This Is Why You Should Be Wearing Korean Makeup

Six years ago, BB cream made its first splash stateside. It was, as the New York Times reported, the first South Korean export to hit it big with the average American beauty consumer. But BB cream represented a whole lot more than just a tinted moisturizer that sold well — it symbolized the beginning of the K-beauty movement worldwide and the innovation it would soon bring to the entire industry.

Since then, dozens of domestic retailers have doubled down on Korean imports, from K-beauty-specific sites like SokoGlam and Peach & Lily, to heavyweights like CVS, Ulta Beauty, and Sephora. While some may think of K-beauty as a cutesy fad that will eventually go the way of feather hair extensions and crimping, there's a reason you see K-beauty everywhere: The products are innovative and effective, plain and simple.

Recently, South Korean makeup brands have brought this innovation to products that are well-suited for current trends, from peel-off eyebrow gels to long-wearing lip stains. Since many offerings are geared towards dewy skin, exports from the country are ideal for achieving no-makeup makeup, which has grown from a trend to the benchmark of everyday makeup.

"South Korean women gravitate toward minimal makeup that accentuates their skin and simply enhances key features of their faces," says Charlotte Cho, founder of SokoGlam. "There's such an emphasis on skin care [that] products like foundation in particular are focused as much on anti-aging as they are focused on the coverage itself."

Of course, with countless K-beauty brands vying for your attention, it can be tough deciding what's worth your time and money. But fret not, because we've rounded up seven products that have our seal of approval, ahead.

Many K-beauty brands have a long way to go when it comes to inclusive shade ranges (more often than not, we see BB creams and cushion foundations with fewer than five shades), but Innisfree's Matte Full-Cover Concealer comes in twelve creamy hues. Despite the concealer's matte finish, the lightweight formula has a unique ability to not only mattify our complexions, but make our skin look plump and hydrated, too.
Innisfree Matte Full Cover Concealer, $8.00 Buy
This pigmented lip tint comes in eight vibrant hues and has a cooling gel texture that doesn't dry out lips. One layer of the tint leaves the sheer, soft stain of a tinted balm, while two or three will give you the coverage of a lipstick.
Etude House Dear Darling Tint, $4.00 Buy
This two-sided eyeshadow pen was made for makeup lovers on-the-go. Each side of the stick contains a soft sponge dipped in pigmented shadow that can be worn alone or layered for more depth.
Tpsy Two Drink Minimum Dual Tip Eye Shadow, $26.00 Buy
"Korean beauty brands work hard to get the most waterproof and reliable formulas out there because the beauty consumer is demanding and the weather in South Korea is incredibly fickle," says Cho. "In the summer you're dealing with intense humidity and heat, coupled with downpours due to monsoon season. In the winter, you have below freezing temperatures and wind chill."

Etude House's Curl Fix! mascara has a small plastic brush that coats each lash in the waterproof and defining formula. It's not the most volumizing mascara out there, but it holds a curl like no other.
Etude House Lash Perm Curl Fix Mascara, $14.00 Buy
This stick contains two products: a lip liner and liquid lipstick in two different shades. Wear each shade solo or fill in your lips with the liner to start, then tap the liquid lipstick on the center of your lips for an ombré effect that instantly makes lips appear fuller.

3CE STUDIO Velvet Cream Lip & Pencil, $21, available at Style Nanda.
These tinted lip balms tick all the boxes: They're hydrating, smell like candy, and leave a glossy, sheer layer of color on the lips. Plus, who can resist the adorable bunny-shaped packaging?

Tony Moly Petite Bunny Gloss Bar, $8, available at Soko Glam.
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