Home > 10 Great Things You Need To Know About Korean Beauty Products 

10 Great Things You Need To Know About Korean Beauty Products 

Korean beauty products have hit the scene in a big way over the past few years. Maybe you’ve seen the face mask sheets that everyone is raving about or the absolutely adorable Tony Moly product line that just happens to have the best packaging I’ve ever seen.

10 Great Things You Need To Know About Korean Beauty Products! www.styledomination.com
Tony Moly’s Dream White Magic Cream, Pocket Bunny Mist, Magic Food Mango Mild Sunblock

If you’ve been following along over the past year, you’ll know that skincare is pretty much my jam.  Maybe it’s because I’m staring down the barrel of a major life milestone age-wise, or the fact that I’ve come to embrace my oily dewy skin. Eitherway, beautiful, clear skin is key to looking youthful and healthy and I’m all about that.

So, during my downtime over the holidays, I downloaded Manrepeller’s Oh Boy podcasts. While driving home from work, I listened to the interview with the founder of Peach & Lily’s Alicia Yoon, and I had to pull over to take note of all of the great skincare tips and Korean beauty products she was speaking of. Something struck me about the interview too.  I could tell the interviewer, Jay Buim, was smitten with her. He was all giggly and little flirty, so I made a mental note to go home and Google Image search Alicia. Now I know what caused the giggles:

10 Great Things You Need To Know About Korean Beauty Products! www.styledomination.com
She’s a babe with gorgeous skin. Alicia Yoon, Founder of Peach & Lily. Pic courtesy of www.intothegloss.com

Once I got home, I got to work. I’ve been reading about Korean beauty products forever now, and got my hands on some at the local T&T Supermarket to try. Through my research, I discovered some really interesting things that all of us should know. Here goes:

  1. Skincare has been part of the Korean lifestyle for a long time now…oh, since 700 BC. Interest in skin care has been documented in the earliest Korean writings and the ancient Korean text, the Dongui Bogam, has an entire section devoted to skin concerns.
  2. Koreans (women and men included) view skincare as something to savour and enjoy, not something to rush through or to be considered a chore. This latter way of thinking is generally absent from their beauty culture.
  3. Most major beauty brands have been using Korean skincare technology for a really long time now. Almost all of the major beauty brands work with Korean chemists to devise the latest and greatest in skincare and beauty.
  4. Koreans have been using oil cleansers FOREVER. For some reason, North Americans are afraid of oil. Maybe it’s the years of marketing that touted oils as the cause of acne breakouts and oily skin being unattractive, but oils are key to hydrating and protecting skin.
  5. Most Korean women don’t systematically work on getting rid of fine lines and breakouts topically – they work on their skin from the inside out. Common sense, right? They are more likely to work from the inside and stay out of the sun if their skin is less than perfect.
  6. They “double cleanse”. Instead of furiously washing their skin with harsh cleansers, they concentrate on removing makeup and impurities gently with an oil-based cleanser first, then follow up with a gentle foam-based cleanser to tackle the rest.  The key is being gentle! Most would never, ever reach for a Clarisonic. That thing scares me. THERE. I SAID IT.
  7. Lightly tap on or gently apply your products in an upward circular motion. Please – no smearing moisturizer into your palms and mashing into your face at record speed. Light tapping and the upwards circular motion increases circulation and promotes a brighter complexion.
  8. Korean women generally have more steps (up to ten) in their skincare routine than others, but they don’t necessarily use all each day. They do ensure to work all of them in every other day or weekly.  These steps include: oil cleanser, foam cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essence (a product that contains an active ingredient which boosts cell turnover rate), serum (more concentrated than essence), sheet mask, eye cream, sleep mask (product to intensely increase hydration and moisturization during sleep), and SPF.
  9. The steps they rarely skip? Cleansing, exfoliation, moisturization and SPF.
  10. Instead of spackling on makeup to achieve a totally finished, cakey look devoid of depth, they use the “blurring” technique.  This technique includes applying foundation to blur imperfections, not hide them completely, which still gives a polished, soft and airbrushed look.

Well, I’m off to buy some essences, more sheet masks and some oil cleanser!

Got any Korean skincare tips you care to share?  Please do so in the comments, or tweet them to me!


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Dominique Baker
Dominique Baker

Dominique is a Canadian-based fashion and beauty influencer with a strong voice in Ottawa’s black community. Since launching her blog Style Domination in 2015, she has amassed a global fanbase. Dominique shares her life through beautiful imagery and compelling story-telling that speaks to her fans on a personal level. She’s been featured in The Guardian, Flare, The Kit and Cityline. She also hosts events for Dress for Success, the Gem Conference, and has been named a United Way Person 2 Know for the past three years.

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  1. January 7, 2016 / 7:17 am

    Wonderful tips…I don’t think I’ve ever used Korean products but I do try and follow that type of regime…like you, I’m facing the age issue (Lol)…and the Clarisonic scares me too…I would never use that on my face! I’m definitely going to be checking out Peach & Lily products! Happy New Year! 🙂

    • January 7, 2016 / 12:25 pm

      Awesome, Linda! So glad I’ve persuaded you to check out the Korean products. Chances are if you’ve used Clinique, Lancome or Estée Lauder, you’ve tried Korean skincare! All of these brands use Korean labs to formulate their skincare. So awesome! Happy New Year, my dear, and thanks for reading! xoxoxox

      • January 7, 2016 / 5:46 pm

        Then I definitely have tried Korean…I’ve used all three! 🙂 🙂

        • January 25, 2018 / 5:28 am

          Useful tips and thanks for sharing.

          I have used many times beauty korean products and get positive result. Thanks

  2. January 7, 2016 / 8:38 am

    I LOVE Korean skincare. I used to get MeMe beauty boxes from Korea (until they stopped shipping to the UK) and have some brilliant products from there…if they deliver to Canada you MUST try them. 🙂 I discovered oil cleansers last year and totally do the double cleanse…it’s awesome, and I do have oily skin. I giggled at your Clarisonic comment…my thoughts exactly! I just feel like it would rip my skin off and traumatise it beyond belief. I have a better solution…attach a nail brush to the end of an electric toothbrush and hey presto! 😉

    • January 7, 2016 / 12:24 pm

      Traci-Ann! You made me LOL!!!! Yeah – the Clarisonic scares me for sure. If it works for some, then great. Just looking at it though makes my sometimes-sensitive skin scream in horror. I will definitely check out the MeMe beauty boxes! So sorry that they stopped shipping to the UK. What a heartbreaker. A friend of mine gave me a bottle of La Mer oil cleanser (it’s beautiful – bluish-green and sparkly) and it does wonders for removing makeup before washing your face. I’m going to start using it again, but I just don’t think the $85 price tag is worth it. Boscia sells the Tsubaki Cleanser that is oil-based and completely amazing. I hope you can find it to try it out (it’s Japanese, not Korean though). Thanks so much for reading, babe! xoxoxo

      • January 7, 2016 / 12:26 pm

        Ooooh thanks for the tip…I will definitely check that out! 🙂

  3. January 7, 2016 / 9:48 am

    Dom! This is an awesome article! I (Kay) have wanted to try Korean beauty products but have (a) been to lazy to do research which leads to (b) not knowing enough to buy good brands. I will definitely be checking out that podcast and some of the brands you mentioned!! Have any other suggestions? 🙂

    • January 7, 2016 / 12:19 pm

      Hey Kay!! AWWWW! Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun writing this one. Honestly – for more Korean products, scour the Peach and Lily site. The founder, Alicia Yoon, carefully chose each brand on the site, so I’m sure they are all great. Some I’m going to order are CremorLab, Morihata and Rose by Dr. Dream. Also, if you are ever in the south end, check out T&T Supermarket. They have a nice selection of Korean and Japanese beauty brands that all look like so much fun. Thank you so much for reading! xoxoxoxo

  4. January 7, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Great write up. I have been hearing a lot about Korean beauty products and would like to try some. I love the packaging of the Tony Moly products. They are adorable!

    I didn’t know manrepeller had a podcast. I’m obsessed with podcast. I’ve subscribed to this one now and can’t wait to start listening. What other podcast do you listen to?

    • January 7, 2016 / 12:16 pm

      HEY ASA!!! I’ve missed you, girl! How are you? Hope 2016 is treating you really well! Yessss! We have an amazing Asian grocery store here where I live that stocks all these cool Korean and Japanese beauty products. I’ll be heading there after work to pick up the Tony Moly hand cream that comes in an apple-shaped container – haha! Yep – I was surprised to find out that the big beauty heavy-hitters like Estée Lauder have been having their skin creams formulated by Korean chemists for decades now. Explains a lot since Lauder’s skincare is really, really good.

      As for the Manrepeller Oh Boy podcasts, be sure to check out the one with Stacy London. It’s my favourite.

      Other podcasts I listen to are TEDTalks (SO GREAT!!!), Vogue, Stuff You Should Know and LifeMinute….have fun!

      Thanks for reading and Happy New Year! xoxoxo

      • January 8, 2016 / 6:14 pm

        I’m doing well. I’ve been meaning to tell you that I got promoted to a project manager associate a while back. That’s good to know about Estée Lauder. I primarily only use that line for make up. We have quite a bit of Asian grocery stores in Seattle. I need to check out their cosmetic area. Thanks for all the podcast recommendations. I will check them out. My favorites are the Lively Show, Serial, and How They Blog (no longer being produced but you can view the archives). Off topic, I showed my mom your blog last month and she is now a reader. She even purchased the nail polish that you featured in one of your videos. ?

        • January 8, 2016 / 6:17 pm

          Omg!!!! Asa! That’s so great to read! Tell your mom I’m eternally grateful! As for your promotion, get it girl!!! Good for you. I love seeing young, black women getting ahead. All women, for that matter. Yeah – check out their cosmetic sections in the Asian grocery stores and be sure to do a test on a small patch of skin before applying to your face, ok? xo

          • January 8, 2016 / 6:19 pm

            I will let her know. ? Thanks for the encouragement and support. Good tip about doing a skin test. Thank you!

  5. Sharon
    January 7, 2016 / 11:33 am

    Great review of this pod cast! My mom has always taken the ‘inside out approach’ and looks stunning at 65 🙂 Gentl skin care is the way to go!

    Xo Sharon

    • January 7, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Totally, Sharon!!! Thank you for reading! I highly recommend the Oh Boy podcasts. Leandra Medine can be a bit much to take sometimes, but if you can get past her somewhat strange personality, the interviews are amazing. My favourite one in particular is her interview with Stacy London of What Not To Wear. What a smart and interesting lady! Thank you for reading and wishing you all the best in the New Year!

  6. January 7, 2016 / 11:42 am

    Great post! 😀 I’m starting to take care of my skin more and more so this is definitely very helpful.

    • January 7, 2016 / 12:11 pm

      Oh – great to read that! Skincare is so important to looking healthy and youthful! Good for you and thanks for your kind words!

  7. January 7, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    When I was doing hair and makeup, I did a resident stint for Shu Uemera. I realize this is a Japanese line but has an AMAZING oil based cleanser. It’s no longer available in the states :(. On another note- I want that panda bear product- whatever it is! #toocute! Great article!


    • January 7, 2016 / 12:10 pm

      Haha! Jill! I AGREE! I love Shu Uemura! On a trip to Seattle a few years ago, before Shu Uemura was available in Canada (we are always so behind), I bought a bunch of his oil cleansers. I was SOLD. So sorry to hear that it’s no longer available. Jeez. I should check if it’s still available here in the Arctic too. LOL! xoxoxo

  8. January 7, 2016 / 2:30 pm

    Must try! Thank you for your amazing blog ! I just got my 2015 in review and you were my biggest commenter and I am so honored that you have taken time this year to stop by! Thank you so much! I appreciate YOU!!! xo Gina

    • January 7, 2016 / 4:16 pm

      Awwwww! Gina! I’m honoured to be your top commenter! I’m telling you, girl, if we lived in the same city, we’d be partyin’ it up!!! Thank you for your kind words and hope 2016 treats you wonderfully! xoxoxo

  9. January 7, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    Yup, I don’t own the Clarisonic either. I think it’s WAY too harsh. I’ve been using oil cleansers for about 8 yrs now and it’s been amazing for my skin – really gets rid of everything including waterproof sunscreen. I used to use a foaming cleanser as my 2nd step but I found that a bit too harsh so I switched to micellar water as my 2nd step and it’s worked really well. My skin is happy!

    • January 8, 2016 / 12:40 pm

      Wow – these are golden tips. Thank you!! I’m really happy with my cleansing routine right now, so I don’t want to switch it up too much, but I’ll definitely be investing in a good oil cleanser this weekend. And the Clarisonic? Never. LOL!

  10. January 8, 2016 / 4:21 am

    I swear by the double-cleanse method. It has done great things for my skin. I’m constantly reviewing Korean beauty products on my blog, so stop by some time if you’re interested 🙂

    • January 8, 2016 / 8:23 am

      Hey Leanne!!! Thanks for reaching out! I’ll definitely follow your blog to keep up to date. Really appreciate you taking the time to read my post – thank you!

  11. January 11, 2016 / 11:44 pm

    Korean SPF is the way to go! I will never go back to the greasy American formulas! I even got my (white & Southern) father-in-law to switch over to it! Ha!

    • January 12, 2016 / 11:41 am

      I just read a great article actually on how Korean sunscreen is the best. Thanks for backing up that article! What are your faves?

      • January 13, 2016 / 6:39 pm

        Right now I use Etude House’s Must Daily. It’s lightweight, and the scent is unisex so my husband can use it too.

        • January 14, 2016 / 11:33 am

          You know what? I’m adoring all of the wonderful unisex scents out right now. I’m hopelessly addicted to Tom Ford’s Tobacco Oud. It costs the same as a car payment…but worth every penny. Many women may find it too “masculine” with its top notes of tobacco and whisky, but man!! What a lovely, interesting scent! xo Will do a review soon.

  12. January 11, 2016 / 11:45 pm

    P.S. I just bough 50 sheet masks from Memebox, so I’ll be posting lots of reviews!

  13. January 22, 2016 / 6:35 am

    Good to know! I think your posts are so informative and you still keep your sense of humor. Love that!

    • January 22, 2016 / 11:19 am

      Haha! Thanks! A laugh a day keeps the doctor away! Thanks Joy!

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