A Korean Skincare Haul & Review

In the last couple of years I feel like Korean beauty products have taken the western beauty world by storm. Between bb creams, cc creams and the growing popularity of sheet masks, Korean skincare innovations have slowly but surely made their way to the US, not only with western brands producing their own versions, but with Korean brands being carried in stores like Sephora, Urban Outfitters and even Target. I've been getting more and more into K-Dramas in the last few months and one thing I've definitely noticed about Korean women through is that they really take pride in their skin and work at having the clearest, most even-toned, glowing skin. The Korean beauty ideal is very much about youthful, plump skin and their skincare products really reflect that. I've always struggled with oily, blemish-prone skin, so the ideal of glowing, even skin is one I've always strived to attain. With this is mind, I decided to place an order from Memebox, which carries tons of Korean beauty products, to see what Korean skincare products could do for my skin.

Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Water
Innisfree is a Korean brand that I've heard so many great things about. This cleansing water works a lot like other micellar waters I've tried. It takes off any makeup or grime and feels like water on the skin. It has an herby/floral scent which is pretty strong but not something that bothered me. I loved the idea of this pump packaging but honestly it kind of shoots out everywhere once it starts to soak into the cotton round. It's a great fuss-free formula for removing makeup quickly but like most cleansing waters, it isn't really strong enough to remove all of your waterproof mascara. 

Banila Co. Clean It Zero
This was a product I picked up because of the amazing reviews I had read online. It's a cleansing balm that quickly goes from a balmy texture to an oil that really removes ALL of your makeup. This was my first foray into cleansing balms and oils but I've really fallen in love. The whole idea of using an oily product on oily skin is a bit scary but it honestly doesn't leave my skin feeling grimy or greasy. One of my favorite things about the product is the packaging. The tub comes with a tiny little plastic spatula that you use to scoop out the perfect amount of product, which means you don't have to keep dipping your fingers into the container. Yay hygiene! I typically massage this all over my face and eyes for about a minute to break down my makeup and then wash it all off with a damp muslin cloth. Clean It Zero even removes waterproof mascara without stinging my eyes. You use such a small amount and this tub is so big that I wouldn't be surprised if this lasted for years. 

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner
I picked up this toner because I liked the idea of a toner that's both soothing and skin clearing. I'd read great reviews of it from people with acne-prone skin and thought why not give it a try. My bottle actually has a pump rather than a spray top, which allows for a stream of product that I think is easier to control. I've tried this both on a cotton round and patted into the skin with my hands and I honestly think it work better when you just pump it into your hands. This toner left my skin feeling smooth and hydrated. It contains a chemical exfoliant so I don't really use it every day but I do feel like my face absorbed the products I put on after better when I used it.

Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
Yes, you read that right. SNAIL BEE. Korean skincare is all about using interesting, unusual and natural ingredients without fillers like water to dilute the efficacy. Many Korean skincare products actually contain no water at all. This essence, which is actually a clear gel and feels like a serum, contains snail slime filtrate, which has been shown to repair photodamage and acne scarring, and bee venom, which is shown to increase collagen production. It also contains salicylic acid to fight breakouts and aloe to soothe them. Essentially, this essence has ingredients to do all the things my skin needs, all in one product. And it's all in a handy pump packaging with a sturdy lid that doesn't fall off. It doesn't have any fragrance and it doesn't sting or tingle. I use it by applying 1 to 2 pumps onto my fingers and patting it into my skin. I think this essence does a great job of hydrating and plumping my skin. I'm not sure yet if it's reducing my number or breakouts but I will definitely update you on any progress.

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask
OK, I admit that I purchased this solely based on a video I watched of someone using it. This product goes on like a clay mask and then quickly bubbles and foams on your face. It has a thick, almost bouncy consistency that spreads on easily. It's actually a really fun product to watch transform on your face. The carbonated foaming action can be a bit itchy and ticklish but it doesn't burn or sting. When I wash this off my pores actually do look smaller and less visible and my skin feels really smooth. In terms of packaging this is another product that gets an A+. Besides the adorable piggy on the tub, there's a sturdy little tray inside the product which houses a tiny spatula to easily and hygienically scoop out the mask. Such a cute and fun treatment which actually does what it says on the package and only takes about 7 minutes total!

Freeset Donkey Milk Skin Gel Mask Pack Aqua
One of the hottest trends in Korean beauty is sheet masks. Every brand has a variety of sheet masks with different ingredients to address individual concerns. I've been told that many Korean women use them several times a week to hydrate and pamper their skin. I knew when browsing Memebox that I wanted to try some Korean sheet masks and when I read the words 'donkey milk' I knew I needed to try this. I guess I was just really intrigued by the idea of a natural ingredient that I've never really heard anyone talk about in the western world. I mean, I've heard of goat milk moisturizers but donkey milk? I just needed to try it. The mask goes on like your typical sheet mask, with cut-outs for your mouth and eyes and a flap for your nose. It's very wet and a bit slimy but feels cooling and refreshing on the skin. When I took off the mask my face felt incredibly plump and smooth, and really hydrated! I've never been one for using hydrating masks but I think a sheet mask is the perfect way to perk up skin that's a bit dehydrated or puffy. If you're a bit hung over, exhausted or have a big event to go to, I would highly recommend popping one of these on before getting ready. I actually loved this mask so much I just recently ordered several more!

Innisfree It's Real Squeeze Masks
These two masks actually came in a set with my Bubble Clay Mask for just $2 more. I haven't had a chance to use them yet but I'm definitely a sheet mask convert. 

Personally I think my first foray into Korean skincare went incredibly well. I'm so impressed with the quality of ingredients and love that they have such an enormous selection of products formulated for oily and blemish-prone skin. I was always so wary of using products that were too moisturizing because I thought that would make my skin feel greasier, but the Korean approach to skincare has really shown me that it's all about using products that hydrate with the right ingredients for my skin-type. I also adore the Korean approach to skincare packaging. They put a lot of effort into making their products work well but the packaging is also adorable and incredibly practical and hygienic. Pumps not only keep active ingredients from being exposed to air but they also reduce the waste of product. And the tiny spatulas for tub containers mean you don't need to contaminate product with your fingers. Just ingenious! 

I'm also incredibly impressed with Memebox and their huge variety of Korean products. Their prices are better than most other websites I've checked and they don't shy away from sales and discount codes. They also offer package deals and boxes which give you an even better bargain. They add new products every day and have a great selection of Korean makeup as well. Plus, you can't go wrong with a 101 day return policy.

It's safe to say that Korean beauty products are quickly becoming my newest obsession. There's such a huge and intriguing variety of products that I can't wait to explore. I recently found out that several Korean brands like TonyMoly, Nature Republic and SkinFood have opened storefronts in NYC, so you can be sure I'll be expanding my collection in the next few months.

Have you tried any Korean beauty products? What are your thoughts? Any recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. Yay! I love Korean skincare and used to follow a pretty strict day and night regiment that involved like 5 different products, for each. It went really well and I felt like my skin looked great but alas, with so many beauty box samples, etc., I couldn't justify not using what I already had so the routine has been on hold for a while now. If I ever make it to the bottom of my skincare product surplus, I will definitely pick it back up.

    I love the SnailBee Essence and it was a regular part of my routine. The aloe skin toner I stil use occasionally - as it tends to flare up my skin a bit right after application. I may have to try the Clean It Zero once I run out of micellar water. It looks awesome!!

    1. I'm actually really loving the Snail Bee Essence and Aloe BHA Toner together. I feel like my skin is so much more hydrated but still in check in terms of breakouts. Do you recommend using the essence day and night? I've only been using it at night so far.

    2. I used the essence only in the daytime since I used a heavier cream at night. I basically followed the daytime and nightime routines from my fave Korean skincare blogger: http://skinandtonics.com/category/guides/skin-care-guides/skin-care-routines/ with the cheaper versions of the recommended products. My skin really did look amazing with 0 breakouts.

    3. Ooooh I will definitely check that out! Thanks!

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