When I first visited Seoul, I had quite a few firsts. I traipsed around in a green tea field filled with snakes, tried actual high-quality soju, and thwarted a meerkat's persistent efforts to steal my earrings (long story). But most memorably, I wandered into dozens of beauty shops on every corner, and for the very first time, skincare left me speechless. Products with textures I'd never felt and ingredients I'd never heard of stocked the shelves, and shoppers stocked up on serums, face masks, and creams at all hours of the night. I was in the beauty capital of the entire world, and I nearly shed a tear for it.
That said, you don't have to go to Seoul to discover these innovative products anymore (though I would absolutely recommend it when we can travel abroad again). Nowadays, Korean skincare brands are staples here in the U.S., and for very, very good reason. The beauty tech in South Korea is years ahead of our country's, and that's made clear by every essence, K-beauty moisturizer, and sunscreen that appears on the market. And if there's one thing Koreans know best, it's how to mask like a pro. From sheets soaked in snail mucin to jars topped off with bouncy exfoliating gels, K-beauty's got every skincare concern covered. Here, we've rounded up the most effective, innovative, and just plain playful options for your next self-care session.
Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber Mask
For Sensitive Skin
Two steps are better than one when it comes to this funny little kit. Apply the soothing ampoule after cleansing, then lay the algae and clay mask over your face for 40 minutes to seal in its benefits. Please note: selfies are mandatory.
Soon Skincare Micro-Hole Hydrogel Collagen Face Mask
The Collagen One
For a true luxe experience, this sheet mask is made from a gel mixture that feels equally cooling and nourishing. The mask is made with micro-holes that adhere to the skin to keep it in place because a sliding mask is just plain annoying. With a focus on collagen, this mask works great before or after a night out for your best skin.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
The Fan Favorite
Since its launch, this glow mask has become a cult favorite for its lightweight feel and watermelon scent that even Harry Styles would be obsessed with. Hyaluronic acid (opens in new tab) is the star of the show to improve pores and oiliness. Add this mask to your nightly routine and overnight you’ll notice your skin glowing from within.
The Crème Shop MANG’s MAGICAL Printed Essence Sheet Mask
The One for Acne
BTS Army, please rise! The Crème Shop crafted a line of sheet masks (opens in new tab) inspired by the iconic and history-making K-pop group BTS. There is an entire collection that you can choose from, but if you’re struggling with blemishes, this mask is infused with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid (opens in new tab) and tea tree oil (opens in new tab)—and niacinamide for added moisture.
Mediheal Soothing Bubble Tox Serum Mask
The Fun Mask
There was a time where the bubble face mask (opens in new tab)was the newest craze and everyone wanted to try the equally confusing and fun mask. The confusion part comes in when many think that you need to wash the bubbles off, when all you need to do is massage them in. Your skin WILL thank you.
Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Sleep Mask
for uneven skin tone
Yuzu, an Eastern citrus fruit, is practically a vitamin C bomb. And when paired with retinol, it even better refines uneven texture and enhances radiance by morning.
AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Enzyme Peeling Masque
The Gentle Exfoliant Mask
For the everyday exfoliators, this enzyme masque is gentle enough for daily use, while also leaving skin feeling refreshed and balanced. An AHA, the glycolic acid goes deep into the skin to even texture and target dead skin cells. Don’t forget to follow up with sunscreen (opens in new tab) during the day after adding this to your routine.
Peach Slices Sheet Mask Bundle
Who doesn’t love a good bundle! Peach & Lily know that you probably go through sheet masks more than lip balm (opens in new tab). This curated set of masks target not only skin concerns like enlarged pores and dryness but also includes a mask for traveling or when you need to destress. Don’t forget self-care is important (opens in new tab) and using a sheet maks is a perfect way to relax, especially when jasmine and chamomile are the main ingredients!
SULWHASOO Timetreasure Invigorating Sleeping Mask
Made with Korean red pine, this mask works its magic while you sleep to hydrate and firm skin. A little goes a long way with the thickness seeping into your skin as soon as you apply it. What is left behind is a natural glow and smoother texture that targets wrinkles and sagging skin to give it a gentle lift.
Thank You Farmer Back To Relax Soothing Gel Mask
For Sensitive Skin
Ooey, gooey, and fruity: the holy trinity of what defines a mask that's just plain fun to use. And don't worry, it's not just pretty. Pomegranate and fig extracts calm and hydrate even the most sensitive skin.
Mamonde Flower Lab Essence Sheet Mask Facial Treatment
Calendula is known for its intense calming powers, and there's nothing more ahhh-inducing then a sheet mask fresh out of the fridge. Stick one in there at night, and wake up to a spa-worthy treatment in a packet.
COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask
For Overnight Repair
Get ready to reap the benefits of rice extract. This overnight option will repair even the most disrupted skin, and the brightening niacinamide helps restore moisture and firm the face without leaving your face all greasy.
RE:P. Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb
For Serious Exfoliating
A great mask not only hydrates but gets rid of all the extra gunk hiding in your pores. The combined powers of rose flower and jasmine flower in this mask remove all your old dead skin cells in just under 10 minutes. Talk about fast.
belif Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask
For Non-Stop Hydration
Belif is known for its amazing face moisturizers, so it's about time they put their same miracle-working ingredients in a sleeping mask. It's filled with ultra-hydrating herbs like skin-soothing Scottish heather and lady's mantle. Don'tworry about your pillowcase reaping the benefits instead of your skin, it absorbs and gets to work instantly upon application.
innisfree Super Volcanic Clusters Pore Clearing Clay Mousse Mask
For Oily T-Zones
There are hundreds of clay masks out there, but this one beats our its competition when it comes to reducing oil and beating down acne. Its sebum-absorbing powers come from actual volcanic clay in South Korea.
Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask
You know those DIY hair masks (opens in new tab) that contain eggs to give strands a radiant boost? Same idea here. This lightweight sheet mask is drenched in extracts from both egg yolks and whites for a glowier, bouncier complexion.
Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask
For Weakened Skin
Snail mucin and bee venom are two protective skincare saviors in South Korea, and this sheet option is packed with both to strengthen the moisture barrier.
Dermalogy by Neogenlab A-Clear Aid Soothing Overnight Mask
The Amazon reviews on this nighttime mask make clear that this is a workhorse when it comes to eliminating acne. It soothes existing pimples, reduces oil, and smoothes bumps so you can rid yourself of breakouts quicker.
Tonymoly I'm Real Rice Sheet Mask
For Stronger Skin
$25 for 10 game-changing treatments? Sign us TF up. Rice extract strengthens the skin for a natural glow.
Mediheal N.M.F Intensive Hydrating Mask
For Dry Skin
You're parched. You're flaky. Your skin is crying out for hydration. Enter the N.M.F mask, your new holy grail. It imbues your moisture barrier with ingredients that your skin already recognizes within itself, like hyaluronic acid, amino acids, and water-binding sugars, so your face is instantly soothed.
Etude House Collagen Eye Patch
For Tired Eyes
If the bags under your eyes are steep enough to earn you extra fees on a United flight, it's time to reach for these babies. The essence they're soaked in instantly improves elasticity and tightens the area so you look more wake fast.
Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.
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