Korean skincare has revolutionized the way we think about the products we put on our faces. K-beauty brought us 10-step skincare routines, sheet masks packed with vitamins and skin-softening ingredients, and pimple patches.
Just like Korean skincare, Korean makeup is all about innovation. Think skin tints, makeup serums, and products designed to enhance your features rather than hide them. The best part? Most of the products on this list are super affordable (all of them clock in under $50), so you can try them out without worrying that you might break the bank. If you haven't been convinced to buy a cushion face product by the end of this article, we envy your willpower.
12 Korean Makeup Brands We Can't Stop Reaching For
#1: Etude House
In French, "étude" is the name of a short musical composition made to improve a musician's technique. This is exactly what the brand encapsulates: makeup building blocks that will help you perfect your makeup skills. With dreamy colors, Etude House is all about bringing life's sweetest moments to your makeup.
Kaja means "let's go" in Korean, and the inclusive brand embodies that attitude through its products, which are designed for all skin types and tones. When it comes to packaging, this brand could not do it any better. Many of its products have stamps in the shape of stars, hearts, and moons, and even products like potted eye shadows come in cute, bento box–inspired stacks.
Cruelty-free and high-performing, Joah is a makeup brand that's all about skin. Joah's makeup products are formulated with ingredients that are good for your skin, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
#4: Em Cosmetics
Created by makeup artist and beauty YouTuber Michelle Phan, Em Cosmetics is inspired by Korean beauty and aims to make the most effortless, practical products possible. Serum blush and a cushion highlighter that truly looks like a moonbeam across your face are just two of our favorites from the brand.
#5: Dr. Gio Cosmetics
Dr. Gio Cosmetics is on a mission to make Korean beauty more inclusive (which it hasn't always been). Designed specifically for Black skin, this Black-owned brand is breaking barriers in the Korean makeup space. Its cushion foundation wears like a second skin—and its color cosmetics look pretty great, too.
If you've spent any time in the world of K-beauty, you'll likely know Tonymoly for its food-inspired skincare products, which are high-performing without breaking the bank. It's time to turn your attention to its makeup products, though. Tonymoly's makeup is innovative and comes in packaging you'll want to keep on your vanity (I'm currently adding four gloss bars to my cart).
Not only does Clio make makeup products that suit everyone, but it also focuses on sustainable packaging. Whether you never wear makeup or never leave the house without a full face, this brand has something for you—from a highlighter that offers a subtle, pearlescent glow to a mascara that withstands nearly everything you throw at it.
Hince is all about using makeup to enhance your mood by offering buildable, surprising, and universally flattering colors. Its buildable formulas can be layered for high-impact color or used sparingly for a sheer coat, making this brand highly customizable.
Missha is all about making makeup products both affordable and high quality. Missha products are backed by research and high-performing ingredients. If your goal is incredible skin, it's time to give this brand a spin. Spoiler: Its BB cream has nearly 6000 five-star reviews on Amazon, and its Magic Cushion has nearly 4000.
#10: Holika Holika
Practicality and fun intersect with Holika Holika, a beauty brand that focuses on eye-catching, unique packaging and high-quality ingredients. It's hard not to marvel at the gorgeous packaging, but it's the benefits that are the real selling point. The Water Drop Tint Bomb alone has spring water, papaya extract, grape-seed extract, manuka honey, shea butter, and green tea extract—a beauty-product sweep.
#11: I'm Meme
It's tough to pass up a brand as playful as I'm Meme. The brand is full of fun, unique products like a lip gloss that doubles as a key chain and a powder blush that works to even skin tone as it imparts dreamy color.
Though this brand is based in South Korea, it's named after Peri, a fairy in Persian mythology. You could definitely picture a fairy wearing these spirited products, considering how fanciful and fun they are. Its lip products have a cult following—the Ink Velvet Lip Tint is a consistent best-seller on Amazon.