4 Reasons why K-beauty Is Great for Maintaining Your Skin Barrier

Using K-beauty is a great way to maintain your skin barrier. K-beauty focuses on supporting the skin whereas Western skincare hones in on treating the skin with potent actives. Conversely, K-beauty has a much more gentle approach to skincare, and typically, K-beauty formulas do not include scrubs, retinols, or acids. Rather, they focus on botanical ingredients that are indigenous to Korea. Thus, here are four reason K-beauty can be very beneficial for maintaining the skin barrier.


K-beauty aims to make the skin soft and bouncy. This is primarily why there are so many layers of hydrating products in the Korean beauty routine. A toner, essence, sheet mask, and moisturizer are the four primary components for keeping the skin hydrated in a K-beauty routine.

What is a toner?

Pyunkang Yul Toner -$16.19

A toner or tonic is a water-based product that you use after cleansing and before moisturizing. It prepares your skin for the rest of your skincare routine. K-Beauty toners are ample in ingredients that impart moisture into the skin and keep water in the skin. Often, you’ll see ingredients like kelp extract, mineral water, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, grapeseed oil, chamomile, and carrot root oil. And although K-beauty might not offer many active ingredients (ingredients that are proven to treat a condition), K-beauty toners do commonly have very hydrating ingredients.

Moreover, essences can help to further cleanse the skin and balance pH. When the skin’s pH balance is off this can lead to inflammation, dryness, and likewise, an overproduction of oil. 

What is an essence?

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Water Essence -$26.90

An essence is also a lightweight, watery liquid that hydrates the skin. Essences might be fermented, and they are meant to add even more dewiness to the skin. In a K-beauty routine, toners are applied right before essences to help the moisture absorb. But unlike serums, toners and essences don’t necessarily target specific skin concerns. Once again, they are meant to give a deeper level of hydration and balance.

What is a serum?

Serums are skin care products that are designed to deliver high concentrations of specific active ingredients (ingredients proven to treat conditions) to the skin. In K-beauty serums, you might see anti-inflammatory and botanical actives like licorice root or ginseng. Although not common, it is possible to see gentle AHAs such as lactic acid with in K-beauty serums. 

Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop - $23

What is a sheet mask?


Papa Recipe Eggplant & Carrot Sheet Mask -$19.99

Sheet masks are like inexpensive facials. Sheet masks are soaked in hydrating essences, but they can also include ingredients such as tea tree for acne control. So, why do they come in sheet form? Once you put it on your face, the sheet keeps the essence from evaporating. And since sheet mask lay on the skin, the antioxidants and vitamins are able to penetrate the skin's top layer more effectively.

There soothing effect is also prolonged. Likewise, sheet mask can reduce inflammation, brighten, and can make pores look much less intense. 

Typically, you put on a sheet mask after a serum. Serums can help the barrier-boosting ingredients of sheet masks to penetrate deeper. For example, a serum with exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid or rice bran would help the ceramides in a sheet mask reach the lower layers of the skin. 

After applying ample hydration, K-beauty routines normally top everything off with a moisturizer or a cica-moisturizer (thick moisturizer)! This way, all of the hydration is trapped in the skin. 

Barrier-supporting skin ingredients

Across the board, K-beauty is known to have barrier-supporting and soothing ingredients such as niacinamide and glutathione. And even though K-beauty is not heavy on actives, these are common actives found in K-beauty!

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide, is a form of vitamin B3. Niacinamide is great at controlling inflammation, oil production. Niacinamide is also a great antioxidant and can prevent irritation and redness as well as decrease it.Moreover, niacinamide can help your skin build collagen and strengthen its ceramide or lipid barrier. And therefore, it also helps your skin retain moisture overtime, especially if your skin barrier is already compromised.

What is glutathione?

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals. Glutathione also encourages skin renewal (cellular turnover and collagen production. It’s great to use it with sunscreen because it also can help heal from the damage caused by UV rays, and environmental toxins. 

Furthermore, did you know that glutathione also blocks tyrosinase, the enzyme that produces melanin? Therefore, it’s great for lightening dark spots, blemishes, or scars. However, the best treatment for this is sunscreen or UV protection which is also very important in K-beauty.

Affordability that allows consistency

Most K-beauty products are mid-to low-priced, and affordability allows us to buy things over a long period of time. In turn, having access to something for a long time allows us to be consistent with our skin care regimen. On average, it takes about 30 days to see results with a skincare product, so imagine the results when you’re able to be consistent for months on end! So overall, K-beauty is accessible, gentle, and effective.

Photocred: Prexel