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and gives it a firming boost.
Our top picks for Korean skincare products with Glycerin are Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask and Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb.
H - Hera
HERA is a high-end Korean skincare brand that has won awards for its cosmetics line. It’s one of the most preferred brands by Koreans. HERA is committed to bringing women confidence through their makeup products.
They offer the best foundation in Korea. The HERA Black Cushion won no. 1 at the 2019 Hwahae Beauty Awards while the HERA Black Foundation won in the foundation category at Beauty Review Winners in 2019.
H - Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid is also a humectant that helps the skin hold on to water and keep it hydrated for a healthier skin appearance. It retains moisture and strengthens the skin barrier so skin is less vulnerable to damage from external stressors. Hyaluronic acid is used to battle dryness.
Our top moisturizers with Hyaluronic Acid are Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream and Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream. Other notable products are the.
I - IOPE
IOPE is a lab-based skincare brand that diagnoses skin before deriving the plant extracts that would perfectly resolve the damage and would introduce some more ingredients that would counter other harmful effects of different biological activities that affect the skin. Hand-in-hand, IOPE believes in combining Skin Science, Plant Science, and Bio Science to formulate innovative and high-quality products. The best products of IOPE are the IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning, IOPE UV Shield Sun Protector, and IOPE Air Cushion.
I - It’S SKIN
It’S SKIN formulates products with the best compounds and the optimal ratio of ingredients to produce high-quality products that ensure bringing back the skin’s natural glow. The brand is best in nourishing skin remedying damage the mature skin has weathered over time or protecting them from these experiences.
It’s SKIN is popular with its serums like the It’S SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Serum and It’S SKIN Power 10Formula, Q10 Effector. It’s SKIN Power 10 Formula Powerful Genius Serum in Toner is also one of the brand’s holy grail products.
J - Jeju
Jeju is the largest island in Korea where there’s volcanic soil that is used as an ingredient for oily and acne-prone skin. The lava powder from Jeju extracts impurities from pores and prevents excess sebum production. Our top pick is The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Anti-Dust Pore-Cleansing Foam.
J - Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil soothes and moisturizes the skin. For dry skin, it instantly moisturizes skin while for oily skin, it signals the skin to keep producing additional sebum to prevent clogging of pores. It also contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It also contains vitamin E which combats stress from pollutants. Moreover, it has healing properties that can help in treating acne and its scarring. The ingredient is also noncomedogenic and hypoallergenic. The best product with Jojoba Oil is the Pyunkang Yul Deep Cleansing Oil.
K - Korean skincare
Korean skincare is popular globally because it goes beyond the bare minimum of skincare. It embodies the Korean culture of achieving youthful and glowing skin no matter how young they are. Korean skincare goes beyond simply treating skin and providing remedies for damages. They formulate products that would strengthen the skin to protect it from the harmful environment and aging signs.
L - Laneige
Laneige is one of the high-end brands under Amorepacific that uses Water Science in their products to kickstart the natural moisturizing mechanism of the skin. The brand believes that loss of moisture is the ultimate cause of dull and matured-looking skin. Therefore, with Water Science, Laneige revitalizes weak skin leaving it hydrated, plump, and youthful-looking. The best products of Laneige are the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, Laneige Radian-C Cream, and Laneige Glowy Makeup Serum.
L - Lip Mask
Lip masks treat dry and flaky lips, especially during extremely cold weather. They help in moisturizing the lips to give them a refreshed and supple feeling post-application. The best Korean lip mask is the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask.
L - Lip Tint
Lip tints are cosmetic products that give color to the lips doing away with pale lips. It slightly stains the lips with one swipe and could increase coverage depending on the application.
M - Mamonde
Mamonde in French means My World. Mamonde believes that a woman’s confidence comes from within so they deliver great products for each woman to achieve their world. Mamonde studied the vitality of flowers and decided to create a Mamonde garden where they continue conducting their research on the optimal benefits of flowers on skin. Botanists discovered that a plant protects itself and is at its best before blossoming. They extract the most powerful energy of flowers and have transferred the vitality to their skincare so they can revitalize the skin as well. The best products of Mamonde are the Mamonde Rose Water Toner and Mamonde Red Energy Recovery Serum.
M - Mask
When we talk about masks in Korean skincare, they come in three forms: sheet masks, clay masks, and sleeping masks. Generally, masks nourish skin to achieve that glow everyone wants but some masks specifically target your skin issues.
Sheet masks are the pre-made masks that you simply tear up the packaging, open the mask, and place on your face for 20-30minutes before removing them. Clay masks come in containers that you spread out on your face and wait for them to dry up before removing. These masks usually stay on your face for 30-40minutes. Lastly, sleeping masks are left overnight and rinsed the morning after for the nutrients to be fully absorbed.
The best sheet masks are from the Mediheal brand especially the TeaTre Care Solution Essential Mask and NMF Aquaring Ampoule Mask. BaruLab Seoul offers clay masks in sheets for easy application and the BaruLab Seoul 7-in-1 Total Solution Black Clay Mask is one of the best clay masks that gently exfoliate. The best sleeping mask is the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.
M - Mediheal
Mediheal specializes in affordable face masks and has topped the category a little after its conception. They formulated different sheet masks for different treatments. At present, the brand offers 250 unique masks that are extremely innovative some even stimulating face acupoints. All their face masks are great for different skin types and skin issues.
M - Moisturizer
Moisturizers keep skin healthy with formulations to attract moisture and lock it in. This strengthens the skin barrier and prevents moisture loss so that skin will not be dry and dull. Instead, the skin will look soft, supple, and radiant. Moisturizers also rejuvenate mature-looking skin giving it a healthy glow. The best Korean moisturizers are Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream, Belif Aqua Bomb, and Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream.
M - Mono Eyes
Mono Eyes are eyeshadows offered in single containers. They can also come in mini palettes. Korean mono eyes are usually highly pigmented and come in many trendy colors. The best Mono Eyes are Aritaum Mono Eyes and Clio Pro Eye Palette Mini.
N - Nature Republic
Nature Republic is an affordable Korean skincare brand that keeps its ingredients in their most natural state. The brand may offer similar products to other brands but they innovate to try to make their products unique. They enjoy a sense of community and welcome feedback on their products. Its best product is the Nature Republic Real Squeeze Aloe Vera Cream.
N - Niacinamide
Niacinamide is a form of B3 that build cells, strengthens the skin barrier, and maintains moisture levels. It also protects the skin from external stressors such as UV rays and pollution. Niacinamide was proven to help treat acne because it also contains anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritated skin. It even helps in improving skin texture, post-acne marks, hyperpigmentation, and enlarged pores. We recommend COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum.
O - O Hui
O Hui is a luxury Korean brand that uses MicroAging Science. The brand extracts natural stem cells from plants and uses quality technology in bringing these stem cells to their skincare products with maximum efficacy. Their goal is to give women beautiful and young-looking skin. O Hui’s Age Recovery line is noteworthy, especially the Age Recovery Eye Cream. They also offer a great skin whitener and softener that adds radiance post-cleansing called O Hui Extreme White Skin Softener.
P - PHA
PHA or Polyhydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants that gently remove dead skin cells and help in reversing sun damage. They have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that heal and repair blemishes and combat signs of aging. They also hydrate skin and aid cell regeneration. It keeps you away from dull skin, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin texture leaving your skin toned and healthy. Our top pick is the Some by Mi AHA-BHA-PHA Real Cica 92% Cool Calming Soothing Gel.
P - Pimple Patch
Pimple patches are the holy grail to get rid of that unexpected bump. No one wants that zit lying around. The best pimple patch is the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch.
P - Pimple Spot Cream
Pimple spot creams treat acne and fight acne-causing bacteria to you can clear your blemished skin in no time. The best pimple spot cream is the Pyunkang Yul Acne Spot Cream.
P - Pores
Pores are the small openings in the skin around hair follicles and sweat glands to let liquid (like oil and sweat) and gas move through your skin. They are present everywhere on your face and body but you might be more aware of the pores on the nose as it enlarges when there’s excessive oil and sebum production as well as makeup, dirt, and debris residue. The best toner for pore impurities is the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener.
P - Pyunkang Yul
Pyunkang Yul brings the minimum ingredients to safely take care of the most sensitive skin. The brand believes in revitalizing skin through the use of the purest ingredients staying away from unnecessary enhancers and keeping the pH level to what’s optimum for the skin They even use simple blue bottles to incorporate minimalism in their packaging. Their best products are the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner and Pyunkang Yul Nutrition Cream.
Q - Q10 / Coenzyme Q10
Q10 or Coenzyme Q10 helps boost collagen production and is an ingredient that fights off signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. It contains antioxidant properties that energize skin and its cell activity, evens out skin tone, smoothens skin, reduces sun damage, and hydrates skin while retaining skin moisture. Our top pick that offers Q10 is the It’S SKIN Power 10 Formula Q10 Effector.
R - Retinol
Retinol is derived from Vitamin A and helps in lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by producing more collagen. It also encourages cell turnover and is more commonly used to treat acne and sun-damaged skin. Korean skincare minimizes the use of retinol as it’s an ingredient on the harsher side. The Sulwhasoo Concentrated GinsengRenewing Eye Cream has ginseng retinol to improve resilience around the eye area.
R - Rosehip Oil
Rosehip oil hydrates skin while protecting it from radical damage. It also improves skin elasticity and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Rosehip oil also aids in correcting hyperpigmentation and dark spots, as well as the appearance of acne scars. Rosehip oil is best used after cleansing and toning but before moisturizing. Our top pick for oil with rosehip is the Pyunkang Yul Oil which improves skin and prevents moisture loss.
S - Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid regulates sebum production to prevent blackheads and whiteheads. It also treats oily skin and prevents acne. The Some by Mi Bye Bye Blackhead 30 Days Miracle Green Tea Tox Bubble Cleanser and Dr. G A-CLEAR Balancing Toner are great products that contain salicylic acid.
S - Sebum
Sebum is an oily, waxy substance produced in the sebaceous glands. It is normal to produce sebum to retain moisture in the skin and to act as a barrier against bacterial and fungal infections. Excess sebum, however, gets trapped in pores causing blackheads or white heads, and enlarged pores. Sometimes it even leads to acne. To counter excess production of f sebum, it’s best to use a mild cleanser like the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser.
S - Sensoo Skincare
Sensoo Skincare was born to allow different countries to experience the best Korean home-based care products. We encourage every man and woman to bring out their true beauty by offering a wide selection of Korean skincare products that not only treat damage but strengthen skin and bring it back to its healthiest state. With the knowledge that Korean skincare is more advanced (in terms of ingredients and technology) than Western brands, we want to be the enabler in empowering everyone to find their true beauty.
S - Snail Secretion Filtrate
Snail secretion filtrate is the slime that the snail leaves when it secretes its tracks on the ground. They are great in skincare because they have healing properties that repair skin damage and fade out hyperpigmentation and acne scars. It also deeply hydrates with hyaluronic acid and boosts collagen production. Moreover, it also has firming and tightening properties to improve skin elasticity and fight signs of aging.
COSRX is best in formulating products with snail secretion filtrate. The COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All-in-One Cream, and COSRX Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream are all great products with snail secretion filtrate.
S - Some by Mi
Some by Mi offers skincare and cosmetics. It uses high content ingredients yet the formulation of the products is mild and suitable for sensitive skin. The Some by Mi AHA BHA PHA collection is popular among Korean skincare followers because of its effectiveness in calming and clearing irritated skin. The best products of the brand are the Some by Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner and the Some by Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Serum.
S - Stem Cell
Stem cells are being used in skincare because they promote cell turnover and boost collagen production. They have moisturizing and antioxidant properties. Stem cells in skincare help in having an even-toned and plump skin. It also has anti-aging properties and helps in making skin firmer reducing the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, and large pores. The best products with Stem Cell ingredients are the IOPE Stem III Ampoule and IOPE Stem III Emulsion.
S - Sulwhasoo
Sulwhasoo formulates skincare using traditional Asian wisdom with Korean ginseng as the main medicinal herb. It also uses modern science and technology to bring in high-quality products. Sulwhasoo is more known for creating products that include anti-aging properties while treating different skin issues. Sulwhasoo combines its main ingredient - saponin found in ginseng, with 5 oriental plants. Altogether, they increase skin vitality and improve skin elasticity to revitalize the overall complexion. The best Sulwhasoo products are the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum and Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion.
S - Sunscreen/Sun Cream
Sunscreens or sun creams protect the skin against UV rays. Korean sunscreens typically have SPF and PA that protects skin from both UVA (UV that shows signs of aging) and UVB (the UV rays that burn our skin). Korean sunscreens also hydrate and provide protection that strengthens skin barriers for stronger and healthier skin in the long run. The best Korean sun creams are the Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun and the COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream.
T - The Face Shop
The Face Shop creates products that revitalize skin with flowers, grains, plants, fruits, and mineral water along with Korean oriental medicine. The Face Shop also believes in using natural ingredients and without testing on animals. They also deliver high-quality products at an affordable price. Their best product is The Face Shop Yehwadam Hwasaenggo Emulsion.
T - The Saem
The Saem offers innovative and eco-friendly skincare and cosmetics. The product is inspired by the beauty of the Earth like the glacier waters of Iceland and the harakeke plants of New Zealand. These plant-based extracts are what make The Saem solutions gentle on the skin. They’re also free of parabens, sulfate, and phthalates. The Stem Cell Renew Bio Micro Peel Soft Gel is their best product.
T - Tea Tree
Tea Tree is an ingredient that is more commonly used for oily skin types. They are gentle tea tree leaf extracts that fight blemishes without irritation. It clears out clogged and enlarged pores by eliminating excess sebum. It also helps in removing blackheads, whiteheads, and redness, and in turn, brightens skin. It also contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties. The best Korean skincare product containing tea trees are the Mediheal TeaTree Care Solution Essential Mask and Mediheal Tea Tree Biome Blemish Cica Ampoule.
T - Toner
Toners come after double cleansing and exfoliation. Some cleansers and exfoliators are harsh on the skin and may have stripped off skin moisture. This also makes the skin’s pH lose its optimal state therefore there’s a need to bring moisture and the skin’s pH level back to normal. This is the job of toners. Toners also set the face for the incoming products with higher active ingredients for maximum absorption. We recommend Some by Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner and Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner. For men, our top pick would be the IOPE All Day Perfect Tone-up All in One.
T - Tony Moly
Tony Moly features high-quality skincare and cosmetics in a fun a quirky packaging. The brand formulates solutions using patented ingredients, innovative technology, and clinically-tested results. Tony Moly’s products are also cruelty-free and PETA-approved. That’s why the brand is now globally recognized. Our top picks from this brand are Tony Moly Luminous Goddess Aura BB Cream and Tony Moly The Black Tea London Classic Cream.
T - T-zone
The T-zone includes the forehead, nose, and chin. Sometimes, the T-zone gets too oily that it produces too much sebum. Otherwise, it’s dry and flaky and signals to produce excess sebum as well. We recommend the It’S SKIN Power 10 Formula VB Effector Serum, COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner, and Some by Mi AHA BHA PHA30 Days Miracle Serum.
U - UVA
UVA radiation makes up 95% of all the UV rays on Earth. It damages the skin and results in darkening. It penetrates deeper into the skin passing through the epidermis and targeting the dermis causing collagen and elastin damage. This UV is the one that causes skin aging including fine lines and wrinkles.
U - UVB
UVB radiation is the other 5% of UV rays coming from the sun but this type of ray produces more energy. UVP penetrates the epidermis or the top layer of the skin causing DNA damage and mutations that cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer. UVBs are at their most damaging intensity from 10 AM to 4 PM so better get inside at these hours.
Korean sunscreens are always protective of both UV rays. Best sunscreens include COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream, IOPE UV Shield Sun Protector XP, and Dr. G Mild Up Sun.
V - Vegan
Vegan products are perfect for those with sensitive skin as there are no synthetic ingredients in the product. They’re made with natural ingredients which are rich in vitamins and minerals and antioxidants. Vegan products are also usually cruelty-free and come in eco-friendly packaging. If you want Vegan, go for Tony Moly.
V - Vitamin C
Vitamin C brightens the skin and gives you a radiant complexion. Vitamin C fights away dullness, dark spots, and acne spots while giving your skin refreshed moisture. Moreover, it helps slow down visible signs of aging and protects the skin from sun damage. It’s been a cult favorite because of the radiant glow it gives to the skin. The best products that contain all the Vitamin C you need are It’S SKIN Power 10 Formula VC Effector and Laneige Radian-C Cream.
V - Vitamin E
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that moisturizes and nourishes your skin. It gives your skin keep its natural moisture and nourishes it so it looks smooth and healthy. Furthermore, Vitamin E protects and repairs your skin from signs of aging. It also reduces hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
W - Whiteheads
Whiteheads are a type of acne that forms when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria come together. They get trapped within your pores. To remove them, it’s best to use a gentle exfoliator or cleanser like the COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser and treatment like the COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid.
W - Willow Bark Extract
Willow Bark Extract is a gentle and natural alternative to salicylic acid for acne-prone skin. It gently exfoliates for brighter skin, calms redness, treats acne and oiliness, and even reduces signs of aging. Our top product containing willow bark extract is the Belif Problem Solution Essence.
X - Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is usually used in skincare to enhance texture and stabilize emulsions. But more than a thickening agent, xanthan gum replenishes skin moisture and locks it in. It also contains anti-aging properties. However, people allergic to corn are most likely allergic to this ingredient as well. The Mediheal TeaTree Care Solution Essential Maskcontains xanthan gum.
Y - Yeast
Yeast performs antioxidant functions like reducing inflammation or boosting collagen and elastin production. It also helps in hydrating skin and retaining its moisture, and improving overall complexion. Moreover, it protects the skin from pollution and UV damage. Our top products with yeast are It’S SKIN Power 10 Formula YE Effector and HERA Age Away Collagenic Cream.
Z - Zinc Oxide
Zinc oxide is mostly used as a physical sunscreen as it protects you from burning, but it doesn’t only offer sun protection. Zinc oxide also provides healing - it’s used in medical products like skin protectants and ointments. It has healing properties that may be used for chapped skin. It also prevents oil from forming on the surface of the skin making pores appear smaller and tighter. Moreover, zinc oxide can treat acne because of its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
Zinc oxide can be found in these great products: CNP Laboratory Anti-Blemish Correcting Sun and COSRX Ultimate Spot Cream.