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Beginner's Guide to K-Beauty: 10 Easily Accessible K-Beauty Brands | Blogmas Day 13

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Since I've only been heavily interested in K-beauty and Asian beauty in general since this summer, I'm constantly discovering new products, brands, and stores! If you saw my Asian Beauty Black Friday + Cyber Monday roundup post, you might remember that there are literally dozens of retailers out there. And after that post I've still discovered more!

While I'm thankful for (and support) so many awesome small businesses making Asian beauty products available to an international audience, it can also be kinda overwhelming to a beginner (and I would know since I am one!)

Today I thought I would focus on the Asian beauty brands easily accessible here in the US. Brands that you can buy in person at large chain stores across the country. This list is by no means exhaustive. For instance Sephora and Urban Outfitters both carry an increasingly large amount of K-beauty brands which I didn't include because a) they might be primarily available online/ in large cities only or b) they only offer one or two products.

1. Dr. Jart+
Available via Sephora
Dr. Jart+ is where the good shit is at. At Sephora they've got serums, masks, sheet masks, moisturizers, basically everything your skincare loving-heart will desire. While I haven't tried everything, I have loved everything I have tried. The Ceramidin Cream is the shining star of the group. I'd like to dress it in a cape and call it my dehydrated skin savior. It's so hydrating without being heavy or greasy.

If you've got oilier skin you can try out their water drop moisturizer which also doubles as top notch skintertainment. As you rub it in it forms water droplets on your skin before being completely blended out. So cool!


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2. belif
Available via Sephora
I briefly talked about belif in my $50 and under gift guide when I shared their moisturizing bomb gift set. Besides their moisturizing bomb (which is perfect for dry skin) they've also got an aqua bomb for oilier skin types. The aqua bomb has a lovely gel texture and dries down to a matte finish.

Sephora also recently started carrying their peat line which is apparently very popular overseas! In addition Sephora also has a mini travel set for $20 which includes 5 of their minis.


I still haven't used my $20 Sephora coupon and am contemplating their Hungarian essence set as one of my purchases 🤔



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3. Too Cool For School

Available via Sephora
Out of all the brands on this list, Too Cool For School is the one I'm most excited to try more of! I bought the Aqua Gel mist during the Sephora VIB Sale and featured it in my November beauty favorites post.

They've also got a whole line of egg cream products which are meant to moisturize your skin. Perfect for winter, right? There's egg cream sheet masks, an egg mellow body butter, and egg mousse face cleanser.

In addition to their skincare they've also got a whole host of makeup products. My favorites are the Dinoplatz lip balms which hydrate your lips while simultaneously adding some color to them. Another product that caught my eye are their Dinoplatz eyeshadows since they seem to be a very unique formula. They're a cream eyeshadow that are dispensed from a tube. I've never seen such a product before!


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4. Tonymoly
Available via Sephora, Ulta, Urban OutfittersLord & Taylor
I wouldn't hesitate to say that Tonymoly is probably the most recognizable Korean beauty brand in the US. Before I knew anything about sheet masks, I had still heard of Tonymoly sheet masks.

The best thing about their I'm Real line of masks are that they're soooo cute. Just kidding. The best part of the line is the variety. If you're looking to target one specific skin concern, there's probably a mask in the I'm Real line for it.

In general Tonymoly has super cute packaging! They've got a peach hand cream that comes in a peach container, a lip shaped lip balm, and a whole slew of panda products. If I'm being honest I haven't wholeheartedly loved any of the Tonymoly products I've tried but the packaging keeps pulling me back in to try out more 🙈


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5. AmorePacific
Available via Sephora, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom
When I first saw AmorePacific in Sephora my reaction was what the fuck is this brand and why the fuck is it so expensive? The more I read about it... the less of a consensus I found. Some people love it and some people don't find it worth the price. Personally I view it like any other luxury brand-- some people will love it and others will find it overpriced simply because of branding.

The one item of theirs I do have is their moisture bound skin energy hydration delivery system. I had initially written it off as an overpriced alcohol spray but after I used it I was hooked! It really is very lovely despite the alcohol. If I hadn't peeked at the ingredient list I wouldn't have even known that it had alcohol in it. But what's even better is that they've re-formulated it to now be alcohol free! And they've added in ginseng 👌🏼

Some people also say that AmorePacific were the first ones to ever release a cushion! Considering how popular and game changing cushions are, that's a pretty impressive claim to fame.

6. Laneige
Available via Target
Laneige is owed by AmorePacific and many of the pricier AmorePacific products have corresponding "dupes" by Laneige. I haven't tried any of said dupes so I can't reccomend any to you.

But what I can recommend is Laneige's water sleeping mask. This mask was actually one of last year's disappointing purchases but has become a skincare staple in my routine this year! And that's all because I didn't know how to use it properly last year. A sleeping mask isn't meant to be your sole moisturizer (although it can be if your skin doesn't need a lot of hydration/ moisture), instead a sleeping mask is supposed to lock all your skincare in place. It acts as an occlusive and insures that all the good shit you rubbed on your face sinks into your skin instead of evaporating into literal thin air. This mask also has a trademark scent to it which is supposed to help you fall asleep. I'm not sure it makes me sleepy but I certainly do enjoy the scent and find it refreshing.

Other popular products from their line are their cushion foundation and water bank moisture cream. Target currently has a trail kit which lets you try out 6 different products from the line!

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7. Skinfood
Available via Ulta
I haven't tried anything by Skinfood but have spotted them at Ulta and Urban Outfitters (although it doesn't look like they sell it there anymore.) Their Peach Sake Toner is popular in the blogosphere but the number one thing on my wish list is their rice wash off mask!

Their wash off masks come in a variety of flavors-- rice, black sugar, strawberry. According to the brand the rice used in this mask is a natural source of linoleic acid and vitamin E which aid in softening and brightening the skin!


8. Leaders
Available via Ulta, Nordstrom
Out of all the masks I've tried out so far, Leaders are some of my favorites. The masks fit very well and are drenching in essence. My favorites from what I've tried so far are the Aquaringer cotton mask and the Tea-Tree cotton mask.

They've also got coconut gel masks which are a bit pricier and a bit more lux. I haven't tried mine out but have heard great things! They're currently 40% off at Nordstrom so it's the perfect time to give them a go 😉


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9. Soo Ae
Available via Wal-Mart
If you've ever spotted a sheet mask bar at your local Wal-Mart, you may be lured in by sheet masks by various recognizable brands like Yes To and Shea Moisture. But if you keep looking you'll spot masks by Soo Ae and they're so much better than the masks made by the American brands (...or so I've heard.)

I've bought a few of them over the past months and have only gotten around to trying the charcoal one. 10/10 I will repurchase it. Asides from the unwanted black face effect, the mask is lovely! The material is so soft, fits well, and is soaked in moisturizing essence. It also has a "hanbang-y" herbal scent which I find very soothing.

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10. Missha
Available via Target, Urban Outfitters, & Harmon's/ Bed, Bath, & Beyond
My first introduction to Missha was through their sunscreens...which you unfortunately cannot find at any of the in store retailers I mentioned. But it is easily available online!

Sunscreen aside, other Missha products are readily available at Urban Outfitters, Target, and Harmon's/ Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Their Time Revolution essence is one of the most talked about K-beauty products on the blogosphere and is supposed to be a dupe for the SK-II facial treatment essence.

I've been using their speedy solution anti-trouble patches for a few months now and spoiler alert: I love 'em. Be on the lookout for a blogmas post reviewing them in the near future!


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The biggest perk for shopping in store for me is the instant gratification. There's no waiting for the usps/ fedex/ ups person-- the product is in your hands and ready to go! Also depending on where you shop it may be helpful to chat with a sales associate to learn what products are best for your skin type. In addition if you're shopping at Sephora or department stores you can get testers! I've become hooked on the Dr. Jart+ ceramidin line but before I splurged I got a few testers of the products from Sephora.

The downside to shopping in person is often you're paying a premium price. It's up to you to do a cost-benefit analysis.

What are your favorite K-beauty brands? Are you able to find them locally?

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