We just can’t get enough of latest BB creams, whitening creams, face masks and other beauty products from Korea’s best skincare brands.
It’s official: the letter ‘K’ has taken over our beauty radar – judging from the 10-step Korean skincare routine k-raze, the surge of “no makeup, makeup” looks and the launch of new K-beauty brands in Singapore. Go forth and take your beauty game to the next level with our pick of Korean cult-classics to the must-know-now brands.
Badass fashionistas, rejoice: After years of being deprived of 3CE (sob), the cheap and chic makeup line of Korean cult label StyleNanda is finally available locally. Amen to that! There’s much to love here; highly saturated lip pigments, cream blushers, silky balms, and foundation primers that deliver the signature Korean flawless complexion we all crave for. And the best part? Prices start as low as $15.
3CE, available at Sephora.
We were thrilled when South Korea’s top luxe makeup brand launched in Singapore. Five months into the launch, we’re still thanking the beauty gods for giving us close access to Hera’s bestselling cushion foundations and creamy lip colours. The brand recently collaborated with Blindness (a noteworthy South Korean fashion label) for a holiday collection of intense, sensual lip colours and shimmery shadow duo sets. Our current fave: The Rouge Holic Liquid lip cream in deep burgundy that turns into a moisturising matte finish that lasts all day.
Hera, available at #B2-37, Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801 and Level 1, Takashimaya, 391 Orchard Road, Singapore 238873
You know it’s legit when two celebrity makeup artists join forces to produce one brand. Created by Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yoo, Ges Gep’s line embodies the “no makeup, makeup” look. Categorised into three groups of preparing, layering and sculpting, the products range from a preparing sheet mask that soothes and hydrates to the customisable G Palette where you can mix and match eyeshadow, blush, contour, concealer and highlighting shades according to your look. Say goodbye to the days of lugging that bulky makeup pouch around.
Ges Gep, available at Escentials Paragon and Metro Causeway Point.
I’m Meme may be aimed towards fashion-forward millennials, but the fun makeup brand seeks inspiration from everyday women of all ages. The result is a mix of playful products ranging from eyebrow and cheek duo palettes to heart-shaped lipsticks. We’re pleasantly surprised with the bold, pigmented colour and smooth, creamy finish of the I’m Tic Toc Lipstick stain sticks. A definite makeup staple!
I’m Meme, available at selected Guardian stores including The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Paragon and Raffles Place MRT.
Hailing from Dong Wha Pharm, Korea’s first-ever pharmaceutical company, the cult K-beauty brand Whal Myung launched in Singapore last year with much fanfare. Best-sellers include the three-in-one skin elixir, which combines the anti-ageing serum, toner and oil steps. Plus, the skin elixir sheet mask if you’ve got extra time during your night routine.
Whal Myung, available at selected Guardian stores and online.
We have to credit the serious research that goes behind Unpa Cosmetics. Using data and trending beauty keywords from over one million users on its beauty platform, the organic beauty brand has come up with a skincare and makeup line that caters to specific skin tones and types. Plus, it’s also behind the viral Bubi Bubi Lip Scrub, an exfoliating lip scrub that bubbles up on your pout. How fun!
Unpa Cosmetics, available at Watsons including Bugis Junction, Ngee Ann City, Ion Orchard and Plaza Singapura.
Inspired by 19th-century apothecary techniques, Belif’s herbal skincare products are free from mineral oils, animal origin ingredients, synthetic preservatives, dyes and fragrances. Impressive stuff – and we’re especially digging its no-frills minimalist packaging. Fans of the brand can’t get enough of The True Cream – Aqua Bomb, an incredibly moisturising balm containing Lady’s Mantle.
Belif, various locations islandwide including Ion Orchard, Vivocity and Nex.
Think Korean skincare and Laneige immediately comes to mind. With over 20 years in the biz, it’s no surprise that this beauty behemoth is Korea’s most successful beauty export to date, thanks to its cutting-edge products that regularly fly off the shelves. Case in point? The best-selling Water Sleeping Mask: Every 30 seconds, one of this pint-sized wonder is sold somewhere around the world. Colour us impressed.
Laneige, various locations islandwide including Sephora.
Founded on the Southern island of Jeju, Innisfree is Korea’s first skincare brand that’s committed to the green cause. Apart from its eco-friendly practices such as sustainable harvesting and recyclable packaging, Innisfree’s green DNA also extends to its products, which use natural ingredients grown on the island itself. One of its crowd favourites is the 100% organic and chemical-free Green Tea line, as well as the deep cleansing Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask.
Innisfree, available at Plaza Singapura, Bugis Junction and Takashimaya.
Pink, pretty and unapologetically princess-y, Etude House is every girlie girl’s dream come true. From rainbow-bright lippies to sweet scents, hand creams and facemasks, the cosmetic brand does it all – and thanks to the too-cute-to-resist packaging and even more irresistible prices, you’ll want them all. Can’t decide which one to pick? You can’t go wrong with the multi-purpose Play 101 Pencil (available in a whopping 60 different shades) or the Cherry Lip Gel Patch, a cheeky lip mask that promises to keep your pout perfect.
Etude House, various locations islandwide.
With a long storied history of melding science with traditional herbal ingredients such as peony and East Indian lotus, this skincare brand is luxury beauty at its best. Inspired by the belief that great skin comes from sangseng (the balance between yin and yang), Sulwhasoo is best known for its prized ingredient, Korean ginseng – evidenced by its best-selling range, which includes the award-winning concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream.
Sulwhasoo, available at Tangs Orchard and VivoCity, Takashimaya and Robinsons Orchard.
We love a brand that takes food seriously. True to its name, Skinfood is Korea’s first cosmetic company that’s rooted in nutritional ingredients like avocado, black pomegranate, royal honey and even gold caviar. Fancy! We won’t blame you if you get hungry: Skinfood’s extensive inventory of skincare and makeup reads like a restaurant menu with delicious-sounding best sellers like the Black Sugar Honey Mask, Choco Smoky Eye Palette and Coffee Body Scrub.
Skinfood, various locations islandwide.
The Face Shop
If you’re a fan of K-dramas, here’s all you need to know: The Face Shop’s brand ambassador is television heartthrob Kim Soo Hyun of My Love From The Star fame. Stellar celebrity endorsements aside, it’s yet another Korean beauty brand that prides itself for its all-natural products. Those worth trying include the signature range of facemasks (made from ingredients like green tea, bamboo, and kelp) and the Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil.
The Face Shop, various locations islandwide.
The History of Whoo
The History of Whoo is basically skincare fit for royalty – the luxe skincare brand’s formulations are re-interpreted from traditional beauty formulas used by empresses from the Eastern Royal Courts. The premium line caters to a more mature crowd, with its powerful, anti-aging properties, while the Gongjinhyang range is for women above 25, and the Jinhyulyang is best suited for women above 45. It’s best known for its Bichup Ja Saeng essence, which promises self-generation, wrinkle improvement and moisture with its lightweight formula.
The History of Whoo, available at Tangs at Tang Plaza or online.
Son & Park
Founded by celeb makeup artists, Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Hyun, Son & Park spearheaded the no-makeup makeup look in Korea – think glowing, dewy skin and a natural-looking visage. The secret? Good skin prep for a flawless base. Both skincare and makeup aficionados alike swear by the Beauty Water – it’s a toner and cleansing water rolled into one powerful bottle. Use it in the morning to hydrate skin prior to applying makeup, midday to refresh, and at night to remove remaining impurities.
Son & Park, available online.
Founded by celeb makeup artist Pony (CL’s former makeup artist), the brand boasts sleek black and gold packaging, along with intense pigmentation (this makeup artist clearly knows her stuff!). We’ve gone gaga for Pony Effect’s eye makeup products – the Conceptual Eyes Quad are extremely pigmented, while the Eye Sticks are creamy, blendable and budge-proof. Perfect to take you from day to night.
Pony Effect, available at selected Watson stores and online at Lazada.
Many have cited Banila Co’s resemblance to Benefit Cosmetics, but we think this cult K-beauty brand is in a league of its own with its creative, adorable girly packaging and innovative formulas. No exaggerations: The Clean It Zero Balm is life-changing. Its lightweight, sorbet-like texture is non-sticky and makes cleansing a breeze; it doesn’t only remove makeup, but tightens pores, rehydrates and softens fatigued skin.
Banila Co, available online via Shopee and Lazada.
Touch in SOL
Bright colours, kitschy packaging and an affordable price-tag: Magic words for any makeup fan. We’re also loving that Touch in SOL’s products are multi-functional – perfect for busy bees. Our money’s on the makeup primers here. Set a long-lasting base for your facepaint with the firming and revitalising Feel Like Honeymoon Skin Base, or moisturise and brighten skin with the Toc Toc Toning Makeup Base.
Touch in SOL’s, available online via Sephora, Lazada, Shopee and more.
This popular brand sealed its good rep amongst beauty fanatics with its sumptuous (and powerful) skincare treats, wrapped in the sweetest of packaging. The Panda’s Dream White Magic Cream promises to hydrate and brighten dull skin, while the Egg Pore Blackhead Steam Balm effectively removes blackheads and dirt from open pores and dead skin cells.
Tony Moly, available online via Lazada, Shopee and iShopChangi.
With 25 years of experience under her belt, Jungsaemmool is a beauty legend. Her boasting rights include working as a makeup artist for major K-Pop starlets like Kara and Boa. So her eponymous brand aims to inspire natural beauty with the help of seven philosophies; these include layering several textures for long-lasting makeup and combining trends to suit one’s personal style. We recommend the Artist Concealer Palette to troubleshoot all types of skin imperfections, as well as the Refining Color-Bony Brow Mascara for brows on fleek.
Jungsaemmool, available at Tangs and online.
Too Cool for School
Despite its teeny-bopper name, Too Cool for School is a major player in the K-beauty world thanks to its unique products, designed in partnership with experimental artists. Expect playful packaging, peppered with cute illustrations, containing potent formulations to target different skin problems. Be impressed – the Dinoplatz Escalator Mascara lengthens and volumises lashes with an adjustable brush to fit the contours of your eyelids. The five-in-one Egg Mellow Cream is also a winner for those with dry skin, as it’s collagen-infused and highly enriched for intensive nourishment.
Too Cool for School, available online via Lazada.
As a first-generation makeup artist, Chosungah‘s set some major makeup milestones, including collaborating with major international cosmetic stores and being at the forefront of the K-wave era. Look this way if you’re in need of makeup multi-taskers – say goodbye to cake face! The brand’s iconic C&T Blender Fresh Mix isn’t your average foundation; it’s multi-functioning properties include seamless coverage, line-filling agent to camouflage lines and bumps, as well as a 3-D mesh structure to amplify staying power.
Chosungah 22, available online via Lazada.