Discover the crème de la crème of K-Beauty with our curated list of 2023’s Top 20 brands. Elevate your skincare routine with these trendsetting companies that offer innovative products for radiant, flawless skin. Don’t miss out!
With the K-beauty market projected to reach a value of $13.9 billion by 2027, it’s evident that the allure of Korean skincare has captivated us. This attraction is well-founded: premier Korean skincare brands are at the forefront of innovation, catering to sensitive skin (emphasizing hydration and inflammation reduction) while maintaining an impressively accessible price range. Alicia Yoon, the founder of Peach & Lily and hailing from South Korea, aptly describes Korean beauty as intertwined with skincare knowledge and empowerment. She delights in witnessing people delve into skin histology, skincare components, and the pursuit of personalized ways to nurture their skin.
Laneige, Glow Recipe, and Sulwhasoo are among the swiftly established cult-favorite brands. In recognition of their excellence, we’ve curated a selection of the top Korean skincare brands that undoubtedly warrant a place in your skincare regimen.
#1 Peach & Lily
Established in 2012 by Alicia Yoon, Peach & Lily stands as a platform offering its own range of skincare products and featuring renowned K-beauty brands such as Lagom, Banila Co., and Miwaji. Yoon emphasizes education: “I wanted to pass on the joy that came with taking control of your skin.” As a result, the website offers informative skincare resources, including a guide detailing the well-known multi-step Korean skincare regimen.
Although its name has a Parisian flair, LANEIGE, signifying “fresh snow” in French, originated in Seoul, South Korea, in 1994 under the umbrella of Amorepacific, the conglomerate backing various brands mentioned here. Recognized for its renowned sleeping lip mask, LANEIGE has expanded its offerings to encompass an array of skincare products, including facial moisturizers, toners, essences, and beyond.
With its origins dating back to 2002, Cosrx, a portmanteau of “Cosmetics” and “Rx” (prescription), was formally introduced in 2013 by its founder Jun Sang-Hun. The brand adopts a straightforward approach with minimalist packaging and formulations that directly address skincare issues using restorative ingredients such as cica, snail mucin, and propolis.
AMOREPACIFIC is a luxury Korean skincare brand that puts green tea first. Founded by the Amore Pacific corporation, the brand is also home to other well-known Korean beauty brands like LANEIGE, Sulwhasoo, and Innisfree. The brand’s formulas are designed to penetrate the skin deeply, providing moisture and nourishment. AMOREPACIFIC is a popular choice for people looking for a luxurious and effective skincare routine.
#5 Dr. Jart+
Ask anyone about their favorite Korean skincare brand, and Dr. Jart+ will likely come up. The brand’s name, “Doctors Join Art,” reflects its commitment to bridging the gap between art and dermatological science. While Dr. Jart+ has become a part of the Estée Lauder brand, it remains committed to the original vision of its founders – creating groundbreaking products that have solidified their place as essential components in Korean skincare.
Founded by friends Lisa Ballstaedt and Kayla Bertagna in 2017, Soon Skincare was officially launched in October 2018. Initially focused on creating Korean-inspired sheet masks that stay securely on the face, the brand rapidly became one of the prominent brands in the K-beauty skincare scene.
#7 Banila Co.
Banila Co., a Korean skincare brand founded in 2006, is no stranger to the K-beauty scene. In fact, their popular cleansing balm is purchased every 3.1 seconds. The brand’s focus on simplified routines and hybrid products that cut down on the number of steps is a major reason for its success.
The origins of Belif’s science can be traced back to an ancient herbal apothecary. Today, the botanical combinations unearthed long ago are harnessed in skincare. The outcome? Skincare that is profoundly hydrating, free from toxins, and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types.
#9 Glow Recipe
In 2017, Christine Chang and Sarah Lee established the fruit-centric skincare brand following their collaboration at L’Oreal. Originally an online platform for various Korean skincare brands, their venture evolved into the renowned Glow Recipe. Their products have gained recognition for spotlighting individual fruits and placing them at the forefront of their formulations.
If redness is a major concern for your skin, this brand, established in 2019, is worth considering. Their line prominently features cica, a powerful ingredient known for its soothing and skin-evening properties. It is one of the newer top K-beauty brands coming out of South Korea.
Sulwhasoo is a Korean skincare brand that was founded in 1966 on the philosophy of balance and harmony. The brand combines traditional Korean ingredients with innovative skincare practices to create products that are both effective and luxurious. Sulwhasoo is one of the best-selling luxury skincare brands in Amorepacific, and its products are loved by people worldwide. The brand is known for its texture-smoothing formulas and subtle fragrances, which leave the skin feeling soft, smooth, and radiant.
#12 Then I Met You
In 2012, Charlotte Cho and her husband David established Soko Glam to introduce Korean beauty techniques to the United States. Soko Glam proudly showcases a thoughtfully selected array of Korean skincare brands. Additionally, the couple has achieved remarkable success with their own Korean skincare brand, Then I Met You, garnering acclaim and recognition in the industry.
Sheet masks are a staple in Korean skincare, and Mediheal is the go-to brand for a reason. Their masks are packed with serums and other active ingredients that can help to improve your skin’s health and appearance. Whether you’re looking to hydrate, brighten, or exfoliate, Mediheal has a sheet mask for you. Mediheal is not just a sheet mask brand, though. They also have many other skincare products, including cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers. Their products are developed with the help of scientists, dermatologists, and other skin experts, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible care for your skin.
#14 Son & Park
Renowned for its Beauty Water, this Korean beauty brand stands out with a transformative formula that blends witch hazel, papaya extract, and calming rose water. This singular product has the power to revolutionize your skincare routine.
Taking inspiration from the W.B. Yeats poem bearing its name, Innisfree is a Korean skincare brand that harnesses the power of natural ingredients from Jeju Island to elevate skin health in the most pristine manner. Catering to various skin requirements, the brand offers a range of Korean moisturizers, sheet masks, clay masks, and serums. Key ingredients comprise green tea, pomegranate, volcanic cluster, and soybean. Whether you’re looking for a moisturizer, sheet mask, clay mask, or serum, Innisfree has a product for you. And with their commitment to sustainability, you can feel good about using their products, knowing they’re not harming the planet.
This is one of the emerging K-beauty brands that has garnered a devoted following in the relatively short span of around five years. Their entire philosophy centers on harmonizing the skin’s microbiome, the array of flora and organisms residing on its surface. Each product within their lineup is crafted to provide nutrients, probiotics, and prebiotics that bolster the skin’s resilience.
#17 Sweet Chef
Sweet Chef is a Korean skincare brand that the creators of Glow Recipe founded. The brand is dedicated to crafting enriching natural formulas infused with nutrients from ingredients such as celery, turmeric, beets, kale, and beyond. Sweet Chef’s products are all vegan, cruelty-free, and made with natural ingredients. They are also free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. The brand’s products are designed for a layering skincare routine. This means you can use multiple products from the brand to target different skin concerns.
#18 The Crème Shop
Top K-beauty brands have mastered the art of combining charming packaging with enchanting formulations, and The Crème Shop is a prime illustration of this. The Crème Shop excels in crafting skincare items that evoke a sense of youthful nostalgia. Their collaborations with renowned figures like Hello Kitty, DreamWorks Trolls, and BT21 underscore this aspect of their brand identity.
Mizon is a Korean skincare brand known for its affordable and effective products. The brand was founded in 2008 to provide high-quality skincare to everyone, regardless of their budget. Mizon’s products are made with natural ingredients, and the brand is committed to using cruelty-free and vegan formulas. The brand’s products are also fragrance-free and alcohol-free, making them a good option for people with sensitive skin and one of the top K-beauty brands from Korea.
Formulated by the renowned Korean makeup artist Kowon in collaboration with a team of scientists and doctors, this brand has earned a reputation for delivering exceptional results. The rich moisture cream is a favorite among its impressive product range. Particularly well-suited for prepping your skin on chilly winter days, this cream is a top choice.