From your co-worker blasting BTS’ "Dynamite" at the office to Friday night KBBQ posts on everyone’s Instagram story, the Korean craze is everywhere. But music and scrumptious meats aren’t the only things Korea offers. It’s also pretty much the Mecca of skincare and makeup in Asia.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that there’s been a wave of Korean beauty (endearingly referred to as “K-Beauty”) brands hitting the West, be it online or through pop-up stores. If you’re not well-versed in Asian skincare, it can be super overwhelming to try a K-Beauty brand for the first time. But don’t worry—we’ve got you. Here are five cult-favorite Korean beauty brands you can’t sleep on:
This clean beauty brand may not have been born in the streets of Seoul, but it’s the brainchild of Korean beauty guru Liah Yoo and all its products are made in Korea.
Krave Beauty’s mission is simple: help you “press reset” on your skin. They offer none of those fancy, overly fragrant lotions and oils filled to the brim with ingredients you can’t even pronounce—just minimal skin-loving ingredients your complexion actually needs.
For example, they pride themselves on their Oat So Simple Water Cream for having only nine ingredients. That makes it lightweight and perfect for those with sensitive skin.
(Photo by Krave Beauty)
They believe that while skincare should always be effective, it doesn’t have to be so high-maintenance. So they’ve dialed down skincare to the most basic routine, offering a line of only five products: a cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.
Peripera embodies the playful cuteness, unapologetic girliness, and youthful trendiness Korea is known for. It’s exactly the type of brand you should go for if you prefer a subtle, rosy glow to the usual bold and glam looks you see at parties.
(Photo by Style Korean)
The brand’s silky-smooth Ink Airy Velvet Lip Tints have cemented their status as a holy grail not only among Koreans, but for makeup lovers all around the world who love that “just bitten” look.
Build a fuss-free, sensitive skin-friendly beauty regimen with CosRX, one of Korea’s most popular skincare brands. They have clean, minimalistic packaging and focus on giving you good ingredients instead of glittery boxes and sickly sweet scents. It reminds me a bit of DECIEM’s The Ordinary, which focuses on the science behind the skincare and not so much the marketing tactics.
(Photo by CosRX)
I’m in love with their cult-fave Low pH Good Morning Cleanser. It’s mild, sulfate-free, and pH-balancing, so it’s perfect for sensitive skin. It’s also infused with tea tree oil and japonica leaf extracts to help clear up acne-prone skin.
You can’t talk about K-Beauty without paying tribute to the timeless, high-end Korean brand that is Laneige. It’s been around for decades—way before any of these other brands even came about.
(Photo by Laneige USA)
Laneige is always coming out with innovative skincare and makeup products, from toners that melt into your skin as moisturizers and those Two-Tone Lip Bars that cast a gradient of colors on your lips. They’re a brand for sophisticated women who only want the latest and greatest from Asian skincare.
Lastly, we have 3CE—the Korean version of Glossier (but, dare I say, even more Instagrammable). It’s a brand under the lifestyle label Stylenanda, and is known for its signature millennial pink color, insanely “aesthetic” stores, and high-quality makeup. One of their most-loved products is their Mood Recipe Matte Lipsticks, a range of matte lippies with vibrant color pay-off.
(Photo by Stylenanda)
3CE is so immensely popular on the world stage that it has collaborated with huge companies like Disney and even Australian Instagram superstar Lily Maymac. If that isn’t a testament to how huge 3CE is, I don’t know what is!
Experience the brilliance of K-Beauty for yourself with these brands. They’re all fabulous in their own way, so you really can’t go wrong with any of them!