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The Best Korean Eye Cream: Our Favorites

Here it is—our ultimate guide to Korean eye creams! Below, we’ll take a “deep dive” and tell you just about everything you’d ever want to know about this well-loved product: our picks for the best Korean eye cream, detailed reviews of our favorite products and why we like them, and an in-depth guide on how to choose the cream that best suits your skin.

If you’re new to Korean cosmetics, you may want to check out the sections below our reviews—we discuss each of the unique ingredients in Korean eye creams, how they work, and why Korean beauty products (and specifically eye creams) are so popular. We even talk about that most mysterious Korean cosmetic, BB cream

Alright, let’s jump in—we like each of these products for a number of different reasons, and hopefully there's something here that suits your needs!

Korean Eye Cream: Reviews of Our Favorites

We’ll go into great detail below, but here’s a quick snapshot of our favorites:

Purito Centella Green Level Eye Cream;

Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream;

Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream;

Whamisa Organic Flowers Eye Essence (our pick for best overall!); and

Erborian Ginseng Infusion Total Eye Cream

We’ll start our reviews with a great option if you’re totally new to Korean eye creams:

Purito Centella Green Level Eye Cream

Purito is a Korean brand that’s been getting a lot of attention for making some excellent sunscreens, but we’re super excited about the eye cream they’ve recently released: the Purito Centella Green Level Eye Cream is a light, white cream with a thin texture designed to sink into the eye area quickly without leaving behind a residue (which those with oily skin will likely appreciate!).

49% of this cream is comprised of centella asiatica, which Purito included because it has a reputation for skin-soothing and firming properties. Anti-aging effects are meant to come courtesy of four types of peptides, which are believed to have collagen-boosting abilities. These ingredients claim robust benefits, but are also considered to be very gentle. The only potential drawback of this formula is that it includes lavender and bergamot essential oils—these natural fragrances are fairly mild, and they might not work for everyone.

We love that this cream comes in a squeeze tube, as tubes keeps the product safe from oxidation and contamination (which is not the case with jars or tubs), and we consider it an easy pick, especially if you’ve never used Korean eye creams before—this can be a great place to start.

Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream

Despite the name, Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream is more of a gel than a cream. It has a very light and fluid texture, and can penetrate into the skin fairly quickly—and that can make it a great choice if you dislike the feeling of excess cream or gel on your skin.

This product was formulated to be moisturizing, with “buzzword-y” hydrators like hyaluronic acid and marine collagen, as well as traditional hydrators like glycerin. We take a small issue with the fact that Mizon is presenting collagen as a skin-firming ingredient, which may not be quite accurate, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that with this ingredient list, we think the Mizon Firming Cream can be a great anti-aging product.

This eye cream includes a variety of oils from plants like argan and meadowfoam, which are rich in antioxidants that can reinforce the skin against aging external stressors like pollution and sun exposure. It also includes adenosine, a molecule that research suggests might have actual wrinkle-smoothing effects. 

Our favorite thing about this Korean eye cream isn’t what it includes—it’s what it doesn’t! It’s totally fragrance-free, which is often the preference for those with sensitive skin, especially around the eye area. Mizon manufactures this cream in a 10ml size which comes in a hygienic tube or a 25ml size which comes in a jar, with a small spoon to prevent cross-contamination (a very nice touch, and one we appreciate!).

Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream

Now for something a little richer: Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream, a creamy formula designed to offer both anti-aging and moisturizing effects. It’s an extremely popular Korean eye cream, and we can understand why: we think it could be one of the better options for those with dry skin, especially if they’re hoping to address multiple concerns that often plague the eye area.

The two star ingredients in this formula are Jeju orchid extract, which is said to have both antioxidant and firming effects, and caffeine, which can introduce firmness to the skin and reduce the look of puffiness. This eye cream may also have a brightening effect, since it includes niacinamide, an antioxidant that has shown some promise when it comes to targeting hyperpigmentation. You can see a full list of ingredients here.

For moisturization, we love that Innisfree included squalane, which is a very stable emollient—it’s a soothing ingredient with a silky texture that has been known to keep moisture in the skin. We also appreciate that it features hyaluronic acid, which brings moisture into the skin and can plump it up—and that may help with the appearance of fine lines on the skin.

Sadly, there are two (albeit minor) cons to this lovely eye cream: the first is it has a noticeable orchid scent, and that may not be for everyone. The second is the packaging: this cream comes in a jar, which we find a little less hygienic than a tube—but you can always use a small spoon to retrieve the cream, if you’re concerned about that sort of thing. We consider this a great option, especially if you’ve got dry skin, and think of it as a high-end-yet-accessible pick.

The Best Korean Eye Cream Overall: Whamisa Organic Flowers Eye Essence

This is our pick for the best organic Korean eye cream: the Whamisa Organic Flowers Eye Essence. It’s made with 95% organic ingredients, and has a unique texture that’s thicker than the average serum but isn’t quite as thick as a cream, making it potentially suitable for nearly all skin types. It is very light but surprisingly hydrating, so it can be used alone or in combination with a richer eye cream, and it includes natural fragrances from geranium, rosewood, and bergamot.

Whamisa Eye Essence is made with a variety of extracts that have been fermented—a process which, according to Whamisa, improves the antioxidant levels of the original extracts and makes them more easily absorbed by the skin. This essence may help with dehydration since it contains a hydrating ferment blend of aloe barbadensis (aka aloe vera) and molasses extracts, and camellia and argan oils which can help lock in moisture.

Those dealing with redness or irritation may experience a soothing effect, thanks to glabridin-rich licorice root extract, while those dealing with puffiness may find it slightly reduced thanks to flavonoid-rich green tea extract. Lastly, adenosine was included for its potential to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Recommended: Hands down, this gets our vote at the best Korean eye cream overall.

Erborian Ginseng Infusion Total Eye Cream

Now for our “high-end” pick: the Erborian Ginseng Infusion Total Eye Cream.

Like other Korean eye creams, Erborian Infusion has a light yet moisturizing texture that is nourishing to the eye area, designed to be applied without feeling heavy or greasy. It features a blend of shea butter and silicone (see full ingredient list here), designed to keep moisture in the skin, and that, really, is one of the primary goals of an eye cream.

This eye cream relies on natural but well-researched ingredients to offer quite a few benefits, and it includes one of our favorite plant extracts: centella asiatica, aka Gotu Kola. Centella asiatica is an extract regarded as having exceptional soothing properties, to fade redness and calm irritation, as well as high antioxidant content for potentially preventing premature aging. Some research suggests it may also help firm the skin by promoting collagen production.

The hero ingredient is ginseng, which is a popular herb in traditional Korean medicine. For the skin, it may offer protection from the aging effects of sun and pollution, as well as a skin brightening effect. This means this eye cream might be a great choice for those wanting to prevent fine lines while dealing with hyperpigmentation. 

There are a few other notable plant extracts in this formula that also deserve a mention, like brightening licorice root extract and soothing chamomile, as well as emollient plant oils like sweet almond oil and sesame seed oil. While we wish that Erborian came in a tube instead of a jar, that’s a small complaint, really—this gets our vote for the best high-end Korean eye cream.

And there you have it! We’re big fans of all the Korean eye creams we just discussed, and we think they’re great options—but if you find yourself with more questions, keep reading! We’ll go over the details about eye creams, why they’re unique, and how to choose them.

How to Select a Korean Eye Cream

Korean eye creams are usually formulated to focus on specific concerns. Before you start seeking the best Korean eye cream for you, start out by considering what you actually want your eye cream to do. Korean skincare products are not formulated to be “one size fits all,” so keep that in mind as you select one.

Korean Eye Creams for Combating Dryness

There are fewer oil glands around the eyes then there are in other parts of the face, and since facial oils are responsible for keeping water in the skin, the lack of them makes the skin around the eyes much more prone to dryness and dehydration. That is why almost all Korean eye creams are crafted to be extremely moisturizing and hydrating, with a mixture of water-binding ingredients called humectants and barrier-forming ingredients called occlusives. Look for an eye cream advertised as being hydrating and moisturizing, and that contains a mixture of water, silicones or botanical oils, and glycerin, butylene glycol, or hyaluronic acid. 

Korean Anti-Aging Eye Creams for Preventing Fine Lines

The early signs of skin aging can be scary to behold, which is why many Korean eye creams include ingredients intended to neutralize the external damage that contributes to the formation of fine lines and loss of tone. These ingredients are called antioxidants, and they can come from botanical extracts and oils, as well as from synthesized compounds. Many ingredients meant to be primarily soothing or repairing, like green tea or vitamin C, also have antioxidant properties. The skin around the eyes starts showing age before other parts of the face, so using an antioxidant laden Korean eye cream is a smart decision at any age.

Korean Anti-Aging Eye Creams for Eliminating Wrinkles and Loss of Tone

Though prevention is easier than reversal when it comes to skin aging, the right Korean eye cream might be able to help soften the look of fine lines and firm up any loss of tone. For short term effects, a super-hydrating eye cream with hyaluronic acid can pull water into the top layers of the skin, to temporarily plump it up and make fine lines less visible.

For long term results, look for eye creams promoted as being anti-aging and that contain ingredients proven to support collagen production in the skin. Collagen is the main structural protein in the skin, and as it depletes with age, the skin becomes looser and more lined. There is a good deal of research backing up the ability of vitamins A and C to promote collagen production in the skin—the only problem is, at full-strength, they can irritate the eye area. This is why Korean eye creams are made with gentle derivatives of them that still provide an anti-aging benefit. Peptides have also been promoted as miraculously anti-aging in recent years, and while the jury is still out on exactly how well they work, they do seem to provide some skin rejuvenating results.

Korean Eye Creams for Sensitive Skin

You may find that you are more prone to redness and irritation around the eyes since the skin there is so thin. This is even more likely if you have sensitive skin in general. Fragrances are the most common culprits when it comes to contact dermatitis, so look for Korean eye creams that are free of fragrances and essential oils.

Beyond that, eye creams with skin soothing ingredients will be best for keeping your skin feeling calm. There are some really phenomenal skin-soothing extracts that are popular in Korean products, from plants like centella asiatica and calendula. Additionally, moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, humectants, and botanical oils can help maintain your skin’s barrier functions to help prevent irritation.

Korean Eye Creams for Puffiness

Puffiness and “eye bags” are common eye area skin concerns. They’re usually the result of fluid accumulation, but they can also show up because of loss of tone and resultant fat accumulation. The best Korean eye cream for puffiness would include ingredients that have momentary constricting and firming effects, like caffeine, green tea extract, and other bioflavonoid-rich natural ingredients. Sadly, outside of surgical intervention, there are no great long-term solutions for puffiness, and if the cause of the puffiness is an allergy, no amount of eye product will help!

Korean Eye Creams for Hyperpigmentation

A major skin concern that often pops up with age is hyperpigmentation. It looks like brownish dark patches and can show up both below and above the eyes. It is caused by the overproduction of melanin in those patches of skin. Hyperpigmentation is not the main cause of undereye darkness (more on that in the next paragraph), but it is still very common.

If you are dealing with hyperpigmentation around the eye area, look for Korean eye creams touted to have brightening effects. A lot of skin-brightening ingredients can be too harsh for the delicate eye area, but Korean regulations are strict, so this is not usually an issue with Korean eye creams. The most common brightening ingredients in Korean eye creams are niacinamide, licorice root extract, and gentle derivatives of vitamin C.

Korean Eye Creams for Dark Circles

It’s important to know that the main cause of darkness around the eyes is usually not hyperpigmentation. More often than not, the reason for dark circles is that the skin around the eyes is thinner and more transparent than the skin elsewhere. This darkness can be compounded by genetic factors like bone structure, or by temporary factors like lack of sleep or iron deficiency.

The best way to try and improve the look of this kind of undereye darkness is by looking for Korean eye creams with ingredients said to increase skin thickness by improving collagen production. These ingredients include gentle derivatives of vitamin A like retinyl palmitate, gentle derivatives of vitamin C, and potentially even peptides. In the short term, humectant ingredients can pull water into the skin to plump it up and temporarily reduce the darkness.   

Korean Eye Creams for Milia

Milia are little bumps of keratin that frequently form around the eye area. They look a little like whiteheads, but they are hard to the touch. Milia is usually genetic, but thick and greasy eye creams can increase the chances of getting milia. Korean eye creams are light, so they are usually safe to use for people with milia.

Getting rid of milia is a little tougher. It requires a slow and gentle process of exfoliation and skin renewal, ideally with chemical exfoliants like glycolic or salicylic acid. Retinol also seems to be very effective for targeting milia. In general, Korean eye creams are not ideal for getting rid of milia, because their formulations are on the gentler side of things and they rarely include full-strength retinol or chemical exfoliants, but many are safe to use if you have milia.

​Ingredients to Look For

Ingredient lists are your friend! One of the best habits to get into when checking out new skincare products is to have a glance at the ingredient list, to find out which powerful ingredients are listed at the top. These are the best eye-care ingredients that you will often find in Korean eye creams:

Hyaluronic Acid

This is one of the buzziest skin care ingredients all over the world, and for a great reason: it’s a humectant, which means that it can pull water into the skin from the atmosphere. In fact, hyaluronic acid (sometimes listed as sodium hyaluronate) is one of the most effective humectants, since it is able to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water! This seriously hydrates the skin, leaving it feeling strong and supple and looking firmer, brighter, and smoother.

Some formulas will only include regular hyaluronic acid, which does a fabulous job hydrating the top layers of skin, while other formulas will also include hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, which has been broken up into a smaller molecule size so it can penetrate better and hydrate on a deeper level.

Other Humectants

There are some amazing water-binding ingredients that show up in Korean eye creams. Butylene glycol is the most popular of all, but you will also see other amazing hydrators like glycerin, panthenol (aka pro-vitamin B5), hydrolyzed proteins, and propylene glycol (which is sometimes shunned by natural skincare enthusiasts, as it can be a skin irritant for some people). Having a variety of these humectants in a formula is a sure sign that your Korean eye cream is going to be super hydrating and plumping. 


Silicones, like dimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane, sometimes get a bad reputation, but they are actually very effective skincare ingredients that are very common in Korean formulas. They are extremely occlusive, which means that they create an impenetrable layer over the skin that locks moisture in completely. In addition, they are “cosmetically elegant,” and they give a wonderfully silky feel. They are an important part of any cream formula, especially if you live in a place with an arid climate.

Gentle Derivatives of Strong Actives

A very common strategy in Korean skincare formulations is to substitute very potent actives like smoothing and collagen supporting retinol (aka vitamin A) or brightening and anti-aging ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C) with gentler derivatives like retinyl palmitate or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. These derivatives may give slower results, but they are also not going to irritate the delicate eye area.

Green Tea

Green tea extract is one of the best natural ingredients you will find in Korean eye creams, especially if you have sensitive skin, puffiness, or are looking to stave off the visible signs of aging. Taken from tea leaves, this extract holds a variety of potent polyphenolic compounds that have soothing, firming, and antioxidant effects.


If your main issue is puffiness, Korean eye creams with caffeine can be a fantastic option. Caffeine has a stimulating and constricting effect, so it can momentarily firm up the skin and make it appear taut. It also offers antioxidant protection to help stave off external damage and photoaging, and it helps increase the overall penetration of eye cream formulas.


Ceramides are lipids that naturally exist in the human body, and they are an important part of our skin’s barrier functions. They keep moisture in the skin while keeping bad aggressors out. With age, ceramide levels in the skin become depleted, which contributes to skin aging, dryness, and sensitivity. They are used in Korean skincare specifically to mitigate these effects, so if the skin around your eyes is extra dry or sensitive, ceramides are the ingredients to look for, especially in combination with botanical oils, linoleic acid, or cholesterol. 


Niacinamide is a do-it-all vitamin that is a staple in Korean products and has recently become popular in Western products as well. It’s also known as vitamin B3, and when applied to the skin it offers antioxidant protection and hydration, while over time it can have brightening and soothing effects. Niacinamide is very common in Korean eye creams.

Botanical Extracts

The plants native to East Asia are key in Korean formulations. The particular extracts you should look out for come from plants like centella asiatica, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and echinacea, as well as various algae and seaweeds. Often, their use in skincare correlates with their use in traditional Korean medicine practices. However, the Korean beauty industry is very scientifically-minded, so there has been a lot of research that aims to prove the efficacy of the various extracts. They are most frequently used in Korean eye creams to soothe sensitive skin or to load it up with antioxidant compounds that help neutralize the aging effects of pollution or sun exposure. 

Ferment Filtrates (aka Probiotics)

You may have heard of the probiotic benefits of fermented foods when it comes to the gut, but according to a lot of K and J-beauty brands, ferments are also great for the skin. In eye creams, probiotics usually come in the form of the friendly bacteria themselves, like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, or botanical extracts that have been treated with these bacteria.

Our skin has its own microbiome, a collection of good bacteria that support our skin barrier functions and help keep bad bacteria away. Probiotics in skincare are said to have the same benefits, potentially helping to keep the skin hydrated, and protected from oxidative damage. Those with sensitive and dehydrated skin usually benefit the most from eye creams with probiotics.

Licorice Root Extract

Taken from the licorice plant, this extract is extremely popular in Korean eye creams thanks to its brightening and soothing effects. The active compound behind these effects is glabridin, and research suggests it is effective for fading the look of redness and hyperpigmentation.

Snail Mucin

Some Korean skincare ingredients have a reputation for being weird and a little gross, but eye creams with snail secretions are surprisingly pleasant to use. Snail mucin is great for dry and maturing skin because it contains allantoin, a wonderful skin-soothing agent, and a very low concentration of glycolic acid, which helps to renew the skin and remove dead skin cell buildup.

Honey, Royal Jelly, and Propolis

These are the ingredients to look for if you have sensitive or dehydrated skin around the eyes and a preference for all things natural. Some of the health claims surrounding the various materials produced by bees sound a little over the top, but others are quite well documented. In Korean eye creams, honey is used for its soothing and humectant effects, propolis is used for its high content of calming and antioxidant terpenoid compounds, and royal jelly is used for its ability to support the skin barrier.


Korean eye creams with peptides are usually recommended for reversing loss of tone and fine lines. Initial research is promising but not conclusive, suggesting that peptides might be able to reverse the look of skin aging by promoting collagen production in the skin without the irritating effects of other skin-renewing actives.

What's the Deal with Korean Eye Creams, Anyway? Why Are They So Popular?

The buzz around Korean skincare started nearly a decade ago, with BB cream being the first new product category to make waves. Ever since then, K-beauty’s rise in popularity in the West has been meteoric. In Korea, there is more focus on skincare then there is on makeup, so over the years, we have seen a variety of exquisite formulations and innovative delivery systems come out of the East Asian country.

Korean eye creams, like other Korean skincare products, are formulated to be extremely gentle, moisturizing, and effective. This is in order to achieve the ultimate K-beauty goal, which is ‘chok chok’ skin, or bouncy, glowy, and smooth skin. 

They are rich in humectants, which are ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid that bind water to the skin, as well as in cutting edge combinations of natural and synthesized ingredients with great track records for being anti-aging, firming, soothing, or skin repairing. When compared to Western eye creams, Korean eye creams usually have a lighter, more fluid texture. They sink into the skin very quickly, so they are easier to apply in the daytime before sunscreen or makeup.

To summarize, the combination of hype around Korean skincare and the efficacy and gentleness of Korean eye creams is exactly what has made them so popular.

Are Eye Creams Even Necessary?

The skin around the eyes is much thinner than the skin over the rest of the face, which is why you may sometimes hear that the eyes absolutely require special care. This is a little alarmist since the average mild moisturizer is safe around the eyes, but there are some extremely compelling reasons why you might want to use a dedicated eye cream, especially if you’re already intrigued by Korean skincare.

There are a few unique concerns associated with the eye area, like the puffiness and darkness that we’ve mentioned in the first section. Korean beauty is all about targeted treatments, so each concern is addressed with a specific product. Korean eye creams are usually formulated with these specific concerns that apply to the eye area in mind.

The eye area also ages more quickly than other parts of the face, so people often want to start using anti-aging products on the eye area before they start using anti-aging moisturizers all over the face. Strong anti-aging ingredients like glycolic acid or retinol can be too strong for the delicate eye area, so eye creams are made with gentler active ingredients.

How to Use Korean Eye Cream

Applying Korean eye cream correctly is all about gentleness, and the following steps will ensure that you can get the most benefit out of your eye care products:

First thing first, wash your hands since you don’t want dirty fingers coming into contact with your skin;

The eye area must be totally clean before you apply any leave-on products! Remove eye makeup, as well as debris from the day, with an oil-based cleanser or eye makeup remover, and then rinse it with water. Rinsing with water will suffice if you’re applying your eye cream in the morning;

Dispense a tiny amount of eye cream on your ring finger—half a pea-size should do. If your Korean eye cream comes in a jar, keep things hygienic by scooping it out with a small skincare spatula;

With your ring finger, dab the eye cream into your skin, following the shape of your orbital bone. Your ring finger is the weakest finger on your hand, so it applies the gentlest amount of pressure, while the tapping motion is important to avoid dragging on the skin and irritating the eye area; and

Start under the eyes, just below the inner corner and work your way outwards to the outer corner. Then, work from the outside-in to dab the cream above the eye.

There you go! Easy as can be.

Be Good to Yourself: How to Take Care of Your Eyes

We love reviewing cosmetics, but mostly this website is about teaching people how to use makeup, so we felt the need to provide a little instruction on eye care in general! After all, there’s more to taking care of the eye area than just using a great eye cream, and the following tips will help keep the delicate skin around the eyes looking fresh, strong, and healthy:

Beyond the major risks of skin cancer and sunburn, sun exposure also leads to photoaging, which includes loss of tone, fine lines, and pigmentation. The best way to keep your eye area looking youthful for years to come is by wearing UV-protective sunglasses or sunscreen on a daily basis;

Because the skin around the eyes is so thin, it is very easy to damage or irritate it. That is why rubbing and tugging on the eye are is a big no-no, and it’s also why we recommend applying eye creams with dabbing motions rather than dragging motions; 

Always pay special attention to your eye area when cleansing your face at night. If you’ve been wearing makeup, remove it completely with a gentle, oil-based cleanser or makeup remover in order to limit the amount of scrubbing you’ll have to do;

Hot water is very irritating and dehydrating to the skin, and the area around the eyes is the most at-risk. When you shower or wash your face, stick to lukewarm water in order to keep your skin calm and soothed; and finally

A healthy lifestyle correlates with healthy skin and happy eyes! By getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet filled with fresh, nutrient-rich foods, and avoiding harmful practices like smoking or drinking to excess your entire body, including the eye area, will thank you!

Types of Korean Eye Products

Our discussion of the best Korean eye cream wouldn’t be complete without a general discussion of all the different eye products that Korean cosmetics offers. There are four main types of eye products you will usually see when you start your journey into Korean eye care:

Korean Eye Creams. Like their Western counterparts, Korean eye creams are comprehensive formulations that hydrate, lock moisture in place, and deliver any number of beneficial ingredients to the eye area;

Korean eye Sticks. Korean eye sticks are a subcategory of eye creams, even though their delivery method is totally different and unique. Eye sticks look a little bit like lip balms or lipsticks—you roll them up and apply directly to the eye area. Eye stick formulas are thicker and a little more occlusive than a typical eye cream, but they offer the same benefits with the same key ingredients;

Korean Eye Gels and Serums. Gels and serums are usually thinner than eye creams, with a more fluid or gel-like consistency. They sink into the skin even more quickly than cream and are great for delivering hydration. They’re not as good at locking the moisture in afterward so you may want to follow them up with a cream. Korean eye gels are often formulated to be de-puffing with ingredients like green tea extract and caffeine. Gel-creams are also very popular, with a texture that is somewhere between a gel and a cream; and finally

Korean Eye Masks. Korean eye masks and patches are a great occasional pick-me-up for the eye area. They are like little sheet masks for the eyes, comprised of cellulose or hydrogel that is soaked in a light eye serum. While the patches sit on the eye, the skin can absorb as much of the firming and hydrating serum as possible.

Other Korean Cosmetics Worth Looking At

The Korean cosmetics market is advanced and robust, with a ton of focus on cutting edge ingredients in unique formulations.

The Korean beauty routine as a whole is remarkably luxurious. You may have heard of the 5-step or 10-step skincare routine, and while the number of steps is not set in stone, the principles behind the multi-step routine are very clear: the purpose of the K-beauty routine is to optimize the levels of water in the skin by applying deeply hydrating products from thinnest to thickest so that they can penetrate as deeply into the skin as possible. This also allows for very customized and individualized routines, where each step can address a unique concern.

While the K-beauty market includes lots of cosmetic products you are likely already familiar with, like serums and moisturizers, it is also responsible for introducing new product categories of which any skincare enthusiast should be aware:

Essences are an important part of the Korean multi-step routine, that combines the light, fluid texture of a toner with the hydrating effects of a serum. Their primary purpose is to saturate the skin with water and humectants, but they can also deliver active ingredients to target specific skin concerns or to offer specific benefits;

Overnight masks are a Korean innovation that has become extremely popular in the last year or so. They can be compared to the Western night cream, in that they are meant to be applied as a final skincare product before bed, but they are formulated slightly differently. They tend to have a light, gel-cream texture that saturates the skin with a ton of moisture, and film-forming effects that help to prevent moisture evaporation throughout the night. Some overnight masks also include low percentages of chemical exfoliants in order to help slough off dead skin cells and renew the skin. In the morning, it’s important to rinse off the overnight mask before starting the AM skincare routine; 

Sheet masks provide targeted care, deep hydration, and entertainment all in one product. They are sheets made out of fabric or cellulose that are soaked in an essence. The sheets are round, with holes for the eyes, nose, and mouth, and while the mask is on the skin, the sheet ensures that the skin can absorb as much of the essence as possible. Unlike Western masks, once it’s time to remove the mask, there is no need to rinse or wash the skin—instead, you massage the rest of the essence into the skin and then seal that goodness in with a moisturizer;

Oil and balm cleansers were originally popularized in Japan, but they quickly became an essential part of the K-beauty routine. These cleansers are made of a blend of oils and a bit of surfactant, unlike a traditional Western cleanser which is usually made primarily of surfactants. The oil component breaks down makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities, while the surfactant component ensures that everything can be rinsed away with water. After cleansing with an oil, it’s recommended to cleanse again with a gentle surfactant-based cleanser in order to remove any residue; and finally

BB creams are products that sit somewhere between makeup and skincare, usually offering moisturization, sun protection, and targeted skin benefits. They sound similar in function to Western tinted moisturizers, but the main difference is that BB creams usually offer medium-high coverage, while tinted moisturizers offer light coverage. They are total foundation replacements for most Korean women. In recent years, BB creams started coming packaged in aerated cushion compacts, which give them a lighter texture and make them more travel-friendly.  

Eye Creams: There You Have It

That’s about all we know about Korean eye creams. Hopefully we’ve answered all your questions, but if there’s something we didn’t address, jump over to our “Contact” page and drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, enjoy your eye routine, and all the best to you!

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