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The standard of Korean beauty is a healthy and glowing complexion nourished from within. When it comes to skincare, Korea is on top of its game.
One of the best products K-beauty has introduced are ampoules. These products are highly concentrated with vitamins and enzymes that help target specific skin problems. Because it’s a must-have for your beauty regimen, I’m listing my top 5 Korean-standard ampoules.
The 5 Best Korean Ampoules
Dry skin is such a hassle. Especially when it results to flakiness that will ruin even professionally applied makeup. If you have this problem, then you better invest in a highly moisturizing ampoule.
My personal favorite hydrating ampoule is this one from Mizon. This ampoule is packed with 80 percent of one of the most moisturizing ingredients in the industry — snail mucin. It also packs a strong reputation for skincare, Korean standard-wise.
Snail mucin is known for its hydrating, brightening, and healing powers. Ampoules containing snail mucin are great for those with dry skin and those who suffer from breakouts. It effectively alleviates common skin problems to give it a chance to have that healthy glow.
This ampoule is also good for those with aging skin and is a good ingredient to look for when you want to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Effectively moisturizes dry skin
- Not suitable for those allergic to snail mucin
Best for Acne-Prone Skin
There’s nothing more annoying than having skin prone to acne, especially if you are sensitive to certain ingredients commonly used in cosmetics. That’s why I love this Cosrx ampoule so much because it effectively reduces blemishes and prevents future breakouts all while still being friendly to sensitive skin.
Glancing over the ingredients list will tell you why this ampoule is such a good match for sensitive and acne-prone skin. It is manufactured cruelty-free and contains no harmful chemicals like sulfate, paraben, silicone, and alcohol.
The main ingredient is Centella Asiatica Leaf Water. Ampoules in this composition help normalize sebum production. Ampoules containing Centella are also known for its anti-aging capabilities and healing benefits. In fact, this extract reduces sun damage and stretch marks. This substance has a greenish color, so it gives the product a green tea effect from the outside.
Centella Asiatica also has a copper complex to aid its absorbency. This is another strength of Centella leaf water ampoules. However, this ampoule shows a slightly sticky consistency that may be off-putting for some people. Your skin completely absorbs this eventually, but you may not enjoy the waiting process too much.
However, overall, this is the best addition to your routine if you are struggling with sensitive acne-prone skin.
- Contains Centella Asiatica that balances sebum production
- Effectively prevents acne
- Sticky texture upon application
Best for Sensitive Skin
We are aware of honey’s sweet benefits to the skin. But aside from honey, bees also produce another substance that help in skin care — Propolis. Tosowoong took this beneficial ingredient and packaged it in a convenient bottle.
Propolis has been used since ancient times. The name is derived from the words pro (before) and polis (city). It literally means before the city, which means defender of the city. The bacteria-fighting properties of this substance are so potent people used to cover newcomers with this for sterilization.
Propolis is made from tree sap mixed with beeswax. This is why it’s so effective for skin sensitivity. It combines the power of the chemicals from trees to withstand environmental aggressors and the antibacterial properties of beeswax.
In addition, Propolis makes the skin more elastic and firm because of its toning abilities. It gives a lot of skin benefits without triggering sensitivity.
The only downside I found with this ampoule is the fact it contains some citrus oils. This is not really a problem, but some skin types may not be able to handle the phototoxicity that may come with the result of sun exposure.
Just make sure you wear effective sunscreen before you go out. It’s a must anyway, so this would not even be adding any more steps to your routine.
- Contains propolis that helps the skin withstand aggressors
- Helps increase the rate of skin healing
- Contains citrus oils that may trigger phototoxicity
Best in Anti-Aging
Here’s something you may not associate with skin care: fermentation.
As a process, fermentation is the chemical breakdown of bacteria or other microorganisms through enzyme actions. It is commonly used in making alcohol, yogurt, and bread. However, it is also extremely useful in manufacturing anti-aging cosmetics.
Missha knows this, which is why they came up with their Time Revolution Night Repair. The main ingredient for this ampoule is Bifida Ferment. It is best known for its ability to help the skin become less reactive and sensitive to environmental skin aggressors.
Overall, fermentation increases the level of antioxidants in skin. As a result, it fights off free radicals that can age the skin faster.
Another factor of skin aging is collagen depletion. Fermentation also helps in this regard by increasing collagen production. As a result, the skin becomes plumper and more elastic, toning it further.
Even though the name suggests this ampoule is for nighttime application, it works just as well during the day.
However, before purchasing this product, make sure you’ve actually tested it first. There are some users who had allergic reactions to it. Try out samples first and if you don’t notice any adverse reaction, this ampoule is definitely worth it.
- Increases collagen production
- Effectively strengthens the skin’s defenses against environmental aggressors
- Can cause allergic reactions to some people
Best for Brightening
Who doesn’t want a brighter, more radiant skin? With this Tony Moly ampoule, you can achieve that coveted look.
The main brightening ingredients of this ampoule are lemon peel oil and Vitamin B12. Lemon peel oil contains a high concentration of Vitamin C along with antioxidants that clarify the skin by gentle exfoliation. It can also kill bacteria that can result in breakouts.
Vitamin B12, on the other hand, helps prevent hyperpigmentation. The result? A brightening effect for healthy, glowing skin.
Additional ingredients include safflower seed oil that promotes healing of wounds as well as matricaria flower extract excellent for dry skin.
This ampoule is able to help you achieve that brightened look without adding synthetic fragrances or parabens.
The reasons why we gave this ampoule a slightly lower rating is because it contains silicone. Ampoules containing silicone can potentially clog your pores. This is the reason why it is not recommended for oily skin. So if you have this skin type, it’s best to look for another product.
- Contains lemon peel and Vitamin B12 that helps brighten skin
- Container has gradations to tell how much of the product is left
- Has safflower seed oil that promotes wound healing
- Contains silicone
- Not good for oily skin
Ampoules vs. Serum vs. Essence
It’s hard to draw the line between these products because they essentially perform the same function. However, their main distinctive feature is their concentration. Among the three, ampoules are the most concentrated, followed by serum and essence. You could think of the ampoule as a more powerful serum that can target specific skin problems.
So ampoules are basically concentrated products with very potent components. They are meant to deliver a great amount of active ingredients to your skin. For example, a hydrating ampoule carries concentrated hyaluronic acid in every drop.
Essences are usually applied before applying the serum in order to create another layer of protection. However, there is a thin line between the two especially now that naming the product is done mostly for marketing purposes. Serums are more popular in Western countries while essences are more well-known in Asia.
The Benefits of Ampoules
Because ampoules are able to deliver highly concentrated vitamins and enzymes to the skin, they are effective in targeting specific problems.
It is common to use a serum in lieu of an ampoule because the latter may cause adverse reactions if used daily. However, there are ampoules in the market today that are designed for safe, daily use. Just to make sure though, check the label and directions first before purchasing any product.
If you want to achieve results faster, ampoules are a great way to get there. They contain only a small number of ingredients in every bottle to make sure the potent elements are properly concentrated.
If you want to accelerate effects such as anti-aging, hydrating, improving fine lines, and fixing dull complexions, incorporate an ampoule in your weekly beauty routine.
When and How to Use Ampoules
Generally, ampoules can be skipped if you are already using serums and essences. However, ampoules can do wonders for your skin if you’re serious about your regimen.
It is important to look at the label of each product to determine how long it may be used after opening. This is because ampoules usually don’t have preservatives and harmful ingredients so they last relatively shorter compared to other beauty products.
This is also the reason why ampoules come in such small bottles. Ampoules are very concentrated and they target specific skin problems, so if you have a definite skin concern, you should use one.
If you follow the 10-step Korean skin care routine, you should use ampoules after applying the emulsion.
Dab a small amount of the ampoule on your clean hands or directly onto your cheeks. Gently tap the ampoule in an upward direction until it is completely absorbed by the skin. Take a few seconds before applying the next product in your routine.
How to Choose the Best Korean Ampoule for Your Skin Type
The first thing you should do when looking for the perfect ampoule is to figure out what skin problem you want to fix.
As mentioned earlier, ampoules contain potent elements so they should have only a few ingredients. If you find ampoules with a long ingredients list, you may want to stay away. Remember an ampoule targets specific skin concerns and does not solve all of them.
Once you figure this out, the next step is to look for a list of the best ampoules for that specific problem. Check the ingredients to make sure you are not allergic to any of them.
Some of these products can be aggravating to those with sensitive skin, especially if it’s your first time. Apply only a small amount of the ampoule at the back of your ear first to see if you have any allergic reactions to the product. Observe this for 24 hours.
If there are no adverse reactions, you can move on to apply the product to the whole face. This is done preferably at night before going to bed. In this way, the ampoule is more efficiently absorbed, increasing the benefits to your skin.
The Bias Towards Korean Skin Care Products
Korean beauty is known worldwide because of its healthy glow. Instead of piling on layers of makeup, K-beauty emphasizes a good complexion and clearly shows due to years of great skin care. Korean brands, although stereotyped, have consistently maintained their reputation so it’s only fair to say how safe and beneficial it is for your skin.
I specifically chose to list Korean ampoules here because when it comes to skincare, Korea holds some of the best high-quality and trusted products today. And because their culture places lofty emphasis on skin care, you can trust these products are well-manufactured and safe.
When it comes to skin care, an ampoule is a wonderful way to make sure you target your skin problems effectively. This is why I’ve listed the best ampoule for your specific skin concerns.
If your problem is flaky and dry skin, it’s best to go for the hydrating and moisturizing Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule because of its high moisturizing properties. If it’s your acne that’s been bothering you, try the Cosrx Centella Blemish Ampoule.