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24 Best Korean Skincare Brands of All-Time

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Published on:

Looking for the best Korean skincare brands of all time?

I tried almost all of the skincare brands while living in Seoul, so here is a list of the 24 best ones. Make sure you do your own research when buying form any of these brands.

Just because the brand is popular doesn’t mean the products are good.

Let’s get started.

24 Korean Skincare Brands:

1. COSRX

  • Founder: Jun Sang Hun
  • Date: Dec 11, 2013
  • Official Site: https://www.cosrx.com
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

COSRX was founded in 2013 by Jun Sang-Hun. It has slowly become one of the biggest Korean cosmetic brands in the world. It’s undoubtedly a brand that has been known worldwide. They sell all types of products, like cleansers, moisturizers, and exfoliators.

In 2018, COSRX was also selected to be a Global Brand Success Story by Amazon. Which is very fair because they have taken the Korean Beauty industry by storm. If you haven’t tried any COSRX products yet, you’re really missing out.

And there’s a reason why COSRX has become so big. It’s mainly because the products actually deliver results. Their products are outstanding when it comes to quality, packaging, and formulations.


2. Amore Pacific

  • Founder: Suh Sung-whan
  • Date: Sep 5, 1945
  • Official Site: https://www.apgroup.com
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Amorepacific is founded in 1945 by Suh Sung-Whan. In the early 90s he started formulating different skincare products, which later became one of the biggest brands in Korea. They offer a wide variety of skincare products like sunscreen, exfoliators, and moisturizers.

As of today, they have more than 30 different skincare brands which belong to one group. This is called the Amorepacific Group. And while they aren’t the biggest, they certainly have a big market share in the K-beauty industry.

Plus, they also have hundreds of flagship stores in almost all countries. If you haven’t tried their products, it’s highly recommended.


3. Etude House

Etude House is one of the brands Amore Pacific owns. Etude House means “Study” in French, which basically stands for Study House. With more than 250+ stores, it has slowly become one of the biggest brands in Korea.

Etude House mainly focuses on Korean skincare, unlike other brands that also include make-up. They have stores in Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, and also Japan.

With its plan to open more stores, it’ll become one of the bigger skincare brands that will also gain a bigger market share.


4. HERA

  • Founder: part of Amore Pacific
  • Date: 1995
  • Official Site: https://www.hera.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

HERA has only really grown in the last few years to become such a big hit. Their main marketing strategy was working with K-Pop idols like Jennie from BLACKPINK. With her face, this Korean skincare brand has blown up.

Everyone is looking for these products, and they’re often sold out. They sell all types of beauty products, from skincare to fragrance and more.

Since March 2021, HERA has been available in the United Stated and will slowly move their way on to Europe. The current CEO of HERA is Lior Dadon.


5. Laneige

  • Founder: part of Amore Pacific
  • Date: 1994
  • Official Site: https://www.laneige.com
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Laneige means snow in French and is also part of the APGroup. Their focus mainly lies on “Advanced Water Science technology” products. And with their well-formulated products, it’s becoming extremely popular. Also, overseas, Laneige is a well-known brand.

This is the first brand of Amore Pacific that had a great start overseas, unlike their other brands that got popular in Korea first and later overseas.

In the past, they had famous partnerships with people like Song Hye-kyo (the actress from Descendants of the Sun) and also Jun Ji-hyun.


6. Innisfree

  • Founder: Suh Kyung-bae
  • Date: 2000
  • Official Site: https://us.innisfree.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, Official site, and Amazon

Innisfree was very popular in the early days of Korean skincare. Nowadays, it’s not as popular anymore, which is probably because of its marketing strategy.

At first, they were the leading skincare brand that was soon to be taking over the United States. Even though they still have great products, the market has gotten more competitive, making them less popular than before.

Albeit not a brand you should avoid because they do deliver great results. Plus, their products are often better priced than other brands.


7. Dr. Jart+

  • Founder: Lee Jin-wook
  • Date: 2004
  • Official Site: https://www.drjart.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, Official site, and Amazon

If you haven’t heard about Dr. Jart+, you’re missing out big time. Their skincare masks have been taking over the whole industry. With their newest innovations and technology, the Dr. Jart+ sheet masks are a no-brainer.

And their products aren’t too expensive either, which is a win-win. They also have other great products like moisturizers, SPF, and even whole skincare kits.

While this isn’t the most popular brand out there, they definitely have some great products to try. Make sure to give it a go, you won’t regret it.


8. Mediheal

  • Founder: Kwon Oh-sub
  • Date: 2008
  • Official Site: https://mediheal.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Mediheal was founded by a group of a professional team of skin experts that saw a gap in the market. And because they understood their skin type the best, they started innovating new products, eventually becoming Mediheal.

Their focus was on sheet masks at first, but ever since, they have been focussing on other skincare products too. Like moisturizers.

In 2017, they had a partnership with the famous boy band BTS, which means that the ARMY has a good reason to try these products out.


9. Soko Glam

  • Founder: Charlotte Cho
  • Date: 2012
  • Official Site: https://sokoglam.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Soko Glam was founded by Charlotte Cho in 2012. She saw a huge opportunity in the K-beauty market because many products weren’t available in the United States. 

And year over year, it has grown to be one of the biggest skincare brands in the United States. Soko Glam also have their own product called “Then I Met You”.

It’ll take a long time before the other brands catch up to Soko Glam because of their outstanding delivery time, customer service, and competitive pricing.


10. Sulwhasoo

Suh Sung-Whan founded Sulwhasoo in 1996. In the early days, their main focus was herbal ingredients. Later they moved on to health and beauty products, which became skincare.

Sulwhasoo is one of the smaller brands which is also part of the APGroup. In Europe, Sulwhasoo is almost nowhere to be seen, and in the US, it’s gaining some traction, but still not as big as in Korea itself.

Make sure to give Sulwhasoo a try, especially if you like Korean skincare products that have a unique formulation.


11. Glow Recipe

  • Founders: Christine Chang and Sarah Lee
  • Date: 2004
  • Official Site: https://www.glowrecipe.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Christine Chang and Sarah Lee founded Glow Recipe. At first, they had their own Korean skincare store, which imported products from Korea to the United States.

And a few years later, they started their own brand, which today is known as Glow Recipe. In 2021 they reached $100,000,000 in sales, which is unheard of for a skin care startup this small.

Over the years, they have gotten some traction and will likely grow their brand to an even bigger scale. 


12. Beauty of Joseon

Sumin Lee founded Beauty of Joseon back in 2015. This was when the Korean skincare market started getting more and more popular. The whole Beauty of Joseon brand is based on simplicity.

Their overall formulation of products is amazing, and it’s by far one of the best brands out there. Sadly, it’s not as big as some other brands because of the highly competitive space. 

Looking forward, this will probably be one of the biggest brands in Korean skincare. Their products are available anywhere in the world, including Europe, Australia, and even Canada.


13. Banila Co

Banila Co stands for realistic beauty standards. They won’t recommend you a 10-step skincare routine that sucks the money out of your life. And their products are great for all skin types. 

With affordable brands like this, it’s a no-brainer to try these. One of their most popular products is the Banila Co cleansers.

These have given a lot of people some amazing results, leading to more sales and happy customers. So give it a try and see for yourself.


14. Soon Skincare

  • Founders: Kayla Bertagna and Lisa Ballstaedt
  • Date: unknown
  • Official Site: https://soonskincare.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Soon Skincare was started by two girls called Kayla and Lisa. They started using skincare before they even knew it. Kayla had severe acne and started looking for high-quality clean ingredients, while Lisa looked for the best way to get the healthiest skin.

And not some quick fixes like many other skincare brands promote. It’s about getting the healthiest skin possible while also maintaining quality. 

This is where a lot of skincare brands go wrong, unlike Soon Skincare. So give this skincare brand a try, you won’t regret it.


15. Peach & Lily

Alicia Yoon founded Peach & Lily in 2012. Her main focus was to bring non-toxic and cruelty-free products to the market.

Which they did. Peach & Lily is one of the leading brands in the Korean Beauty market. They have a huge market share in the US. market, which is very beneficial to them.

Many Korean brands try to infiltrate the US. market, often without much success. So if you’re looking for a skincare brand that uses clinically-proven ingredients, this is it.


16. The Ordinary

  • Founder: Brandon Truaxe
  • Date: 2012
  • Official Site: https://theordinary.com
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Brandon Truaxe founded the Ordinary. This isn’t really a Korean skincare brand, but it definitely belongs to this list because of its huge success in Korea and worldwide.

The Ordinary is one of the biggest skincare brands not founded by a Korean. They offer a huge variety of products like cleansers, moisturizers, and essence. 

If you haven’t tried them out yet, make sure you do. They have some very well-formulated products, which can be life-changing.


17. Dear, Klairs

Ryan Park founded Dear, Klairs in 2009. Unlike many other brands, Dear, Klairs does not chase trends or is looking for the next best ingredient. They stay true to themselves and only produce high-quality products.

That’s why Dear, Klairs has become one of the biggest brands in the Korean skincare market. All of their products are PETA certified, which means they don’t test on animals.

You probably don’t know it, but many Korean brands actually test on animals. So make sure to give this brand a go, you won’t regret it.


18. Benton

Lee Jang-won founded Benton with his younger brother. At first, they only wanted to create natural skin care products because his brother had very sensitive skin.

Over time Benton has become one of the leading brands in the Korean beauty industry. While there are some bigger brands out there, it’s incomparable when you look at natural skincare.

Their own ingredient called “Snail Bee” which is used in almost all of their products, has taken the world by storm. It keeps the skin moisturized while also giving it a glow.


19. Missha

  • Founder: part of Able C&C Co., Ltd.
  • Date: 2009
  • Official Site: https://missha.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Missha is a luxury Korean skincare brand that is known for its stores in the Myeong-dong district. They have thousands of stores around the world, whereas the majority is located in Japan.

This is one of the few skincare brands that is quite expensive. But you can expect to see some results from these products. However, if you don’t have the budget, it’s better to avoid this brand.

Especially if you live overseas. Products are more expensive overseas than in Korea or Japan.


20. SKINFOOD

SKINFOOD is founded in 1957 and is part of Amore Pacific group. They have over 5.000 stores worldwide and are one of the biggest skincare chains in Korea.

SKINFOOD was founded after the Korean War by the Cho Family. Through the years, the brand has grown because of its high-quality products. 

And all the shares are privately held, which means they can easily make changes throughout the company.


21. IUNIK

Michelle Kim founded IUNIK in 2012. They strive for products that deliver actual results. Unlike other brands that are just there to make money.

Their whole philosophy is making products that reflect simplicity. No complex ingredient list that only skincare experts understand.

Throughout the years, IUNIK has grown to be one of the bigger brands in the K-beauty market. Plus, their products are extremely well-priced and affordable.


22. Neutrogena

Emanual Stolaroff founded Neutrogena in 1930. Their original name was Natone, and it was later changed to Neutrogena. Even though they mainly focus on the Western market, their popularity in Korea has been rising.

Neutrogena has made a lot of great products, like the Hydro Boost Gel. And even though this isn’t a Korean brand at heart, it’s a must-try.

This brand is very well known in Korea, and many famous Korean artists are ambassadors for this brand.


23. WishTrend

  • Founders: Coochwa Suh and Joo Yeon Park
  • Date: Nov 1, 2010
  • Official Site: https://wishtrend.com/
  • Where To Buy: WishTrend and Amazon

Coochwa Suh and Joo Yeon Park founded WishTrend in 2010. At first, they started selling other Korean skincare products and later produced their own.

One of their most popular products is the Vitamin C serum. This one is available almost anywhere in the world, and it has gotten so popular because of the high-quality ingredients.

Even though WishTrend is not as big in Europe, it definitely thriving in the United States mainly because of its successful YouTube channel.


24. Pyunkang Yul

  • Founder: Seo Hyo-seok
  • Date: unknown
  • Official Site: https://pyunkangyul.com/
  • Where To Buy: YesStyle, Stylevana, and Amazon

Pyunkang Yul is a cruelty-free Korean skincare brand founded by Seo Hyo-seok. It started as a small startup and has become one of the biggest brands in the world.

Their whole mission is to create minimalist Korean skincare products that solve skin disorders. And by doing this, they don’t only focus on modern techniques but also traditional herbs like Ginseng and a method called Hanbang.

Pyunkang Yul is one of the most effective Korean skincare brands out there because of their unique way of creating products.


Final Thoughts

Wrapping up, these were all the 24 Korean skincare brands that you need to know. It’s important that you try out different kinds of brands, that way, you know what works and what doesn’t.

Most people never try all the brands, which is a bummer because you’re actually missing out on some great products that you only see if you actually try them.

So make sure to give them a try, you won’t regret it.

FAQs

Why is Korean Skincare the Best?

Korean skincare is the best because they use less harmful ingredients such as parabens. Unlike brands from Western countries, it’s also more affordable.

What is The Best Korean Skincare Brand?

The best Korean skincare brand is COSRX. It’s undoubtedly the most popular skincare brand in Korea itself and overseas. The products are available anywhere in the world and, with well-formulated products, they deliver the best results.

What Skincare Products Do Koreans Use?

Generally speaking, Koreans tend to use a cleanser, exfoliator, and moisturizer. These are the three pillars that the majority of people use.

On top of these products, they add eye creams, sunscreens, and other related products. But that’s more for the Koreans that are really into skincare.

About The Author

Photo of author

Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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