TheKoreanGuide is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

Is Korean Skincare Worth the Hype?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Published on:

Are you looking to buy Korean skincare?

Well, after months of testing different products over and over again, I’ve finally come to a conclusion. 

Korean skincare is worth the hype IF you use products that suit your skin type. And use Korean skincare from brands like COSRX, Neogen and Innisfree. These Korean skincare products are actually worth the hype because they deliver results as they promise.

Now some products aren’t worth the hype and a total waste of money.

If you don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on products that will never work, keep on reading.

Worldwide Hype around K-Beauty

The hype around Korean skincare and beauty products has worldwide appeal, so it’s only natural to wonder whether it’s worth it or not. 

When you read descriptions about K-beauty on blogs, social media and other websites, you’d think it was some secret magical potion akin to the fountain of youth.

Understand that Korean products, like any others manufactured throughout the world, rely on marketing ploys, advertising slogans and click-bait items. It’s the only way to attract new customers and promote products.

From my experience, it really depends on how you use the products. Some products require an other product that will create synergy. Now, of course, that’s only if the product is suited for your skintype.

Make sure to do your research well before you purchase any products. Here is a Beginner Routine that’s suited for every skintype.

Some K-Beauty Ingredients Are Novel

The formulation of Korean skincare products is one of the biggest reasons for the hype behind them. Specifically, the ingredients are worth noting. 

Although many formulations comprise 100% organic ingredients, there are others which definitely raise an eyebrow.

You certainly won’t find things like snail secretions, gold, bee venom, pearl powder, pig collagen or donkey milk in your average American or European skincare product. So, the novelty of it attracts curiosity seekers and skin adventurists alike.

Cosmetics and Skincare Are BIG in Korea

Per the BBC, South Korean women spend two times as much of their income on beauty products than American women do. 

And, over the last few decades, Korean beauty products have taken the cosmetics and skincare industry by storm.

Koreans Are Skincare Masters

This is because of how Korean women are notorious for having flawless, clear and glowing complexions. 

Rarely do they exhibit problems with acne and breakouts but they retain a youthful appearance well into an elderly age.

Part of the reason why Koreans have great skin is because boys and girls start caring for it at a young age. 

Therefore, results will take some time for newcomers. But this will depend on the problem you’re trying to correct.

Korean VS. American Perceptions of Skincare

Another aspect to this is in the perception of skincare overall. In Korea, people focus on getting to the root of any skin problems along with taking preventative measures. 

In the US, it’s more common for people to address skincare problems as they arise. This disparate view means K-beauty products will produce varying results.

Also, in the United States, there are tons of mattifying products to absorb and rid the skin of oil. But, in Korea, they value a “dewy” look. 

The trick to this mastering the fine line between looking dewy and appearing straight up oily. This presents a disparity in general skin texture and type between most people in the US versus Korea.

K-Beauty: Excellent for Some, not Good for Others

Because of such marked differences, K-beauty is very much worth the hype and yet in others, not so much. It all depends on your skin, what kinds of products you prefer, the concerns you experience with your skin and your skin type.

Other variables that play into this are which brands you use and what the ingredients are. Plus, your skincare goals and allergies will also come into the equation.

An Even Mix of Reviews

For some people, Korean skincare products are their holy grail. But there are reports of others who have had nothing but bad luck and experiences with it. 

While many products can work miracles for certain problematic skins, some people expect this to work immediately.

Ergo, those with Asian heritage will benefit greatly from K-beauty skincare and cosmetics. It will bring out their natural glow. 

For other people in the world, Korean skin treatment is going to be a hit or miss. This isn’t to say that other skin types and tones can’t benefit, quite the contrary in fact. But not everyone will find it amazing.

The Potential Benefits of Using Korean Skincare Products

Having said all that, Korean skincare can tackle a host of skin problems and issues. When you understand what’s in your products and how your skin reacts to certain ingredients, it can be nothing short of a miracle.

Korean skincare products have the potential to take years off your face, reduce the appearance of acne, firm the skin around the eyes and mitigate crow’s feet. Many people love it because of how they address severe oily skin that’s prone to acne.

Koreans Demand High Quality Skincare Products

Therefore, bigger and more popular brands will put in lots of care, research and testing into creating only the best formulas. While some of these brands aren’t affordable for everyone, the market does offer midrange brands that can do the job just as well. This is because of the high demand and expectations Koreans put on their skincare companies.

Dewiness is King

The idea of achieving dewiness and a glowing complexion accompanies an overall bright appearance. So, K-beauty has an excellent array of brightening products for damaged skin, dark under eye circles, sensitive skin, wrinkles, dry skin and aging skin. This can be a dream come true for someone who struggles with such issues.

Smooth, Even Skin Texture and Skin Tone

Also, because of the desire for smooth, flawless skin, K-beauty products can address issues with inflammation and uneven skin texture. This is invaluable for people with rosacea, eczema, scarring and other similar problems. Many products target problems deep below the skin which brings forth a healthier and more beautiful appearance.

Aside from that, however, is the comedogenic action that many K-beauty products provide. They’re soothing yet tightening while also supplying superior and superb nutrients to the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin.

K-Beauty versus European/American Skincare Products

Many European and American products can tackle these issues as well. However, Korean skincare products offer another avenue to try. 

Their formulations with sufficient ingredient research means you’re getting a quality product not laced with fillers, chemicals or other harmful constituents.

Some Pitfalls about Korean Skincare Products

But it’s important to note that not all K-beauty brands are forthcoming or trustworthy. This is where the hype around it all comes into the picture. Because skincare is such a big thing in Korea, the industry is hugely competitive and everyone is trying to get that “edge” or achieve that “it” factor.

Luxury Brands vs. Middle of the Road

There are topnotch, luxury brands with a high price tag to match. While these work excellent and you can understand what they use in their formulations, it creates a market for less expensive skincare lines. This upper to middle echelon of brands provide some great products that cost mere pennies.

Some Products Are too Good to be True

However, there are times where this can be too good to be true. So, it’s imperative that you are able to source the ingredients, know what they are and understand how the company devises its formulations. If you can’t get that information, don’t opt for the products because you do run the risk of making things worse.

Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Because of the overwhelming sea of brands and products that encompass the K-beauty industry, it takes awhile before you find the best ones. This means there may be lots of trial and error, which could mean an undesirable rollercoaster ride with your skin. For those with acne, oily skin and general irritation, this may translate to something of a nightmare.

Final Thoughts

After all, Korean skincare is worth the hype. There are many products that deliver the results as they promise and compared to American skincare, it’s more effective. Now, you must make sure that the skincare products you purchase are suitable for your skin.

Enjoy the article?

You'll love my daily email! Learn something new about South Korea every single day. It's completely free. <3

    About The Author

    Photo of author

    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

    You May Also Like