best of beauty

The 10 Best Korean Beauty Products of 2018

Photo: Courtesy of Soko Glam Beauty

It’s early — but finding the best products for your skin doesn’t have a time line. K-Beauty curator Soko Glam got a jump on all those “Best of 2018” lists by curating some of their best-selling and most popular products for their Best of K-Beauty Awards.

The awards were curated using four main criteria: the product needs to be curated within the past year, receive rave reviews, be deemed a “must have” by the Soko Glam team, and achieve bestseller status on their website. All of the winners are available for 15 percent off for a limited time, and most of the selections are already pretty reasonably priced — more than half of them are under $30.

Whether you’re a seasoned K-Beauty devotee, or simply looking for a good place to try out a new skin care venture, the products below are a great place to start.

Chapped lips are the bane of, well, everyone. Wearing this while you sleep can supposedly slough off dry, flaky skin with the help of moisturizing avocado, almond, and apricot oils.

This spot treatment contains the highest concentration of EGF (epidermal growth factor) on the market, which is a protein that allegedly encourages your skin cells to turn over more quickly, diminishing dark spots and fine lines. It’s the priciest thing on this list, but since it’s so concentrated, a little should go a long way.

Ah yes, tea tree oil. It’s kind of a homeopathic tour de force, but for beauty purposes. It’s excellent at treating acne due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities. Instead of using it as a serum or spot treatment, you can try this cleanser, which purports to remove makeup and treat skin at the same time.

Hormonal acne flare-ups are terrible, and waiting for them to clear up is the second most terrible thing. These sticks use potent AHA and BHA (alpha and beta-hydroxy acids) to treat acne. They’re a pretty dynamic duo: AHA works its magic to break down acne on the skin’s surface while BHA goes deep to work through whatever is built up in your pores (dirt, makeup, ongoing rage).

Would you like to see what the fuss about snail mucin is all about? Then this “glue” is the product for you. It’s supposed to help repair damaged hair, but can also just be used as an extra boost of shine and smoothness as well, thanks to moringa seed oil and collagen in addition to snail mucin.

This little serum is packed with a lot of beneficial things, like hydrating macadamia seed oil, soothing aloe, and a patented “secret ingredient” that is a blend of a variety of botanical extracts like licorice and persimmon leaf. It seems to be a great choice if you’re looking for a completely plant-based serum option.

The “optimal” pH level of healthy skin is 5.5, which is why this toner has the same level to keep your skin properly balanced. If your pH level is maintained, it supposedly helps protect skin from external harm caused by allergens, bacteria, and pollution. No word on how a healthy skin pH level can protect you from the news cycle, but hey, it’s worth a try.

If you have sensitive skin, this fragrance-free product might be a good place to try out the crown jewel of the K-beauty routine: essence. It should absorb quickly and leave skin soft and hydrated. This particular essence is made almost entirely from fermented ingredients, which are supposed to help improve skin’s elasticity.

If you like the idea of a memory foam mattress but really want to use those same principles for a mask, then this is for you. The pudding-like texture is described as a “shape memory cream” that supposedly absorbs into your skin immediately, creating a seamless barrier that locks moisture in while you sleep.

This is pretty much your catch-all skin care step. It’s a multi-tasking cream that purports to strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier, brighten skin tone, and smooth over fine lines and wrinkles while preventing new ones from forming. And even with all that, it’s still described as “lightweight enough for daytime use.” Plus, the tube is pink.

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The 10 Best Korean Skin Care Products of 2018