The Best Beauty Wonders From Korea

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Korea, the country that brings you pretty girls stuffing their faces on webcams and life-sucking addictive soap operas, is also reliable for its deluge of beauty-product wonders. In fact, the geographically small country of South Korea is the 12th largest cosmetics producer in the world.* 

With hundreds of thousands of whimsical — and effective — beauty products pouring out of this tiny country, there are cosmetics that’ll remove callouses, create bigger-looking eyes, or give you the creamy white skin of a goddess, a.k.a. a K-Pop star (Any 2NE1 fans here? Just us?). If you’ve ever wished that a certain beauty product existed for your obscure, fill-in-the-blank beauty problem, you can bet the good people of Korea not only have a solution, but that it works and it’s cute. 

With BB creams, paper face masks, and snail creams becoming as mainstream as Psy, we’re all ears for this next batch of beauty wonders from the East. Behold nine truly strange but totally awesome Korean beauty products that’ll make you the next ulzzang (Korean slang for the ultimate pretty face — c’mon). 


Who doesn’t love some dramatic cat-eye action? Those winged tips can be everything — if they match. Mastering the cat-eye, or any liner look for that matter, just got easier with this seriously handy tool. The ergonomically designed handle will keep your hand steady when using the sturdy, extra long, fine-tipped brush to draw. The ink is also refillable, so you save money each time it runs dry. And, this liner’s formula is waterproof to boot, so you know that perfectly drawn cat-eyewill last.

Clio Eyeguard Waterproof Liner, $23, available at Peach and Lily.
We’re all well aware that Korean women (and, well, men for that matter) go to great lengths to take care of their skin. So, it’s no surprise that when confronted with blemishes, dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, there’s a myriad of whitening formulas at the ready — some of which will actually whiten your skin for a day, like this one. This milky cream is filled with niacinamide, a natural whitening vitamin-B3 derivative. All you have to do is rub it over your skin, wash it off, and then your skin is visibly brighter for one day.

Secret Key Snow White Milky Pack, $14.78, available at Jolse.


If you’ve battled the acne monster and won, then kudos. No sarcasm, we’re just really happy for you. But, for the rest of us mortals that deal with a pimple now and then, here’s an overnight zit zapper that really, truly works. 

These clear stickers have salicylic acid and tea tree oil, which help decrease inflammation, making the zit noticeably smaller the next day, and help prevent pimples from becoming explosive (and scarring) whiteheads. The best part? You only spend $8 for 80 stickers! No more hormonal breakouts for you.

MISSHA Speedy Solution Anti Trouble Patch, $8, available at Soko Glam.

If you call yourself a beauty-product savant, you’d be familiar with Etude House. Known as the Forever 21 of Korean beauty goods, Etude caters to the young (or the young at heart) who appreciate quality that also comes in a cute package, like these sponge hair rollers. When your hair is slightly damp, wind a section of hair around the berry and clip it in for the night. Since they’re made out of sponge, you can wear them to bed and wake up to perfect waves. But, the best thing about them is, LOOK AT HOW CUTE THEY ARE!
Etude House Strawberry Sponge Hair Rollers, $6, available at Soko Glam.

We all have a love/hate relationship with glitter polish. Even after soaking and scrubbing and scraping, we end up finding specks of glitter for days. Well, nail polish mavens everywhere, gather ’round. There’s a way to remove your glitzy mani in one, easy step: Peel it off. All you need is this base coat that lets you peel off your glitter polish in one deft move. But, it comes with two caveats: 1) The manicure won’t last as long, and 2) The peeling can negatively affect your nail enamel with extensive use.

Innisfree Peel-off Base Coat, $7, available at


If you’re like us, you look great — no, impeccable, when you walk out the door in the morning. But, by 6 p.m., you’re rushing to happy hour and you look, well, like hell. Constantly touching up with powder creates a cakey finish that’s the opposite look we’re going for. Instead, let us introduce you to the latest innovation in BB/CC skin care: The Cushion. 

The CC Cream is housed in a cushion that keeps it moist, so when you reapply, it leaves a fresh, dewy finish. The formula is packed with antioxidants we all know are good for you, along with buildable coverage and SPF 50+. It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more.

Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact, $60, available at Amore Pacific.


Korean women swear by exfoliation and for good reason. Regular exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells, combat dry skin, and minimize pores. While there are plenty of great exfoliators stateside, this winner from Etude primarily uses baking powder to not just exfoliate, but brighten complexion. Its peppermint helps calm skin to prevent any irritation and lemon-peel oil leaves a calming citrus scent on your skin. And, here’s the kicker: The scrub comes in these seriously adorable, triangular packages. Can we expect anything less from Etude?

Etude House Baking Powder Crunch Pore Scrub, $11.80, available at KollectionK.Com.


Yes, we’re all familiar with disposable face masks, but what about a mask for your feet? Wearing heels, even in the dead of winter, is nonnegotiable in Korea, so you can bet they’ve come up with a way to get rid of all those callouses. After dunking your steppers in this fluid, your feet will molt for two days — with your dead skin cells literally peeling off in sheets. But, after 48 hours, they’ll feel baby-skin soft. Your pumice stone looks like an archaic caveman tool now, ay?

The Face Shop Smile Foot Peeling Mask, $6.05, available at Korea Depart.

Have you ever looked at your eyes in the mirror and thought, “Hey, I can use more bags today.” If you have, then you’re starting to think like a Korean person. The small pudge of fat under your eyelids that Westerners refer to as bags, Koreans call aegyo-sal, which loosely translates to baby skin or fat. The idea is that prominent aegyo-sal makes your eyes look bigger and more youthful. 

This double-sided pen is meant to use the science of contour to emphasize your baggage. All you have to do is take the darker, bronzy side and blend it below the pudge. Then, apply the lighter, highlighting side from your inner corners all along the lower lashline. This contrast allows the aegyo-sal to pop for brighter, bigger-looking eyes.

Etude House Dear Girls Cute Eyes Maker, $11.55, available at KollectionK.Com.

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