When I first visited Seoul, I had quite a few firsts. I traipsed around in a green tea field filled with snakes, tried actual high-quality soju, and thwarted a meerkat's persistent efforts to steal my earrings (long story). But most memorably, I wandered into dozens of K-beauty shops on every corner, and for the very first time, skincare left me speechless. Products with textures I'd never felt and ingredients I'd never heard of stocked the shelves, and shoppers stocked up on sunscreens and serums and creams at all hours of the night. I was in the beauty capital of the entire world, and I nearly shed a tear for it.
That said, you don't have to go to Seoul to discover these innovative products (though I would absolutely recommend it). Nowadays, K-beauty is a skincare staple here in the U.S., and for very, very good reason. The beauty tech in South Korea is years ahead of our country's, and that's made clear by every essence, moisturizer, and sunscreen that appears on the market. And if there's one thing Korean beauty know best, it's how to mask like a pro. From sheets soaked in snail mucin to jars topped off with bouncy exfoliating gels, K-beauty has every skin concern covered. Here, we've rounded up the most effective, innovative, and just plain playful Korean face masks and sheet masks for your next self-care session.
5. Soothing Bubble Tox Serum Mask
THE FUN MASK
There was a time where the bubble face mask was the newest craze and everyone wanted to try the equally confusing and fun mask. The confusion part comes in when many think that you need to wash the bubbles off, when all you need to do is massage them in. Your skin WILL thank you.
20. N.M.F Intensive Hydrating Mask
THE DRY MASK
You're parched. You're flaky. Your skin is crying out for hydration. Enter the N.M.F mask, your new holy grail. It imbues your moisture barrier with ingredients that your skin already recognizes within itself, like hyaluronic acid, amino acids, and water-binding sugars, so your face is instantly soothed.