TikTok Viral Korean Skin Care Products - Worth It Or Not?
On episode 196 of the Korean Beauty Show podcast, Lauren runs through some of the top trending viral Korean skincare products on TikTok…and shares her thoughts on whether they’re worth it not.
Tune in if you’re keen to hear which ones do you need to try and which ones have just had formula updates.
This color correcting cream combines skincare benefits into a makeup concealer that's perfect for those with red skin, pimples and more.
It goes from green to beige on application giving a CC Cream coverage (which is lighter than BB Cream). Because green is opposite to red on the color wheel, this concealer is great for cancelling out redness.
In addition, Color Correcting Cream also contains Centella asiatica. I was a bit skeptical about trying this out on rosacea prone skin, but can report that after extensive patch testing I don't think it created a worsening of symptoms for me.
However, because the product contains zinc (as part of the sunscreen formulation) it's definitely not for everyone. That's because it can leave a white cast. Some of our customers have reported a chalky-looking colour after application, which will be because of the zinc. This will likely be less of a problem for those with lighter skin tones.
However, the formula has recently been changed in 2023 from SPF 40 to SPF 22. This should lessen some of those problems. I know some of our customers were concerned about the "downgrade" in sun protection but realistically this is a makeup product. I would never recommend relying on it as your sole source of SPF anyway. Just pair it with a real sunscreen underneath.
This pink multi balm is a staple of K-Drama actors like Kim Go Eun. But what does it actually do?
Essentially, it's an on-the-go hydration solution. It provides instant glow and moisture to anywhere on your skin that feels dull or dry.
It took off in Korea at the height of the pandemic throughout the "Untact Skincare" trend. Because you don't have to touch your skin with your hands while applying it, it's very hygienic and safe to use.
But do you really need it?
I think this depends on two things; firstly, the climate you live in and secondly, your skin type. If you live in a hot, humid climate then you likely won't have much use for this in your daily routine (unless you work in an office with air conditioning). It works very well for those who live in cool, dry climates like Seoul.
It's also perfect for people with dry skin, anyone experiencing flaking or the after-effects of ingredients like retinol.
It is also very versatile - you can use it on your neck, forehead and lips too.
Whether it's worth it or not will likely also come down to whether you're a person who uses mists. If you do, realistically I think you get similar benefits from misting.
It's no exaggeration to say that this acid based toner is a cult K-Beauty product. Having sold millions of units across the world, it's ability to clear dead skin and unclog pores are legendary.
But is it for everyone?
No. This product works fabulously for those who have oily, combination and acne prone skin types. But it's not a great fit for those with pre-existing skin issues (think dermatitis, rosacea, eczema) or those with sensitivities. It is also probably not necessary for people with drier or more mature skin types. Instead, if you'd like to incorporate an acid based toner into your routine for the latter I would suggest alternating with a hydrating-style toner every second day.
Having said that, this is a really nice option for those in humid climates and those who constantly fight the oil slick. There's a reason why it's popular in South East Asia.
It takes a lot for a product to stand out in skincare obsessed Korea. But Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask has managed to do just that. And not just in Korea - this product is famous worldwide. You'll find it everywhere from Australia to Dubai, Canada and in between.
Very few people have issues using this mask and most report that it does exactly what it says - that is, hydrate the lips overnight while you sleep.
Thanks to its waxy formula it can feel a little heavy on the lips but that's why it's designed for overnight use. If your lips are in trouble and in need of some TLC this is a great option for chapped or cracked lips.
This Glow Serum is not only a viral TikTok product it's a STYLE STORY best-seller too. We've sold out more times than I can count in the last year.
Why is it so popular? With a whopping 5% niacinamide, it's perfect for targeting the appearance of dark spots.
In addition, it encourages a more even skin tone. The inclusion of squalane means that Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum can help to lock in your skin's moisture as well.
Is it for everyone? Again, likely not.
If you're the type of person who uses a bunch of other products that contain niacinamide (a toner, moisturiser and sleeping mask) you're likely getting over 5% niacinamide in your routine anyway. Although niacinamide is a great ingredient more is not always better. Check out our blog post here on the dangers of over-using niacinamide in your routine.
Another favourite of the TikTok crowd is Haru Haru's Rice Toner. This nourishing, lightweight toner is packed with a unique blend of ingredients to hydrate, condition and refresh your skin.
Is it all it's cracked up to be? In a nutshell, this is a very nice toner that's a great example of the style of toners that are popular in Korea at the moment (ISNTree's Hyaluronic Acid Toneretc).
If you like this watery but hydrating style of toner, chances are you'll enjoy this in your routine.
Pretty much the entire Etude Soon Jung line is trending on TikTok at the moment.
They're perfect for those looking for hydration while repairing skin damage.
But are they worth it?
Etude's products are specifically designed for those in their teens and 20s. If you have much drier skin or live in a place with a colder climate, they're unlikely to offer sufficient hydration or nourishment for your skin. But if you fit into the target age range or live somewhere particularly humid, chances are you'll enjoy these cheap and cheerful products in your routine.
2022 was the year of Laneige Cream Skin! Claiming to combine the benefits of a toner and moisturiser into a single product fans rave about it's ability to soothe and hydrate.
In addition, it can simplify your beauty routine and allow you to cut down on extra steps. However, if you have oily, combination or acne-prone skin you may not enjoy the formula. People with these skin types frequently report an oily film on their skin.
The formula has been significantly updated in 2023 (the Cerapeptide version is also 170ml compared to the previous 150ml). If you've only tried the older version it may be worth a retry!
K-beauty stans on TikTok swear by IUNIK Calendula Complete Deep Cleansing Oil. They say that if you wear SPF and makeup it's a great way to start a double cleanse.
Me personally? I can't stand this cleanser. It feels like I'm applying cooking oil to my face. I don't enjoy the texture, how it emulsifies or the oily film it leaves on my skin.
But I'm clearly in the minority as this product is nearly always highly rated on TikTok!
Believe it or not there was once a time when Benton's Snail Essence was even more famous than COSRx's product.
However, those days have long since passed. While this essence contains a powerful combination of snail mucin and bee venom it has been over-taken in star power in recent years.
But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of loyal fans of this product. It's got a much less stringy consistency than COSRX and is a better option for those that could do without the sticky feeling after.
Is there a more popular Korean Beauty product on the market? Potentially not.
No doubt this product needs no introduction at this stage. But in case it does allow me to do the intro - it's a powerful treatment essence that transforms your complexion for younger, healthier and more elastic skin.
Think of this like a vitamin boost for your face.
However, it's not a great option for those that have dust-mite allergies. Similarly, it can cause breakouts in some acne prone skin types (hello, that's me!) I personally haven't been able to use this product in my routine for years because it breaks me out.
If you're not a fan of this one, I'd recommend trying Benton's Essence as an alternative.
STYLE STORY - Your Go To for Kbeauty Since 2014
"Me personally? I can't stand this cleanser. It feels like I'm applying cooking oil to my face. I don't enjoy the texture, how it emulsifies or the oily film it leaves on my skin."Lauren Lee, Host of the Korean Beauty Show Podcast
Comments will be approved before showing up.