5 Online Shops to Score the Coolest Korean Beauty Products
I've been a longtime Korean drama and K-pop music fan, and over the last few years it's been fun to watch Asian beauty trends become popular stateside — particularly Korean beauty trends. Korea is one of the leading trendsetters for entertainment, fashion, and beauty throughout Asia, so it's no wonder it's also making waves in the US and throughout Europe, too. BB creams and sheet masks are some of the Korean beauty products that have already become stateside hits, and with brands like Laneige (owned by Amorepacific) showing up on Target shelves across the nation, there's no denying that the Korean beauty wave is only gaining momentum.
Korean dramas are becoming increasingly popular for English-speaking populations thanks to sites like DramaFever.com that offer free Korean television series, variety shows, and movies all with English subtitles. Psy's "Gangnam Style" put K-pop on the map for a lot of Americans, and most recently Korean girl group 2NE1's hit "I am the Best" is featured in the current Microsoft Surface Pro 3 commercial. These actors and "idol" singers with their flawless skin and covetable beauty looks are at the heart of Korean beauty trends, and international beauty companies, retailers, and consumers are finally catching on.
Korean beauty finds are outfitted in creative, supercute packaging (re: cats, rainbow colors, and fruit!) and contain innovative ingredients (like snail enzyme) that are making their way to the US. Whether you're already a Korean beauty fan like myself or a newbie to the wonderful world of Asian beauty, here are my top five online shops that will satisfy your beauty cravings. I've also picked out some of my favorite finds from each site to help you start your own collection of Korean beauty faves. Source: Shuttertock
Best For Newbies
What to expect: Urban Outfitters is known for unique finds like sriracha mugs and Grumpy Cat coffee-table books, but it has also widened its array of beauty goodies to include a sizable collection of Korean brands, including the popular TONYMOLY and Mizon. It's not surprising that the buyers have turned to Korean brands to bring in an eclectic offering of things like apple-shaped hand creams and adorably packaged lip products. While some stores have a greater selection than others based on size and location (the Herald Square flagship in NYC is pretty well stocked), you can still score a lot of skin care and makeup online. And it's a great way to start exploring what Korean beauty brands have to offer — from a store you already know and trust.
TONYMOLY Petite Bunny Gloss Bar
Update your lip gloss with this critter! The TONYMOLY Petite Bunny Gloss Bar ($8) comes in a variety of different colors from hot pink to soft coral. Plus, there are varied facial expressions like this winking bunny or a smiling face, making them a collector's dream. Any makeup bag would look more festive with a little pet like this inside.
Mizon Returning Starfish Cream
Korean girls swear by their 10+ step skin care routines, and they're always looking for the next big thing in ingredients. Mizon Returning Starfish Cream ($32) features real starfish extract and features a foam-like texture. It melts into your skin to help plump, brighten and firm your complexion.
Holika Holika Hello Holika Breeze Kitten Blush
Not only is this Holika Holika Hello Holika Breeze Kitten Blush ($28) super sweet looking, but it's also multitasking. For a coral blush, use the tail side of the cat. For a rosy flush, use the kitty's face. Use the lighter shades to highlight, or just blend it all together for a healthy glow.
Best For Affordable Favorites
What to expect: After living in Seoul for five years, Charlotte discovered just how amazing the Korean beauty scene is. When she moved stateside, she decided bring the news with her by launching SokoGlam.com. The site features a well-curated selection of delightful, affordable and effective beauty finds. Find everything from wallet-friendly brands like Etude House to cult-favorite labels, such as TONYMOLY, Skin79, and The Faceshop.
Skinfood Extra Virgin Olive Oil Hair Essence
Popular with hairstylists in Seoul, Skinfood Extra Virgin Olive Oil Hair Essence ($9) is the perfect daily spray for taming frizz and giving your mane some serious shine.
Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Pop-Up Mascara
The packaging (featuring dinosaurs invading a city) of the Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Pop-Up Mascara ($21) is a dreamy sci-fi fantasy thanks to the mint background. But most importantly, the wand has a specially curved brush to help elongate and curl lashes.
It's Skin Macaron Lip Balm
Totally judge the It's Skin Macaron Lip Balm ($8) by its cover! The cookie case opens up to an equally sweet lip balm flavor inside. You can choose from strawberry, green apple, and grape, and the case is a different color to match the flavor — just like a real macaron.
The Faceshop Smile Foot Peeling
Our feet can take a beating, which is why The Faceshop Smile Foot Peeling ($9) product is a must for any at-home spa night. Slip your feet into these formula-filled booties, curl up with the latest thing on your Netflix queue, and an hour or so later, wash it all away. The gentle moisturizer helps get rid of dry, rough patches so you can reveal baby soft feet!
Best For Skin Care Buffs
What to expect: Alicia Yoon and Cindy Kim used their business backgrounds to launch a site that offers amazing skin care products from Asia. They were particularly excited to bring the high-quality formulas and innovative ingredients from Korea and Japan to a more global group. You'll also find makeup classics, like BB creams and fiber mascaras.
Mizon All-in-One Snail Repair Cream
Mizon All-in-One Snail Repair Cream ($38) is one of the more popular snail creams on the market and is made from 92 percent snail extract. The snail enzyme is rich in proteins and glycol acid, which means it's great for improving the texture, elasticity, and firmness of your skin — you'll fall in love with the results.
Caolin Pore Original Pack
As the name suggests, Caolin Pore Original Pack ($35) incorporates kaolin clay, which is great for extracting dirt, debris, and oil from pores. After you apply it to your skin, it dries and clears up the buildup in your pores at the same time.
Best For Those Who Love Beauty Boxes
What to expect: Love getting your POPSUGAR Must Have boxes each month? Then, you'll be enthused about this Korean version, which recently launched stateside. Memebox analyzes current trends in the US with Korean beauty trends to deliver a range of curated items. It's not a subscription service, but rather allows you to order boxes based on your beauty interests. Get ready to discover a variety of new products!
Memebox K-Style Box 4
The popularity of Korean beauty products is in a large part due to actors and singers with amazing skin and enviable beauty looks. The K-Style Box 4 ($23) has packed the current trends seen on idols and the streets of Seoul for you to try out, too! Think: dewy skin, a sweet pout, and a killer eye look.
Memebox x CutiePieMarzia Box
Youtube sensation CutiePieMarzia curated box of her favorite Korean beauty finds! You can score the Memebox x CutiePieMarzia ($23) collaboration and fall in love with her selection, too. You'll find a apple-scented hand cream, lip products, eye makeup, and a skin-saving serum.
Best For the True Beauty Connoisseur
What to expect: This site brings the best of Asian style international. It carries practically everything, so if there's a specific item or brand you've heard of, YesStyle.com probably has it. With that said, it can be a little overwhelming to navigate for a first-timer. Luckily, you can filter the selection by country of origin, skin type, product type, brand, and more.
Skin79 Super Plus Beblesh Balm Triple Functions
There's a reason the Skin79 Super Plus Beblesh Balm Triple Functions (VIP Gold BB Cream) SPF 25 ($19) is a bestseller on this site. Skin care ingredients help correct dark spots, fine lines, and dehydration over time, while makeup ingredients instantly even out your skin tone.
Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_EX
Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_EX ($30) is an extremely hydrating night treatment enriched with beta-glucan and ceramides. Unlike traditional night creams, this has a lightweight gel texture, so it's comfortable and not sticky. Leave it on while you sleep and wake up to a refreshed, glowing complexion.
Etude House Cherry Lip Gel Patch
Korean girls love their masks so much they even have ones for their lips. The
Etude House Cherry Lip Gel Patch ($23) hydrates your pout so it looks stunning with or without lip color. Each pack comes with five gel patches that are infused with hydrating ingredients to fight off chapped lips or just pamper your pucker. Simply lace it on clean, dry lips, and let it set for 10-15 minutes.