K-beauty has been a booming business in the past few years, and it’s not hard to see why. The skincare industry’s thirst for baby-soft skin at all levels — from ultra-hydration to anti-ageing powerhouses — is not only one step closer to the glowing skin of dreams, but exhausting to keep up with. Not that we’re really complaining.
On that note, we rounded up the best Korean skincare brands according to actual Koreans living in Singapore, for your shopping convenience below.
Throwing down the gauntlet, Korean skincare brand Huxley arrives with minimalistic offerings: lightweight facial oils, scrub/masks hybrids, cactus extract toner and more. Fun fact: they actually build their most of their skincare line around one key ingredient, the prickly pear cactus seed oil. All that’s left? Brighter, more radiant skin. Is it too soon for us to start buying in bulk or…?
“By the fourth day, I was hooked to their facial oil — and I felt like my complexion calmed down especially after the stressed week I had. They also have scrub and masks sets with nice fragrance to it, but it hit hard on my wallet. My sister (who is still living in Incheon) actually recommended the brand to me but it wasn’t yet available in Singapore. So glad it is now!” — Min Jung, 29
Son & Park
If you want the crème de la crème of Korean skincare, Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yoon have quite the resume. Having worked with the biggest names in K-pop such as 2NE1 and Song Hye Kyo, the duo poured their tricks of the trade into a skincare and makeup line. Packed with raved-about reviews on their beauty water (a multitasking toner and cleansing water), this brand remains ahead of the curve.
“Not sure if this is a gen z thing, but I’m all for clean beauty and minimalistic packaging. When I say minimal, I really mean just a transparent bottle with san-serif text gets me hyped up. I heard about Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yoon when they did Gianna Jun’s makeup and I followed them on Instagram after that. Once they launched their brand Son & Park, I immediately gravitated towards their line. Their beauty water (my personal favourite) is loved by many worldwide and I use it everyday for my skincare routine. — Da-eun, 22
Su:m37˚ has earned a spot in many Koreans’ hall of fame for its tremendous anti-ageing and skin-smoothing abilities. These power-packed, potent elixirs do come in a tad pricey, but users praise its use of natural ingredients and its promise on delivering radiant, youthful skin.
“As I approach my mid-thirties, I am more willing to spend on more high-end skincare products to save my visage. The creams are much thicker and heavier in consistency which I love. I know the thickness of the cream is not equivalent to better quality, but it makes my skin feel incredibly soft and hydrated the next morning.” —Rin, 32
Brimming with true holistic beauty, Sulwhasoo prides itself on using precious Korean herbal medicinal ingredients in their skincare range. In sum: high-performance products that don’t compromise on quality. The only gripe? Some users aren’t in love with the herbal scent.
“Though it’s a luxury brand followed by higher price range, the fine quality Ginseng ingredients are unique and organic, and address my hydration concers, while also being fit for Asian skin. I recommended the brand for those who believe in the effects of doing a daily skincare routine. I can no longer withstand any chemical scent and now prefer clean and gentle formulas.” — Jackie Park, 30
The most affordable of the lot, Innisfree is constantly attempting to have us live our best lives; a.k.a. healthy complexion, hydrated skin, reducing the appearance of pores and being friendly on our bank accounts. This Korean skincare brand was actually South Korea’s first all-natural brand (let’s give credit where it’s due), and many of the product ingredients are sourced from Jeju Island: green tea, orchid, lava seawater and soybean!
“I like Innisfree because it has natural, clean ingredients and I can trust it with my skin. Plus, it is affordable and I quickly learned that most of their product range works for me. I especially like the wine and volcanic line.” — Jiah, 20
Written by Sinead Lee.