In terms of ingredients, technology and innovation, Korea has long been ahead of U.S. cosmetic makers. Their packaging often gives you the opposite impression, with vivid cartoons, banana-shaped bottles and sheet masks that make you look like a superhero. But while they may take their packaging lightly, they are serious about ingredients. The best part of all is that most of their products are very affordable. You don't have to hop a plane or pay crazy shipping fees to get your hands on the goods either. Retailers like Beauteque specialize in getting Korean skincare to the masses. If you're on a mission to try it all, they offer subscription services like their Mask Maven and BB Bag. They sent us four of their popular products to try out and here is how it all went down!
Baviphat Urban Dollkiss Pore Bye Volcano Pack
I'm all for any beauty product with the word "pore" in it. Given the name of this product, I was hoping it would pull out impurities, but it was actually more hydrating than anything. With volcanic ash to absorb impurities, shea butter to moisturize, and collagen to firm, it certainly made my skin feel soft and smooth. Sadly, it didn't appear to do much in the way of pore clarifying. Despite its colorful cupcake packaging, the scent was very mild and fresh, not sweet or cake-like. There is a generous amount in the jar and I love that like many Korean skincare products, it includes a spatula for hygienic dispensing. It doesn't dry or sting the skin and it was enjoyable to use. I just wish I had seen more pore improvements.
Baviphat Urban Dollkiss Welcome to Korea Skin Clean Mask
This mask is literally money! The packaging design tells you absolutely nothing about the sheet mask inside, but the mask is saturated with plumping, firming, hyaluronic acid. I enjoyed wearing this mask, both for its cooling sensation and because my husband was horrified by me. After 15 minutes, you can rub the excess product into your skin but I did find it to be a bit slimy so I washed off the initial layer with water.
Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Sleek Mist
This packaging is so precious, I was bound to love pretty much whatever was inside! The Sleek Mist is a refreshing, gentle facial spray that can be used before or after applying makeup. It's best for oilier skin types. The scent reminds me a lot of baby wipes, a bit surprising as it contains pretty much every fruit extract you can think of! The spray has strawberry, peach, apple, kiwi, pineapple, grape, cranberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry! The main issue I have with this one is that it's loaded with parabens—four in fact. Bunnies are adorable. Parabens, not so much.
Hanaka V-Line Chin Patch
This collagen-infused sheet mask is meant to firm up the cheeks and chin. I haven't seen my jawline in a while, so I was definitely intrigued. You keep the mask taut by looping it over your ears; very smart! It was comfortable to wear and didn't leave my face feeling too sticky. Though it didn't necessarily create a visual difference, my jawline felt tighter. I'd like to use this before a special event for an extra confidence boost.