The first time I washed my car after moving to Los Angeles, I was really confused. Did I drive through something weird? Why was the water black? It took me a while to realize that’s just the dirt in the air. It was soon in my apartment, gathering on my windowsills. It continued to be black. I was horrified that this was also the air I was breathing and touching with my skin all the time…
And that is how I came to be really diligent with my skincare routine. Soap and water would no longer cut it — I needed to really deep clean my pores and do it regularly. I’ve since tested many dozens of products, gotten a pretty solid routine down, and found that no country creates better skincare products than South Korea.
So, here are my picks for the best Korean skincare products for cleansing, covering and caring for your pores:
I love this product so much. It is a transparent balm you apply to your skin before makeup to even it out, minimize pores and create a smooth surface. It smells powdery fresh, and it goes on so smoothly. It’s also just delightful to apply this — it feels like you’re gently massaging the most luxurious, velvety serum into your face. The effect is immediate: your skin will look soft and perfect. It’s also moisturizing (obviously, hence the name) and can help hide enlarged pores, fine lines, acne scars, etc. The balm even comes with a little spoon in the package to keep the product hygienic when you scoop some out. They thought of everything.
This product is amazing! Etude House actually has a small collection of Zero Sebum products, and now I plan to pick up every single one of them because this White Sebum Clear is so wonderful. It is a cream that you apply to afflicted areas (chin, nose, forehead, etc.), leave on for a few minutes and then wipe off. It is supposed to melt away the lumps of oily, waxy sebum that can build up on the face. The first time I used it, I didn’t notice that it did anything and thought it was a dud purchase. However, when I tried it again a while later, I noticed the difference immediately. I applied the cream at night and cleaned it off before bed. The next day, my skin was already noticeably smoother and my pores clearer. Now I use the product regularly, and I can’t recommend it enough.
This cleansing oil is really interesting. When you pump it out of the bottle, you can feel it heating up in your hands. It gets even hotter as you apply it to your face. The warming effect helps clear away built-up dirt and makeup in your pores, and then you finish the process by rinsing your face with cold water to tighten the pores again. It’s supposed to cleanse, mildly exfoliate, and control sebum. I like this cleansing oil, and it leaves the skin feeling clean and soft. But, although it boasts Persian lilac as the main ingredient, it definitely feels more chemically. You don’t want to get it in your eyes or mouth because it burns horribly and tastes worse. Not that that’s happened to me, of course.
It’s very fun to have a reliable face mask to slip into your skincare routine every so often. I like this one from Caolion, which contains charcoal powder, ginkgo balboa leaf extract, oat flour and other ingredients that are supposed to help cleanse pores. You massage the mask into your dry face and, in a few minutes, it will begin to bubble up with tons of micro oxygen bubbles that are intended to deep-cleanse the pores, hydrate, eliminate excess sebum, and remove dead skin cells. I noticed an immediate difference in my skin the day after my first use of this pore pack. My face was clearer and brighter. Plus, it just feels kind of weird and relaxing to have the bubbles fizzing on your face. Definitely try this mask out. It’s an experience.