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Thanks to K-beauty’s rapid rise in popularity, many Korean makeup brands have expanded their business to different parts of the world.
Because of this, people around the globe also began exploring Korean makeup methods, the most popular of which is the youthful, soft, and subtle look popular in South Korea as their go-to look.
With this, cosmetics from South Korea have become in demand. K-beauty makeup products provide subtle yet buildable pops of color.
These cosmetics also boast formulas that include natural skin-friendly ingredients that help take care of your skin.
Interested in trying this makeup trend out? Read on for some of the top makeup brands in Korea for you to start your search!
Table of Contents
What Is Korean Makeup?
While it’s easy to describe Korean makeup as cosmetics from South Korea, there are more nuances to this.
Beauty and makeup standards in different parts of the world vary.
In the West, makeup looks to emphasize and enhance your features. Usually, these looks intend to glam up a person and make them look more fierce and confident.
As such, bold lips, thick lashes, and a popping, colorful eyeshadow look are usually done.
Meanwhile, in Korea and other East Asian countries, softer and more subtle looks are the norm. K-beauty makeup-looks focus on making a person look younger by making their skin look fresh and healthy.
This usually emphasizes natural-looking blush and lips, along with simple eye makeup.
Another thing that sets Korean makeup apart from other cosmetics around the world is nourishment!
Unlike makeup products from the West that are only usually formulated with pigments, K-beauty cosmetics are infused with nature-derived skincare ingredients that nourish your skin.
Some popular ingredients include Centella Asiatica for soothing sensitive skin or hyaluronic acid for some hydration!
Where to Buy Korean Makeup Products
Thanks to its ever-growing popularity, you can now easily find K-beauty products.
If you’re in the United States, you may have noticed that many South Korean brands have extended their reach to the US.
Many K-beauty skincare and makeup brands are now available at local pharmacies like CVS or at beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta.
Of course, technology is also there to help. There are numerous Korean makeup products online that you can add to your wishlist or cart.
Besides finding rare products yet to be distributed locally, online shopping is also hassle-free as the items are delivered right to your doorstep.
15 Best Korean Makeup Brands to Check Out
If you go to a K-beauty enthusiast’s vanity, chances are, you’ll find at least one product — skincare or makeup — that’s from Missha.
Known as a top Korean makeup brand, Missha has been trusted by customers for many years as it continues to make a name for offering affordable, skin-friendly products that people swear by.
When it comes to makeup, they’re known for being one of the first to launch amazing BB creams in the market.
Moreover, their other products are infused with high-performing and nourishing skincare ingredients.
Apart from makeup, this brand also produces terrific, holy-grail serums and other skincare items that are part of thousands’ routines.
Try one of Missha’s products to take care of your skin while looking flawless!
This cushion is always on our list for its incredible coverage and texture
Key Benefits: Provides long-lasting coverage; nourishes and moisturizes the face; provides smooth skin texture
- Formulated with plant extracts (bamboo, baobab tree fruit, witch hazel)
- Easily sticks to the skin and is long-lasting
For a smooth finish that lasts all day, try out Missha’s Glow Cushion
When it comes to cosmetics and skincare innovation, Innisfree is one of South Korea’s front-runners.
This makeup brand infuses its products with skincare ingredients that are proven effective in making one’s skin look youthful and glowing.
Some of the ingredients they’re known for include natural volcanic clusters, green tea extract, and cherry blossom extract. You know your skin is well taken care of when you use their items.
To try out Innisfree cosmetics! You should go for their famous Soft Lip Balm with Green Tea or their Pore Blur Pact pressed powder.
While you’re at it, make sure to look out for their incredible skincare products and add them to your skincare routine!
Many go crazy for this setting powder for its effective oil control and matte finish.
Key Benefits: Helps control oil production; provides a shine-free matte finish
- Contains minerals sourced from Jeju Island
- Also contains natural ingredients like mint
- Comes in portable packaging
Help your makeup last longer with the Innisfree Matte Mineral Setting Powder!
3. Etude House
A South Korean makeup brand that has become an institution, Etude House is home to many items that can make your features pop while remaining subtle.
Their packaging and products have a playful vibe that many customers gravitate to.
This brand has been in the market for over 30 years, but it’s still churning out makeup favorites year after year.
We swear by this gel tint for its long-lasting stain and gorgeous pigment.
Key Benefits: Provides amazing staining effect; provides vibrant pigment; moisturizes lips
- Available in nine shades, so you can find the perfect red for your skin tone
- Staining effect of vivid pigments easily lasts a day
- Formulated with fruit extracts (pomegranate and soapberry) for nourishment and moisture
Give your lips a vibrant stain of color with Etude House’s Dear Darling Water Gel Tint!
Founded by a couple of makeup artists who wanted professional-looking makeup to be accessible for everyone, Clio has been a mainstay in many people’s vanity packs for a long while since then.
Clio boasts a wide range of colorful and high-performing cosmetics that many love to use and recommend.
Considered an OG in K-beauty, Clio is probably most well-known for its Sharp So Simple Waterproof Pencil Liner. This is the product for you if you’re looking for a liner that won’t budge.
Apart from this, its cosmetics line includes cushion foundations and nail care items that help you achieve that flawless look.
This eyeliner is an easy holy grail, thanks to its staying power and smooth texture
Key Benefits: Has an easy-glide formula with incredible color payoff; waterproof and smudge-proof; can last all day
- Provides highly pigmented payoff
- Comes with a self-sharpening tip for convenience
- Can last without flaking off
Create sharp, bold eyeliner looks with Clio’s Sharp So Simple Waterproof Pencil Liner
Another famous Korean brand, PeriPera has gained a cult following through the years thanks to its vibrant and pigmented lip products.
When it comes to lip cosmetics, this brand has been crushing the competition.
PeriPera’s Ink Velvet Lip Tint continues to be one of the most popular K-beauty lip products.
While lip products are the brand’s best sellers, PeriPera also offers a wide array of whimsical and cute products, all coming in many vibrant colors and fun textures that you can play with.
Best of all, most of these are super affordable, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank!
We highly recommend this lip tint for its fun, vibrant, and long-lasting colors!
Key Benefits: Provides bold and bright staining lip colors; provides moisturized and smooth finish
- Made with a formula that easily sticks to lips
- Pigment stains can last for a day
- Comes in a wide range of colors
Add some vibrant color to your lips with Peripera’s Ink Velvet Lip Tint!
Not long after the launch of KAJA, a K-beauty makeup brand born in collaboration with Sephora, this brand has seen a fast rise in popularity.
KAJA offers a myriad of fun, colorful, and vibrant products made to fit the jet-setter lifestyle.
Other than being striking to the eyes, the products KAJA offers are great to bring on the go. From winged eyeliner stamps to stackable eyeshadows, there’s much to choose from when you browse KAJA’s lineup of makeup items.
Curious to see what made it so popular? Check out KAJA’s stackable Bento Eyeshadow Trio!
We are in love with this eyeshadow trio for its smooth and pigmented formula.
Key Benefits: Provides intense color payoff; for both beginners and experts
- Curated sets include color combinations
- Made with smooth and easy-to-apply formula across all eyeshadow types
- Paraben-free, cruelty-free and vegan
Enjoy a pop of color for your eyes using Kaja’s Bento Eyeshadow Trio!
There may be a lot of Korean makeup brands that you can discover. Still, unfortunately, not many are inclusive in terms of skin color.
This is where Dr. Gio Cosmetics enters the scene. It offers products that fit Korean trends but caters specifically to darker skin tones.
One of their most well-known products is the Ultra 6 Brightening Foundation Cushion. It gives darker skin gals that popular, dewy, and subtle makeup look!
Of course, it wouldn’t be K-beauty without the fantastic ingredients nourishing your skin. This cushion uses shea butter to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated!
TonyMoly has been at the forefront of the K-beauty industry for over a decade.
It has provided many Korean beauty enthusiasts worldwide staples that you wouldn’t want to remove from your makeup bag.
Apart from vibrant, fun, and colorful makeup offerings, this brand’s packaging is equally as bright and eye-catching.
From face masks to lip balms, this brand is trusted by many, and for good reason.
Wondering what TONYMOLY products you should try? If you’re in the mood for skin pampering, try one of their I’m Real sheet masks.
Otherwise, why not check out their Double Needs Pang Pang Mascara?
This will surely be a mainstay your routine because it provides potent and effective skincare ingredients.
Key Benefits: Nourishes skin; provides moisture and hydration
- Enriched essences delivered via soaked three-layer pulp masks.
- Comes in 11 different types
GIve your skin the nourishment it needs with TONYMOLY’s I’M REAL Sheet Masks
Another brand with bright and bold products, Holika Holika is loved by many for its high-quality products.
Not only is the packaging fun and trendy, but their products are also made with only the highest-quality ingredients.
Korean makeup is all about subtlety, so color and pigment aren’t usually the focus of most products.
However, Holika Holika stands out. It plays with bolder colors while providing your skin with the best ingredients to benefit from. It’s a perfect combination of color and nourishment!
This is a blush we can’t let go of, thanks to its gorgeous, natural-looking finish.
Key Benefits: Provides natural-looking blush pigment; nourishes the skin; helps protect skin from environmental damage
- Comes in colors that are perfect for everyday makeup looks
- Contains Vitamin C Fruit Complex to nourish and brighten skin while improving circulation
- Formulated with amino acids that help relieve skin of irritation
Show off your natural blush with Holika Holika’s Jelly Dough Blusher!
If you’re looking for a mid-range Korean makeup brand, Hera is one of the leading brands you can look up. They’re known for makeup made with your skin’s health in mind!
Skin-friendly and with a fabulous formula, many ladies have been allured by Hera’s high-quality products. While they have a long list of nourishing ingredients, their products’ color payoff never suffers.
Interested in checking this brand out? Try their Black Cushion, which gives your skin a flawlessly soft finish!
We love this cushion foundation for its amazing coverage and lightweight texture.
Key Benefits: Provides smooth and seamless coverage; nourishes skin; preps the skin for other makeup products
- Cushion foundation with a lightweight formula
- Contains amino acid derivatives to help brighten skin
- Provides long-lasting, soft matte finish
Keep your skin looking bright and flawless with Hera’s Black Cushion
The brainchild of Korean and French beauty experts, Erborian incorporates the best of both worlds into their products.
First launched in 2007, this brand specializes in complexion products that provide coverage and skin nutrition to its patrons.
Erborian boasts a product line made up of high-quality skincare items. These range from BB and CC creams to face masks and serums.
They formulate most of their makeup with skincare ingredients that best fit sensitive skin.
If you want to try out their products, you can start with their best seller: the CC Cream.
We always have this CC cream in our makeup bags because it moisturizes and brightens our skin.
Key Benefits: Boosts skin radiance; provides moisture; protects skin from the sun; provides buildable coverage
- Formulated with honey, centella asiatica, and vitamin E to nourish skin
- Essentially functions as a tinted moisturizer
- Made to be free of most skin irritants, including parabens and sulfates
Keep your skin moisturized and looking flawless with Erborian’s CC Creme!
Trendy and award-winning JOAH cosmetics products are worth the space in your vanity. This brand’s makeup items both take care of your skin and enhance your features.
True to the usual formulation of K-beauty, JOAH’s products contain ingredients that help your skin look healthier.
Apart from nourishing ingredients, their makeup products are designed to feel smooth and buttery when applied to your skin.
Wondering which to try out first? We recommend their Escapades Eyeshadow Palette for that trendy pop of color.
Given its fun, vivid, and flattering colors, we find ourselves constantly reaching for this eyeshadow palette.
Key Benefits: Provides excellent color payoff; travel size
- Has a long-lasting formula
- Comes in six wearable shades in matte and shimmer
- Has a smooth and blendable texture.
Highlight your beautiful eyes with JOAH’s Escapades Eyeshadow Palette!
Looking for an established Korean makeup brand? Check out AmorePacific, which has been in the industry for over seven decades!
Many people swear by this brand thanks to its knack for skincare innovation and for making products that use natural ingredients that are good for your skin.
AmorePacific offers a wide range of products, from cushion foundations to skincare items. If you’re planning for your next makeup haul, why not give AmorePacific’s Control Cushion Compact a try?
We always find ourselves reaching for this cushion compact because it provides flawless coverage.
Key Benefits: Provides flawless, buildable, and long-lasting coverage; helps protect skin from UV rays and environmental stressors
- Has buildable coverage with a flawlessly smooth finish
- Contains bamboo sap and green tea for hydration, protection, and nourishment
- Also has broad spectrum SPF 50+
Achieve smooth, soft skin while keeping it protected by using Amore Pacific’s Control Cushion Compact
In the realm of Korean makeup, not many brands play with color as much as Amuse.
Showcasing fun and vibrant colors, Amuse’s makeup is known for its rich pigmentation.
These are formulated for people to play with looks in whatever way they want. They can be subtle, but the potential to build color is there.
Flaunt your fun personality using adventurous colors in your makeup. We recommend trying out their Eye Vegan Sheer Palette for your next look!
We suggest always keeping this palette in your makeup lineup for its incredible texture and appearance.
Key Benefits: Provides vibrant and eye-catching pigments; adheres well to the skin when applied
- Formula is easily buildable
- Smooth application
- 100% cruelty-free and vegan
Create fun, cute looks with Amuse’s Eye Vegan Sheer Palette!
This brand boomed into one of the most popular makeup brands in Korea since it first launched in 2016.
Rom&nd, a makeup brand launched with input from famous South Korean influencer Saerom Min, is widely loved around the world for its on-trend makeup offerings.
Known for its eye-catching, Instagram-worthy packaging and fun and well-curated collections, its growing popularity seems like it won’t stop anytime soon.
We never want to leave home without this amazing blush that provides a vibrant but natural-looking finish.
Key Benefits: Helps achieve a “my cheeks but better” look; provides a blurring effect on skin; helps smooth out skin
- Formulated with a smooth texture but without any cakiness
- Available in colors inspired by dried fruits
- Has a long-lasting and lightweight formula
Achieve your gorgeous “my cheeks but better” look with Rom&nd’s Better Than Cheek Blush!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Korean makeup popular?
Yes! More and more people have started embracing K-beauty in general. Many more have embraced the idea that nature-derived skincare should be infused into the cosmetics you use.
Its popularity has urged numerous Korean brands to officially sell their products outside Korea!
Is Korean makeup expensive?
Similar to cosmetics in the West, the price range of K-beauty items can vary. You can find many affordable Korean makeup brands that offer high-quality products, just like American drugstore brands.
However, K-beauty also has its fair share of pricier premium brands.
Soft, Subtle, Skin-friendly Makeup
Innovative, trendy, and skin-friendly – nothing can stop K-beauty’s growing popularity.
Whether it’s for the chic look or for the healthy skin-friendly ingredients, many men and women worldwide appreciate K-beauty.
Korean makeup is not new; you can find thousands of available products on the market.
However, if you’re looking to start a dedicated makeup bag for K-beauty, getting to know the most popular Korean makeup brands is the best way to start.
Hopefully, this list has helped you in your search for new items to try. Check out these fantastic brands and begin your K-beauty journey!