Your Glow Awaits: 9 Korean Makeup Brands With Clean Formulas & Bold Colors
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Korean beauty is known for pushing the envelope with cutting-edge formulas. This rings true for skin care, hair care, and, yes, makeup (hello, glass skin).
Seoul, the capital, is a particular level of heaven for beauty lovers, as that’s where most of the makeup trends see first light before making their way across the Pacific. (In case you didn't know, Korea was on the BB cream train long before it became a stateside sensation.)
And in addition to adventurous, showstopping shades, Korean makeup products typically come loaded with skin-supporting ingredients to offer a poreless-looking glow—think hyaluronic acid, green tea, glycerin, and the list goes on.
At the end of the day, makeup should be enjoyable and transformative—Korean brands take this notion and run with it, offering innovative, playful packaging, textures that feel like butter, and colors that don't play it safe.
Here, some of the best Korean makeup brands to toss on your wishlist.
innisfree's ingredients stem from Korea's Jeju Island (they even operate their own green tea fields on the island, where they can sustainably source nourishing ingredients). Their skin care offerings run the gamut but don't sleep on their skin-loving makeup. This blurring powder, in particular, sweeps over your pores with ease and soaks up any excess shine.
Pore Blur Pact, innisfree ($14)
Korean makeup brands have perfected the plush, buildable application, and Amuse's range of cream blushes are no different. This cherry number sinks into the skin and makes you appear plumped with moisture—like a fruit bursting with sweet nectar.
Soft Cream Cheek, Amuse Makeup ($16.20)
If you're looking for a skin care/makeup hybrid, look no further than a trusty BB cream. This brand pumps theirs with glycerin, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, and green tea water, so you're reaping the benefits of skin-healthy ingredients while evening out the complexion. A multitasker's dream.
Crystal BB Cream, Shangpree ($67)
The brand at large is beloved by beauty editors and experts alike, but their CC cream remains the star. This one's specially designed to correct sallow undertones, with a violet hue that nixes dark circles and discoloration. Perfect for those tired of looking tired.
CC Dull Correct, erborian ($44)
Korean makeup brands have capital-M mastered the lip tint—from glosses, stains, to powdery formulas that provide an even, blurred coat. This fun, jelly-textured number makes your lips look juicy and plump; just dab the doe-foot applicator across your lips for a jewel-toned tint.
Wish Stone Tint, Missha ($5)
Ah, the cushion compact. Another Korean makeup staple, these products are plush to the touch and offer a soft, pillowy finish. Kaja's mochi highlighter emulates the dessert to a T—it's bouncy and plump, as if it's filled to the brim with rich, silky goodness.
Mochi Glow Bouncy Highlighter, Kaja ($19)
Created by the original beauty influencer Michelle Phan, this K-beauty-inspired brand takes the legwork out for you, with products that make applying expert-level makeup a breeze. Their "Pick Me Up" mascara lifts your lashes and keeps them doll-like all day long, with vitamin B, hyaluronic acid, rice extract, and tsubaki (or camellia oil) to help condition the flutters.
Pick Me Up Volume + Length Mascara, Em Cosmetics ($24)
Touch In Sol
Created in the heart of Seoul, Touch In Sol was made "out of a desire to highlight the energy and artistic nature of the city." True to their word, their offerings are fun, sensorial, and high quality. Take this hydrating "Icy Sherbet Primer": It feels like frosting, yet the gel formula is weightless and cooling—it locks in moisture without leaving your skin feeling too slick.
Pretty Filter Icy Sherbet Primer, Touch In Sol ($15.91)
Founded way back in 1985, Etude is one of the most recognized Korean makeup brands out there. For over 30 years, they've offered fun, playful products with buttery formulas at budget price points. One of our favorites happens to be this creamy shadow: It's a primer-like confection that glides on with ease, likened to a "buttery matte velvet texture," in a range of glitzy shades.
Look At My Eyes Velvet, Etude ($3.58)
TONYMOLY's makeup can only be described as juicy. The color payoff is bold yet blendable, with textures that are perfect for finger-painting. Their Lip Blur is specifically a winner, featuring a liquid-to-powder finish that'll help you ace the gradient, K-beauty lip.
The Shocking Lip Blur, TONYMOLY ($17)
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Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.