Before the K-beauty craze officially landed stateside, in a time where skin care sourced from Seoul had yet to appear on Sephora shelves from South Dakota to San Juan, there was Soko Glam. Launched by Charlotte Cho in 2012, the online mecca of all things K-beauty was one of the first retailers to bring skin essences, snail serums, and ampoules to the Western masses. So it's fair to consider the site, and the experts behind it, an authority in the industry — and therefore the right people to handpick the most innovative K-beauty products of the year.
Today, Soko Glam announced the winners of its annual Best of K-Beauty Awards, and they're good. Each of the awards was hard-earned: For a product to qualify, it must have been curated by the site within the past year, received rave reviews from the community, deemed a "must-have" by the Soko Glam team, and achieved best-seller status. It's a tall order, but one that these 10 K-beauty skin-care products clearly had no trouble achieving. The best of the best, ahead — and through October 16, you can use the promo code SGBOKB18 to score 15% off every single one.
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2 of 10
The high concentration of mushroom extract in this skin-smoothing ampoule helps stimulate collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while panthenol, sodium hyaluronate, and aloe hydrate and sooth irritation and redness.
4 of 10
Ideal for all skin types, this toner maintains a pH of 5.5, which works to balance the skin after cleansing. The star ingredient, licorice water, is known for its brightening power — and, paired with green-tea extract, it also works to calm irritation and reduce pigmentation.
5 of 10
So it's not technically a skin-care product in that it's not for your face, but this innovative "hair essence" brings skin-care properties to your hair-care routine. Formulated with snail mucin, it works by coating hair — without stickiness — to protect from heat and boost shine, along with keratin to replenish protein.
6 of 10
This AHA/BHA acne treatment is shaped like a jumbo-sized cotton swab, which allows you to cover even more terrain (like around the sides of your nose and cheeks). With lactic and glycolic acids, plus a blend of tea tree, lemon, and bamboo, it does the most for naturally exfoliating and nixing blemishes without causing redness or irritation.
7 of 10
Why use cleanser and makeup remover separately when you can use both in one? Made with 70% tea-tree leaf water, this cleanser only includes 10 ingredients, all of which are key for removing makeup and impurities as well as gently treating clogged pores and breakouts with antibacterial properties.
8 of 10
An overnight mask like no other, this pudding-like concoction clings to skin and absorbs on contact, so you don't have to worry about sacrificing a pillowcase in the name of good skin. The marquee ingredient of vitamin E gets a brightening boost from niacinamide, and because it's so lightweight, you can even use it off-label as a daytime moisturizer.
9 of 10
This multitasking cream — which is packed with nourishing ceramides and an inflammation-fighting compound known as madecassoside — excels in strengthening the skin's natural moisture barrier, to hydrate, plump, and fend off irritation while also increasing the skin's ability to protect itself in the long-term.