Our K-beauty glossary offers quick explanations on a variety of K-beauty terms you may come across as you shop on Cupidrop. So, whether you knew or experienced, be sure to check-in with our glossary to clear up any confusion and go back to building your routine asap.

Acne Patches

A safe way to conceal and protect blemishes while also providing topical care overnight and throughout the day.


Potent serums that contain minimal ingredients for maximum benefits. Use these targeted solutions right before creams or add a drop and mix them up.


AHA stands for alpha-hydroxy acids. AHA hydrates the skin, improves skin texture, and evens out skin tone. AHA also improves signs of aging by decreasing skin degradation and stimulating collagen production.


BHA stands for beta-hydroxy acids. BHA targets pores and combats acne thanks to its oil-soluble properties. BHA also exfoliates the skin and has a variety of skin-calming properties that soothes sensitive skin..


Bifida Ferment Lysate is a type of probiotic obtained by the fermentation of Bifida. Studies have found that it helps prevent skin damage from exposure to UV light, hydrate the skin, and strengthen the skin's immune system of the participants. The ingredient had also helped soothe inflammation and reduce dry skin.


Bakuhiol comes from the seeds and leaves of the "Babchi" plant and is the popular retinol alternative that stimulates celluar turnover and collagen production without skin irritating.

Cica (Centella)

Also commonly known as gotu kola or tiger grass, is an antioxidant-rich moisturizer for sensitive skin. The word “cica” is a shortening of Centella asiatica, an herb native to some parts of Asia and Africa. It has gained popularity in skincare thanks to its soothing and healing properties. Often found in K-beauty products, cica has been touted as a miracle ingredient that’s gentle enough for even the most sensitive and reactive skin types.


The first and most important step of any skincare routine. Cleansers wash away any pollution, dirt, grime, sebum, and makeup lingering on your skin. They clean, clarify, and prep your skin for the routine to come.

Cleansing Balm

Cleansing balms are creamy, rich cleansers that remove dirt and impurities. Cleansing balms are effective at breaking down makeup and dirt because of the natural oils in their formulas.

Cleansing Oil

Cleansing oils are a type of oil-based face wash that simultaneously cleanse the skin and remove makeup. They’re usually formulated with several different kinds of lightweight oils, and they emulsify, or lather, when combined with water.

Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliators, like AHA and BHA, are often featured in liquid solutions as they dissolve the cellular "glue" holding dead skin cells and healthy skin together. These exfoliators do not cause any abrasions but they can increase sensitivity.

Double Cleansing

A common and essential part of any K-beauty routine. Double cleansing involves the use of an oil/balm cleanser first to help remove any dirt and makeup. Then, you follow up with a foam cleanser to gently cleanse and prep your skin.


Exfoliants are one of the best ways to achieve radiantly soft skin as they help remove dead skin cells and impurities from the surface of the skin. Physical and chemical exfoliants are two of its most commonly found in K-beauty.


Lightweight and highly concentrated products that provide additional hydrating, brightening, and repairing benefits prior to your moisturizing step.

Eye Mask

Concentrated masks that help brighten, strengthen, and protect your delicate under eye area from potential aging factors.

Eye Creams

A targeted moisturizer formulated with skin-safe ingredients that targets specific under-eye area issues such as dark circles, hyperpigmentation, and dullness. Should be used prior to your last step.

EWG Verified

A trademark visible on certain products that confirms its formulation is free from EWG chemicals of concern and meets their strict health standards. Shop all EWG™ verified products >


Galactomyces is a type of yeast, a byproduct of the sake fermentation process. The effects of galactomyces were first discovered by sake brewers, who noticed that their hands stayed young even though the rest of their bodies aged. Galactomyces was supposedly the secret ingredient behind their younger, smoother, brighter hands.


Ginseng helps boost the circulation of the blood vessels in the skin which in turn makes the skin firmer reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Its energizing factors assists in brightening and revitalizing the complexion.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that’s naturally found in your body. It is the main component of what gives your skin structure, and is responsible for that plump and hydrated look. It can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water and functions as a humectant and holds water molecules onto the surface of your skin to keep it nice and hydrated.

Houttuynia Cordata

Houttuynia Cordata aka Heartleaf, Fish Mint, Fish Leaf, Fish Wort, Chameleon Plant - has been found to exhibit antibacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to its repairing and soothing properties, Houttuynia Cordata has the ability to add brightness to your skin. It’s one of the best ingredients for all skin types but especially for dry and sensitive skin as it has the power to moisturize, soothe, and anti-inflammatory properties.


Mugwort (Artemisia) is a weed that is commonly used in Asian herbal medicine. Its powers have been known for centuries, and it is even said that mugwort was behind the creation of the first Korean dynasty. It is a healing herb. Mugwort serves as an antibacterial and antifungal. Both of which are excellent skin-protective properties.


Niacinamide reduces inflammation , which may help ease redness from eczema, acne, and other inflammatory skin conditions. Minimizes pore appearance. Keeping skin smooth and moisturized may have a secondary benefit — a natural reduction in pore size over time. Regulates oil

Oil Cleanser

Oil/balm-based cleansers that help breakup makeup, pollution, sebum, and dirt while providing additional epidermal benefits. The first step in a double cleansing routine.


PHAs, including gluconolactone, lactobionic acid, and galactose, are chemical exfoliants that hydrate skin and help reduce the signs of aging. They're less irritating and less likely to cause sun sensitivity than other chemical exfoliants.


Polyphenols are a group of about 4,000 antioxidants. You'll find them naturally in wine, chocolate, fruits like grapes and pomegranates, vegetables, and green tea! It can help repair and rejuvenate and protect your skin from cancer and other forms of sun damage.

Physical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliators rely on micro-abrasions to remove dead skin cells and impurities. Exfoliating scrubs are best worked up to unless your skin has prior experience with them as they can cause increased sensitivity.


A waxy substance formed by the combination of tree sap and beeswax that bees use to create their nests. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that contains amino acids, phenolic acids, phenolic acid esters, flavonoids, cinnamic acid, terpenoids, and caffeic acid. It's totally safe for use in your everyday skincare routine. It provides moisture for those with dry skin, and is even recommended to those with oily skin.

Rice (Rice Extract. Fermented Rice)

Rich in Vitamin E and B, minerals, oyzanol and pitera, rice has plenty of skin-loving components. It’s an effective ingredient for all skin types. One of the key components in rice is a substance called оуzаnоl, which helps the skin to renew its pigment. The Vitamin E content in rice also nourishes the skin, keeping it soft.

Skin Barrier

Skin barrier is the outermost layer of skin cells (the stratum corneum) plus the lipid matrix (composed of ceramides, cholesterols and fatty acids) that holds those cells together. You can think of the skin barrier like a brick wall. It is responsible for maintaining skin hydration, softness and firmness.

Snail Mucin

Snail Mucin, aka Snail Secretion Filtrate, contains Hyaluronic Acid, Allantoin, and Antioxidants—all good nutrients for hydrating the skin, preventing aging, improving wrinkles, and increasing collagen production.

Spot Creams

Topical acne treatments that help soothe, protect, and heal blemishes to help minimize long term scarring.

Sun Creams

Another word for sunscreen! Sun cream is often used in K-beauty to refer to a product that nourishes and protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays thanks to its SPF rating.


A vital step in your routine. Toners prepares your skin for the rest of your routine while providing central elements that target your specific skincare concerns.

Vegan Certified

A globally recognized trademark that signifies that a product does not contain meat, fish, fowl, animal by-products, eggs or egg products, milk or milk products, honey or honey bee products, insects or products from insects such as silk or dyes, or sugar filtered with bone char or be processed with any animal products or by-products.

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