Are You Fluent in K-Beauty Slang?

By: Elizabeth Lavis

Are You Fluent in K-Beauty Slang?
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!


Serum This uber-concentrated dose of serum is designed to kick-start skin healing. What is it?
Kkot-mul skin
Emulsion
Ampoule
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.
Cushion Compact

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Beauty Mask There is no shortage of beauty masks in K-beauty, including the "modeling mask." What sets it apart?
It's a rubbery mask that sits on top of your skin and expertly hydrates it.
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.
It's a mask worn by models.
It's a clay mask that makes a perfect replica of your face.
It's an ancient K-Beauty mask that inspired all other products.

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Beauty Mask1 True or false? "Boobi boobi" refers to a special kind of kelp K-beauty mask.
True
False
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.

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Anti-Aging What humble mollusk is one of the primary ingredients in many anti-aging K-beauty products?
Cuttlefish
Squid
Octopus
Snail
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.

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Beauty Mask2 The term "pack" is used to describe a plethora of different things. What's the specific K-beauty definition?
A specific term for gel, cream or clay masks
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.
A package of various masks
A skincare regimen that involves toner, serum and sunscreen
A popular K-beauty brand name

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

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Monodoses These miniature doses, known as "capsule beauty" deliver the perfect amount in a cute package. What is their official name?
Peeling gels
A/C
Emulsions
Monodoses
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.

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Cleaning Face One of the K-beauty secrets of flawless skin is the "double cleanse." What does it mean?
Washing your face in the morning and at night
First cleaning with an oil cleanser, then following up with a foam cleanser
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!
Rinsing your face after exfoliating
Using a pack for a deep cleaning every day

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Face Cream A time-consuming but effective method of achieving perfect skin is applying several layers of toner. What's it called?
The Toner Layer Method
The 7 Skin Method
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.
The Toner Pack Mask Method
The Jelly Smooth Skin Method

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Makeup Compact 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?
An uncrackable compact designed for travel
A product designed to add a cushiony layer to your skin
A compact full of liquid collagen
A sponge infused with sunscreen and foundation
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.

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

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Beauty Mask3 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?
Carbonated water that makes the mask foam up
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.
Exfoliating agents inside of the mask
Ingredients that remove all dirt from your face
Something that's only activated by heat

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

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Face Cream1 This alliterative product was the first K-beauty import to cross the pond. What is it?
BB Cream
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.
ZZ Cream
XX Special Serum
BB Pack Mask

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Person Thinking in Mirror "Emulsion" is a term used in cooking and K-beauty. What does it mean in the skincare world?
A heavy mask to use once a week
A serum made of snail and collagen
A blend of foundation and sunscreen
A lightweight moisturizer
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.

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Face Cream2 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
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.
Essence
Patch
Micellar water

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Person Thinking in Mirror1 We're not talking about air conditioning. What does "AC" mean in K-beauty?
Absolute care
Artificial collagen
Acne care
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.
All over control

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Beauty Mask4 True or false? "Kkot-mul skin" means a modeling mask that takes 10 years off your face.
True
False
"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.

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

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

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Beauty Mask5 What texture-enhancing fluid mask is one of the most popular K-beauty imports ever?
Hydrogel mask
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.
Powder mask
Activated charcoal mask
Serum mask

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

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Beauty Mask6 The products pictured here are some of the most popular K-beauty imports. What are these single-use beauty aids?
Sheet masks
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.
Paper masks
Beauty masks
Essence masks

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Oily Skin This term is a dirty word in K-beauty. What is the term for excess oil buildup on the skin?
Film
Sebum
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.
Pore fat
Secretion

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Face Toner1 Don't skip this step in your K-beauty regimen! Which product balances the skin's pH while also giving it a hydrating boost?
Setting spray
Bronzer
Micellar water
Toner
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.

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Beauty Sleep When you really want to make the most of your beauty sleep, what should you do as part of your bedtime routine?
Exfoliate right before you hit the hay
Wear a sleeping pack
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.
Rinse your face with cold water
Sleep in your BB cream

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Face Cream3 This amplified form of BB cream gives you a bit more coverage. What K-beauty product are we talking about?
Bronzer
Concealer
Clay foundation
CC cream
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.

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Acne1 If you want to address a skin issue in a certain area, you'd use this. What is it?
Capsule
Patch
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.
Dot
Band-aid

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Wet Face1 A newer addition to common skincare regimens, this product is known as micellar water in France. What's it's K-beauty name?
Purifying water
K water
Beauty water
Cleansing water
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.

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

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Face Peel This K-beauty treatment does double duty as a hydrator and exfoliant. What is it?
Bubble mask
Chemical peel
Pumice mask
Aqua peel
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.

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Beauty Sleep1 True or false? "Zzon zzon" is the fun term that refers to caring for your skin while your sleep.
True
False
"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.

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Serum1 It's the secret weapon in your K-beauty regimen that is sometimes referred to as "essence." What are we referring to?
Pumice
Setting spray
Serum
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!
Mist

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Wet Face2 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 mask
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.
Rice flour mask
Firming spritz mask
Clay bubble mask

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Mist Face Use this product throughout the day to give your skin a hydration boost. What is it called?
Mist
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.
Setting spray
Rice water
AHAs

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