A korean woman rubs cream into her cheeks as various skincare bottles float around her.

Top Five Favorite K-Beauty Products

I have been a skincare fanatic from a very early age. I can remember being no more than six and mixing up 'potions' in my mom's bathroom with different combinations of her products to see if it would make it even better (sorry, mom!). From a young age, I have also had eczema. Tack on cystic acne, keratosis, and chronic urticaria, and you have a very uncomfortable recipe for disaster. Considering that, I'm sure you can imagine a lot of my time, energy, and creativity over the past decade has been spent on my skin. It's not purely vanity, as you all well know. This @#!% can hurt!

So when I find a product or ingredient that works for my skin, it's a unique kind of happiness. I have spent countless hours pouring over blogs, forums, websites-anything that I could learn about my skin was absorbed like a sponge. Now it's my turn to share some of my favorites with you! This list is comprised of products made in Korea, also called K-Beauty. With that, let's jump right into it, starting with my all-time favorite k-beauty product!

Cleanse It Zero Balm (in Original) by Banila Co.

CONTAINS: Centenella Asiatica (also called cica)
This product is number one for me for a very good reason. This makeup remover/cleansing balm cleans, moisturizes, and doesn’t clog or irritate my skin. The texture is like silk. I can use it without it causing stinging or irritation even during my worst flare-ups! I use it every day regardless of if I wear makeup or not, so gentlemen, take note! It is not just for ladies! Cleansing balms are amazing, and it doesn’t get any better than the tried and true original!

Collagen Nutrition Cream by Jigott

CONTAINS: Collagen
This cream smells heavenly (which is usually a big warning sign), but surprisingly this cream is gentle, soothing, and not at all reactive (at least for myself).  I don’t use it during super bad flare-ups because, at that point, my skincare options are even more limited than usual. I have the unique luck of my eczema flare-ups almost exclusively located on my face and neck, so very visible, especially when EXTRA aggravated. I have always described them as ‘flare-ups’ because they come and go, with little warning and no consistent trigger. It can be dry AND oily. Simultaneously! This cream is unreasonably moisturizing for how light it is. Jigotts' Collagen Healing Cream is one of only a few products I have ever used that I can confidently say the moisture in my skin lasted all day.

Cica Sleeping Mask by Laneige

CONTAINS: Centenella Asiatica (cica)
Laneige is a hugely popular brand that is famous for its sleeping and lip sleeping masks. This product may be a bit pricey, but it is worth every penny. Sleeping masks have long been a staple in k-beauty routines, and once you find “the one,” you will be converted too!  As with Clean It Zero Balm, this product contains Centenella Asiatica, a herb that has a soothing effect on angry skin. When I used to think of face masks, I would picture goopy, sticky, and messy concoctions that you slap on and then practice extreme mindfulness so that you didn't drop any on the bathroom floor. Yuck.

These masks are entirely different! It doesn't feel slimy or sticky, as they usually dry quickly. Somehow they do not dry your skin during this process, however. In about two weeks of using this mask every night, I saw some really interesting results. My skin was not as pocked. It looked less dull and angry. I noticed a considerable increase in the moisture levels, and they have been maintained ever since. It's a really wonderful product, but always be cautious and listen to your skin when trying new things!

Acne Master Patch by CosRX

CONTAINS: Hydrocolloid Bandage
Most durable acne patch I have ever used, which is a feat unto itself. However, that is where its features start and stop. This patch can look pretty ‘bare bones’ when compared to other patches. Many include ingredients or technologies such as tea tree, alpha, and beta hydroxy acid, or microneedles. It made the list for a reason, though, and when it comes to durability, nobody beats out the collection of patches from COSRX. With multiple skin conditions, including acne and eczema, mostly confined to the most visible area of my body, I appreciate being able to trust that if I use one of these when I need to cover up some spots, they will stay covered up until I take them off.

Face Blur (in Moisturizing) by Etude House

CONTAINS: Hyaluronic Acid
This product is geared more towards those ladies and gents who wear makeup products. However, wearing makeup is not required to use (and benefit from) this product! I often wear it without any makeup at all. It provides a barrier between the skin and the elements that make my skin NOT look like a dehydrated apple by 3 PM. The color can be a bit scary when you first pump it out. It's purple. Really purple. Thankfully that fear was immediately erased when I put it on my skin. It is so buttery and provides truly lasting hydration. I have not tried the two other varieties (smoothing and mattifying) to date and cannot attest to their effectiveness.

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