Korean Skincare Made for Black Skin

Ironically, K-beauty products have many properties that benefit black or dark skin. I purposely used the word ironically because dark skin is not the preferred skin tone here in Korea. And so, manufacturers aren’t necessarily making skincare products for black women. However, many K-beauty products are created and include ingredients that target the concerns black women have.

An Ironic Skincare Match

Why are K-beauty Products Made for Black Women?

It is no secret that the Korean culture prefers fair skin. Korean women wear head-to-toe clothing to protect themselves from the sun. The tint on car windows is so dark, you can’t see inside. As a matter of fact, it’s the only place I’ve seen tint on the windshields – which is dangerous. And lastly, spas offer a reverse tanning procedure that promises to make skin iridescent.

I avoided many K-beauty products because they contained bleaching agents. I love my dark skin color, so I have no desire to lighten my skin. As such, there are definitely K-beauty products that are not made for me.

K-beauty Principles Are Made for Black Skin

However, there are a number of K-beauty products that address our main concerns such as anti-aging, hyperpigmentation, acne, and dull skin. These products don’t have lightning agents. In essence, many Korean beauty properties are made with these principles in mind:

  • Hydration
  • Hanbang Ingredients (holistic & natural ingredients)
  • Pampering, ritual experience, ie. 10-step facial
  • Gentle exfoliations, avoiding skin damage
  • Brighteners (not whiteners)
  • Inexpensive

The last one is more a desire than an actual practice. I initially bought some expensive skin care products when I first arrived in Korea. But it’s not necessary. On the contrary, there are some excellent K-beauty products that give you a bigger bang for your buck.


Gentle Foaming Cleanser

Initially, I used to use a lot more of the Suhwhasoo product line. However, there’s no denying that it’s top of the K-beauty food chain. Unfortunately, it’s also pricey. I found great substitutions for the other products. But I love Suhwhasoo’s Gentle Foaming Cleanser, so I’m sticking with it.

The bottle is huge so I feel it’s worth the price. And you don’t need a lot, trust me. As a result, a little cleanser goes a long way. The foam feels luxurious, and afterward, I feel “so fresh and so clean, clean”. Lol.

The active ingredients include: a rich blend of holistic/ traditional ingredients, brightening citrus peel, and chestnut shell extract

Then I Met You

The Giving Essence

Some people don’t think an essence is necessary, but I beg to differ. In fact, this essence allows the serums (and everything else) I use to work better. Could I get away without it? Probably. Will I? Nope. The silky-smooth texture nourishes and hydrates my skin. And the antioxidants it packs help to calm my skin from all the effects of living in Korea.

My main goal for skincare is to even out the tone of my skin. I want to brighten, not lighten, my skin to give it a healthy glow. And I believe Then I Met You’s The Giving Essence is a key component in my daily regimen.

Active Ingredients Include fermented sake, niacinamide (brightening), antioxidant-rich red algae, berries, and ellagic acid. It also includes polyglutamic acid (plumps skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles).

Good Molecules

Niacinamide Brightening Toner

The Good Molecules line of products is especially impressive. Actually, if I didn’t know better, I’d think this particular K-beauty line was developed specifically for dark skin. I love everything I’ve tried so far. I’ve tried the Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Patches as well as the Gentle Retinol Cream. But the Niacinamide Brightening Toner is undoubtedly one of my favorite products ever.

Active Ingredients include: Niacinamide, Glycerin (hydration), Arbutin (evens tone, brightens, hyperpigmentation), and can help with the appearance of scars, 1,2-hexanediol (boosts the efficacy of other products, skin softener), and Propanediol (humectant and emollient)

Discoloration Correcting Serum

The Discoloration Correcting Serum works well. In fact, it has visibly corrected the dark pigmentation on my cheeks, chin, and neck without over-correcting. Consequently, my skin is bright, not light. And as a result, my skin has a youthful glow.

This is probably the only product with Butylene Glycol which is an alcohol. I haven’t had any problems. However, if you have sensitive skin, I would suggest you do a patch test or avoid using this serum every day.

Active Ingredients Include: Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide

Pineapple Exfoliating Powder

I misunderstood exfoliation for years. I thought it wasn’t working unless the product was harsh, abrasive, and left me feeling raw.

Mix the Pineapple Exfoliating Powder with a couple of drops of water. It instantly turns into a creamy lather that feels like satin. Exfoliation should be gentle, leaving the face feeling refreshed and polished. As a result, the visible effects are gradual. And over time, my skin rejuvenates naturally.

Active Ingredients Include: Vitamin-rich starch & silk powder, Calamine Powder & Allantoin (hydration, hyperpigmentation), and Enzyme-rich Pineapple, Kiwi, & Papaya Extracts.

Secret Key

Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel

The Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel is my other go-to exfoliation product. It is a dry use (no water) gel. Therefore, there are no granules in the gel. Apply exfoliation in circular motions until the dead skin cells and impurities roll off the skin. If I had a vat of this, I’d jump in it every morning. It feels that good.

Active Ingredients Include: Citric Acid and Vitamin C


Like Butter

I love Like Butter, but I don’t use it on my face. Instead, I massage it onto the old scars I received on the playground when I was young. And the newer ones I received from various surgeries.

Like Butter is a fantastic addition to my daily routine. Consequently, I’ve noticed a difference after a few weeks of use. I am in love with this serum! It’s part of my K-beauty routine and helps fade hyperpigmentation on black skin. It’s not magic, and it takes time to see the results. You need to be patient and give it time to work.

Active Ingredients Include: Green Tea Extract, Ginseng, and Chinese Rhubarb Root (anti-inflammatory), Colloidal Oatmeal (calm skin), Turmeric (strengthen the skin’s barrier, hyperpigmentation), and Madeassoside (hyperpigmentation)

Are you as surprised as I am that K-beauty products use ingredients that target the concerns most black women have with our skin? Are there any other K-beauty product lines I should check out?

If you’re looking for more K-products for black women, you won’t want to miss this article on where to find curly hair products in Korea! Click Here to read more.

🇺🇸 Stacey Peters

I started blogging, writing, and taking travel-related photos to stay in touch with my friends and family while I traveled around the world with my soldier. So far, we've lived on three continents and traveled to more than 70 countries. Every new country increases my desire to see more. I have a passion for history, wine, and new experiences. This is the third time we've been assigned to live in Korea. We had the chance to go anywhere, but we chose to return to Korea one last time before my husband retired from military service. We chose Korea over Germany because we have a lot of Korean National friends, we love the food, culture, and traditions. I have enjoyed living in Korea, but I realized I hadn't immersed myself in the community. I had a ton of "surface level" knowledge, and that's okay for some people. But not me. So we returned to Korea to take everything we had left on the table off. I have had many experiences understanding what to do but not why I should do it. So I intend to delve deeper, ask why instead of what, and find out what I don't know I didn't know. Lol.