With the focus primarily on hydrating and protecting the skin at an early age, Korean skincare has made a place in every skincare lover’s heart (and beauty cabinet)!
For today’s post, I got in touch with some beauty geniuses from the blogging community to share their most favourite korean skincare products.
If you’ve been wanting to kickstart your own 10-step routine or follow the latest skip-care trend, this post has the compilation of some of the best cruelty-free Korean skincare products that will give you great results!
From hydrating toners to sleeping masks, let’s discover the world of cruelty-free K-Beauty!
Best Cruelty-Free Korean Skincare
Disclosure: Contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission for purchases made via them.
1. Heimish All Clean Balm
Beauty blogger Kanika (@theduskybeautyblog) loves the All Clean Balm! She says, “It is a solid balm which has a sorbet-like texture that turns into an oil on massaging and finally, emulsifies into a milky white liquid when you rinse.
“The Heimish cleansing balm removes even the most stubborn makeup and sunscreen in just a minute without stripping my skin’s natural oils. And the best part is that it does not sting my eyes.”
2. COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
“I have oily, dehydrated skin and the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is a very gentle and effective cleanser that cleanses my skin well without drying it out or making it feel ‘squeaky clean’.
“This cleanser does not remove makeup and hence is best used as a second cleanse or a morning cleanse. However, if you want something which is more targeted and has active ingredients, then this will not meet your needs,” tells Ishita who shares her love for beauty on her Instagram @thecoffeecanvas and she is also a Cosmetic Management student.
“I’ve been using this cleanser for close to 3 months now and I will definitely be repurchasing it!”
3. ROVECTIN Skin Essentials Activating Treatment Lotion
You can’t talk about Korean skincare without having the OG K-beauty blogger from India, Shelley, onboard.
“I have very dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin. Currently, my major concern is acne-scarring and I very recently got rid of painful skin dehydration, all thanks to my Holy Grail ROVECTIN Skin Essentials Activating Treatment Lotion.
“I am obsessed with this Toner+Essence hybrid product because it is 100% fragrance-free, 100% Essential Oil-Free, super mild yet very effective in combating dehydration, redness, dullness, and helped in maintaining overall skin health,” says Shelley who talks skincare @shelleynayak and has a Youtube channel too!
She’s in love with this 7 Hyaluronic Acid packed product!
4. TIA’M My Signature Vita B5 Toner
Shivani, an army wife and skincare blogger at Lace Your Beauty, was looking for something to strengthen her skin barrier as she uses high strength Vitamin C and Glycolic acid.
“My dry-combination skin was slightly dehydrated when I thought of starting it. I used two layers in both AM & PM routine and this toner actually quenches your skin’s thirst! I noticed a visible difference in just 5-6 days. My skin looked and felt healthy.
“During the hotter days, I switch to just one layer. It’s got a perfect blend of skincare ingredients like Panthenol (for hydration), Peptides (anti-ageing benefits), Sodium Hyaluronate (extra hydration), etc. To me, this product is worth the price,” she says.
5. Benton Deep Green Tea Toner
Green tea isn’t just beneficial for your gut, it’s an antioxidant with skin-soothing properties that also works well for irritated skin. Skincare blogger, Avni Babbar, loves the Benton Deep Green Tea Toner for her oily, acne-prone, sensitive skin.
“I have a hard time finding products that suit my skin. I tried Benton green tea toner for its minimal and impressive ingredient list. It promises to hydrate your skin well and mildly exfoliate it,” she says.
Avni adds, “The reason I love this toner is because it’s very gentle on my sensitive skin and never irritated any active acne. It gives quick hydration & softens the skin without any stickiness. It helps me on days I don’t feel like applying a lot of skincare products and completely calms my irritated skin”.
You can read the complete review of the toner here.
6. COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
“Once I finally got past the idea that I was going to be smearing snail mucus all over my face every night, I fell head over heels in love with the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence,” Fareeha, an Ophthalmologist who moonlights as a skincare/beauty blogger on Instagram @freihaahierf, says.
She explains, “This essence has been instrumental in helping my combination, sensitive, hormonal-acne prone skin become accustomed to the use of powerhouse actives such as prescription retinoids and azelaic acid.
“Every time I use this essence in my night time routine, I know that I’m going to wake up with plump, hydrated skin.
“I am on my third bottle of this essence and I am proud to call it part of my “core team” of skincare products. As long as COSRX continues to make this essence, I shall continue to purchase and repurchase it!”
7. Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum
Fatima, a skincare blogger at The Merchant Post, loves the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum as it hydrates her dry-combination skin perfectly!
She says, “My skin gets sensitive especially when it’s extra hot so gel-based serums are my savior and this one from Klairs really helps to soothe my skin. I prefer using the rich moist serum in the AM routine as it works great at keeping my skin cool throughout the day.
“The regular use of this serum keeps my redness and dry patches away. And it also makes my skin smooth – perfect prep for a makeup base!”
8. Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief
Krave Beauty‘s Great Barrier Relief Skin Barrier Repairing Serum has become a staple in @mrsbrinkmann’s nighttime routine rather quickly because of its excellent performance on her dry sensitive skin.
German blogger Vanessa says, “This serum is specifically made for people with a weakened skin barrier, that’s why you won’t find any harsh or irritating ingredients in it. Because of my rosacea, I am really appreciative of every mildly formulated product and this one is definitely one of the best in the market.
“Not only does it help calm my redness and even out my complexion, it’s also soothing and very moisturizing. With its creamy consistency, it‘s quite a thick serum and I could totally see it working as a moisturizer for combination to oily skin types.
“This ceramide rich serum with 10% tamanu oil really helps to replenish my skin and seriously acts as a reset button for my damaged skin barrier. I don‘t want to miss it in my routine anymore!”
9. TIAM Hyaluronic Water Plumping Serum
Asfa, a skincare and flatlay enthusiast, loves TIAM hyaluronic acid plumping serum for her combination skin.
“I first used the TIAM serum when I introduced Retinol last year. It has a viscous consistency and comprises 6 different molecular structures of HA for better penetration. It absorbs into the skin and instantly plumps and hydrates it.
“Since Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, I like to use it on damp skin after a toner followed by an active like retinol. It saved my skin from peeling and drying and also helped in reducing fine lines,” she says. You can read her complete review of the serum here.
10. COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap
“I’m always on a lookout for a cream/moisturizer that will keep my skin hydrated throughout the day yet is lightweight,” says Neil (@thecookiecorner), the first Kbeauty male blogger from India.
“Initially when I started using the COSRX Oil-Free Lotion, the weather was still a bit chilly and it worked really well with my multi-step skincare routine. But when I started using it in summer, it was a whole other product. It just didn’t seem to work!
“I realized that this is not a standalone product. It works best if you have used toner or serum before applying it. It’s a basic moisturizer that provides hydration and sometimes that all we need.”
For people who just can’t read (like me), here’s a quick rundown:
|Skin Type||Function?||Should I get it?|
|Oily/Dehydrated Oily||As your main moisturizer||YES|
|Combination||As your main moisturizer||During Summers|
|Dry/Dehydrated Dry||As your main moisturizer||NO|
11. Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream
While struggling with sensitive/acne-prone skin, Yashwant came across Wishtrend’s youtube channel. “I remember I saw Eunice raving about the Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream and I was really intrigued by its blue colour. So I just had to get my hands on it and I’ve already finished 7-8 tubs of this gem!
“I mostly use this post exfoliation or whenever my skin freaks out. It is hands down the best soothing cream I’ve tried so far and would recommend to everyone whose skin easily gets irritated! Just use it whenever your skin is stressed out and it will calm down any irritation, redness like nobody’s business,” he says.
Yashwant is a k-beauty enthusiast who’s trying to remove the stigma attached to men’s grooming on his Instagram @yash_want_skincare.
12. Purito Dermide Cica Barrier Sleeping Pack
“I have acne-prone skin which is very prone to inflammation and rashes. The Dermide Cica Barrier Sleeping Pack by Purito is excellent when it comes to calming down the inflammation and redness. I wake up with soft and supple skin whenever I use this,” says Arshneet, a cruelty-free blogger @arshneetnailedit and the owner of a hand and nail care brand “Araina”.
This sleeping pack also doubles up as a moisturiser and she loves using it under spot treatments which have a tendency to dry out the skin.
13. Purito Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF 50+ PA++++
If there’s one thing every skincare blogger and expert can agree on, it’s the religious usage of sunscreens. Personally, I am a huge fan of Korean sunscreens and Sara Fischer, a PhD in immunology and freelance medical editor and writer, is a part of the fandom too.
“Purito Centella Green Level Unscented sunscreen has a lightweight lotion texture that spreads easily and doesn’t separate into a watery mess. It blends in easily and uniformly, leaving no white cast, and dries down to a soft satin finish.
“What I love about this sunscreen is that it gives me good hydration throughout the day without feeling overly heavy or suffocating. It has absolutely no scent and is very pleasant to wear,” she says.
Sara who blogs about skincare @saraskincares thinks that the Purito Centella Sunscreen should be the standard from which all others are judged! She also adds that oily skin types might find it a bit too heavy in warmer climates.
So these were the best cruelty-free Korean skincare products that even the skin bloggers love! If you found someone with a skin type similar to yours, it should be your clue to grab their recommendation right away. Make sure you check out their work too!