Nov 11, 2014

Top 10 Must-Buy Korean Beauty Products When in South Korea

I get this question all the time... "I'm going to Korea. What beauty products do you recommend I should get?" Personally, I've never been to Korea (and it's not even on my top list of places to visit). But I do have a list of products that I would love to get if I ever go to Korea. All the products I recommend below are not easily available in Malaysia market. C'mon... If you're traveling all the way there, why don't get something which you can't get back home, right?

Here are the top products/brands that I am interested (in descending order)

Top #1 - By Handmader

This brand uses natural ingredients to develop their products and you guys know how much I love natural beauty products. If I'm rich, I will import this brand into Malaysia because I really love it!!! The packaging is super cute as well (something like Etude House). The product that I would love to try is the Sonyu Skin (23,000 won). It is a toner + moisturizer in one bottle. All you need to do is apply the product with cotton pad and you can skip the moisturizer if you wish to. A holy grail product for lazy girls.

Top #2 - Hope Girl

It is so easy to spot Hope Girl's cosmetic from afar. The packaging is in leopard print. I heard a lot of good things about their Woner Magic Mascara (17,000 won) (far left). It is made from natural wax and it has lash-nourishing ingredients in it. I also love to try their Waterproof Gel Eye Liner (17,000 won each) (middle). Anyway I've never heard anything special about this, but I would like to compare it with the MAC Blacktrack. Another product I want to have is their Keratin Nail Care Set (10,000 won) (far right). By the way, HiShop has a few Hope Girl products on their list, but the product option is very limited.

Hope Girl also has premium skincare range called the Huksamsoo. My mom has the Black Ginseng Cream (110,000 won) and it works like wonder. It is very expensive, but a little goes a long way. Each jar contains precious ginseng extract (Korea is famous of its ginseng).

Top #3 - Banila Co.

Banila Co. is another cutesy cosmetic brand. I would love to get the It's Moist Seoul Tint (16,400 won) for souvenir. I'm not a fan of tint, but the "I <3 Seoul" packaging on the tint is apt for souvenir for girlfriends if you don't want to give them the standard t-shirt, fridge magnet or keychains. It comes in 6 different shades and can be applied on lips and cheek. Their best-seller is the Radiant CC Cream (25,000 won). I've read somewhere that the Banila Co. CC Cream is rated the best CC Cream in the market.

Top #4 - Amore Pacific

Amore Pacific is a huge parent company (I call it L'Oreal of the East) that owns a lot of smaller beauty brands such as Laneige and Sulwhasoo. They have their own skincare range as well under the brand Amore Pacific itself. Amore Pacific is a big brand that is available throughout the world. I'm not sure why they're not available in Malaysia but their sub-companies are growing like mushrooms here. Not many Asian brands produce tinted moisturizer (for some reason, Asian brands prefer making BB creams) and Amore Pacific has a perfect formulation for it. The Moisture Bound Tinted Treatment Moisturizer SPF15 (USD70) is one of the top product that I have always wanted to try. The have shades that suit Asian skin better. And the Future Response Age Defense Dual Eye Cream (USD150) is worth a try if you are experience aging around the eye area. It has day eye cream, which protects your eyes from external aggression, and night eye cream that repairs.

Top #5 - Innisfree 

Innisfree is one of the top skincare brand in Korea. I particularly want to try the Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (12,000 won). It helps deep clean and tightening the pores, which I need the most. The seaweed range skincare also look interesting. If you want to a value-for-money product, you can get a pack of variety sheet masks to try its different products.

Top #6 - Labelyoung 

Heard of ZZ Cream before? Nope? Then you should try the Labelyoung one. By the way, Labelyoung also owns the brand By Handmader (above). They use different botanic extracts in their products. The ZZ Cream (11,000 won) is a prep product for face. It is a combination of BB + CC + DD + pore primer that helps build a perfect base before your foundation. The main ingredients for the ZZ cream are argan oil and olive oil.

Top #7 - Secret Star Girl

Normally I don't use nail wraps because the designs sucks although it is the most convenient thing ever created. Secret Star Girl Nail Wraps (5,500 won) has the prettiest nail wraps (as compared to other brands available). I really wish to lay my hands on some of their designs. I really love their watercolour designs. Apparently their eyelash is nice as well but I'm not a fake eyelash person.

Top #8 - Mizon

Mizon is famous of its snail mucin skincare. The Black Snail All in One Cream (63,500 won) looks really tempting. If you have skin concern on wrinkles and lifting, you should try using some of the snail products. What is even more interesting is their Returning Starfish Eye Cream ( 32,888 won). The product has 60% starfish extract in it. This is the first beauty product that I've ever seen contain starfish. It helps repair and regenerate new skin cells. Sounds weird, but I think it is effective.

Top #9 - Danahan

If you are into premium Korean skincare such as Sulwhasoo and UGB, you should try Danahan. The products are made of premium ingredients such as hyoyong liquid and pure gold, but the price is a fraction of what you pay in Sulwhasoo. The packaging is also exclusive. It's like you're paying for Skinfood price, but gets the value of Sulwhasoo. It is totally worth it. I recommend the Hyoyong Cream, which is also their best seller. Or you can opt for their skincare set which you can try the entire product range.

Top #10 - Jeju Island Orange Beauty Product

If you're going to Jeju Island, do try out their orange beauty products. Orange is one of the local produce in Jeju. I tried to look for the photo online, unfortunately I can't find it. Few months ago, I received a orange gel mask as souvenir from my friend, and I love it! It's cooling and refresh the eyes after using it. You should also get their orange essential oil and orange perfume. It's exclusively available on the island. The orange sheet mask, orange potpourri, orange face mask and orange face gel make a perfect souvenir.

Those are the Korean products and brands that I recommend if you want to try out. They're my preference and not necessary you have to get it. For brands that are available in Malaysia already, I would recommend you to get:

  • Tony Moly (Product range in Malaysia is limited, you get more option in Korea)
  • Face Shop (It is dirt cheap in Korea. Stock up items that you use on daily basis and you'll save a lot)
  • Etude House (They have exclusive range that is only available in Korea, such as Minnie Mouse Collection)
  • Too Cool For School (The price in Malaysia is extremely steep. It is worth it to buy in Korea than locally)

Brands that not worth your luggage space:

  • Laneige (The price in Malaysia is compatible to the one they sell in Korea, unless you can get discounted)
  •  Skinfood (The availability of option in Malaysia is compatible in Korea)
  • Nature Republic (The Malaysia outlet often have sales, so don't bother to get it unless you can find extreme price reduction in Korea). 

I hope you'll enjoy this post. If you're traveling to Korea soon, have a safe flight and enjoy your trip. And if you have any favourite Korean products that you think I'll love, do leave me a comment. I would love to check it out.

For those who are not traveling to Korea, you still can get access to the K-beauty products from Althea. Althea is an online beauty store that ships their product directly to other countries. And the prices are also cheaper than retails. Currently only Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. Do use my referral link if you are going to purchase from Althea. You will receive a RM35 + RM5 rebate once you sign up. I do not earn any commission from your purchase, but I do earn 10 points for every person I referred. These points allows me to exchange for beauty products in Althea. Below is my referral link: 

***Prices indicated above are online prices and may differ from retail prices.


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Well, we all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but of course we still need to take care of ourselves to have physical beauty.

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