Discover beauty through professional reviews

NOW READING These Korean Beauty Tools Are So Extra (and I Want Every Single One)
April 17, 2020

These Korean Beauty Tools Are So Extra (and I Want Every Single One)

And in a pinch, some of them may even serve as personal protective equipment (okay, not really).


What if I told you that all those potions and serums arranged aesthetically on your vanity could be even more potent when paired with a jade roller? And that a gua sha can lift your face after a night spent with fries? These days it seems like every celebrity on the skincare train is into beauty tools: Madeleine Petsch, her Riverdale co-star Cami Mendes, Jessica Alba, Korean YouTubers like Beautifymeeh. The trend of incorporating beauty tools into a skincare regimen is growing and here to stay.


I first noticed the creep of beauty tools into skincare routines when I started watching Korean dramas. As my interest in K-beauty intensified, I realized that there are dozens of these tools in Korea that are intended to maximize the effects of skincare. They range from plastic beauty rollers you can get for the price of a coffee and croissant to LED masks worth several exotic vacations.





Many of these tools claim to slim the face (an aspirational Korean beauty standard) and ease signs of puffiness (a side effect of their hard work ethic). They were also designed as DIY at-home alternatives to constant visits to facialists, thus serving as money savers in the long-term.


Let’s take a look at the range of beauty tools and the innovative ways in which they can take skincare to the next level.



Massage machines


In these days of self-isolation, you don’t have to miss out on esthetician services, at least not if you’re Son Ye Jin’s millionaire heiress in Crash Landing on You. In the drama, Son Ye Jin’s character is seen using the Vanav massage machine, which is supposed to help sagging skin and anti-aging.



korean beauty tools
Crash Landing on You



While I believe exercise is a more affordable anti-aging option, Son Ye Jin’s amazing skin greatly tempts me to take this machine’s claims seriously.



Face rollers


I remember seeing face rollers pop up in Korean dramas a few years ago. They’re a great way to de-puff your face, especially after that night of ramyun, binge-drinking, studying, drama-watching (or all of the above). I personally enjoy rolling my face while watching dramas — it feels so good and relaxing!



korean beauty tools
She Was Pretty



While double-sided plastic rollers seem to be popular in Korean dramas, a jade roller is a step above the plastic roller and looks especially pretty on your vanity. I recommend applying a facial oil like the Extra Virgin Camellia Oil from SanDaWha or a light serum like Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum before using a roller so it does not tug at your skin. A tip for those using jade rollers in warmer weather: Stick your jade roller in the fridge and use it in your morning skincare routine to cool and wake up your skin.



Gua sha


Jade rollers are quick and easy, but if you have around five minutes or longer, a gua sha tool helps with a deeper lymphatic drainage massage. I’ve seen several Korean beauty YouTubers incorporating a gua sha into their beauty routines.





I love doing gua sha massages once or twice a week because it helps relieve my tired-looking face and makes me feel (and look) more ready to tackle the day.



Silicone face cleanser


I sat up and took notice when seeing Jin Ki Joo’s character in The Secret Life of my Secretary use a machine to cleanse her face. Cleansing is one of the most (if not most) important steps in a skincare routine, and this silicone cleansing tool is supposed to help with anti-aging as it purges your pores of all the gunk in a gentler way.



korean beauty tools
The Secret Life of My Secretary



The Foreo silicone cleanser is a little too pricey for my student pocket so I got a dupe instead, and I have to say that I cannot imagine my night skincare routine without it! I feel so fresh and clean after using my silicone cleanser.



LED masks


What I love about Korean skincare are the innovations that make you feel like you’re living in a movie from the future. LED masks debuted in the international market quite recently, and I’ve even seen a fairly affordable version from Wishtrend. While I may have to save up for months (or realistically, years) for an LED mask, I would love to try them at some point.



korean beauty tools
Tiffany Young of Girls’ Generation in an LED mask



K-pop star Tiffany from Girls’ Generation mentioned her LED mask in her zillion-step skincare routine, and it whet my appetite for wanting to look futuristic while getting my skin snatched, ha.



Love with Flaws



As a disclaimer, despite the popularity of these masks, their claims are not vetted by clinical research trials. Also keep your skin sensitivity in mind if you are thinking seriously about purchasing an LED mask.



Your hands


Maybe you’re thinking, “Dang son, I don’t have the pennies for those highfalutin’ machines!” Understandable. I’m on a student shoestring budget myself. An LED mask gleaming in my skincare closet must remain a guilty pleasure dream for now. (Besides, I want to wait a few years to see whether these tools weather the hype.)


I find my gua sha and jade roller completely adequate to the task of de-puffing my post-ramyun-noodle-and-drama-binge face. And if you don’t have rollers or a gua sha, you can use your hands! (My Indian mother is glad that I included this free option.) I usually do this face massage once a week and feel blissfully relaxed afterwards.





Please use a light moisturizer or facial oil before attempting any massage so that you do not tug at your skin. I recommend doing it during your night routine before you get into bed, as it can feel both cozy and soothing.


Have you tried any of these Korean beauty tools? What other beauty tools have you spotted in Korean dramas that you’re curious about?



When not traveling and pestering people of varying ages and histories with impertinent questions for research purposes (yes, it’s legit), Becky indulges her passion for narrative by watching Korean dramas (she’s a certified sageuk addict). Her obsession with all things Asian began at the tender age of 5 when her parents moved to Taiwan for a year. Since then she’s travelled and lived in China, India, and South Korea, and spends her face-masking moments planning the next great Asian exploration.




Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I have the Foreo Luna FoFo and I will NEVER cleanse my face without it ever again. I love it so much! I also have a jade roller that I use on my super self care nights and I just love the cooling effect it has


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

All of the beauty tools can be useful! If I had all of them, I would rotate using them or switch it up depending on how I feel. I most definitely think everyone should have the Vanav Massage Machine! Even if you are younger. Just use it moderately. Everyone's skin needs to be treated.


LOVE THIS! A lot of people I've talked to about these brushes, rollers and other tools that help with beauty believe that they just push the bacteria and dirt farther into your pores. If you're using them correctly, and cleaning regularly, you should absolutely notice a difference.


This was a very fascinating to read! I have been using my hands to massage my face almost every single night (well...when I remember haha). I usually do it while I'm watching my nightly shows. A jade roller is high on my shopping list and reading this pushed it right to the top.
I also love my silicon face cleanser! It's a staple in my skin care routine. With it being more gentle than a traditional face brush, I'm way less concerned about irritating my skin by over scrubbing. I love pairing it with my moisturizing face wash :)


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I love using my gua sha with a little bit of oil for better slip. Not only are gua shas great for lymphatic drainage massages, but they can help relieve tension around your head, neck, and shoulders. I have a tendency to clench my jaw so I definitely spend a bit more time massaging that area. And since it is summertime, I like to store it in my skin care fridge to make massages ~extra~ rejuvenating.


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I am a huge fan of my jade roller. I use it every morning and night! When I saw the scene in "Crash Landing On You" of Son Ye Jin using the face massage machine, I immediately looked into what it was. I have not purchased one myself yet as I do love the effects of my jade roller. But, I do believe that many of these products could be beneficial to the right person. Depending on what effects they are looking for in their skincare routine.


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I love that you mentioned using your roller while watching K-dramas! All of my tools are on the low end of the budget spectrum, including my gua sha plate. I'm SO glad you mentioned using a moisturizer or facial oil with these tools because the added "slip" makes the process much more enjoyable! As a Sulwhasoo fan, I use their Benecircle Massage Cream EX with my gua sha or gold massager (which looks like an IUD or "personal" device). The cream works really well on my dry skin, and I simply rinse it off with warm water after finishing the... Read more


I am desperate for beauty tools what a good read here.


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

Thank you Becky I. for a very interesting article, Lol I owned 2 out of items 5 (Jade roller and LED mask for acne) and hope I can try all of them. It is extra, true but who doesn't love extra? Extra loves and cares for yourself is a must! lol

Stay Safe, Stay Beautiful



Loved learning about some of these beauty tools, Becky! I have heard many great things about the silicone face cleansing tool and I'm considering giving that a try! Face rollers are amazing, I swear by mine! They improve microcirculation, which helps with skin tone and texture, and they're great for defining the contours of the face for killer cheekbones and a defined jawline! I love to put it in the fridge and use it with my eye cream to get rid of puffiness!