My Favourite Korean Cosmetics and Skincare

Written by on April 25, 2012 in Brands & Products, Worldwide Korea Bloggers

* This post is written by Cindy Zimmer, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I love Korean makeup, skincare and nail polish. Makeup, skincare and nail polish – along with hair colour – has always been a passion for me. I was probably the only girl on my sports teams that always wore some while playing. Trust me though; nothing makes guys play shallow in the outfield like seeing a girl with bright purple nails come up to the plate. Too bad for them, I can actually hit the ball; I just like nail polish too.  :-)

But I’m straying off-topic… much to my mother’s amusement – she’s never really be into any of it – and my father’s dismay (and sometimes anger, he didn’t like me wearing makeup as a teenager) I’ve always loved the stuff. So living in Korea was like living in a dream. I quickly fell in love with a lot of the products. Unfortunately, I have forgotten some of the face creams I loved because I was using samples of them and didn’t keep track of which I loved the best. But some of the products I used and loved stayed in my mind. Here is a list of my favourites from some of the top Korean cosmetic stores.

Skin Food

Honey Lip Treatment

Image courtesy of Skin Food

This lip treatment is the perfect base for lipsticks, especially those darker colours. It helps to keep your lips moisturized but doesn’t affect the colour of any lipstick you apply afterwards (just wait a minute in between). Plus it tastes sweet like honey! I originally bought it thinking it would be more of a lip balm but it works best as a pre-treatment for lipstick.

Peppermint Pore Diet Mask Peel Off

I love facials and so of course, like products that allow me to give myself mini-facials at home. Face masks have always been a personal favourite – I often own several. This mask – along with another I can no longer find – was my favourite. It’s a great peel-off mask for the summer time; it’s refreshing and makes your skin feel great. Plus it helps minimize your pores which is never a bad thing.

Black Sugar Mask

This is one of the few of my favourites that is easily available in Canada (don’t worry, I’ve sent my list to so perhaps they can carry them all sometime in the future). It should more accurately be called a black sugar scrub as it’s a scrub, not a mask. But it’s a fantastic and gentle scrub that will help give your skin a healthy glow if used weekly. It never once irritated my skin like some masks do.

Bath Salt – Lavender

When I lived in Korea I used these for foot baths because I didn’t have a bathtub. One package works perfect for a full bath (I brought some back to Canada and used them here) or it can be used for three or four footbaths. I’ve also tried and liked the Peppermint and Honey Jasmine. The lavender is perfect if you are trying to de-stress, the peppermint is great for in the summer and the jasmine for if you want to feel a little feminine.

Rose Cheek Chalk #1 Rose Pink

This is the best blush I’ve ever used, hands down! The colour looks a little intimidating (it’s bright pink) but it can go on either lightly (to give you a gentle glow) or more vividly (for night). I would recommend buying extra circle sponges though. It does come in different colours but I find this one goes with not only my skin tone (my olive undertone is similar to most Koreans) but most others as well.

Oil Control Film

These little blue sheets are essential in the summer time (or whenever it’s humid) to control shine. Keep a pack in your purse!

The Face Shop

Clean Face White – Intensive Blemish Clear Patch

These patches are the best thing I’ve ever tried – bar none – for the occasional acne outbreak. They come in single packs (10 patches) and the multi-pack (50 patches). You simply remove a patch and apply it to the blemish after you wash/cleanse your face a night and then go to sleep. In the morning, remove the patch and you’ll notice the blemish is smaller and way less red (and sometimes, completely gone).

Pure Water Facial Mist – Jeju Orange

Light and refreshing, keep it in the fridge during the summer and it will cool & refresh your skin while helping to keep it hydrated. This facial mist doesn’t do double duty like the one below from Banila but comes in different scents so you can choose the one you like best. I would often use this after showering at the gym in the summer in place of moisturizer (it’s super humid in Seoul so I needed less moisturizer).

TFS Plus +1 Lip Care Stick Pomegranate

This is a lightly tinted lip balm. Perfect for work when you don’t want to wear lipstick but want a hint of colour. I love lip balms and generally own about a dozen different ones – I keep them everywhere, in my jacket, my purse, my desk at work – because I hate dry lips. This one is a nice light lip balm (better for summer months) with a lovely light colour.

TFS Plus +1 Lip Care Cream Shea Butter

This is probably the most moisturizing lip balm I’ve ever used. Like I said above, I’ve owned and used a lot and this is the best for winter or anyone with dry lips. It’s super moisturizing and goes on without a heavy or waxy feel.

Herb Day Cleansing Wipes

These are the perfect traveling wipes, makeup remover (they even remove waterproof mascara) or summer purse essential (great for freshening up on the go). It comes in two sizes: purse size (20 wipes) or full size (70 wipes). I haven’t found a similar product in Canada that I like as well as these (and I’ve tried several) which is why I still buy these. I carry the purse size in my purse (especially in the summer) and keep a full size one at home.

Imperial Herbs – Ying Mask Sheet in Sanyak & Sansuyoo

Korea loves face mask sheets – a white cotton face mask that’s soaked in a facial solution (there are literally dozens of different ones). This was by far my favourite of all the mask sheets available in Korea. My skin always felt so dewy and happy after using it. There were other mask sheets I liked so feel free to experiment and find the one that works best for you.


Let Me Finish – Makeup Fixer

This product does double duty as both a facial mist and as a “makeup fixer”. Simply spritz a couple of times after you finish applying your makeup (if you use face powder or foundation) and it will set everything. I used it more as a facial spray but it works well as both. I generally don’t use either but tend to use face powder more and the spray makes your skin less dry.

Makeup brushes

Banila is the best place in Korea to get any kind of makeup brush you may need. Great quality and selection. I also liked them best for most makeup as the stores felt more like a MAC store than the others. Their prices are a little more expensive than Skin Food or The Face Shop but still reasonable.

The Mineral Surprise Baking Pact

Unfortunately I can’t find a good picture of this product which makes me think it’s been discontinued. It’s a pressed powder compact and a good one at that  :-) I love how silky it feels on and was light enough to wear in summer too.

Those are my favourites – or at least some of them (the post was getting too long for all of the fabulous Korean cosmetics I love). What are your favourite Korean cosmetics?

*The products with an asterisk in front of the name are available at

About the Author


The Worldwide Korea Bloggers (WKB) is a gathering of people from different parts of the world, all having affection for Korea. Currently, there are 50 bloggers from 17 different countries and they share their own precious experiences with Korea and its culture on Korea Blog.