Korean beauty: Everything you need to know and what to buy

Because K-beauty is the reigning skincare champion of the world

Korean beauty burst onto the scene a few years ago, with double-cleansing, essences and sheet masks taking our bathroom cabinets by storm.

Surpassing Japanese beauty to become the most popular beauty category from the far east, K-beauty is known for creating great serums, the best CC cream and 10-step skincare routines, all encased in super fun packaging.

One of the biggest SoKo skincare trends of the moment is ‘glass skin’. You may have heard of it, the desired result being clear, smooth and poreless skin that resembles (you guessed it) a pane of glass. It’s those elusive 10-step routines that are responsible.

But before we tell you the Korean beauty products you should never be without, read on for five things you need to know about the world of K-beauty.

korean beauty

Cleansing is taken very seriously

Forget falling asleep in a full face of make-up. In Korea, women double cleanse – usually with a balm or oil to remove make-up followed by a foam or cream cleanser to get rid of pollution and remaining debris.

It’s all about the cushion foundation

You’ve no doubt seen these on the market already – the foundation compact that contains a sponge saturated in foundation, which is applied with a pad. They’re meant to be easier to apply and also give a smoother finish than ‘traditional’ foundations.

Essences are the essence of Korean beauty

They might sound a bit new-age to us, but essences are the mainstay of a South Korean beauty regime. Their purpose is to add a hit of moisture to the skin before you moisturise to keep your face nice and plump.

Sheet masks are straight out of SoKo

You won’t find a beauty enthusiast without them, but the sheet mask trend came over from South Korea. The main benefit of the sheet mask is to mega-hydrate the skin and infuse it with other essentials like vitamins.

These cloth, paper or biocellulose masks are placed on your skin for 10-15 minutes and are saturated with just the right amount of hydrating ingredients (like humectant hyaluronic acid) to really boost your skin’s moisture levels.

Now that you’ve had a crash course in K-beauty, read on as we chart the most popular and effective Korean beauty products available to buy now – as well as what makes them so great…

Reading now

Popular beauty stories