Not gonna lie: Korean cosmetics can be intimidating. The masks! The colours! The ingredients! There’s a lot going on — so it’s important to start simple and ease into it.
I would say I had a baptism by fire: simply living in Korea for 2 years (teaching the world’s cutest kindergarteners) exposed me to the crazy world of K-beauty firsthand.
Over there, the cosmetic stores are on every corner, always open late, and seem to ALWAYS be having sales of some sort. AND they always have new products launching seemingly every week. Bliss.
I started off small: picking up a moisturiser here and there, an animal-shaped hand cream perhaps, and of course a sheet mask or two. But this quickly snowballed into a full-blown addiction: I was literally going shopping every single weekend, and not coming back with a light bag, lemme tell you!
So, throughout my years of thorough experience — in the name of science, of course — I’ve come to a few conclusions about where is best to start when dipping your toe into K-beauty.
The reason I’m starting with sheet masks, is because they’re simple — and they actually do provide results. Every time I use one, generally at night, my skin is glowing the next day. To the extent that I’ll receive a lot of compliments — it really does make a noticeable difference, in my opinion.
Another reason why sheet masks are my #1 is because there’s just SO MANY OPTIONS. The beautiful thing about the Korean beauty industry (so to speak) is that they are not wanting for choice.
Because it’s such a HUGELY valuable and competitive industry, especially in Korea but globally as well, they’re always coming up with something new — and pushing the boundaries. Remember, this is the country that brought placenta, snail mucin and bee venom to the beauty world. They didn’t come to play.
So, without further ado, here’s my top 5 face masks to get you started with K-beauty:
I’m a big fan of aloe vera: it’s gentle, moisturising, and great for sensitive skin (tick tick tick!). I love how these face masks sit as well — the cut is one of my favourites. A great all-rounder if you don’t wanna rock the boat too much (your skin will thank you!).
Korean rice wine, called makgeolli (and pronounced “mack-oll-ie”) is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So why not wear it on your face? This fermented beverage — it tastes better than it sounds, trust me — is known for brightening and renewing the complexion. Perfect for congested, dull skin in need of a bit of TLC.
This one’s for the dry-skinned ladiez (or ladz) in the house. Hayyy! If your skin needs an extra boost of deep moisture — DEEP I tell you! — this one’s your guy. These Air sheet masks are super thin and light, so be careful when applying. They also come with a lot of exces product — perfect for using on elbows, knees (and toes?), and any other dry spots.
Having lived in Malaysia after leaving Korea, I’ve got a bit of a thing for tropical fruit. So this mask is perfect! Containing the essence of the longan fruit — the lesser-known sibling of the lychee — this mask targets signs of aging and restores radiance to your skin. And that’s always a good thing!
Eye masks are a good way to get into K-beauty without diving in face-first (get it?). These cute lil’ under eye patches are infused with snail mucin — one of my fave beauty ingredients these days — which help to deeply nourish the sensitive under-eye area. Plus they’re super fun!
So there you have it: 5 Korean face masks to get you started with K-beauty. Hope this helped to break down this seemingly confusing scene for you!
Have you tried any Korean beauty products before? I’d love to hear from you!