My Favourite Korean Cosmetics and Skincare

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

Image courtesy of Skin Food

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 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

Image courtesy of Skin Food

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

Image courtesy of Skin Food

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

Image courtesy of Skin Food

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

Image courtesy of Skin Food

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

Image courtesy of The Face Shop

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

Image courtesy of The Face Shop

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

Image courtesy of The Face Shop

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

Image courtesy of The Face Shop

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

Image courtesy of The Face Shop

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

Image courtesy of The Face Shop

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

Image courtesy of Banila Co.

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

Image courtesy of Banila Co.

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 And if you want $10 off your first order with them, use the coupon code “CINDY2012”!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

32 thoughts on “My Favourite Korean Cosmetics and Skincare

  • February 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Hey Cindy, we wanted to let you know that we just added the some items to our store based on your review above! Check it out at for the Honey Lip Treatment, oil control film, and lip cream shea butter!!

    • February 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Great!! Glad I could help 🙂 Will definitely check it out!

  • February 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Cindy! I love face mask sheets as well and am actually going to use a green tea face mask sheet after I write this comment. But I’m really interested in the banila co brushes since they are so cute! And good quality as well? Just wondering if you’ve tried the sigma brushes and how you think they compare? Anyhow, thanks for sharing your list. It’s always fun to see what fellow blogger’s favs are!


    • February 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      I’ve never used the sigma brushes so I can’t compare but I would put the banila co brushes on the same level as MAC brushes. I bought a couple while I was in Korea and never had any complaints.

  • February 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Great! I’ll definitely have to add them to my brush collection Cindy!

  • April 9, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Great information! Thanks
    I found the very useful site.
    There are almost of all good cheap korean cosmetics.
    visit and enjoy all korean beauty make-up products.
    Really thank you

    • April 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Hi James, thanks for your comment. Your site is a little difficult to navigate – breaking your products into smaller categories might be a good idea. And some products don’t have pricing. But an interesting site!

  • April 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for the detailed reviews! I’m going to Korea in 2 weeks and had absolutely no idea what type of brands or products to scout out. Now I do! The Face Shop lip balm is at the top of my list since its so dry here in the Prairies!

    • April 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      You’re welcome 🙂

      Have fun in Korea!! There are so many great products to experiment with – these are just my favourites!! I also have a packing list article if you are still wondering what to bring.

  • Pingback: My Favourite Korean Cosmetics and Skincare | The Korea Blog

  • July 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Hi! My name is Glends and I love Korean cosmetics! 😡 lovestruck
    Ever since Korean cosmetics have been introduced to me I’ve already become so curious about it. I love BB creams so much! Although I do not have enough money to buy those products, I would really love to try out some. I’ve already tried some BB creams made in Korea (those I bought from a local shop here in the Philippines) and it made me beautiful each day. It’s like I cannot live without it. It has become one of my necessities in life 🙂 I’ve been looking for these products online but I found them very expensive when sold here in the Philippines. If only I could afford to go to Korea and buy some of those items :(( crying Although I do not have a personal blog to show how much i love Korean cosmetics, I patronized them so deeply. ^_^

    • July 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Glends, thanks for visiting 🙂 Korea does make some fabulous cosmetics! The online shop – Momomango – I mention only ships to North America currently but you might want to try They sell Korean cosmetics as well and ship worldwide. Thanks for writing and sharing your love of Korean cosmetics!

    • December 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Why don’t you try They have really popular Korean cosmetics selection and they also offer good shipping options! they ship worldwide.

      • December 21, 2012 at 10:59 am

        This is the first I heard of that site, is it new? Nice website and easy-to-navigate but limited products – none of my favourite Korean cosmetics and skincare were there.

  • July 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks a lot for the referrals! Will continue to read your blog. God bless and more power!

  • September 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Hello! i like your blog. I just want to introduce Korea cosmetic shopping mall. they offer special price and free shipping. you will get USD5.00 for register. it’s come and have a look^^

    • September 10, 2012 at 10:22 am

      Thanks, I’m glad you like my blog 🙂 I’ve looked at your website but it’s hard to navigate and find products.

  • September 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Great blog with great products! As you seem relatively knowledgable, I thought I’d ask if you know where I could find ISOI products? I really want some of the Bulgarian Rose bb cream, but can’t seem to find it anywhere! Advice? Thank you!

    • September 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks 🙂 Unfortunately while I’ve heard of ISOI products I’ve never used them or looked for them so no… other than I know you can find pretty much anything on eBay, I can’t really help you. Good luck with your search. If you’re in North America, Momomango – the place I shop for my Korean cosmetics and skincare – does take suggestions from customers on new products to bring in. You might suggest it to them.

  • November 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I am glad to see your posts on Korean products. 🙂
    I am sure that we can be good friend♥

    • November 13, 2012 at 7:47 am

      I love Korean cosmetics & skincare and use a lot of Korean products ^^ Plus new friends are always welcome 🙂

  • December 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    This is a great resource for Korean skincare products–thanks for taking the time to list it here and provide the description and what you like about each!

  • February 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    why don’t you try with twofacemall? I have purchased some product there and they have really lots of cute items and freebies. Even gift! Check out. I love their service.

    • February 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      I can’t recommend a website I’ve never used and you’ve already posted a comment advertising for your website. Like I said before, a quick look at your website (you used the same email as last time, although a different name) shows a site that is difficult to search. I’ll stick with recommending websites I’ve used and which I’ve had good experience with.

  • February 22, 2013 at 7:00 am

    This is a great resource for different skin care products. Thanks for taking time to list it here and provide the description and what you like. I would like to recommend it if you want something light to brighten up dull pallor check out this product, NUTREE Syn Ake Stem-Cell Peptide Complex Cream, which enhances absorption to refresh, revitalize and soothe your skin.

    Also, they have some natural acne treatment all from Korea: Dr Mineral – Pimple Lotion (Acne Lotion).

    • February 22, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Thanks, I’m glad you found the article useful! And thanks for your recommendations (I included the product names rather than links as I can’t recommend a website I’ve never used).

  • April 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Many women who prefer on putting cosmetics can consider using Korean makeup. There is a wide selection of items that can perfectly fit their skin type.

      • January 27, 2014 at 6:18 am

        Just found your fave list – any updates to list since original article? Also do you know of any Korean lines of skincare that DON’T use hydrogenated oils? I see Face Shop does and many others do contain that. Ideal is a line that carries “healthy” ingredients or as healthy as possible. Last question: have you tried the LG line yet?

      • January 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

        Hmm… it has been a while since I wrote it, perhaps it’s time for a new list because there have been some changes. Thanks for the idea! As for skincare that doesn’t use hydrogenated oils, I will have to look into this as I’m really bad at reading ingredients (I know I should but I don’t.) And no, I haven’t tried the LG line, have you?

  • March 2, 2014 at 8:59 am
    Permalink Korea Cosmetics Shopping mall 30% big sale during March for all brands, Missha, Thefaceshop, Laneige, Nature Republic, IOPE, Tonymoly, 3CE, Skinfood, Holika Holika, Etude House, Innisfree, Sulwhasoo, Whoo, S;um37, Ohui, Regen, Ryeo, Leaders and so on.

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