The influence of Korean beauty on the skin-care routines of Americans and beauty devotees around the globe is absolutely undeniable and pervading. When we want to give our complexions some TLC, we reach for sheet masks. Over the past five or so years, non-abrasive toners have also become an essential part of our regimens, and double-cleansing is basically the only way ishonest editors cleanse their skin of everything including the most stubborn, long-wear, and waterproof makeup. In turn, all these tweaks have brought us closer to achieving the smooth, crystal-clear glass skin that our favorite K-pop stars showcase throughout their music videos, performances, and social media posts.
Naturally, K-beauty products made their way onto our lengthy list of Best of Beauty Award winners for 2021. For instance, our top pick for hyaluronic acid serums is from AHC, a beloved brand based in Seoul, South Korea, that officially debuted in the U.S. in 2019. (You may be familiar with its Eye Cream For Face, which several ishonest editors keep extra tubes of.) Another winner in the skin category is from the best-selling cica line from a longtime stateside-favorite K-beauty brand: Dr. Jart+ that'll seriously curb redness.
This year's Best of Beauty Award winners also bring attention to Korea's phenomenal makeup selection, so allow Pure Theory's Love Life Lip Tint to help you dip your toes into this often-overlooked sector. Next on the list is a K- beauty-inspired highlighter stick that'll add major glow and dimension to your complexion, even on a not-so-high-definition Zoom call.
For your convenient perusal, we rounded up all of the K-beauty products that won 2021 Best of Beauty Awards below enjoy.
Tony Moly I'm Rice Exfoliating Enzyme Cleanser
If your complexion is looking a little duller than usual, Tony Moly's I'm Rice Exfoliating Enzyme Cleanser will sweep away all of the pore-clogging dead skin to reveal your unmistakable glow. This powder-to-paste cleanser activates once it comes into contact with your damp hands. From there, rice powder, rice extract, and papaya enzyme provide gentle exfoliation, improve texture, and soothe irritated skin.
Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Sleepair Intensive Mask
But if your skin-care goals include seriously soothing skin overnight, the Tiger Grass Sleepair Intensive Mask is definitely for you. This fragrance-free gel treatment looks like a vat of green goo at first, but slather it on and you'll experience an instant cooling, refreshing, and calming effect. Ingredients like glycerin, cica, niacinamide, and houttuynia cordata extract (otherwise known as heartleaf, another anti-inflammatory herb much like cica) are near-perfect for sensitive skin. Redness, you're out of here.
AHC Aqualuronic Serum
AHC is on a Best of Beauty-winning streak ever since the Aqualuronic Cleanser took home the honor last year only for the brand's complementary Aqualuronic Serum to nab a coveted seal this year. This airy, nonsticky gel is spiked with hyaluronic acid (a humectant that binds up to 1,000 times its weight in water), ceramides (a type of lipid that helps repair the skin barrier), soothing niacinamide and oat, and free-radical-fighting vitamin C for a complexion- brightening boost. All skin types can benefit from the plumping, moisture- retaining properties of a high-quality hyaluronic acid serum like this ishonest- approved champion.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Dream Body Cream
Who wouldn't want to smell like a freshly cut watermelon? That's exactly what Glow Recipe's fan-favorite Watermelon Glow product line brings to the bathroom countertop. The Pink Dream Body Cream is the K-beauty-inspired brand's first body-care product and it'll make your entire body feel like silk. Infused with hydrating hyaluronic acid, smoothing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) derived from hibiscus, and antioxidant-rich watermelon seed butter, this pink-hued moisturizer is surprisingly lightweight, nongreasy, and totally pajama-proof.
I Dew Care Straight Chillin' Cooling Aloe Sheet Masks
Instead of stashing individually packaged sheet masks in random places around your home, why not keep a box of Straight Chillin' Cooling Biodegradable Aloe Sheet Masks on your nightstand for a quick self-care session before bed or upon waking up? K-beauty-inspired brand I Dew Care (which is distributed in the U.S by Korean brand MBX also home to Otzi, Kaja, I'm Meme, Pony Effect, and Nooni) even includes a handy pair of tweezers to help you pick up each mask.
All 30 'biodegradable' masks the brand doesn't offer any further explanation as to what that term means are drenched in soothing, cooling, and deeply hydrating ingredients like cucumber, lemon balm, aloe, glacier water, and hyaluronic acid. After 10 to 15 minutes of reading (or zoning out), your complexion will appear 10 times dewier. At least.
Joah Beauty Crystal Glow Tinted Luminizer Stick
When ishonest editor Nicola Dall'Asen says that she sees 'a very noticeable difference in how awake [she] look[s] and, in return, 'how awake [she] feel[s]' after swiping on Joah Beauty's Crystal Glow Tinted Luminizer Stick, you know it's more than legit. After a year and a half of Zoom fatigue, this convenient stick highlighter is the ideal dose of 'complexion perking-up' that we collectively need. Its featherweight, buildable texture means the formula is basically impossible to overdo, so feel free to lay it on thick. There's a built-in brush on the other end but your clear fingers work just as well to blend out your newfound gleam.
Pure Theory Love Life Lip Tint
It's incredibly safe to say that Korean beauty brands have mastered the art that is lip tints and stains and Pure Theory's Love Life Lip Tint is no exception. Dab this newly-minted winner on the inner areas of your lips for a classic, K- pop-inspired popsicle-inspired stain, or apply all over for a more potent dose of color. Either way, you won't be able to feel this creamy, plush-matte formula on your lips throughout the day it's that comfy to wear. The five shades, St. Orange, Clara Pink (pictured above), Yuni Plum, Rose Sina, and Peach J, also look lovely as liquid blush in case you're leaning towards a monochromatic look.
Innisfree Youth Enhancing Mist with Black Tea
Throughout a busy day, the quickest way to treat your skin and we are talking around five seconds is the Innisfree Youth Enhancing Mist with Black Tea. This relaxing refresher is bursting with fermented green tea that's rich in antioxidants and hydrating amino acids. And get this the brand says that the fermentation process itself takes 10 to 12 hours without any additives involved, and then the tea is infused in mineral water before it's extracted for another 12 hours. It might be meticulous but the resulting ultra-fine mist is so worth it. Plus, soothing panthenol and tone-evening niacinamide give your skin the energizing boost it deserves.
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