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The K-Beauty Glossary: A-Z of Korean Beauty

The K-Beauty Glossary: A-Z of Korean Beauty
Team LF
Writer and expert5 years ago
View Team LF's profile

Still new to the world of K-Beauty or want to learn a little more?

We have created the ultimate K-Beauty glossary taking you through the key buzzwords and trends from South Korea which inspire and influence our own beauty habits.

The K-Beauty Glossary

From skin-plumping jelly formulas to products enriched with snail extract, get the low down on all things K-Beauty.

A - Ampoules

In Korean skincare, ampoules are highly concentrated skin treatments which are to be used after an essence and your serum. Due to their concentration, they often come in smaller bottles than regular serums and work to target specific skin concerns.

Our pick: Holika Holika Super Energy Ampoule - Moisturising

B - BB Cream

By now, most of us have a BB cream in our makeup bag for good skin days. Originally made popular in South Korea, BB creams – known as beauty balms or blemish balms – hydrate the skin and perfect with a veil of sheer, radiant coverage

Our pick: MISSHA M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF41/PA+++ (Available in various shades)

C - Cushion Compacts

Cushion compacts were well-loved in Asia before they become a beauty staple in the West. Little sponges saturated in liquid makeup, whether it be foundation, bronzer or blusher, cushion compacts keep skin dewy and create a luminous, skin-like finish. They’re also perfect for mess-free, on the go application.

Our pick: G9SKIN White In Creamy Cushion - Light Pink

D - Double Cleanse

Now a staple part of many skincare routines, double cleansing originally hailed from Korea. The technique which is made up of two cleansing steps, a rich balm or oil cleanser following by a lightweight milk or gel removes all traces of makeup from your skin and sweeps away impurities to leave your complexion fresh and clean.

Our picks: G9SKIN It Clean Oil Cleansing Stick + Huxley Be Clean, Be Moist Cleansing Gel

E - Essence

Falling somewhere between a water and a serum in consistency, essences are super hydrating and ultra-lightweight and simply add another layer of hydration in your skincare routine. Popular in Korea for years, essences play a key role in the infamous 10-step routine as they perfectly prep your skin for other products and treatments and allow them to absorb into the skin more effectively.

Our pick:MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Intensive Moist Essence

F - Foot Peel

Known to remove every single trace of dead, rough skin from your feet, powerful foot masks are another Asian beauty trend which have become so popular in the West. Feet and heels will be left super soft making these innovative masks a must-have for summer.

Our pick: Oh K! Peeling Foot Mask

G - Glass Skin

Completely flawless, poreless and ultra-glowy, the Korean “glass skin” trend has inspired the creation of so many products and dewy makeup looks over the best few years. There are so many steps to achieving this divine skin finish and you can read all about the K-Beauty trend here.

Our picks: Huxley Essence Grab Water + Skin79 Arogaspa Aqua Gel Cream + AROMATICA Rose Absolute Eye Cream

J - Jelly

Jelly formulations are super refreshing on the skin and help to promote a plump, radiant complexion. Even though jelly formulas are now popping up from some of our staple skincare brands, they originated in South Korea and have inspired so many different products in the West. Read more about our favourite jelly moisturisers here.

Our pick: J.One Jelly Pack Multi-Functional Gel Primer

Read on the blog why J.One Jelly Pack deserves cult status.

M - Masks

Although face masks have been a staple in many of our beauty routines for a long time, new technologies and new kinds of masks always seems to hail from South Korea. From sheet masks to sleep masks, which work wonders on your skin overnight, K-Beauty definitely leads the way when it comes to masks and treatments.

Our picks: Seoulista Beauty Correct & Calm Instant FacialHuxley Good Night Sleep Mask

P - Peeling

Peels are a key part of any K-Beauty routine. Sloughing away dead skin cells and refreshing the complexion, they are essential if you want to achieve an ultra-dewy skin finish. Using AHAs, BHAs and other potent ingredients, Korean peels for the face and body keep skin smooth, supple and radiant.

Our picks: G9SKIN Grapefruit Vita Peeling Gel + COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

S - Snail

Hydrating and plumping, snail extract, also known as snail mucin, heals and conditions the skin. Used in many K-Beauty serums, toners and masks, snail extract eliminates bacteria and slows down skin ageing by promoting collagen production.

Our pick: Holika Holika Prime Youth Black Snail Repair Cream

T - Toner

Toners are another essential part of K-Beauty skincare routines. With different formulations to exfoliate, hydrate and calm the skin, there is a perfect toner for every skin type and concern. If you want to promote a brighter complexion, look for a toner with AHAs or BHAs in the formula. If you simply want to soothe the skin and add another layer of hydration, choose a toner rich in hydrating ingredients like ceramides.

Our picks: COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner + Holika Holika Good Cera Super Ceramide Toner

W - Whitening

If you see ‘whitening’ on the label of a K-Beauty product; don’t be scared -  it simply means the product has a brightening, tone perfecting formula. Perfect for those with an uneven complexion and concerns with hyperpigmentation, whitening products work to unify skin tone and lighten dark patches to leave skin bright and radiant.

Our pick: G9SKIN White In Milk Whipping Foam

Team LF
Writer and expert
View Team LF's profile
Our team of beauty experts cover everything from makeup to skincare, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the LOOKFANTASTIC blog, and find all your essentials in one place.