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The Best Korean Makeup Brands

Updated on January 23, 2013
An example of a stand alone Etude House shop.
An example of a stand alone Etude House shop.

In recent years, beauty forums and blogs have had a lot of buzz hovering around Korean Makeup. Because the products are low priced but high quality, many women import these products. They are particularly good for women with fair skin tones, as Asian women tend to be fairer, thus they are a perfect match for an American woman who has a light skin tone and has trouble finding products in the US to match her skin. However, many products, including lip sticks, facial masks and cleansers are usable by anyone - no matter what skin tone they have!

The most popular of products is known as bb cream. BB cream is an all-in-one solution which allows you to moisturize, primer, conceal and cover in one step. It is like an all-in-one foundation except very lightweight and good for the skin. While most companies has its "star" bb cream product, the brands also have a lot more to offer.

Skin 79's most popular product: Hot Pink Super+ BB Cream.
Skin 79's most popular product: Hot Pink Super+ BB Cream.

Skin79

Skin 79 is an example of a popular brand, even in the United States. The most popular product from the company is the Hot Pink Super + BB Cream. This product is good for anyone with a fair to medium skin tone, but doesn't work too well for people of color since it is marketed toward Asian women, who tend to be fair.

The bb cream is popular because of how well it works. For less than half the price of Smashbox or similar foundation, you get an all-in-one product which works as a primer, concealer and foundation. Though, it is not a foundation but rather feels more like a tinted moisturizer. It is not heavy and is very lightweight. It covers redness, dark spots and other minor imperfections very well. The only downside is that if you have major problems to cover, it will not cover them. For example, if you have horrible dark circles, you will still need a concealer. However, for most purposes, this is the only product you'll need as it does not break out the skin and feels like a moisturizer, not a foundation.

Though the bb cream is their most popular product, Skin 79 does offer more. They have compressed powder compacts, highlighters and blush products.

An example of an Etude House online advertisement.
An example of an Etude House online advertisement. | Source

Etude House

Etude House is a popular brand in Korea which focuses on a "girly" theme for teenagers and young adults. The advertisements for the products feature popular K-Pop and drama stars such as Sandara Park, also known as "Dara." The products are packaged in cute, girly packaging and the stores often look like something out of a fairytale.

This company has a whole line of products, including BB cream, sheet masks, lip sticks, lip gloss, nail polishes and powder compacts. You can also buy staples such as mascara and eye liner. No matter what you may need, Etude House probably has a product - they even have products for skin raging from dry skin prevention to medicated acne cleansers.

Sandara Park, Etude House spokesperson.
Sandara Park, Etude House spokesperson.
A popular product - Tony Tint.
A popular product - Tony Tint.

TonyMoly

TonyMoly is another popular brand which is most known for Tony Tint and their various facial masks, such as Tomatox. The tint comes in two different hues of red and can be used on both the sheeks and lips, which gives them a slight color. The facial mask, Tomatox, works to brighten facial complexion and acts to gradually whiten skin and fade dark spots, which is why the product is popular. It is also packaged in a cute tomato shaped container.

A Missha ad featuring K-Pop singer BoA.
A Missha ad featuring K-Pop singer BoA.

Missha

While most cosmetic companies in South Korea seem to target young women, Missha seems to be a more mature brand, targeting women of all ages. Missha products are packaged in simple and sophisticated packaging and have products for every skin type, including mature skin. The company is famous for their Perfect Cover BB Cream, but they also have skin care products including skin cream and wrinkle creams and treatments.

The unique thing about this company is that they have a presence in the United States, which means you can buy their products directly from the online store.

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