Being a reporter on the ground in South Korea has its perks. I get to stalk the K-beauty jungle and get direct, fingers-on-the-pulse access to the latest trends. But I’m still just one person. So oftentimes, I use YouTube as a type of crib sheet where I can gauge real-time responses to products and trends, as well as ogle the powered-by-makeup transformations.
Stateside beauty vloggers drive some of the highest figures in YouTube traffic, and Korea is just starting to experience this YouTube celebrity phenomenon. While there’s no Korea equivalent of Michelle Phan (yet), Korean YT is full of fascinating K-pop-inspired tutorials and product hauls that cover the full spectrum of miracles-in-a-bottle and K-beauty weirdness.
Some of the most popular videos are ones that bring to light all the makeup tips and techniques that go into completely transforming a face — sometimes making it unrecognizable. Most recently, this video of a Korean YouTuber removing her makeup went viral. It’s pure sorcery/click addiction gold.
Ahead, I chatted with some of the top Korean vloggers — ones with thousands of devoted followers who have managed to turn a hobby they love into a real payday. Read on to learn about the products they swear by, their most popular videos, and how American YouTubers differ from Korean vloggers. Get ready to fall down a very fun beauty rabbit hole!