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The Best Korean Makeup

Last updated on June 27, 2022

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Our Picks For The Top Korean Makeups

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

AGE 20’s SPF 50+ Foundation Compact Korean Makeup

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AGE 20's

SPF 50+ Foundation Compact Korean Makeup

Comfortably wearable with full coverage, SPF 30+ and a tone/color corrector, this elegantly designed cushion foundation is weightless and hydrating and masks imperfections on your face and neck.

Overall Take

Full Coverage and GlowLighten and brighten your skin texture with this moisturizing, luxuriously packaged makeup compact.

 Runner Up

SKINFOOD Peach Extract Finish Powder Korean Makeup


Peach Extract Finish Powder Korean Makeup

A unique air-spun technique makes Skinfood’s amazing setting powder so soft and delicate. It is made with silk powder, minerals and natural peaches that create a translucent, sweet-smelling and smooth final touch for your makeup routine.

Overall Take

Fresh and SummeryThis finishing powder is a must when you want a soft, flawless and effortless result.

 We Also Like

VUE DE PULANG Waterproof Mascara Korean Makeup


Waterproof Mascara Korean Makeup

This quality mascara lengthens and volumizes your eyelashes with a lightweight, quick-drying polymer blend technology. The groundbreaking dual-sided applicator has a slim-toothed tail comb on one side and a coil brush on the other.

Overall Take

Fine-Toothed ApplicationOpen up and accentuate your eyes with this nourishing, carbon black mascara.

 Strong Contender

HERA Moisturizing Lip Gloss Korean Makeup


Moisturizing Lip Gloss Korean Makeup

Easy-wearing, long-lasting and moisturizing, HERA Jennie Picked spicy nude lip gloss creates that desirable blurred-edge look. The natural-appearing stain smooths and glosses up your lips without being sticky or dry.

Overall Take

For a Gorgeous FinishDress up your pout with this lip-plumping formula and enjoy its lovely sheen.

Buying Guide

When South Korean pop culture started spreading across the globe, people referred to it as “The Korean Wave” or “Hallyu.” This fascination soon transferred over to cosmetics, which has led the South Korean beauty market to become one of the top 10 in the world.

Consumers the world over suddenly saw beautiful South Korean celebrities regularly and sought to duplicate their smooth, flawless-looking skin. Korean skin and beauty products, known as K-beauty, follow a tradition of using exclusive and natural ingredients like turmeric, ginseng and ground mung beans.

When they first became popular, most of these products were packaged in clever, appealing ways that featured eye-catching things like cartoon characters, but many of them are now much more sophisticated in a traditional sense. Some may be less pigmented and more natural-looking, but you can also find highly-pigmented types. Fans of K-beauty love this makeup because some colors are unique and cannot be found in other products.

Don’t be surprised to see some strange-sounding ingredients listed in your Korean makeup. Some of the skincare products have things like snail cream, salmon cream and pig collagen in them. If those sound off-putting, compare them to some of the things commonly used in American cosmetics: carmine (crushed beetles), placenta proteins and snail secretions (KNU). It is actually remarkable what is in cosmetics, no matter where they were made. 

You can find a Korean version of any kind of makeup you might be used to buying from a Western company, whether that be a creamy foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick, lip gloss, mascara or finishing powder.

The signature, glowy appearance known from K-pop and other cultural phenomena can take time to achieve, but there are countless video tutorials online to take you through the process. South Korean makeup routines also usually emphasize skincare first, which is crucial for achieving this highly desirable look.

What to Look For

  • If you’re concerned that any makeup or skincare ingredient might be unsafe for your use, check the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.
  • Korean skincare and makeup products are not cheap, but most are not highly overpriced. If you’re used to buying most US-based cosmetics, the prices may seem familiar.
  • Korean makeup has many of the same nourishing ingredients as the country’s skincare products.
  • Look for makeup that contains antioxidants like vitamins C or E; these fight free radical damage that can age skin.
  • Most Korean makeup does not contain fragrances or parabens, but some do. Be sure to read labels if these are a concern for you.
  • Cleanse and moisturize your skin before applying Korean makeup products, as you would with any makeup.
  • If it’s your first time buying a new product or color, get the smallest size possible or see if it is returnable. It isn’t easy to know how makeup will look until you put it on.

More to Explore

South Korea is considered a highly competitive society, so appearances are considered to be very important. It is also more common for men to wear makeup in South Korea than in the U.S.

K-pop style is one of the main reasons for the increased popularity in male makeup. Of course, not all the men in South Korea wear makeup, and others only use a little bit. Many men and celebrities go for what’s called the “chok-chok” look, which is natural and dewy. You can achieve this with a BB cream, light foundation or a concealer finished with nude shades for the lips.

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