Beauty: My 8 Favorite Korean Skincare Products (from Double Cleansers to Face Masks)

Korean beauty skincare

In college, one of my best friend’s who is Korean had a 10-step skincare routine that her mom would buy from Korea. At that time, I was using just a face cream (if even!) and didn’t know about all the different serums or face masks. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about my skin and have whittled down my favorite Korean beauty products — here are 8 of my picks!

Double Cleanse

Korean beauty skincare face wash

1st Step: Too Cool for School Cleansing Oil – I personally hate washing up at night because I get so tired haha but I know it’s a necessary evil. Since I wear makeup, it’s critical to double cleanse to really remove the products from my skin. I love using an oil cleanser or a balm cleanser because it breaks down the toughest of makeup and doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils.

2nd Step: IPKN Salad Days Fresh Whip Cleansing Foam – After my makeup is mostly washed off, I hit it with a double cleanse to ensure my face is totally ready for my skincare routine. If you still have makeup in your pores or around the perimeter of your face, not only could you get breakouts or milia, but the residual makeup can also act as a barrier for all the serums and night creams you’re applying, making them less effective. In the evening, I love this foam cleanser that turns into a moisturizing lather (a little goes a long way!) and is not drying at all (available at K Banana if you live in Seattle). If you have dry skin, I’d recommend a gentler gel cleanser.


Korean beauty skincare serums

Day: Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Brightening Serum – Every morning, I use a Vitamin C serum followed by sunscreen. Vitamin C brightens and gives your skin a dose of antioxidants. Glow Recipe sent me this adorable brightening serum, and I love its clean ingredients. It has that subtle acidic funk that Vitamin C is known for but it dissipates quickly, but I personally prefer this natural smell over synthetically scented products. If you have dry, sensitive, or young skin, give this serum a try, as other Vitamin C products I use may be too potent.

Night: Whal Myung Inner Glow Moisturizing Serum – I alternate between using a glycolic serum a couple times a week and a hydrating serum the other nights because I don’t want to over-exfoliate at my age. This moisturizing serum has beads of hyaluronic acid suspended in oils to give you that added layer of hydration. This product is available at K Banana in University Village if you’re located in Seattle.


Korean beauty skincare face moisturizer

Day: Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer – Because I have combination skin, I use this lightweight gel moisturizer in the morning so my makeup stays put and I don’t get too oily throughout the day. Just remember to put on sunscreen after, because this product doesn’t have built-in sunscreen, which I prefer (I like to choose my own sunscreen with zinc oxide). If you have dry or aged skin, I recommend a ceramidin cream that shields skin from losing moisture.

Night: Belif True Cream Moisturizing Bomb – At night is when I use thicker face creams to seal in moisture while I sleep. The benefit of layering products is that your serums work under the face cream, so your face cream doesn’t have to do it all. You can switch up your serums to target daily skin needs, like exfoliation, brightening, hydration, etc. I prefer if my night cream didn’t also do that so it’s not doubling up on exfoliation, for example, and being too intense for my skin. I also like the natural Farmacy brand, and while they’re not Korean skincare per se, they do share the same lab as a Korean counterpart, called the Korean Innovation Center.


Korean beauty skincare face sheet sleeping mask

Sheet Mask: Knours. Sweet Enough Rescue Mask – There are so many sheet masks, but I especially like brightening sheet masks and hydrating sheet masks. It keeps the product on your skin for 10-30 minutes so it’s like a mini, at-home facial. You can shop all the sheet masks your heart desires at K Banana, the cutest Korean beauty shop in Seattle, which reopens in the University Village this weekend 5/18!

Sleep Mask: Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask – I know I’m featuring multiple Glow Recipe products but I am truly loving so many items from this brand! Cute packaging and natural ingredients… what more can you want? If you’re looking for a hydration blast, then try a sleeping mask that soaks into your skin overnight and is rinsed off in the morning. It’s thicker than lotion but not to the point that it’ll get all over your sheets. I like to use this after a flight or whenever my skin feels extra dry, and you’ll wake up with super supple skin.


  1. May 14, 2019 / 2:56 pm

    Love your routine- I’ve recently started double cleansing and it’s amazing how much stuff is leftover after that initial wash. A second pass is so key!

    Le Stylo Rouge

    • Carolyn
      May 14, 2019 / 8:02 pm

      I know! I can’t go back to life before double cleansing.

  2. May 14, 2019 / 3:03 pm

    I am sooo intrigued by Korean skincare products I have heard so much about them! This is a great guide for someone just dabbling into Korean cosmetic products – I especially want to try out those sheet masks haha!
    Thanks for sharing.
    xx Janine

    • Carolyn
      May 14, 2019 / 8:04 pm

      For sure! Like any category, not all Korean skincare products are created equal. There are definitely some items with lots of synthetic fragrances and chemicals, but these that I picked out are more natural and high quality!

    • Carolyn
      May 14, 2019 / 8:04 pm

      So true — my skin/pores feel soo cleaned out but not stripped. What products do you use for double cleansing??

  3. Lisa Autumn
    May 15, 2019 / 11:39 am

    I really want to try Korean skincare.. thank you lovely!

    x Lisa |

  4. May 18, 2019 / 1:18 pm

    Korean face masks have honestly saved my skin so many times!! Sheet masks are my favourite because you can see such a difference in your skin after using it!! xx

  5. May 19, 2019 / 2:32 pm

    Thanks for recommendations 🙂

  6. October 31, 2020 / 6:28 am

    Hi Carolyn,
    Thank you for your compilation and introduction of Korean skincare products. I wasn’t aware of these beauty labels so far. Sounds interesting! As an independent beautician, I’m always on the lookout for exciting new products.
    Semra |

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