Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.
We all possess a streak of daring when it comes to venturing outside of our beauty product comfort zone. For anyone who’s wondered what all the hype is about with Korean cosmetics, you’ll be happy to know, the bar for quality and efficacy is set high, mandated by a pretty discerning and demanding consumer group — Korean women. But for all the hype and high five moments, myself and many other Korean women have also come face-to-face with some duds.
For consumers everywhere, there’s always a chance of falling victim to predatory or baseless beauty marketing, but for consumers outside Korea, the probability of coming across a bad apple is likely to be compounded when poking around blindly in an entirely foreign beauty ecosystem. On top of the prohibitive language barrier (unless you can read Korean), there’s the issue of unfamiliarity and having few to no points of reference to vouch for Korean brands or products. Even the beauty jargon can be confusing. What is an essence? How is it different from a pack?
When disappointment sets in, reactions can range from underwhelming to sheer rage, in other words, “I wouldn’t buy that again” to “I’m penning a letter peppered with expletives to their customer service department.” To help you avoid these consumer traps, I asked Korean women based in Seoul to share their biggest beauty regrets. Click ahead to view them, and consider this a crowd-sourced PSA against the pitfalls of BS beauty buys.