The Beginner’s Guide to Korean Beauty Brands

Kelly Dougher
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The Beginner’s Guide to Korean Beauty Brands
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Korean beauty products have been getting a lot of buzz worldwide for their innovative formulas, appealing packaging, and reliable results. But if you’re new to the K-beauty game, figuring out where to start can feel a little overwhelming. What are the best brands? Where are the best places to buy from? What products should you try?

Well, worry no more. Here are ten of the best Korean beauty brands, along with our top product picks from each AND the best places to buy them. Happy K-shopping!

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Korean beauty products have been getting a lot of buzz worldwide for their innovative formulas, appealing packaging, and reliable results. But if you're new to the K-beauty game, figuring out where to start can feel a little overwhelming. What are the best brands? Where are the best places to buy from? What products should you try?

Well, worry no more. Here are ten of the best Korean beauty brands, along with our top product picks from each AND the best places to buy them. Happy K-shopping!

The brand: TONYMOLY.


Why you should try it:
TONYMOLY is a big favorite because of its adorable packaging. They're also eco-friendly, using organic ingredients and no animal testing.


What to try:
Their Pocket Bunny Moist Mist ($15) for a refreshing and cute midday pick-me-up or Bbo Bbo Lip Balm ($9), which is a miracle for chapped lips. We also love their Intense Snail Cream ($54), which may sound crazy, but really adds a dose of much-needed moisture to our seasonally dry skin.

 

Where to buy it: Sephora carries an impressive TONYMOLY range online and in certain stores. Urban Outfitters has a selection of their products. And Roseroseshop is easy to navigate, reliable and often has sales and free shipping.

The Brand: Moonshot.


Why you should try it:
Moonshot is a new Korean brand that just launched at the end of 2014, but they've already garnered a lot of hype from beauty industry insiders and K-beauty experts alike.

 

What you should try: We suggest their Perfection Balm ($44) for a nourishing and perfecting combination of makeup and skin care. We also love the Jelly Pot ($23) which can be used as blush, eye shadow and lip color, and comes in twelve fun shades.

 

Where to buy it: Their online store is gorgeous and offers a great shopping experience.

The brand: MemeBox.


Why you should try it:
Ok, this isn't technically a brand, but rather a beauty subscription service much like Birchbox, except it delivers the best of Korean beauty to your door.

What you should try: Each box is really well-curated, so you're guaranteed to get amazing presents every month. Every box contains full-size products and you can even choose what theme you prefer (such as eye makeup, skin care, etc). If you're new to Korean beauty and you'd like to try a bunch of different brands and products, this is the way to go.


Where to buy it:
Sign up on the website, which also has an online store carrying full-sized versions of every product they send (so that you can replenish your supply when your sample runs out). Nice!

The brand: Dr. Jart+

Why you should try it: You've probably heard of this popular brand already, or at least seen it at your local beauty store. It's one of the most popular brands in Korea, and given how saturated that market is with amazing products, that should tell you something about how phenomenal it is.


What you should try:
If you try anything from Dr. Jart+, it has to be one of their legendary Beauty Balms. The Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm ($39) has SPF 45 and anti-aging properties; it will moisturize your skin while evening its tone, and results are noticeable in two weeks. Dr. Jart+ also has wonderful sheet masks, so if you're on a budget and don't want to spend more than $10, pick up the Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask ($7.50) for a hydrating treat for your skin.


Where to buy it:
Sephora carries a massive range of Dr. Jart+ products, and there's also a US store on the Dr. Jart+ website.

The brand: Skinfood.

Why you should try it: As the name suggests, Skinfood creates products to nourish your skin. They make hair products and cosmetics too, but they still have a strong skincare emphasis.


What you should try:
We recommend their Royal Honey Mist ($18) and Argan Oil Silk Hair Essence ($18). If cosmetics are more your thing, you have to try their Rose Essence Blusher ($10) for a very natural flush.


Where to buy it:
 Urban Outfitters has a decent selection, Roseroseshop carries an exhaustive product list, and the Skinfood website (naturally) carries more still, including products not yet released in the US.

The brand: Missha.


Why you should try it:
This is another brand with an absolute cult following. Look in any beauty editor's makeup bag, and you're guaranteed to find at least one Missha product.


What you should try:
One of their stellar BB creams. Try their M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 ($22), which is their most popular product worldwide. It will give you an evened complexion while protecting from the sun and delivering anti-aging benefits.


Where to buy it:
Missha's US website is beautifully designed, offering free shipping on orders over $40, as well as an awesome membership program that allows you to get discounts and freebies year-round.

The brand: SKIN79


Why you should try it:
Known for their "natural science" approach to beauty and skincare, SKIN79 infuses all their products with the finest natural ingredients on the market.


What you should try:
Like many other Korean brands, SKIN79 is known for their BB creams. We especially love the oddly named Super Plus Beblesh Balm BB Cream ($23), which has built-in SPF and a gorgeously dewy finish. The Diamond Collection Star Glow Ball BB Powder ($30) is also a great bet; glimmery, lightweight highlight powder that also imparts the teeniest hint of pink to your skin.


Where to buy it:
Pinky Paradise is a very reputable site that offers a large range of SKIN79 products, and shipping to the US is quick and painless.

The brand: Laneige.

Why you should try it: Laneige is a legacy brand known primarily for its skincare products. Their makeup is known for being incredibly high quality, with cutting-edge formulas and packaging.


What you should try:
It's hard to pick just one product, because they're all so amazing. We love their Perfect Renew Emulsion ($35), a light moisturizer that absolutely destroys dryness. You should also try their BB Cushion ($34), a liquid BB in a compact, which is a hugely popular take on BB creams in Korea right now.


Where to get it:
Laneige is now available at your local Target, and via Target's online store.

The brand: Etude House.

Why you should try it: Reasonably priced with great quality products, Etude House is the K-beauty leader when it comes to setting makeup trends. Their online lookbooks are gorgeously shot, and where they lead, the entire beauty industry follows. You don't just shop on the Etude House website; you get inspired.


What you should try:
 Their Wonder Pore Freshner ($9) creates a pore-smoothing effect that must be seen to be believed. Color My Brows ($6) is available in five shades and gives the perfect brow tint. Missing U Hand Cream ($4.50) is our favorite. Not only is it adorable, it also benefits endangered animals.


Where to get it:
The Etude House website is your best shopping bet.

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