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K-Beauty Glossary: A Guide to Korean Skincare Terms - M Tips 73

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K-Beauty Glossary: A Guide to Korean Skincare Terms - M Tips 73

You’re brand new to K-Beauty, and you want to build your personalized skincare routine. But what are all these words and terms on the packaging? “Hydrating emulsion?”“Pore-tightening skin?“ You must be asking yourself what does all this mean, and where are the toners and lotions? Now, don’t be taken aback. Korean products often have different words/terms for products that you might actually be familiar with. Today, I’m going to guide you guys through a couple of these Korean skincare terms that will help make your shopping experience a lot easier!

K Beauty Glossary AC

AC (에이씨)

No, not air conditioner. AC indicates the product is for acne/acne-care. 

Check it out: [Dewytree] AC CTRL Deep Mask 

K Beauty Glossary emulsion

Emulsion (에멀젼)

An emulsion is a lightweight moisturizer - think of it like as a lotion as opposed to a cream. Or think of the word emollient, which essentially means moisturizer. They are to be applied after your serums. Emulsions are typically worn during the daytime for moisture that isn’t too heavy, or they can be layered at night time for extra hydration.

Check it out: [Papa Recipe] Egg Plant Clearing Emulsion 


K Beauty Glossary essebce

Essence (에센스)

The term essence is another of those K-Beauty exclusive words. Essentially, they are like serums in that they are concentrated in active ingredients. However, essences have a lighter texture so that they can absorb into the skin faster. So, think of them as a hybrid between a toner and a serum. Some may focus on hydration or anti-aging. Essences also boost the effectiveness of the products you layer on top of them such as your night cream.  

Check it out: [Secret Key] Starting Treatment Essence & [COSRX] Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence 

Expiration Date: How to read expiration dates on Korean products. Most companies either provide an expiration date, accompanied by the word 까지 (“until”, “use by”, “expired by”) or 사용기한 (“deadline of use”). Some indicate the manufacturing date with the word 제조. Generally, you would add 2.5 - 3 years after the manufacturing date to know your expiration date. Check out our previous blog to get more in-depth with expiration dates.


K Beauty Glossary mist


Mist (미스트)

A mist is something that you might be familiar with. In American cosmetics, the term “spray” is more commonly used. Nevertheless, mists are usually toners that are in misting bottles. Typically, mists are facial moisture sprays to spritz on before or after makeup to either prep the skin or to relieve dryness throughout the day. Some mists are much like your typical setting spray which help lock your makeup in place.

Check it out: [It's Skin] Pure Moisture Mist 

K Beauty Glossary pack

Pack (팩)

Another term for mask that usually has a gel, cream, or clay formula. You usually would spread them over your face and eventually wash them off. Sleeping packs are worn overnight for deep hydration.

Check it out: [Laneige[ Water Sleeping Mask 

Peeling (필링): No, you won’t be actually peeling off your skin. Basically, it means exfoliating.


K Beauty Glossary skin

Skin (스킨) / Water (워터)

Skin is another common way of saying toner. Water is a similar term for toner, but this type of product focuses more on cleansing, almost like a micellar water. Either which way, these products get rid of any leftover residue as well as balance your skin’s pH level after cleansing with its an initial boost of moisture.

Check it out: [Papa Recipe] Eggplant Clearing Skin & [Son & Park] Beauty Water

K Beauty Glossary whitening

Whitening (화이트닝/미백)

These are one of those alarming terms you see on packaging. No, these products won’t literally whiten or bleach your skin. Whitening is interchangeable with the word "brightening". However, some whitening products might have some type of sunscreen in them to make your skin look more light.

Here are some other common Korean skincare words: 

건성 피부 (“gun-sung-pibu”): Dry skin

복합성 피부 (“bok-hab-sung-pibu”): Combination skin

지성 피부 (“ji-sung-pibu”): Oily skin

수분 (“soo-boon”): Moisture

진정 (“jin-jung”): Calming, soothing

보습 (“bo-seub”): Hydrating

영양 (“yung-yang”): Nourishing, nutrient

탄력 (“tan-lyeok”): Elasticity    

탱탱 (“taeng-taeng”): Bouncy, firm

유분기 (“yoo-boon-gi”): Oil

모공 (“moh-gong”): Pore

I hope that you guys found this informative, and if there are any words, terms, or phrases that you would like to know about, drop it down in the comments below! 

Until the next one,

Stay Beautiful~ 


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