Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

A Short Guide to Korean Beauty

Korean beauty products have been rising in popularity for quite some time now. From masks, emulsions, creams, and innovative makeup, South Korean beauty has it all. Beauty bloggers, stores like Urban Outfitters, and even Sephora have jumped onto this beauty bandwagon for the best trends and designs.

                                                                                        Via Urban Outfitters

While the packaging and marketing of these products are both adorable and innovative, it can sometimes be just a little tricky to figure out how and when to use each product and which properties work best for you. K-Beauty is innovative in the sense that a lot of the products contain ingredients like eggs, volcanic ash, and even snail, all used for their different properties. As someone who has been using some of these products for quite some time (I got my first TONYMOLY sheet mask at the age of 14) I am still left confused about things like what the difference between BB and CC cream is, and when to use what product. Here is a quick lineup of some popular Korean beauty products that are popping up more and more!


                                                                                                Via The Face Shop

Emulsions, Serums, Balms

With the popular Korean skincare routine come emulsions, serums, and balms. These are a little different than toners, and are also not quite moisturizers. Essentially, emulsions go hand-in-hand with toners to hydrate the skin and leave it soft and feeling good after exfoliating. The formula behind emulsions and serums is much thinner than that of regular moisturizers, making it easier for your skin to absorb it all!

A personal favorite emulsion from The Face Shop is pictured above. Korean brands offer many different formulas and ingredients for all purposes and qualities. This one specifically is made with rice water, which is known to brighten the skin. (One very popular ingredient featured in A LOT of k-beauty products!)

                                                                                            Via The Face Shop

Cleansing Creams

These innovative and fun creams not only work to nourish skin, but also are great for removing makeup! Made with many different properties and ingredients (again, like rice water) cleansing creams have become a staple in many skincare routines.This one (above) specifically foams up so nicely, and leaves the skin feeling so good after removing makeup. However, these are not meant to be used as a face wash, so it’s recommended that you follow up with your normal cleanser!

                                                                                           Via Tonymoly

Masks, Masks, Masks!

Masks are great for pampering your skin and for treating it to some TLC. You may have seen these perfect Tonymoly masks at Urban Outfitters, Sephora, and even department stores.This brand is well-known for their innovative sheet masks, packs, and even shots! (yes, mask shots!!)  

                                                                                                        Via Tonymoly

Each mask has different qualities and nourishing properties to offer. There are masks with lemon, red wine, rice water, and even bubbling jeju (an island province of South Korea) volcanic ash clay (courtesy of another Korean brand, Innisfree). All of them are so fun to play around with and good to soothe, tighten or hydrate the skin. There are sleeping pack masks available as well! Those are for application before bed to wake up to a seriously soft and nourished face!

Important: there are even masks for your lips!!



                                                                                                                       Via Tonymoly

BB Creams

BB creams have been around for awhile now, but have undoubtedly grown in popularity over the years. Standing for “Blemish Balm”, this product was developed by Korean dermatologists across domestic markets. It slowly made its way over to the west with its promising formulas and unique look. Much like tinted moisturizers, BB creams can color correct, and provide SPF coverage, and additionally, can tighten skin, and help prevent wrinkles.

Brow Magic

                                                                                                                        Via Refinery29

Recent trends in the west call for arched, full and stronger brows while trends in South Korea push the natural-looking, straight brow. No matter what your brow style may be, Korean beauty has lots to offer. From brow pencils to gels, all bases are covered. However, a more unique and popular approach tried and tested by many beauty bloggers, is the Tint My Brow gel from Etude House. This product is pretty cool to say the least- I mean, have you ever temporarily tattooed your brows? With this product specifically, you are supposed to apply the gel to your brows in the general shape you want them to be (be careful, this stuff REALLY stains), let the gel set, and then peel for temporarily filled brows!


                                                                                                                  Via Skinfood

Like the skincare products, Korean lip products feature some interesting ingredients and oils as well. Skinfood is a South Korean brand that specializes in the use of natural ingredients and goods to bring out some of the most useful and innovative products. Their tomato lip tint is both colorful and nourishing.


                                                                                                             Via TheFaceShop

In addition, other brands offer unique mattifying lipsticks (“Lipquids” from TheFaceShop), masks, and pencils.

The brand Nature Republic also offers some sweet, natural products meant for skincare and makeup. They offer collagen lip masks, tints, and more!

It’s clear that Korean beauty brands are on the rise for their unique ingredients and creatively designed products. From moisturizers to brow tattoos and lip masks, these beauty finds are all worth a try sometime!


Nancy Nyamaa

George Mason University '19

Nancy is currently a senior at George Mason majoring in communication (concentration in journalism) and minoring in conflict analysis & resolution. She's passionate about true crime podcasts, baking, and editing. After she graduates she hopes to pursue a career in journalism and eventually go to grad school.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️