If you’ve ever watched a Korean drama, you’ll probably notice that most of the actresses have really good skin – so it’s no surprise that we’re kind of obsessed with Korean beauty products. Because who doesn’t want luminous, clear and dewy skin right? From high-end to drugstore brands, we give you the low-down on the best Korean beauty products available in Singapore.
Nothing beats a good scrub when your skin feels extra oily and grimy from spending the whole day out. The Skinfood Black Sugar Mask contains mineral-enriched Brazilian black sugar that helps to really get into your pores and scrub out the grime. Trust us, this mask will make your face feel so much fresher – especially if you have oily skin. Also, it’s quite similar to Fresh’s popular Sugar Face Polish – but at a third of the price.
To use the scrub, mix a small amount with water and massage it gently into your skin – take care not to rub too hard, because you don’t want to aggravate your skin. Leave the scrub on for about 10 minutes, then wash it off with warm water. Also, this scrub is more for weekly use, so it’s best not to use it as a daily one.
SkinFood’s Black Sugar Mask looks a bit like, well, poop…but it has a nice citrusy scent, we promise.
If you’re still not sold, then here’s some food for thought (pun intended) – Skinfood’s Black Sugar line celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, so it must be doing the job well if it’s been around that long right?
If your skin-type is dry rather than oily, then try the Skinfood Rice Mask instead – it’s a gentler and more moisturising version of the Black Sugar Mask.
$45, Available at Laneige counters and Sephora stores
Laneige is one of the more premium Korean beauty brands in the market, and they generally have good skincare and makeup products. Besides their famous BB Cushion, the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack (recently relaunched as the Water Sleeping Mask) is also worth checking out.
The mask has a light and gel-like texture, which absorbs into the skin quite quickly. You’re supposed to put it on before you sleep, then wash it off the next morning to reveal brighter and more supple skin. We’re not sure how obvious the brightening effect is, but your skin will definitely feel more hydrated the next morning. If you’re a frequent traveller, this mask will refresh and hydrate your skin quickly after a long flight.
Although the mask states that it’s suitable for all skin types, people with oily skin should probably use this a bit sparingly (or skip it). There are other masks in the market that target oil control, and this is not quite one of those.
$32.90, Available at The Face Shop outlets (including Bugis Junction #02-23/24 and Wisma Atria #B1-K5/K6)
If you’re looking for a moisturiser rather than a mask, then try The Face Shop’s Chia Seed Moisture-Holding Cream. The moisturiser has a light, gel-like texture that is quite similar to the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack, except it has a cleaner scent to it. It absorbs into the skin quite quickly, and doesn’t leave that uncomfortable sticky feeling that gel moisturisers sometimes have.
You can use the Chia Seed Moisture-Holding Cream as a daily moisturiser, and apparently it’s suitable for sensitive skin types as well. If you have oilier skin though, go for the Chia Seed Sebum Control Moisture Cream instead – it pretty much does the same thing as this one, but has sebum control properties as well.
The thought of putting snail mucus (yes, that’s what Snail Masks are primarily made of) on your face is a somewhat daunting prospect, but just think about all the Korean actresses who have such dewy and radiant skin. Snail masks are supposed to have healing and moisturising properties, so it’s become a staple among most Korean beauty brands. While there are many good snail masks in the market, the Skinfood Hydro Fitting Snail Mask is one of our favourites.
For starters, the mask isn’t the dripping sort that tends to leak onto your clothes when you put it on. It also sticks to your face rather nicely, because the mask itself is cut really well (as opposed to some other sheet masks that are often too large for your face, and slip off with the slightest tilt of your head). There is also a flap around the eye area, which can be closed to allow the product to soak on your eyelids as well.
Leave the mask on for about 15 minutes, and your skin will be softer and more moisturised almost instantly. Although the mask is supposed to give you brighter and clearer skin, one mask is probably not going to give you instant results. As with most serums and masks, regular use will yield better results.
$58, Available at Odbo Skincare store (Bugis Junction #02-22)
Odbo is manufactured in Korea but for some strange reason, the brand is still relatively unknown to most Koreans. Apparently there is only one store in Seoul, and it’s a duty-free one so it caters more to tourists. The brand recently opened a store at Bugis Junction though, so there must be some sort of demand among Singaporeans.
The O2 Bubble Massage Cleanser, in particular, seems to be quite popular for its effectiveness in removing makeup and grime. Besides using it as a regular daily cleanser, you can also use the product as a makeup remover.
The cleanser has a gel-like texture, but it starts to foam a bit when you apply it to your skin. Apparently the foam is oxygen being infused into your skin, but hey, it may just be a marketing gimmick. Either way, this cleanser is surprisingly effective as both a cleanser and makeup remover, considering that most multi-purpose cleansers tend to be neither here nor there. Also, it’s quite gentle on the skin, and doesn’t leave that dry, plasticky feeling after being washed off. But then again, this may be dependent on your skin type as well – the product claims to be for all skin types, but since it’s a gel formula, drier skin types might not react as well to it.
The Odbo O2 Bubble Cleanser first applies as a gel, then slowly starts to foam once it gets in contact with the skin.
The cleanser is quite pricey though, so head down to the store to try it out first. If you chat nicely with the beauty advisors there, they just might give you some samples too.
$12 (including silicon finger tips), Available at Innisfree stores (including Takashimaya #B2-34/35 and Plaza Singapura #01-63/64)
The Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Black Head Out Balm (such a mouthful to say) is a better alternative to your conventional pore pack strips. For one, it comes in balm form so you get more use out of it than a box of pore pack strips. Also, when used with the silicon finger tips (which are sold separately), you can actually target certain spots better and really get those pesky blackheads out.
The Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Black Head Out Balm is $8 on its own, or $12 with the silicon finger tips.
The consistency of the balm is quite hard when you first open the tub, but it softens when you rub it onto your skin. It’s best to apply the product before you cleanse your face – just massage it onto your nose (or other blackhead-prone areas) for about 5 – 10 minutes, then wash it off when cleansing your face.
The beauty of a blackhead balm is that it does the job without making your pores bigger, which some blackhead strips have the tendency to do. In terms of effectiveness though, the results were about the same as the Biore Pore Pack.
The silicon fingertips have two different types of exfoliating pads.
$36, Available at VDL stores (including Bugis Junction #02-21 and ION Orchard Linkway #B2-75)
Ever since they launched in Singapore, Korean beauty brand VDL has been quite aggressive in their online marketing efforts. Just Google the brand, and you’ll find many sponsored reviews by beauty bloggers.
To give them credit though, they do have some great products – and at really affordable prices. Obviously you’re not going to get drugstore prices, but the quality of the products are almost on par with higher-end brands like Lancome – but at half the price.
The VDL Lumilayer Primer, in particular, is one of the better products available in the range. At first glance, it may seem kind of gimmicky – I mean, “voluminous light that contours the face before makeup“? That’s a lot for a little bottle of primer to do.
Surprisingly though, the Lumilayer Primer does work as promised. It’s not going to magically make you look like Yoon Eun-hye (don’t we wish), but it does highlight your face in a nice, subtle way. And hey, even Bubzbeauty loves it, so that’s saying something right?
Because the Lumilayer Primer is more reflective than standard primers, it’s best to use it sparingly. To contour, apply a bit more to the high points on your face – your nose, cheekbones, forehead and chin. The effects of the primer seem to be more prominent under flash photography, so this is a good primer for evening events.
3CE (which stands for 3 Concept Eyes) from Korean lifestyle and fashion store STYLENANDA has recently become quite popular in Singapore. Looking at the product range and design though, it’s really not surprising. The products are housed in sleek black packaging, and the range doesn’t just consist of your usual suspects. In fact if you ask us, 3CE seems quite similar to NARS, except the products are catered more to Korean beauty trends.
(Source: Pretty In Seoul Qoo10)
The 3CE Cream Blusher, in particular, is one of our favourites. Cream blushers can sometimes be tricky to apply, but this one comes in a tube so you can squeeze out the product in small amounts. The formula is lightweight and blends easily, so you can build as much coverage as you want. It’s also really great for travelling, because you don’t have to fuss with brushes and whatnot. The only downside to the product is that it only comes in 3 shades (for now).
Another holy grail product from 3CE is the Full Cover Concealer, which works for both blemishes and under eye circles. The beauty of the Full Cover Concealer (not to be confused with the Waterful Concealer, which has lighter coverage) is that it gives sufficient coverage without feeling heavy on the skin. It also has an almost creaseless finish, which is a godsend when it comes to under eye concealers. In fact, the 3CE Full Cover Concealer is pretty much a dupe of the popular NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, but at half the price.
The only drawback to this concealer (as with most 3CE products), is the lack of shades available. It only comes in 2 shades, both of which are suited for lighter skin tones, so it might not work for everyone. Despite this though, it seems to be sold out on most online stores which carry 3CE, so perhaps this is a testament to how effective it is.
$18.90, Available at selected Watsons outlets, including ION Orchard and Raffles City
It may be a mouthful to pronounce the Clio Gelpresso Waterproof Pencil Gel Liner, but it certainly works wonders. The love child of a gel and pencil eyeliner, this waterproof wonder comes in a pencil packaging with an inbuilt sharpener – trust the Koreans to come up with something so clever and practical in a makeup product.
Performance-wise, the Clio Gelpresso does as promised. It glides on smoothly, provides intense colour and – perhaps the best part – is actually waterproof. As an added bonus, there’s a hint of glitter (which helps to brighten your eyes) but nothing too tacky or in-your-face.
The Clio Gelpresso comes in a range of colours, but the most popular ones are probably Golden Black and Beige Shine (for highlighting the edges of your eyes). Certain Watsons outlets also carry the Mini Set ($25.90), which has mini versions of the best-selling colours. Because let’s face it…a girl can never have too much makeup, right?