Most of us are more than a little obsessed with K-beauty brands, but can you blame us? It’s a well-known fact that South Korean women take pride in their skincare and beauty regimes; some say they spend twice as much of their income on skincare and makeup compared to their American counterparts. Even their American counterparts are catching up on the hallyu (k-wave) trend, with a big rise in sale of Korean beauty brands. Well, you know what they say – if you can’t beat them, join em’.
Plus, what’s not to love? Most Korean skincare uses unique natural ingredients that no others have thought of (read: snail mucin and bee venom). The brands also tend to stay quick on their feet, constantly conjuring up new and gentle formulas focusing on prevention and improving the skin from the inside out. It’s no wonder that Korean women seem to radiate from within.
So we couldn’t be happier to see more cult Korean beauty brands making their way to Singapore, with some even setting up brick-and-mortar stores (squeals!). To give you a headstart, here are five new k-beauty brands that have graced our shores this year that you should definitely check out. Oh, and to save you time and effort, we’ve sussed out the star products from each brand that are the must-haves to zero in on.
Su:m37 prides itself on being the first brand that incorporates natural fermentation of ingredients into its skincare products. The stuff is infused with an exclusive compound achieved via extensive fermentation, resulting in gentle yet potent products that aid in reviving your skin.
We recommend: Secret Essence ($175)
Containing ferulic acid that promises to strengthen your skin against external aggressors, the Secret Essence will leave the skin more evenly toned, supple and hydrated.
Where: Vivo Tangs
Mamonde needs no introduction – the lip tints and balms worn by ambassador Korean actress Park Shin Hye in K-dramas like Pinocchio and Doctor Crush have promptly sold out. Comprising of more than just makeup, Mamonde is a floral-based skincare brand, with each product range being inspired by specific flowers that help to hydrate and restore the skin’s elasticity.
We recommend: Rose Water Toner ($22)
The Rose Water toner is a cult classic that’s superbly moisturising with a subtle rose scent. It contains 90.89 percent damask rose water that’s great at soothing irritated skin; which means it’s great at reducing redness and getting rid of impurities in clogged pores.
Where: Vivo Tangs
Caolion is a skincare brand that specialises in ‘perfecting’ pores. Being a hypoallergenic brand that relies on natural ingredients, it caters to all sensitive-skinned individuals. So if large pores are a concern, definitely check out its products in Sephora.
We recommend: Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo ($45)
Making headlines in major women’s magazines around the world for being bundled in the Oscars 2016 gift bag, this intriguing product is a two-step system that gently exfoliates the skin to remove blackheads and impurities while simultaneously tightening the pores.
Also launched around mid February this year, Blithe features a wide range of products that focus on fortifying the skin against pollution and ageing. Blithe has cleverly referred to its products as “anti-polluaging”. Choose from different skincare categories like Brightening & Radiance, Soothing & Calming, Moisturising & Hydrating, and Elasticity & Firmness.
We recommend: Abalone Intensive Sheet Mask ($46)
Packed with skin-boosting ingredients like amino acids, peptides, marine collagen, niacinamide, vitamin C and the popular hydrating component hyaluronic acid, the Abalone Intensive Sheet Mask will pamper your skin after a long day at work (and no, it won’t leave you smelling like seafood).
If you’ve scoured through Sephora the past few months, you would have noticed a shelf dedicated to Kocostar masks. Offering a wide range for your face right down to your nails, you can enjoy an entire spa day at home with its salon quality products.
We recommend: Slice Mask Sheets ($6 each)
These are mini masks that resemble fruit slices, and come in a pack of two, with six slices in each pack. You can have fun peeling them off and using them on any part of your body – how cute! The mask slices are very refreshing, adhere well and doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky.