Korean Beauty in Korea
Chances are you know the K-Beauty products everyone is talking about in your country. But do you want to know which K-Beauty products everyone in Korea actually likes?
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Today, I’m sharing my favourite apps, sites and programs to stay in the know on real K-Beauty trends right here in Korea.
First aired in 2016, “Get it Beauty” is owned by media conglomerate CJ E&M and broadcast on OnStyle. Likened to “Top Gear”, but for beauty, the show is one of South Korea’s OG beauty shows.
Hosts over the years have included everyone from pop star Eugene, to model Honey Lee, actress Yoo In Na and singer Sandara Park. Get it Beauty is well known for bringing beloved Hallyu stars onto the program as guests, with lineups like Girls Generation, Suzy Bae, A-Pink and more sharing their favourite products and beauty secrets.
The show explores everything from makeup, skincare routines, diets and workouts and will often have segments highlighting a new brand or product that has just been released.
Get it Beauty shines a spotlight on formulas, exploring beneficial and harmful ingredients, to help consumers make informed choices about the products they’re using.
One of the show’s highlights is its “blind test” segment, where the hosts and audience test out and then rank products – without knowing which brand the product is from. The results are nearly always surprising. When the big names backing a product are removed from the picture, the formulas are left to speak for themselves.
The products that win Get it Beauty’s “blind test” segment go straight to the top of Korea’s search engines, usually becoming massive hits themselves.
One such example was Missha’s foundation, which was favourably compared to Estee Lauder’s Double Wear. After the segment aired, Missha’s foundation skyrocketed to fame known as the “Double Wear” dupe. Benton’sFermentation Eye Cream also performed extremely well in its blind tests. Tests for wrinkle improvement were conducted over four weeks. It has also been gaining a lot of attention following it’s Get it Beauty feature.
Similar beauty programs in Korea include KBS Joy’s Beauty Queen, SBS FunE’s STAR BEAUTY Show and JTBC’s Beauty Up with Cosmopolitan.
What better way to verify which products deserve pride-of-place on your beauty cabinet than real reviews generated byreal people. These are a few of my favourite sites to find user generated reviews and rankings of K-Beauty products:
Launched in 2013,HwaHae is a Korean beauty app that boasts hundreds of thousands of cosmetics reviews and ingredient analyses. It’s an independent third party source of information on cosmetics that enables beauty lovers to find their perfect match.
The name “Hwahae” (화해) is short for “화장품을 해석하다”, which literally means “to analyse cosmetics”.
Nearly a million Koreans (and three million people in total) use Hwahae to search for information on beauty products’ ingredients and see how safe they are for the skin. Hwahae has become a must-visit destination for beauty lovers with sensitive skin, eczema and hair loss.
The app produces weekly rankings for products and features the hottest trending products by users for each category.
The app promotes smart buying, not only in terms of budget and cost, but also by enabling users to tailor their skincare routines to take into account their own skin types. It uses a scale to help users choose the best products for them based on:
The app focuses mostly on Korean skincare and cosmetics, meaning Korean manufacturers also keep a close eye on it. Not only do they use positive reviews to promote their products, manufacturers also use negative reviews as a learning experience.As a result of negative reviews on Hwahae,AmorePacific and LG Household and Health Care (two of the biggest names in K-Beauty globally) made an effort to downgrade the irritancy level of their products, particularly with the use of fragrances.
Korean consumers are particularly attuned to newer brands, and are conscious that brand value is no guarantee of quality. As a result, many new brands have managed to make a brand for themselves for releasing quality products that skip out on the harmful ingredients.
If you’re not keen on translating Korean sites, head on over to newly launched K-Beauty review siteBling Dear– the first English language platform in Korea with its own user-generated reviews of all the most popular K-Beauty products.
Unlike other sites, Bling Dear gives you the chance to win products in exchange for honest reviews as well.
The site features product rankings, reviews and links to local sites where you can buy popular products from a verified store in your own country.
Boasting over half a million users and tens of millions of website hits each day,Glow Pickis another site (with a linked app) where you can check beauty rankings, read user reviews and even write your own reviews.
The site allows you to search popular products by brand as well as categories, with a large range of categories including masks, skincare, makeup, skin concerns, hair, nails, fragrances, female products, salon products and many more.
Glowpick’s ranking process is somewhat different to other platforms as it runs an algorithm to establish which reviews are credible and genuine.
Another beauty tool with nearly a million users is Korea’sMemebox.
To see what’s popular and trending in Korea based on category and user reviews, this easy-to-navigate website lists hundreds of thousands of products based on scores. Even if you can’t speak Korean, you’ll easily be able to see which products and brands are trending thanks to the pictures on the front page.
If you’re in Korea, don’t forget to check out Memebox’s offline stores as well, in popular locations like Sinchon and Gangnam.
Popular YouTuber and makeup artist PONY (real name Park Hye Min) is undoubtedly Korea’s most famous YouTuber. Having blogged about Korean Beauty, makeup and skincare trends for years, her channel is guaranteed to get you trying some new tricks. PONY has written books on K-Beauty makeup trends, has her own makeup line (PONY Effect) and has donemakeup for some of Korea’s biggest stars, including CL.
With over 4 million subscribers, PONY caters to her large international fan base on her YouTube channel, with most of her videos now subtitled in English.
Don’t miss PONY’s amazing transformation videos where she turns herself into Kylie Jenner and Taylor Swift using makeup!
Korean netizens can’t get enough of Risabae and with her sweet personality and down-to-earth nature, it’s not hard to see why.
Risabae takes on the role of an eonnie (“older sister” in Korean) teaching handy everyday tips and tricks to her fans. With 2.26 million subscribers on YouTube, she is best known for her makeup-themed tutorials.
Risabae’s tutorials include a lot of the everyday makeup looks that are popular in Korea, such as glass skin and dewy makeup. Her videos are quick and easy to follow and if you don’t speak Korean, there are English subtitles to break down what she’s saying for you as well.
She covers K-Beauty and western beauty, including luxury brands.
Down-to-earth and tomboyish Ssin has a different style to other Korean YouTubers, who tend to be girly and sweet. With her androgynous look and gruff voice, she can pull off feminine and tomboy styles. Her real personality – raw and entertaining – naturally shines through in her videos. Ssin creates a wide range of themed videos, from Halloween, to retro and K-Pop inspired makeup looks. She also collaborates with many of the big Korean makeup brands to show off the looks you can create with their products.
With over 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube she uses English subtitles with her videos.
If you’re not a typical girly-girl or are simply after practical makeup advice from a real person, Ssin Nim is your girl to follow.
Yeon Du Kong is another Korean YouTuber who creates beauty and lifestyle videos. In addition to “Get Ready with Me” videos she also shows her life out-and-about in Korea. Yeon Du Kong’s style is typical of many young Korean girls and she features a range of affordable products on her channel that are popular with women in their teens and 20s.
Yeon Du Kong has over 700,000 subscribers and although she doesn’t provide subtitles in English, her videos are easy to follow along.
If you want to get a taste of what’s actually popular in Korea right now, Yeon Du Kong is a great YouTuber to follow.
"Want to know what's actually trending in Korea? Get the list straight from Koreans by tuning into these programs!"- Lauren Lee, Host of the Korean Beauty Show podcast
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