I’ve been around the (sometimes) overcomplicated skincare game for a while now, and honestly the one thing that bothers me are the lack of affordable options for folks who are just dabbing their toes into the space. Yes, skincare can be overwhelming, but it absolutely can be fun if you know what you’re looking for. This is especially true for a new trend in the skincare world—K-Beauty. There are so many options, and honestly so little time, especially when you want to know what works and what doesn’t.
So! I have decided to give y’all a roundup of all of my favorite Korean Beauty skincare brands and products that you can use as a guide on your journey to fabulous skin:
Egg Mousse Soap | $20 | Ulta
Pumpkin Sleeping Pack | $20 | Ulta
TooCoolForSchool is pretty well-known and for good reason—their products are amazing. I’ve probably tried almost everything skincare-related they have to offer ... because Too Cool For School is that bitch! Can I even curse? Well, I did anyway.
I came across two of my all-time faves during a K-Beauty press preview and I’m telling y’all Too Cool For School did NOT disappoint. Their Egg Mouse Soap is a delicate facial cleanser made out of yes, eggs. You can probably hear The Amanda Show sketch in your head right now, but stay with me. The egg white extract actually tightens and brightens dull skin, while the egg yolk extract keeps your skin nice and moisturized. Plus, the actual soap doesn’t smell like eggs, but a nice, clean vanilla scent, so you’ll feel a wave of relaxation during your skin routine.
The Pumpkin Sleeping Pack has done me too many solids over the past couple of years, especially during this in-between weather. I didn’t know that pumpkin had any kind of practical use, but boy was I wrong. If you spread this on your skin at night, after your cleanser and toner before bed, you will wake up with happy, dewy skin. I know I sound like I’m being dramatic, but I’m being 100% truthful. The mask itself is pretty thick and sticky, but that’s just so the enzyme-packed formula can do it’s thing while you’re getting your rest. I promise you won’t regret giving in and getting a bottle.
My Sunny Watery Sun Essence | $22 | Macy’s
Vital Vita 12 Jelly Cleanser | $18| Ulta
I love Tonymoly because all of their skincare products are cheap and top notch. I’m particularly a fan of their Watery Sun Essence. It’s a sheer sunscreen that honestly makes your face glow after you apply it. As a black woman, being able to find a sunscreen to fit inside of your daily routine that doesn’t leave a white cast on your skin is rare, so I’m hoping this never gets discontinued. Sunscreen is super-important all year long so I assume you guys will follow after my example and pick up a bottle for your sake. Global warming and sun cancer is real, y’all!
As for cleansers, Vital Vita 12 Jelly Cleanser is amazing. I prefer a face soap that really suds up on my face, because then I’m convinced that it is doing its job to prevent my skin from breaking out (even though I’m not acne-prone). This jelly cleanser is so great because it doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils, while removing the ones that clog your pores. I don’t know how it does it, but I’ll just lean on skincare magic?
Dermask Ultra Jet Protection Solution | $9 | Dr. Jart
Hydration Lover Rubber Mask | $12 | Dr. Jart+
Dr. Jart is honestly the priciest of the K-Beauty options, but their masks are most definitely A1. Their infamous “Lover Rubber” face masks almost always do what they need to do. In fact, the Hydration Lover Rubber Mask seriously saved my face when it was irritated like hell because of a Dermatologist’s (wrong) cleansing recommendation. It works two-fold: the rubber mask calms and soothes the skin, while the additional serum (made with seaweed extracts and vitamin C) has great moisturizing benefits that will leave your skin, especially if it’s dry, full of happiness and moisture.
The Dermask is actually a bubbling mask, which is fun for folks who want to try something new. It’s formulated with charcoal to really lift the dirt and oil from your pores so that you won’t have to worry about pimples just popping up, waiting to ruin your life. And since it’s only $9, it’s definitely worth a try just to see if you like it.
Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser | $10+ | Glow Recipe
Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask | $22 | Glow Recipe
Glow Recipe, out of all these picks, is probably the most trendy. They’re well known for their fruit-based skincare, and no I’m not being funny, there are multiple products just based on sweet-smelling fruit you would normally eat. That’s because they actually use extracts of banana, blueberry, and watermelon inside of their skincare products. Two of my favorites from them are the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser, which starts at $10, and the watermelon sleeping mask that is $22 on their site.
The Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser honestly lives up to its name because it really is ... gentle. Packed with blueberry extracts (which naturally have antioxidants), to calm inflammation and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated as it cleans, it’s rubbery to the touch. Your face will honestly thank you by using it everyday. If paired with the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, which gently exfoliates and hydrates your skin while you’re sleeping, your skin can be glowing and radiant as soon as the morning breaks through.