A plethora of Korean beauty brands have ridden the K-wave to land on the shores of our tiny red dot, leaving the ladies of Singapore spoilt for choice. Which brands of Korean beauty products are more well-known? Which brand should you recommend to skeptics? What are the flagship products of each brand?
Are you lazy to do your own research? Fret not, for Beureka is here with our recommendations you should keep an eye out for if you feel like trying some Korean beauty products!
With a total of 20 stores (not including their place in Sephora’s branches), Laneige is without a doubt the leading presence in the Korean beauty scene of Singapore. Their stores are also easily accessible no matter where you live, be it in the North, South, East, West, or Central Singapore.
Famous for their exclusive Water Science Technology™, it comes as no surprise that Laneige’s Water Skincare line sells like hotcakes on both online and offline platforms. If you have to buy a present for a female, you cannot go wrong with their Water Sleeping Mask – especially as it combats the dry (because of air-conditioning), humid weather of Singapore.
However, Laneige’s popularity does not simply end with their Water Skincare line. Their other products such as their BB Cushions, Time Freeze Intensive Cream, and more recently, their Two-Toned Lip Bar are also hugely popular best-sellers.
Laneige has never been known for their lipsticks – so the spike in popularity of their Two-Tone Lip Bar may confuse some people. That is at least until they find out that Song Hye Kyo, the ambassador of Laneige, uses the lipstick in the popular K-Drama, Descendants of the Sun (DOTS).
As their ambassador, Song Hye Kyo is known to use Laneige products in the Korean drama. In DOTS, she uses not just one or two, but FIVE different lipstick colours out of 14 throughout the production, prompting raved reviews and a crazed rush for the featured products.
Of course, we can hardly forget the scene where Song Joong Ki used #14 Dear Pink in the drama as well…
Maybe the Captain didn’t get the memo that lipsticks are supposed to go on the lips?
2. Etude House
If you prefer a more feminine look and absolutely adore cute containers and packaging, then Etude House will be right up your alley. With its distinctively clean storefront, as well as princess-y interior, Etude House embodies the beauty and youth as described in a romantic fairy-tale. It is simply impossible to miss, even if you are simply window-shopping in the town area.
Although reviews tend to be quite mixed for some best-sellers of Etude House (I’m looking at you Precious Mineral BB cream), the Moistful Collagen line has been constantly praised by customers and bloggers alike as one of the products-to-buy from Etude House.
If you are looking for cute makeup items for your collection, try Etude House’s Lovely Cookie Blusher. Not only is the cushion white and fluffy (and cute), the product also has a great shade range and looks natural when applied.
Etude House has a history of selecting up-and-coming young artists as their ambassadors. Perhaps the most prominent ambassadors are Lee Min Ho – who we all know came to Singapore for Etude House’s event! – Park Shin-hye, 2NE1, SHINee, and f(x)’s Sulli and Krystal.
Amongst the promoted products, Etude House’s lipsticks, the Dear My Blooming Lips line promoted by Dara (2NE1) and Shinee in particular, are still retaining their popularity.
Do you prefer natural Korean beauty products? Then Innisfree is the one for you! The naturalism brand was launched in 2000 as Korea’s first nature brand, where 70% of the ingredients in their skincare products are natural ingredients.
Innisfree is known for their Green Tea Seed Serum and Volcanic Pore Clay Masks – which makes sense, since Jeju Island (where most, if not all, the ingredients are from) is a volcanic island that has many green tea plantations. You might be surprised to know that Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum is to be applied BEFORE your toner for maximum effect.
You can never have too many masks! Innisfree’s It’s Real Squeeze Mask is one of those amazingly popular masks which have to be constantly restocked – because it simply flies off the shelf. Not only is it inexpensive (at S$1.65 per piece), the mask comes in a huge variety of flavours and has received the compliments of many. The effects appear to differ depending on the flavour of the mask, but the Green Tea and Rice flavours tend to be among the safer choices if you want to give it a shot.
If you haven’t noticed, SNSD’s Yoona and Lee Min Ho are the current ambassadors of Innisfree. They have been with Innisfree for 4 whole years and have even produced an Innisfree-themed drama – which you should definitely check out if you are a fan of either of them (or if you’re a fan of Korean beauty products). Beware: The 10-minute drama is full of fluff and ridiculously squeal-inducing.
4. 3CE (3 Concept Eyes)
Established by popular Korean fashion powerhouse StyleNanda in 2009, 3CE has gained popularity not only in Korea, but also in overseas countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan. This chic and youthful brand has also landed a spot in Sephora Singapore. 3CE’s Korean beauty products feature bold and colourful makeup with sheer, translucent foundations.
3CE is exceptionally strong in their quality lip products – which you can easily tell from the sheer number of categories they have for lip products. Lip Lacquer, Matte Lip Colour, Lip Crayon, Lip Balm, Lip Gloss, Drawing Lip Pen… the list just never ends does it?
Among the long list of lip products, 3CE’s Creamy & Matt Lip Colour are two of the most recommended lipsticks. Reviewers have commented that they are very pigmented, with a range of fun colours to try out. Looking at brand ambassador Park Sora, we can’t help but agree!
Not looking for lip products? Try 3CE’s Creamy Cheek Stick. The creamy blusher is one of the best-sellers of 3CE’s Korean beauty products which has extended its presence to overseas bloggers as well. This long lasting blusher simply melts on your skin!
5. Banila Co.
Banila Co. may not be as well-known as Etude House or Innisfree, but their Korean beauty products are certainly top-notch. Banila Co. apparently refers to vanilla cosmetics, only that the ‘v’ in vanilla is replaced with a ‘b’. They aim to have the same kind of diversity and value as vanilla – which goes well with and is able to create sweetness in all kinds of dishes. The replacement of ‘v’ with ‘b’ isn’t just because the Korean language doesn’t have the pronunciation for ‘v’ (that’s what we thought too), but also because the ‘b’ in Banila can stand for ‘beauty’, ‘bright’, ‘boyish’… you get the idea. Unfortunately, the brand has yet to make it into the physical stores in Singapore, and the only possible way of getting their products are via online transactions – sans actually visiting Korea.
Banila Co. is best known for their Prime Primers – which are considered not only the best of their brand, but also some of the best in the whole of Korea. Given the large number of Korean beauty products brands, you can tell that it is a very big deal.
Their Clean It Zero cleanser products are best-sellers as well. The oil cleanser is quite the hit and has received rave reviews from bloggers such as Charlotte, and Keri who even promoted the product to Holy Grail status.
In August 2014, Song Ji Hyo became an endorser of Banila Co., and promptly proceeded to empty some stores of their It Moist Seoul Tint in Lacquer after appearing on an episode of Onstyle’s ‘Get It Beauty’. Sales of the featured lip lacquer products increased by as much as 1300% after the broadcast. Wow. Never underestimate the power of Song Ji Hyo.
6. April Skin
Unless you are really into the Korean scene, it is entirely likely that you have no idea what April Skin is – and for good reason. April Skin was launched in October 2014, a mere 2 years ago. Similar to that of Innisfree, April Skin aims to improve skin condition with natural cosmetics, along with excluding harmful ingredients.
The reason why it made our list of Korean beauty products is because within these 2 years, it has won THREE awards and advanced to global countries, including China. In addition, their products are so popular in Korea that they were sold-out even BEFORE they were officially released! Now, that’s popularity.
April Skin’s best sellers are their Magic Stone cleansers which was sold out on pre-order. It comes in Grey and Black for night and morning use respectively. A point of note: Although it is a 100% natural soap, the company advises against applying it to areas with scars, eczemas or dermatitis.
Another best-selling product of April Skin is their Magic Snow Cushion. The reason for its popularity lies in the fact that its quality is not affected by its cheaper price. April Skin is often compared to the big brands such as Laneige and Banila Co.
April Skin’s Magic Snow Cushion is endorsed by Actress Soobin Chae, who coincidently (or not?) started her acting career in 2014. We are really hyped about this brand, and look forward to both April Skin and Soobin Chae’s growth!
While we would love to write more about Korean beauty products, this article has just gotten way too long. Oh well, we’ll just have to continue on from the next article, so stay tuned ladies and gentlemen. We would love to know your recommended products for the brands above! Drop us a message in the box below or send us an email.
Also published on Medium.