Korean gentle exfoliator

Best Gentle Korean Exfoliator to Avoid Damaging Skin Barrier

KOREAN EXFOLIATOR for All skin Types

As a person with sensitive skin, It has been a journey trying to find products that do the job of removing my dead skin cells and cleaning my pores without being overly stripping and sensitizing. Even though I suggest reading all recommendations to find the best fit for your skin type, if you prefer to check the top-rated Korean exfoliator skincare products first, click the image below to see the reviews directly.

Top-rated Korean Facial Exfoliator

If you’ve been into skincare for a while I’m sure you’ve come across many harsh scrubs that have left your skin feeling tight and red, or chemical exfoliants that have either stung or burnt. I am definitely guilty of thinking that if a product tingled or if my face felt squeaky clean afterward, the product had ‘done the job’. When in reality stripping my skin and exfoliating abrasively only damaged my skin barrier and made my skin more dry and sensitive. So, I tried to find a gentle Korean exfoliator for oily skin and would like to share these top Korean skincare products.

Best Overall: By Wishtrend Green Tea Enzyme Powder Wash

by-wishtrend-green-tea-powder
Ingredient Callouts :

#Alcohol-free #Essential oil-free #Fragrance-free #Paraben-free #Sulfate-free #Cruelty-free #Vegan

Key Ingredients :
  • Hydrating: Sodium Hyaluronate, Betaine
  • Brightening: Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C)
Cautions for Use :

None (All green level ingredients)

This is a powder cleanser that also doubles as a scrub. It’s extremely gentle and provides a light scrub for a few seconds before completely dissolving into a cleanser. It contains a high content of Green tea which is a popular ingredient in Korea for anti-aging, soothing skin sensitivity, and antioxidant protection. It also contains Papain Enzyme, Coconut-derived Surfactant, and Baking Soda that dissolve blackheads and dead skin cells for more even and brighter skin.

How to Use :

After wetting your hands, drop a coin-sized amount of powder into your palm and rub until Half of the powder has dissolved. Then, rub your face gently until everything has dissolved and rinse off.

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Best Pore-Care: Isntree Real Mugwort Clay Mask

isntree real mugwort clay mask - Korean face mask
Ingredient Callouts :

#Alcohol-free #Essential oil-free #Fragrance-free #Paraben-free #Sulfate-free #Cruelty-free

Key Ingredients :
  • Exfoliating: Willow Bark Extract, Kaolin, Bentonite
  • Soothing: Panthenol, Allantoin, Beta-glucan, Oat Kernel Extract
Cautions for Use :

None (All green level ingredients)

This product is formulated with 6 kinds of different types of clay including mugwort leaf powder. It’s ideal for oily (greasy), rough-textured, and easily-clogged skin types. Especially, it’s made by soft day formula to care for strong sebum to make your skin clean and clear.

How to Use :

After cleansing, apply it onto a dry face avoiding the eye and mouth areas. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water.

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Best Sebum-Control: Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2X

innisfree face mask
Ingredient Callouts :

#Alcohol-free #Fragrance-free #Essential Oil-free #Paraben-free #Sulfate-free

Key Ingredients :
  • Exfoliating: Lactic Acid, Kaolin, Bentonite
  • Soothing: Green Tea Extract
Cautions for Use :

None (All green level ingredients)

innisfree jeju volcanic pore clay mask
innisfree jeju volcanic pore clay mask review

This product is formulated with 6 kinds of different types of clay including mugwort leaf powder. It’s ideal for oily (greasy), rough-textured, and easily-clogged skin types. Especially, it’s made by soft day formula to care for strong sebum to make your skin clean and clear.

How to Use :

After cleansing, apply it onto a dry face avoiding the eye and mouth areas. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water.

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Best-selling Korean Gentle Exfoliator in 2021

WHAT IS EXFOLIATION?

Throughout the day our skin is constantly producing more skin cells and discarding our dead ones, this turnover process Is what keeps us looking snatched and youthful. However, unlike a snake who sheds its skin in one go (although that would be fun), humans have a harder time doing so. Exfoliation helps us remove the dead skin cells stuck to the top layer of our skin which in turn creates more evenly textured, smooth, and ‘Pore-less’ looking skin. Also, It can prevent our pores from becoming clogged which is the cause of acne and, can help the other actives in our products penetrate deeper into our skin. 

korean exfoliator review
Best 3 Gentle Exfoliator Detailed Review

TYPES OF EXFOLIATION

There are a few types of exfoliation: 

The first is Physical exfoliation which in the western world is the more well-known method of exfoliation. It includes physical scrubs, brushes, peeling pads, or anything you rub against your skin to get rid of the dead skin cells. This is beneficial for my extremely oily skinned friends who’s skin turns over at a high rate. Physical exfoliation is a great way to get quick but temporary results. 

The next is Chemical exfoliation, to most people’s surprise, it’s a much gentler form of exfoliation that penetrates deeper into the skin providing more long-term results. Not only does it get rid of the dead skin cells it’s known to boost collagen production that helps firm up the skin and reduce wrinkles. The most common chemical exfoliants are AHA’s (this includes glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, etc.) which are great for all skin types, and BHA’s (Salicylic acid) which are more suitable for oily skin. 

AHA BENEFFITS
  • Prevents Acne
  • Reduce appearance of pores
  • Creates more evenly textured skin by decreasing signs of sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation 
BHA BENEFITS
  • Oil-soluble which means it can dissolve sebum deep within the pore that prevents acne/blackheads
  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Anti-bacterial

PHYSICAL Korean Exfoliator

I’m FROM MUGWORT MASK 

im from-Korean face mask for acne

Ingredient Callouts :

#Alcohol-free #Fragrance-free #Essential Oil-free #Paraben-free #Sulfate-free #Cruelty-free

Key Ingredients :

  • Brightening: Licorice Root Extract
  • Soothing: Centella Asiatica Extract, Allantoin, Panthenol, Green Tea Leaf Water
  • Hydrating: Arginine, Glycerin

How to Apply :

After washing your face apply an even layer onto skin and leave on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse face with warm water, rub gently to exfoliate then wash off.

Although this Korean mask isn’t specifically designed for exfoliation, It does a great job of purifying and calming the skin. It’s a wash-off mask and alongside mugwort essence It also contains pieces of mugwort that help exfoliate the skin gently. This mask works with all skin-types and Is great on days when your skin feels extra sensitive and inflamed, and leaves your skin feeling very soothed and hydrated. 

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SKINFOOD Egg White Pore Mask 

skinfood egg white pore mask - blackhead remover

Ingredient Callouts :

#Essential Oil-free #Paraben-free #Sulfate-free

Key Ingredients :

  • Brightening: Albumin
  • Exfoliating: Kaolin, Bentonite, Silica, Malic Acid (AHA), Glycolic Acid (AHA)
  • Hydrating: Urea, Panthenol, Olive Oil

Cautions for Use :

Fragrance, PEG, Alcohol

How to Apply :

After cleansing, apply a moderate amount onto entire face avoiding the eye and lip areas and leave on for 5-10 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water.

SKINFOOD wash-off clay mask is excellent at absorbing things including sebum and gunk in the pores with Kaolin, Bentonite, and Silica. It could be the solution for oily large pores and rough-textured skin with the detoxifying effect. Not only I saw my skin tone-up with Albumin which is the hottest brightening ingredient in Korean skincare and chemical exfoliants like Glycolic Acid (AHA), but it also moisturizing, non-drying at all. I didn’t feel tightness unlike other exfoliators cause it contains calming and hydrating ingredients like Panthenol, Urea, and Olive Oil that do good things for the skin. Especially if it’s dry from the inside, itchy, or prone to skin rashes.

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COSRX ORIGINIAL CLEAR PAD

cosrx original pad

Ingredient Callouts :

#Alcohol-free #Fragrance-free #Paraben-free #Sulfate-free #Cruelty-free

Key Ingredients :

  • Exfoliating: Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Betaine Salicylate
  • Anti-acne: Tea Tree Leaf Oil
  • Soothing: Panthenol, Allantoin, Arginine

Cautions for Use :

Orange Peel Oil might cause irritation onto some sensitive skin.

How to Apply :

After cleansing, take a pad and swipe gently over the face.

This is one of the popular Korean skincare products. It’s a great and compact product for traveling because the textured cotton pads already soaked in essence. It works as both a physical and chemical exfoliator with Willow Bark Water that is a natural BHA ingredient and Betaine Salicylate. I recommend it especially for oily acne-prone skin due to a bunch of anti-acne ingredients. If you are interested in the best-selling products for oily skin from COSRX, head THIS ARTICLE.

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INNISFREE PORE CLEARING MOUSSE CLAY MASK 

INNISFREE PORE CLEARING MOUSSE CLAY MASK

Ingredient Callouts :

Key Ingredients :

  • Exfoliating: Walnut Shell Powder, Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid
  • Sebum Absorption: Volcanic Ash, Kaoline, Bentonite, Silica

Cautions for Use :

Alcohol

How to Apply :

After cleansing the skin pump a ping pong ball size into your hand and apply all over the skin or in your congested areas.  Leave on for 15 minutes until its dry then wash off. 

This mask contains exfoliating-boost ingredients like Volcanic Ash, Kaoline, Bentonite to help draw out sebum and dirt within our pores. Also, It has AHAs and BHAs such as Walnut Shell Powder, Lactic Acid, and Salicylic Acid to remove the dead skin cells that make the skin smooth and toned up. Although I wouldn’t recommend using a clay mask often, This is a great mousse type exfoliator for oily skin to help detoxify certain areas quickly without leaving the skin overly stripped. It is also easy to wash off and doesn’t leave the skin feeling sensitive.

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CHEMICAL Korean Exfoliator

BY WISHTREND MANDALIC ACID 5% Skin Prep Water 

by wishtrend mandelic acid toner

Ingredient Callouts :

#Alcohol-free #Fragrance-free #Essential Oil-free #Paraben-free #Sulfate-free #Cruelty-free #Vegan-friendly

Key Ingredients :

  • Exfoliating: Mandelic Acid
  • Brightening: Licorice Root Extract
  • Soothing: Beta-Glucan, Panthenol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract

How to Apply :

After cleansing apply an adequate amount directly to skin or for more exfoliation use a cotton pad.

This is a great exfoliator for sensitive oily skin. It contains 5% Mandelic acid which is more gentle compared to other AHAs, and promising to fight acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. What’s more, It has a high amount of soothing ingredients such as Panthenol, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Centella Asiatica which is a great calming and moisturizing ingredient. By Wishtrend Skin Prep Water doesn’t burn when applied with all green level ingredients and It does a good job at removing the top layer of dead skin without being overly drying. 

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Wishtrend Bestseller reveiw
Best Wishtrend Products Review (Vegan-friendly)

COSRX BHA BLACKHEAD POWER LIQUID

COSRX BHA Power liquid

Ingredient Callouts :

#Alcohol-free #Fragrance-free #Essential Oil-free #Paraben-free #Sulfate-free #Cruelty-free #Vegan-friendly

Key Ingredients :

  • Exfoliating: Betaine Salicylate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract
  • Brighting: Niacinamide
  • Soothing: Panthenol

How to Apply :

After cleansing, apply a pump directly to the skin or use a cotton pad or more exfoliation. 

This contains 4% of BHA and is a good introductory BHA for oily acne-prone skin. Like most BHA products It’s recommended to start using it once a week and then slowly build up your tolerance. Plus, It contains Niacinamide which is an amazing ingredient for controlling oil, brightening, and hydrating the skin from within. This Korean exfoliator for oily skin is light, easily absorbs into the skin and after using it consistently helps soften the skin’s texture and get rid of any black or whiteheads.

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CosRX Bestsellers in 2021

SOME BY MI AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Serum

some by mi aha bha pha 30 days miracle serum - Korean skin care for oily skin

Ingredient Callouts :

#Cruelty-free, #Paraben-free, #Fragrance-free, #Sulfate-free

Key Ingredients :

  • Exfoliating: Glycolic Acid, Malic Acid, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Lactobionic Acid
  • Brightening: Niacinamide, Turmeric Root Extract, Licorice Root Extract
  • Soothing: Centella Asiatica Extract, Green Tea Extract
  • Anti-acne: Tea Tree Leaf Water

How to Apply :

After toner, shake it to mix well and dispense proper amount from the dropper and apply on cheeks and forehead. Then, gently pat for better absorption.

This Some By Mi serum is excellent for oily acne-prone skin as it’s an effective yet gentle exfoliator and skin cleaner. It brightens the skin tone and makes blemishes lighter with many active ingredients like Niacinamide. At that same time, AHA, BHA, PHA help to remove impurities and dead skin cells while Tea Tree Leaf improves trouble skin mildly and quickly as an antibacterial property to prevent breakouts. If you are suffering from acne, try it and experience the miracle on your skin!

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K-beauty Bestseller with Niacinamide

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I EXFOLIATE?

It depends on your skin type, how sensitive it is, and also how strong the product is (most products will have recommendations on the back). For skin that’s very oily, It’s recommended to exfoliate every other day, For people with dry skin once a week and for normal or combination skin 2-3 times a week. 

best korean face masks

WHAT PRODUCTS TO USE ATER EXFOLIATING?

On days you exfoliate, depending on your skin type and experiences its best to avoid products that contain other strong active ingredients and focus on more soothing and moisturizing ingredients. However, everyone’s skin is different and some people can layer more actives than others so listen to your skin.

! Like most active ingredients, AHAs and BHAs can increase your skins sensitivity to the sun so It’s recommended to wear sunscreen during the day. 

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Before purchasing, don’t forget to check skincare ingredients on labels and EWG Skin Deep ratings could help you as a reference point. For details, head EWG (Environment Working Group) official website.

K-beauty ewg score

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