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When I posted about Korean Beauty coming to Ireland in 2016, it was an online-only trend. Now, the cat-shaped compacts are upon us, in bricks-and-mortar stores.
What’s more, the K-Beauty boom has spread to other Asian brands. Often, when we’re reading about K-Beauty, we’ve talking about Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese brands too. So, there’s a lot to dissect and explain.
I’ve covered the K-Beauty FAQ below and I’ll be posting more reviews of the products mentioned ASAP. If you’re a K-Beauty fan and have anything to add, please do!
Where Can I Buy Korean Beauty Products In Ireland?
First things first, don’t get taken for a ride. I’ve noticed some Irish stores that stock Asian beauty brands are tripling the price of their wares. Korean beauty is a trend, honey, and trends come with a premium.
If you do want to browse in person, try your local Asian supermarket. I know most specialise in food, but I’ve seen sheet masks in a few stores – Han Sung Asian Market on Great Strand Street is worth a look.
Some TK Maxx stores carry Korean skin care, but whether they’ll have stock on the day you go browsing is anyone’s guess.
Where Can I Buy Korean Beauty Products Online?
I love Beauty Net Korea, Beauty in a Click and eBay in general. The prices are good, plus PayPal is a godsend if you get screwed over. It’s probably the safest payment method. That being said, I’ve never had an order go missing or turn up damaged from my sellers.
My current favourite masks, Sun Moon Lake masks by My Beauty Diary, come from this eBay store.I order my other favourite My Beauty Diary masks from this seller. I really recommend the Hyaluronic one and the Squalene one.
Is Korean Beauty Better?
Korean beauty is the new thing – just like French beauty was in the noughties, and just like, I dunno, Nordic beauty will in the twenties. It has some strong areas, but don’t get lost in the hype, it has weaknesses too.
If you want to start off on the right foot, investigate Korean (and Asian, in general) sun protection products.
Asian brands have focused a whole lot of time and money on developing advanced sun screens with appealing textures and in innovative formulations. The SPF round goes to them, hands down. They’ve developed formulations that are decades more advanced than western brands. US products, in particular, due to FDA restrictions, are really lagging behind.
Otherwise, it’s hit and miss – there’s good and bad in both markets, don’t feel like you have to swap your entire stash for new stuff.
What Should I Be Using?
I think sheet masks are a good place to start. The results are immediate, they’re cheap and they’re fun. My favourite masks so far aren’t actually Korean. They’re from My Beauty Diary, a Taiwanese brand that I spoke about in last year’s overview of sheet masks.
Asian CC creams are worth trying. We don’t have anything like them just yet, so it’s the route to go if you’re just here for the novelty. They’re very light in coverage – barely a tint, in most cases – but usually boost radiance and add sun protection too.
As mentioned above, Asian sun creams are often more affordable but a bit nicer than our home-grown options. Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller so you know it’s not out of date.
What are these things!?
Cushion complexion products, e.g. cushion foundations, are colour cosmetics that are very lightweight. They’re carried in a cushion because that format allows for a thinner, more refined fluid to be used. It’s very useful for Korean makeup, where a natural but glossy look is most popular.
Ampoules are serums, basically, but more potent. Most people would use one for a short period of time, until their skin is back on track, then drop it from their routine. Non-essential.
Essences are a bit like toners and a bit like serums. Like ampoules, they’re a bonus step, if you really need some extra help without adding too much weight.
Sheet Masks are essence-saturated sheets of tissue, cut out to cover your chin, cheeks, nose and forehead. You use them to add moisture, brighten and (temporarily) look like a serial killer from a low-budget horror film.
What’s The Best Korean/Asian Beauty Brand?
Tony Moly and Holikia Holika are the best for novelty and cute packaging. Etude House, Innisfree, Missha, Skin79 and Too Cool For school are similar to our chemist brands in pricing and quality. If you want fancy stuff, The History of Whoo, Sulwahsoo and SKII are also really popular.