Here are five names you need to add into the ‘trending’ section of your Korean beauty black book
Let's not mince brands. Any makeup addict worth her salt would have long familiarised herself with K-beauty giants like Laneige, Innisfree and even Etude House. And we reckon you've already got a good stash of products from them you're just waiting to break open, so you don't need any more enabling in that department. Instead, let's steer you a little off the mainstream path and direct your attention (and wallets) to five concept-driven names in the Korean beauty scene all the hottest celebs and cool girls are using. This is your passport to next-level makeup and skincare, gals, and also a great excuse to use your actual passport to book yourself a beauty shopping binge in Korea.
1. Jung Saem Mool A recently opened standalone store in the hip district of Garosugil has certainly cemented Jung Saem Mool's eponymous brand. Famous for being the go-to makeup artist for the biggest K-celebs, Jung's signature flawless skin technique can now be had with her curated range of products.
Star products: Essential Mool Cream, Essential Star-cealer foundation
2. Chosungah 22 Perhaps the most underrated brand in our market — with only a counter in Sasa stores — Chosungah rocks a huge presence in Korea as one of the first-generation makeup artist brands. They've got a serious cult following you should get in on, stat. Like how this writer guiltily bought more makeup and skincare than was humanly needed during her recent trip to Seoul.
Star products: Dong Gong Minn Jello Colour Eyeshadow Palette, Donkey Milk Cream, Dong Gong Minn Rocking Mascara
3. 3CE Hold the phone, we have 3CE here, right? Right. And wrong. While we're uber stoked that the brand is available locally at Sephora and online, the product offering is still shy of the explosive selection you get at the hotel-themed Stylenanda flagship store in Myeongdong. We're talking six storeys with everything from a smorgasbord of nail polishes to accessories to makeup rooms, and wait for it... a swimming pool on the top floor.
Star products: Pore Silky Balm, Matte Lip Colour, Super Slim Pen Eyeliner
4. Pony Effect If you haven't gotten swept up in Pony Syndrome, you will once you've watched a tutorial or five. A YouTube star with a whopping three million following, Pony is arguably Korea's most legit beauty guru, and has levied her trade into an up-and-coming makeup brand. With sleek packaging and an overall millennial appeal, this a collection you might soon find yourself buying backups of.
5. Moonshot Those whose K-pop game is as on as their K-beauty game would have gotten into Moonshot by its association to chart-topping acts and ambassadors Big Bang and BlackPink. Though it's created by one of Seoul's biggest entertainment companies, the brand does rock its own thing with a minimalist aesthetic that belies its excellent formulations and innovative textures like its Jelly Pot. By the way, they're a rare breed that has a proper men's skincare range, and even makeup products like a cushion foundation for men.
Star products: Face Perfection Balm Cushion, Balancing Bubble Toner, Muse Secret Golden Blossom sheet mask