Are You Fluent in K-Beauty Slang?


By: Elizabeth Lavis

6 Min Quiz

Image: Milos Dimic / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

K-beauty products first came on the global radar a few years ago, when the world fell head over heels in love with products from Korean giants such as Peach & Lily, Tony Moly, Missha and Glow Recipe. These products promised — and delivered — smooth, supple skin with that coveted elastic bounce. The ingredients were not as harsh as some western offerings and nobody could resist the cute packaging. An adorable panda full of a skin-saving tofu pack mask? Sign us up!

K-beauty might have gone mainstream, but very few people can officially say that they are fluent in K-beauty slang. All of the greatest products in the world are not worth much if you don't know what they're supposed to do. If you consider yourself a true beauty and skincare aficionado, this quiz was designed with you in mind. 

Use that big beautiful brain of yours to decipher what these K-beauty slang terms mean, and prove that you're a true expert! Some are fairly easy, but many of the questions refer to products that are true industry secrets, so you could walk away with some insider knowledge and a new product to work into your beauty care rotation. Let's get started, lovelies!

This uber-concentrated dose of serum is designed to kick-start skin healing. What is it?

Ampoules are tiny concentrated doses of serum popular in K-beauty treatments. Most are designed to be used over a two to four-week period, although some can be used daily.


There is no shortage of beauty masks in K-beauty, including the "modeling mask." What sets it apart?

Modeling masks are amazing vessels for delivering anti-aging ingredients because they settle into a gel on your skin and don't dry out, letting the ingredients fully integrate with your face.


True or false? "Boobi boobi" refers to a special kind of kelp K-beauty mask.

Boobi boobi is the adorable alliterative way of saying that you should lightly apply a product using only the tips of your fingertips. It can also refer to a type of dirty dancing.


What humble mollusk is one of the primary ingredients in many anti-aging K-beauty products?

Snail mucin, or extract, is thought to stall the signs of aging through collagen production. Tons of K-beauty product boast snail extract in their lineup of star ingredients, and people swear by it.


The term "pack" is used to describe a plethora of different things. What's the specific K-beauty definition?

If you are checking out the masks in the K-beauty aisle and stumble across some that say "pack," you're looking at highly moisturizing, intensive masks that will deliver a nutrient punch to your skin.


True or false? "Chok Chok" is K-beauty slang for dewy, perfectly hydrated skin.

"Chok Chok" refers to the perfect skin consistency that you'd want to achieve with a hydrating pack or modeling mask. It's the ultimate dewy, moist skin that is plump to the touch.


These miniature doses, known as "capsule beauty" deliver the perfect amount in a cute package. What is their official name?

Monodoses take the guesswork out of your skincare regimen by delivering the perfect dose of ingredients in a tiny package. Some think that monodoses keep active ingredients more intact.


One of the K-beauty secrets of flawless skin is the "double cleanse." What does it mean?

Double cleansing might seem redundant, but many K-beauty devotees swear by it. You first remove makeup and sunscreen with an oil-based cleanser, then follow up with a foam one. Squeaky clean!


A time-consuming but effective method of achieving perfect skin is applying several layers of toner. What's it called?

The 7 Skin Method is a process whereby you apply up to seven layers of toner to freshly washed skin. The idea is that your skin won't get bogged down or clogged with a heavy moisturizer.


You might think of a compact as a powdery disk in your purse, but it's elevated in K-beauty. What is a cushion compact?

Cushion compacts are K-beauty products that combine foundation and sunscreen into a travel-friendly compact that you can apply on the fly. They are about the same size as traditional western compacts.


This K-beauty fave can be found in shops all over the world. What's the product pictured here?

Even if you're not a K-beauty devotee, you've probably used concealer at least once or twice in your life. K-beauty takes it to the next level, making it seamlessly blend into your skin.


K-beauty products might be cute, but the term "sparkling" isn't referring to the packaging. Instead, it describes a particular quality in a clay or gel mask. What is it?

Sparkling masks are ones that bubble up when applied to the skin. You're most likely to find them in certain gel and clay masks. The idea is that the foam deeply cleanses your pores.


True or false? "Gwang" is K-beauty slang for radiant skin that simply glows.

True connoisseurs of K-beauty will know that "Gwang" differs from "Chok Chok" because it refers to the inner radiance of the skin, versus the dewy, super-hydrated texture. "Gwang" is the Holy Grail of skin goals.


This alliterative product was the first K-beauty import to cross the pond. What is it?

BB cream was developed in the 1950s, but it didn't really take off in the west until a few years ago when it became a coveted import due to its all-in-one skin benefits and great coverage.


"Emulsion" is a term used in cooking and K-beauty. What does it mean in the skincare world?

Emulsions are lightweight moisturizers that can be applied as part of a regular K-beauty skin routine. Depending on the emulsion in question, they're applied either after or before serum.


This smoothing pre-makeup product is not exclusive to K-beauty, but it's been taken to the next level by companies like Tony Moly. What are we talking about?

Primer is that perfect product that sits between your skin and your makeup. Good K-beauty primers even out the skin and keep the makeup fresh all day long, all while preserving your skin.


We're not talking about air conditioning. What does "AC" mean in K-beauty?

If a K-beauty product is labeled "AC," it means that it is good for caring for and minimizing acne. Some of these products are for spot acne care and others are full-face treatments.


True or false? "Kkot-mul skin" means a modeling mask that takes 10 years off your face.

"Kkot-mul skin" refers to a special type of toner with an especially high viscosity that is designed to give you "flower petal" skin. In K-beauty, "skin" and "toner" are interchangeable terms.


This K-beauty slang term for acne-prone skin is the western equivalent of "breakout." What are we referring to?

If you see a K-beauty product designed for "trouble" skin, you're likely looking at one that treats acne-related skin woes. In K-beauty, "trouble" is used the way we use "breakout."


No, it's not a giant Q-tip. This K-beauty swab is an expert exfoliator. What is it called?

King swabs look like giant Q-tips and are designed to deliver a big dose of exfoliants to your face in one single swipe. They are individually wrapped and are used two or three times a week.


What texture-enhancing fluid mask is one of the most popular K-beauty imports ever?

Hydrogel masks are infused with a gel designed to smooth out and improve the tone of your skin. They're super hydrating and gentle enough to use every day, which makes them extremely popular.


True or false? "Tok tok" refers to a type of toner that strips all impurities from your skin.

"Tok tok" refers to the suggested way that you should apply your K-beauty products. In order for them to be fully effective (and for you not to damage your skin in the process), you should lightly tap them on.


The products pictured here are some of the most popular K-beauty imports. What are these single-use beauty aids?

Sheet masks are individual products designed for single use. They have different properties and uses, from anti-aging to expert hydration, and are generally bought in packs of 20 or 30.


This term is a dirty word in K-beauty. What is the term for excess oil buildup on the skin?

Sebum refers to the oily buildup that your skin generates naturally. Some people have more, and some people have less, but too much causes acne and other troublesome skin issues.


Don't skip this step in your K-beauty regimen! Which product balances the skin's pH while also giving it a hydrating boost?

Toner is not a K-beauty creation, but like many items on this quiz, Korean toners are considered to be the best on the market. Don't skip this step in your routine. Toner preps the skin for the day.


When you really want to make the most of your beauty sleep, what should you do as part of your bedtime routine?

Sleeping packs allow you to improve your skin while you're getting eight hours of well-needed rest. They are full of nutrients and skin brightening ingredients that slowly get into your face during the night.


This amplified form of BB cream gives you a bit more coverage. What K-beauty product are we talking about?

CC cream offers a little bit more coverage than its cousin BB cream. The CC stands for "color correcting" and can aid in evening out skin tone, minimizing redness and giving you a flawless complexion.


If you want to address a skin issue in a certain area, you'd use this. What is it?

K-beauty patches are not the same thing as sheet masks because they focus solely on one area of the body. You can buy acne-specific patches, ones for dark circles or even hyper-hydrating patches.


A newer addition to common skincare regimens, this product is known as micellar water in France. What's it's K-beauty name?

K-beauty cleansing water shares some similarities with the French micellar water, but devotees say that the Korean formula is better because ingredients are gentler and more effective on the skin.


It's a gentle cleanser, and as an added bonus it travels well! What is this dry K-beauty product?

Powder cleanser is activated by water, and considered to be a much more effective and gentle exfoliant than traditional cleansers. As an added bonus, it will not burst in your bag!


This K-beauty treatment does double duty as a hydrator and exfoliant. What is it?

Aqua peels do double duty with your skin. They hydrate as well as exfoliate, and gently infuse alpha-hydroxy acids into your skin without irritating it like traditional chemical peels.


True or false? "Zzon zzon" is the fun term that refers to caring for your skin while your sleep.

"Zzon zzon" is the cute term for skin that is plump and bouncy. Like many Korean terms for perfect skin, it refers to skin that is well hydrated, very elastic and incredibly healthy.


It's the secret weapon in your K-beauty regimen that is sometimes referred to as "essence." What are we referring to?

When you apply serum, you give your skin an extra-special boost thanks to carefully selected concentrated ingredients designed to seep into your skin and stay there. Don't skip it!


In the past, Korean women used to splash rice water on their face for a firming glow. Now, we use this for the same effect. What is it?

Patting splash masks refer to the process of patting AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) on your face for roughly 15 seconds to get that post-mask glow. It's an easy step to incorporate into your routine.


Use this product throughout the day to give your skin a hydration boost. What is it called?

Keep some K-beauty mist in your purse to brighten up your face throughout the day. This product allows you to gently cleanse your face, even over your makeup, for a fresh look and feel.


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