K-Beauty Glossary: Everything You Need to Know About Korean Beauty

K-Beauty Glossary: Everything You Need to Know About Korean Beauty


Everything You Need to Know About Korean Beauty


Korean beauty is a world of its own, and decoding it can be a tough task. There are so many things and products that it becomes difficult to understand what goes where and what are the best products that make up a Korean beauty regime. 

To help all you beauties out there, we have created an A-Z glossary of K-beauty that will help you navigate Korean beauty like a pro. Let’s get started.



An ampoule is made of high concentrations of different active ingredients. It is a skin treatment that comes in a small bottle with a dropper. Ampoules are to be applied before serums but after essences, if you are layering treatments.One of the ampoule we recommend is ETUDE HOUSE moistfull collagen cream.


BB Cream

A beauty balm or blemish balm, BB cream offers a light coverage to your skin. Not only that, but it also offers other benefits to your skin as well. BB creams usually come with SPF like Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF42. However, you should not replace your sunblock with it as it is necessary to protect your skin against damage from the sun. BB creams hydrate the skin and give it a radiant coverage with a veil of sheer. It is perfect for everyday use.


CC Cream

CC or colour correction cream, such as Dr Jart's Cicapair Re-cover, works like BB creams when it comes to coverage. Just like BB creams, CC creams also provide SPF and various skin benefits. It gives the skin a light and radiant coverage.


Cleansing Balm

A cleansing balm is a semi-solid balm. Also known as sherbet cleansers, they are used to remove sunscreen and makeup. Put a cleansing balm like BANILA CO - Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original on dry skin. It turns milky when it comes in contact with water, which allows you to remove makeup easily.


Cleansing Oil

Cleansing Oil (such as Purito's From Green Cleansing Oil) is similar to cleansing balm when it comes to removing makeup. However, as the name suggests, it comes in oil form. It is highly effective for removing oil-based impurities and also removes sebum effectively.


SON & PARK - Beauty Water

Cleansing Water

Commonly known as micellar water or beauty water, cleansing water helps remove makeup. It also cleanses the skin of other impurities. SON & PARK - Beauty Water is one example of this. It gives the skin a clean and fresh look and is also commonly used as a toner or exfoliator.


Cushion Compact

A cushion compact is perfect for the ones who like to keep their skin dewy. These are little sponges that are saturated in liquid makeup. You will find cushion compacts just like SOME BY MI Killing Cover Moisture Cushion SPF50+ for blusher, foundation, and bronzer. It gives you a luminous and skin-like finish. It also allows for mess-free and easy on-the-go application.


Dewy Skin

Also known as glowy skin, it makes your skin look glossy and hydrated. It is perfect for those who don’t like matte skin and want some glow.


Double Cleansing

Double Cleansing is an important step of the evening makeup removal ritual. The Double Cleansing technique consists of two steps. The first step is to put on an oil cleanser or a rich balm (like the Heimish - All Clean Balm) on to the skin. Afterward, a lightweight gel or milk removes makeup and impurities from your skin. It keeps the skin healthy, clean, and fresh.



Emulsions, such as Etude's SoonJung 10 Free Moist Emulsion, are used after serums and essences. They have a lotion-like texture and moisturise your skin. They also hydrate your skin and keep it healthy and fresh.



Essences are lightweight and super-hydrating like TONYMOLY - The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Essence. The consistency of essences falls between that of water and serum. Essences prepare your skin for treatments and for the application of other products. With Essences, products absorb into your skin easily and more effectively.


SOME BY MI - AHA, BHA, PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner


Exfoliators are used to remove old, uneven, or dead skin cells that have accumulated on the skin. Exfoliators come in two types: chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliators are made using acids like BHA or AHA and the perfect example is SOME BY MI - AHA, BHA, PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner. Physical exfoliators, on the other hand, are used to remove dead skin cells manually in the form of scrubs like SKINFOOD's Black Sugar Mask Wash Off. 


Foot Peel

Foot Peel removes all traces of rough and dead skin from your feet. The feet are left smooth, fresh, and clean. As with this product TONYMOLY - Shiny Foot Super Peeling Liquid it makes the heels and feet super soft.


Glass Skin

The famous glass skin trend came from Korea. It makes your skin poreless, super-glowy, and completely flawless. This divine skin finish has inspired many dewy makeup products and looks over the past few years.



Jelly formulations give your skin a radiant and plump complexion. Jellies keep your skin fresh, clean and healthy and give it a hydrated look and feel. We recommend our customers try Dr Jart+'s Cryo Rubber masks.


King Swab

King swabs look like oversized Q-tips. They are pre-soaked with exfoliators like BHA or AHA. They are used after cleansing.



We have been using masks in our skincare routines for decades now. However, masks hailing from South Korea have changed the mask game completely. The sleep masks, such as Laneige's Water Sleeping Mask EX, and sheet masks like Dr Jart+ - Cicapair Calming Mask work wonders on your skin, and the effects are clearly visible with just one use.



Mists, such as Pyunkang Yul's Mist Toner come in small bottles and give your skin a boost of hydration when needed. They can be used before or after toning or even in place of a toner. They can also be sprayed over makeup to keep your skin hydrated.



Peels, such as Benton's PHA Peeling Gel, are an important part of all K-Beauty routines. They help slough away dead skin cells and give your skin a clean and fresh look. They are an essential part of skincare if you wish to achieve an ultra-dewy finish. It keeps the skin radiant, supple, and smooth.


Purito - Centella Green Level Buffet Serum (shown in front of a pink background, placed next to a plant)


Purito's Centella Green Level Buffet Serum and most other serums are just like essences, but they are more effective and hydrating. Serums target blemishes and age spots and add a layer of hydration to your skin.


Snail Mucin

Snail Mucin or snail extract hydrates and plumps your skin. It also conditions and heals the skin. It is an important part of K-beauty masks, toners and serums. Snail mucin also slows down skin aging, promotes the production of collagen, and eliminates bacteria from your skin.

K-Beauty skin specialists recommend Benton - Snail Bee Ultimate Serum for all skin types.



A toner exfoliates and hydrates the skin. It gives the skin a fresh and clean look and brightens your complexion. You can choose a toner rich in hydrating ingredients if you want to keep your skin hydrated one such toner is Pyunkang Yul's Essence Toner. For clear complexion, toners with AHAs and BHAs work best - For example Some By Mi's 30-Day Miracle Toner.



Brightening products in a K-beauty regime revitalise your skin and aim to even its tone. These products work great for people who have uneven skin or face issues like redness or hyperpigmentation of the skin. Brightening products unify the skin tone and make your skin look fresh, radiant, and bright. Brightening products often contain ingredients such as Niacinamide or Vitamin C. If you're interested in a brightening serum, a good place to start is the Some By Mi - Yuja Niacin Serum


This K-beauty glossary will help you choose the right K-beauty products for your skin. Shop for the best K-beauty products and take your skin on a journey of rejuvenation.




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