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Beauty

13 Cult Korean Beauty Brands Any Beauty Fanatic Should Know

The good news: these labels ship here.

The Asian beauty mecca truly lives up to its reputation as a hotspot for new labels constantly popping up on the market. While there are already a handful of K-beauty brands that have established their household names here – think Laneige, Sulwhasoo and Hera – there are a lot more players to know which have not reached our shores. Here, we list some of the most under-the-radar Korean beauty brands to add to your directory.

Dr UNM
The clean beauty brand founded last year is the brainchild of South Korean aesthetic clinic, You & Me Clinic. It focuses on creating skincare products that mimic the effects of an actual treatment one would get at with an actual visit to the doctor. While the brand has ampoules, creams and masks, its sets are definitely one to note as they come equipped with derma rollers and other tools that are safe to use at home to reap benefits similar to micro-needling and other clinical treatments. Available at www.ksisters.sg.    Tamburins
South Korean eyewear Gentle Monster needs no introduction but what many may not know that it has a skincare brand known as Tamburins as well. Formed by the team behind the trendy eyewear label in 2017, it adopts a similar artsy aesthetic as its fashion counterpart, albeit slightly more minimal and modern. From its brick-and-mortar store in Garosugil, Seoul to its product and packaging design, the brand is made for your Instagram moments. Besides that, it is also known for its scented hand creams, potent serums, and solid perfumes, which are – sadly – still unavailable in Singapore (yes, you have to fly over to Seoul to get your hands on them). Son & Park
Founded by renowned Korean makeup artists Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yun in 2015, the duo are also behind the makeup brand, Gesgep, which is sold at Escentials. Together, they have championed the dewy, glow-like skin effect by recreating a natural yet luminous complexion that’s properly prepped with hydrating skincare products. Son & Park mirrors that approach and adopts a skin first philosophy with products that create a perfect, well-prepped and lasting base for makeup to go on smoothly and easily. The brand fuss-free and simple packaging will gain the approval of its minimalist fans. Available at Guardian. Commonlabs
Founded in 2019, the brand believes skincare is meant for all, which is why it has adopted a minimal, gender-neutral approach and aesthetic with products that cater to both men and women. Each product focuses on strengthening and repairing skin cell health to achieve a balanced, well-hydrated and radiant complexion. To do so, the products are saturated with key vitamins (namely B, C and E) that work directly on skin cells to nourish and bring it back to its optimal state for a healthier complexion. The brand is available on www.ksisters.sg.  By Ecom
The brand was founded in 2017 by South Korean beauty content creator Ecom who started her own label to create honest products she – and her followers – could use on a daily. About a year later, it hit our shores and is currently available at www.ksister.sg. Its products are geared towards those with troubled, acne-prone skin, which include the different ranges from its Pure Calming to Heartleaf lines that target congestion, clogged pores as well as black and white heads. Suitable for oily and combination skin types, the products are fortified with botanical ingredients, are fragrance-free, and come with lightweight and refreshing formulae.  Huxley
The brand was founded in 2017 with a less is more approach, scaling back on the then popularised 10-step skincare routine. All the products are formulated with prickly pear cactus that was commonly used in the past by women who lived in the Sahara desert, along with other antioxidant-rich botanical ingredients. These ingredients resulted in the brand’s rep for moisture-binding properties to ensure skin is well hydrated and plump. On top of that, it also helps to treat damaged skin aggravated by external aggressors, using unique formulations to help to strengthen skin’s natural defences. I Woke Up Like This
We first reported on the South Korean skincare trend, “skip-care” back in 2018 and now, many brands have started to adopt a more streamlined approach to skincare. One of them is I Woke Up Like This which has taken the “skip-care” trend very seriously, focusing on creating only the most important of products to downsize one’s beauty routine, while ensuring that it is still effective even with minimal steps. The products, which are available at www.ksisters.sg, feature mild botanical formulae and natural ingredients such as centella asiatica and malus domestica fruit extracts. This back-to-basics approach allows for each product to be used on all skin types and it is even safe for pregnant women. Round A’Round
Sold exclusively on Korean multi-brand retailer Olive Young, the brand adopts a holistic approach to skincare with a focus on self and personal care. On top of its robust range of skincare products, it also offers home fragrances such as diffusers and other body care products. Its skincare features a vegan formula and focuses on soothing and calming properties to treat sensitised skin prone to irritation and redness.  Mediheal
This Korean skincare brand focuses solely on one must-have item in any South Korean’s beauty stash: sheet masks. The brand takes a more scientific approach by using advanced and efficient technologies to create high-tech and innovative formulations for its sheet masks. It has already produced an array of masks meant to treat and tackle almost all kinds of skin concerns. Other innovations include a black mask formulated with Bintochan charcoal powder, an acupressure mask designed to stimulate facial acupoints and a first-of-its-kind 3D ampoule mask that offers effortless application. Benton
Taking cues from the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the beauty brand focuses on reversing the ageing process by creating products that restore skin health for stronger, more resilient and healthier skin with cruelty-free formulations. As we mature, our skin health tends to deteriorate, what with constant exposure to external aggressors. When that happens, our complexions begin to look duller, feel more dehydrated and age a lot faster. Thus, the brand aims to combat this by targeting the root problem and ensuring skin health is fully restored back to its original strength.  Some By Mi
If you are looking for a beauty brand that targets acne-prone skin, as well as pore concerns and hyperpigmentation, this is the brand to note. It is most known for its chemical exfoliants that aim to slough away dead skin cells, unclog pores and boost radiance for increased skin clarity. Each product is powered by a single key ingredient such as yuja niacin and vitamin C to specifically target a skin concern.  Rovectin
This beauty brand targets two very important aspects of our skin: strengthening our skin barrier and restoring it to its optimal health as well as combating dry and sensitive complexions. It does this with two key technologies known as a Barrier Repair Complex and Asta Cell Fortifier. The former is made with a plant-based compound that slowly strengthens the skin’s natural barrier to retain moisture and keep toxins out. The latter works to prevent skin damage caused by external aggressors such as UV rays and pollution. It uses astaxanthin to neutralise free radicals and rebalance the skin. Neogen
With many of us indulging in skip-care routines or adopting a simpler skincare regime, it is important to use products that are multi-tasking, nourishing, and efficient. One product you might want to use is a skincare pad. These pads have been pre-soaked in a nourishing solution to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, hydrate, brighten and soothe the complexion. Neogen is very much known for its high-performance skincare pads that aim to combat common skin concerns and are fortified with specific key ingredients such as lemon and green tea to target a single concern, as well as gentle acids to slough away dead skin cells. Moreover, each product from the brand is boosted with six core bio-technology formulas to effectively deliver the benefits of the natural ingredients used to the skin.