Korea’s reputation as a mecca for beauty innovation is driven in large part by its demanding — and, let's be real, obsessed — consumers. Though local giants like Amorepacific and LG (nope, they don’t just make TVs and phones) dominate the cosmetics market, foreign players comprise a quarter of the industry.
Unfortunately, Korea levies annoyingly unfriendly taxes on imported goods, immediately making almost any foreign product into a luxury. This means even a fast-fashion brand like Zara is kind of fancy over here. And, I have to be pretty desperate to shell out $7 for a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (which happens more often than it should). So, if you’ve ever witnessed Koreans going nuts at Duty Free, now you know why. We’re this close to recreating the Boston Tea Party over here.
Consequently, for Korean women to cave to a nearly 18% tax on cosmetics from abroad, that mascara (or whatever) better be pretty friggin’ amazing. These niches of cosmetics-craving are carved out through some combination of celebrity endorsements, unparalleled function, and brand power.
And, while American women are all about the Korean beauty brands right now, there are plenty of American goodies Korean ladies are just as passionate about. We’ve dug deep to bring you a roundup of which American products Korean girls love. Read on to learn why they're so huge — and see if your favorites are just as beloved overseas.