people's choice

The Best (Lesser-Known) Korean-Beauty Skin-Care on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer.

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve already written about the best skin-care products for glowing skin, raved about the cultiest of K-beauty products and French pharmacy products on Amazon, and pored over the best Japanese and Thai drugstore beauty products you can find on Amazon, here we thought it would be useful to dive into the K-beauty skin-care products on Amazon that you may not already be familiar with, from a green tea cleansing stick to a carbonated face mask. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Best cleansing stick

Neogen Real Fresh Cleansing Stick

“I did some research and found this had good reviews, and was recommended by dermatologists. After using it for several months, I can say that it works really, really well. Even using it just once, I can tell my skin is softer and smoother afterward. But long-term, it has basically eliminated the acne on my face. Now I only get zits in my hairline, where this stuff doesn’t reach, and on other parts of my body. Honestly, if there was a body wash made by this same company I would use the shit out of it.”

Best foam cleanser

Innisfree Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam

“I’ve been using this product for a year now, and I have to say that this is my Holy Grail! This product doesn’t irritate or dry out my combination skin. It smells nice, and bubbles up really well. You literally only need a pea-size amount. Because of this face wash, I have zero pimples, and when I do occasionally break out after I wash my face with this, my breakouts are smaller or gone the next day. I even got my brother who has oily skin to try it. Now, his face is better than ever and he loves it.”

Best toner

Son & Park Beauty Water

“This is way more than just toner! This beauty water also cleanses and MILDLY exfoliates. The pH is a five, which is perfect for resetting the face after double-cleansing and getting it in peak condition to absorb the products I use next. It goes on so soft and smooth — the texture is like water, but just a hint thicker. And because it has natural ingredients in it, it doesn’t have any fragrance beyond the flower extracts that are used in it. My face is left feeling so soft and so very, very clean.”

Best vitamin C serum

Seoulceuticals 20% Vitamin C Hyaluronic Acid Serum + CE Ferulic Acid

“I have been an aesthetician for over 20 years and am also a beauty writer, so I get to try the latest ‘It’ products for free. I was excited about this one, so I paid full price and all opinions are my own. I am in love with the Seoul Ceuticals Day Glow Serum. Ever had a chance to try the $160-plus Vitamin C Ferulic Serum from SkinCeuticals? It is a lovely product, but ridiculously overpriced, and I can tell you that this dupe from Seoul Ceuticals is nearly identical. I apply it every a.m. between my toner and moisturizer, and it is so lightweight that even those with super-oily skin will love it. It is quick-absorbing and leaves skin with renewed radiance. The ingredients are outstanding, from the high concentration of vitamin C to the hyaluronic acid, ferulic acid, arginine, jojoba oil, horsetail extract, and more. It is my favorite vitamin-C serum in ANY price range.”

Best hydrating serum

Skin & Lab Red Serum

“I just received this red serum a couple days ago and have only used it twice now. However, I am loving this serum so far! I like the consistency of this serum, though it’s hard to describe … a little like an oil, but not oily, a little goopy, but not slimy. It soaks in very nicely (and I’ve got eczema-prone dry skin), and leaves me feeling comfortably hydrated all day, which is a first. I feel like my skin is brighter already, and am hopeful with continued use that my age spot diminishes.”

Best ampoule

Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule

“I was worried this was going to be hella sticky, because … well … snail, but I was super pumped that this didn’t feel sticky at all, and instantly soaked into my skin. I just patted it into my face and neck, and that was it. I didn’t use any other products, because I wanted to really see how this stuff worked on its own. And here we are. Almost two months later. Skin looking way smoother, and a helluva lot more even. I’m now completely obsessed with Korean skin care, and trying out a few more Mizon products.”

Best sheet masks

SKEDERM Snail Jelly Face Mask Pack of 10

“Absolutely amazing!!! I’ve tried several different types of masks, but not the snail jelly so I thought let’s give it a shot. I actually had to get a CPAP machine the same week with a full mouth and nose piece which left me with a patch of dried gnarly skin. Two days of using these masks and it is completely gone. My skin is glowing and smooth. The texture of the mask is a little slimy, but I like that because it means the mask won’t dry out in 20 minutes. I have had so many compliments and I quit wearing foundation and concealers. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone.”

Best moisturizer

[Klairs] Rich Moist Soothing cream

“I’m on my second tube of this moisturizer and I absolutely love it! I only use it at night as I think it is a bit too heavy to wear during the day on combination/oily skin, however, it is the perfect nighttime moisturizer, hydrating my skin and soothing it at the same time. It really does have a mild cooling effect and it never irritates my skin. The smell is light and clean and I like it a lot. I’d definitely recommend this moisturizer for dry and normal skin types the most, though I believe that all skin types would benefit from this cream.”

Best sunscreen

Etude House Sunprise Sun Milk

“Bless this product right here and Etude House. I’ve wanted to use sunscreen on my combination skin to help with anti-aging and protection against the sun, but American sunscreens are just so darn oily and greasy. I put this stuff on not only for sun protection but also for oil control! It’s very mattifying and makes my skin feel soft. I am sold, to be honest. There’s no white cast; the formula has a very light scent and has a milky consistency. When I run out, I’m going to for sure buy another.”

Best skin salve

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel

“This stuff has good reviews all over the internet for good reasons. It’s worth every penny. The tub is huge and full. The scent is a light, fresh, pleasant scent. I use this on burns and cuts. My daughter uses it on her sunburn. I have also used it on my face before applying makeup. It’s great for so many things. Put it in the fridge for extra-soothing coolness in the summer. I will be taking it with us when we go to the beach. This is definitely going to become a staple in our home.”

Best overnight face mask

COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

“Love this stuff! I’ve used this for a couple weeks now and I see a difference. I’m 28 and I used to have severe acne, so I have a lot of discoloration and scars. This stuff has evened out my skin tone, made my skin brighter, and has helped my scars. That could be because my skin is hydrated and plump but I’m in love this stuff. I use it almost every night and sometimes a very thin layer during the day since it’s winter and my skin’s a bit dry right now. I put it under my eyes as well and it has even brightened my under-eyes. I have already ordered another.”

Best clay mask

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Clay Mask

“I saw a video of this on Facebook and had to buy it immediately. I’m actually contemplating ordering a second one! I like sheet masks and peel-off masks, but hands down this is the most fun mask I own! I have moderate to heavy acne, which I’ve finally taken a serious stance against, a big problem being that I had huge pores from always picking at my face. I wish I had the sense of mind to take a before-and-after shot because I saw instant results. It’s great to use as a firming agent and a nifty defense against further acne! Also something I think would be an AMAZING gift.”

Best sugar scrub

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator

“This exfoliator is great! It works very well on my sensitive skin and I like that you can utilize it as a basic exfoliator or turn it into a mask just by leaving it on. It has an awesome scent (light and citrus-y — reminds me of the original Fresh lip balm in the brown tube). I especially appreciate that the granules of sugar dissolve when washed away, unlike some other exfoliators that have non-dissolving particles that end up lining of the bottom of my tub and sink.”

Best skin peel

Secret Key Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel

“I love this product. It’s very effective, but quite gentle. I have very sensitive dry skin and eczema, and I use this several times a week; it’s never irritated my skin. I use it before I put on makeup if I want to be sure my makeup won’t look patchy and will last a long time, since it gets all those little flakes off. This was the first peeling gel I ever tried as it’s quite inexpensive, but when I ran out I tried a bunch of other peeling gels, including more expensive ones, and none of them were as good.”

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The Best (Lesser-Known) Korean Skin-Care Products on Amazon