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The Best Korean Beauty Products To Get In Seoul

If you're travelling to the Asian beauty mecca anytime soon, here is a list of Korean beauty products you definitely need to check out. P/S: They are only available in Seoul so grab them while you're there.
Ground Plan 24 Hour Secret Mist
Coined as Ground Plan’s star product (it’s sold 1 million units in Korea in just 24 months), this mist is an all-in-one that is said to hydrate, cool, soothe skin and even heal sensitive skin. Containing 85% witch hazel extract, which is balanced out with glycerin and anise fruit extract to maintain moisture and condition your skin. Witch hazel extract tightens skin, minimises the appearance of pores and controls the oil production acne-prone skin. Plus, it works great as a setting spray over your makeup, too! Eco Your Skin Meso Ampoule, US$130
Meso Ampoule’s marine solide (microneedle) ingredient may give you a slightly stingy sensation but this is because it’s said to help effectively deliver active ingredients – such as vitamins and peptides – to the deepest layers of the skin. This ampoule helps combat the signs of photoaging and promotes the skin’s natural ability to regenerate. Shangpree Marine Jewel Capsule, US$135
Well-loved for their eye masks, Shangpree has created ampoules that look super bougie and taps in on super cool ingredients. Its star ingredient – Sodium DNA – is extracted from salmon sperm and it’s heralded for its ability to encourage cell repair and regeneration, which strengthens skin and gives it back its elasticity and brightness. Don’t worry, it doesn’t smell fishy. The inclusion of camellia evening primrose oil means that this ampoule smells brightly floral. The individual capsules are also packed with algae extracts that help fight visible signs of aging with potent antioxidants, sea whip extract that helps soothe skin, and ecklonia cava (brown algae) extract that helps soothe irritated skin, fight inflammation, and prevent acne with its antibacterial properties. We also love that it comes in a pretty gold capsule. Miwaju Hyalu Serum Veil, US$120
With the hero ingredient of this elixir being hyaluronic acid, it grabs moisture from the environment around you and has the ability to retain over 1000 times its weight in water.⁣ Copper tripeptides, adenosine and allantoin for makes for its anti-inflammatory, smoothening and brightening properties. With continued use, the skin will look plump, healthy and youthful. Dr. Ceuracle Jeju Matcha Clay Pack, $44.50
Previously known as Leegeehaam, the brand has since rebranded to be called Dr. Ceuracle. Packed with antioxidant-rich matcha which hails from Jeju island, this wash-off clay mask detoxifies skin and helps to prevent future breakouts or blemishes. The natural clay component buffs away dead skin and unclogs pores. As the mask dries, it also helps to tighten enlarged pores. Amorepacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Creme, KRW 120,000 (S$140)
Apart from being a massive beauty conglomerate that owns other cult Korean skincare brands like Innisfree and Mamonde, Amorepacific also boasts of its own house brand. And the general misconception that house brands are “lesser than” doesn’t apply here. This rich daily moisturiser that’s formulated with natural goodies such as bamboo leaf extract to that works to improve overall complexion caused by loss of moisture. J.One Jelly Pack, KRW35,000 (S$40)
If you’re a fiend of K-beauty, you would be no stranger to this multi-tasking product that’s from Korean actress Ha Jiwon’s skincare and beauty line. Think of it as a jelly-like one-and-done product that combines a hydrating treatment, firming and smoothing mask, and makeup primer. You’ll be glad to know that it has been endorsed even by Western beauty gurus Kathleen Lights and Nikki Tutorials. Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner, KRW13,000 (S$15)
By the looks of its medicinal-looking packaging, it’s no surprise that this brand is developed by Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic in Korea that focuses on using traditional Korean ingredients, known as hanbang. The brand strips down on trendy ingredients that are commonly added just to alter texture or scent but aren’t actually beneficial to the skin, making this a sensitive girl’s lifesaver. Our pick? This ultra-hydrating essence toner that’s rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that hydrates and plumps your skin. Cosrx Centella Blemish Ampule Serum, KRW23,500 (S$27.30)
You don’t have to head down to your facialist because you can DIY the same intense treatment from the comfort of your home with the aid of this ampoule. Experience relieving and calming properties with this skin-soothing solution that tackles your problem areas and alleviates stress on the skin. Infused with Centella Asiatica extract, it helps to control sebum production whilst replenishing moisture and decongesting clogged pores. 107oneoseven Rose Vinegar Water, US$28 (S$38)
This one’s a highly-coveted brand amongst the Western beauty sphere as well. The brand is founded by Okran Chung, a pharmacist who runs the largest naturally fermented vinegar brewery in Korea. She discovered that specially aged vinegar with 20 oriental herbs optimally produces a desirable amount of essential amino acids that rebuilds and repairs damaged skin. Best used after cleaning, simply apply this hydrating water to the face to calm irritation and rehydrate the skin. Klavuu White Pearlsation Ideal Actress Backstage Cream SPF30 PA++, US$22.50 (S$30.50)
This makeup base prides itself on providing, well, ideal actress-like flawless skin. Available in three different colours to target various skin tone corrections, it condenses five-steps worth of skincare into one. It’s basically slathering on sunscreen, primer, a makeup base, a tone-up cream, and a colour corrector simultaneously. Neogen Vita Duo Cream (Joan Day and Night), Price Unavailable
The brand recently teamed up with Korean YouTuber Joan Kim on this day and night cream that is packaged in one tub. Inside, the day cream is formulated with antioxidant-rich green tea to protect and vitamin C to brighten and energise tired-looking complexions. The night cream, which comes in a gel-type texture, contains lavender and vitamin E to soothe and strengthen the skin’s barrier. Cosrx One Step Green Hero Calming Pad, 17,500 won (S$20)
It’s no secret that the highly-raved-about skincare pads from Cosrx are gentle, effective, and hydrating. The brand has just revealed a new version, which is meant to soothe and calm skin. It is made with dandelion leaf, centella asiatica, witch hazel, tea tree leaf, and green tea water to soothe and gently exfoliate. Banila Co. Clean It Zero, $22
With one sold approximately every 4.8 seconds, it is no wonder this is one of the most popular products that beauty junkies stock up on when in Seoul. Needless to say, it has a soft gel-like texture that dissolves all traces of makeup while maintaining a bouncy, cushion-like barrier that makes cleansing feel comfortable. Beyond that, it is also enriched with papaya extract, which helps to eliminate dead skin cells and refine the appearance of pores to produce softer, smoother skin over time. Espoir Taping Concealer Foundation, $43
While many of us might equate Korean foundations to those that promise a radiant and dewy effect, this one from Espoir will make you rethink Korean makeup. Promising a full coverage with a matte finish, it has a surprisingly thin and blendable texture. A little bit goes a long way so one tube will last you at least several months. Best part? Once it’s applied, it adheres closely to your skin’s surface for round-the-clock wear without drying, caking or sinking into pores and fine lines. IOPE Live Lift Serum, $67
Developed for women in their 30s and beyond, this firming serum targets the loss of elasticity — a problem most prominent around the cheeks which results in nasolabial folds and jowls. Referred by the brand as “the ribbon zone”, this area refers to the entire cheek area from just below the eyes to the jawline. And since Asian women are more prone to sagging than lines and wrinkles as we age, this serum is formulated with peptides, plant extracts and sugars to improve skin resilience and elasticity. To apply, smooth onto face and neck twice a day and expect facial contours to become more defined and sculpted. A by BOM Cosmetics 2-Step Ultra Royal Leaf Mask, $62 for a box of 10
After cleansing your face, apply the Royal Leaf Patch directly onto the top of your cheekbones, where fine lines and crow’s feet first appear. This patch is infused with soothing and wrinkle-smoothing ingredients for a plumped appearance. Next, follow with the Ultra Royal Leaf Mask. Made of a unique materials called Trans TENCEL Sheet, it feels soft and malleable so it fits around your facial contours to boost product penetration while enabling your skin to breathe. Within 20 minutes, your skin drinks up all of its goodness, which includes hydrating, brightening, energising and strengthening active ingredients derived from plants and royal jelly. Skinmiso Pore Purifying Toner, 15,000 won (S$18)
This hydrating toner is super gentle and helps soothe sensitive and irritated complexions. It also restores the skin’s pH balance to an optimal level while removing dead skin cells. Son & Park Beauty Gel, 25,000 won (S$30)
Perfect for those with oily and combination skin types, this lightweight moisturiser helps to soothe and cool skin while minimising the appearance of pores. Additionally, it acts as a primer to prep skin for makeup application. Son & Park Beauty Water, 25,000 won (S$30)
This isn’t just an ordinary toner, it cleanses, tones, hydrates and exfoliates. More importantly, this has a pH value of 4.5, which is similar to that of our skin. After cleansing, our skin’s pH levels may be altered and it’s crucial to always bring it back to a mildly acidic state (more specifically, pH 4-6) to allow our skin’s barrier function to work effectively. For those who are used to having two different toners – one to rebalance the skin’s pH level and the other to hydrate – you only need to use one now. Cosrx Low pH BHA Overnight Sleeping Mask, 18,000 won (S$21)
Blemishes, dark spots and an overall dull complexion are common concerns. This is made with 0.9 per cent BHA (a chemical exfoliant) to buff away dead skin cells to reveal a brighter complexion the next morning. It is even formulated with centella asiatica to soothe and calm irritated skin. Cosrx Low pH PHA Barrier Mist, 18,000 won (S$21)
What do we like about this mist? It’s super fine and sprays evenly onto the skin. It is infused with 98.10 per cent coconut fruit extract and 0.5 per cent PHA (polyhydroxy acids, which is a very gentle chemical exfoliant) to maintain skin’s pH level. This is crucial as once our skin is at an optimal pH level, it will work better to improve our skin’s overall condition. A'Pieu Madecassoside Cream, 9,000 won (S$11)
Formulated with centella asiatica leaf water and madecassoside, this soothes and repairs irritated and damaged skin. It is also made with niacinamide (vitamin B3) and witch hazel extract to hydrate and brighten. Its gel consistency makes it ideal for those with combination or oily, acne-prone skin. Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pad, 17,000 won (S$21)
These pre-soaked pads are super gentle and ideal for those with sensitive skin. Enriched with hyaluronic acid and centella asiatica, the concentrated formula calms, hydrates, reduce redness and promotes collagen production. Wakemake Lip Paint, 9,000 won (S$11)
While some lip tints may be quite drying, this isn’t. It is formulated with a host of hydrating ingredients to nourish and moisturise puckers. It also sits comfortably on lips and is ultra pigmented as well. Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine, 22,900 won (S$28)
Whether you prefer exfoliating your skin manually or with chemicals, these pads are perfect for you. It uses a unique three-layer pad technology that deeply penetrates into skin to clean out pore-clogging debris and gently remove dead skin cells without irritating skin. Its star ingredient, antioxidant-rich resveratrol, is derived from red wine and is fermented with naturally occurring AHAs that also help with the exfoliation process while slowing down signs of ageing and protects skin from free radical damage. P/S: Remember to rinse your face after using the product, else, it may cause further damage and irritation.