What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics – What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?

If you walk around some tourist attractions in Seoul, you might easily find tourists carrying a big bag of Korean cosmetic brands. Korean cosmetics are must-buy souvenirs for tourists because they’re world-widely famous, and if you buy in Korea they’re super cheap!


What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?

Not only Korean cosmetics are reasonably-priced and great quality but also thanks to the rising popularity of Korean pop stars, more and more people outside Korea are getting interested in Korean cosmetics.

But that much, there are too many cosmetic brands and shops in Korea. In this article, I want to introduce to you some really popular cosmetics among Koreans.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
3CE Eyeshadow Palette

3CE Eyeshadow Palette

You might have heard of this brand if you are even a bit interested in Korean cosmetics. This Korean-born brand has been sold to Loreal at a super expensive price. They started from a clothes-shopping mall, but I think for tourists, 3CE is much more famous than Style Nanda(shopping mall). Their lips, blushers, foundation, etc are all really famous, but this eye-shadow palette is widely used by young Korean people.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
3CE Eyeshadow Palette

You can even buy them from Sephora, and they describe this palette; With a wide range of shades from subtle and natural to bold and intense, this blendable palette helps execute a variety of eye makeup looks. Smoother gives a variety of shades from rich nude to dark brown. This eyeshadow set is the key to deep-set, elegant eyes. The price differs from time to time, shops to shops, but on average you can buy this palette for $20~$30 in Korea.

Mask Sheets(Innisfree, Mediheal)

Without a doubt, Korean mask sheets are the most popular souvenirs for tourists. Whenever my friends come to visit me, they always go back home with packs of Korean mask sheets. Frankly, the effect of using mask sheets might be not that dramatically different from products to products(Most of them are basically quite good), but I will recommend you two brands that Korean people use a lot.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
Innisfree Mask sheets

Innisfree is now super famous, and they’ve got hands full of great products. Among their best-sellers, their mask sheets are famous for reasonable prices and various kinds.

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The staff at the shop might kindly explain to you about the difference, so choose according to your skin type! If you want to buy the mask sheets for your souvenirs, I think rice or aloe mask sheets are soft options.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
Mediheal Mask sheets

Now this mask sheet brand “Mediheal” is famous among tourists, as well, but first, it was only famous among Korean people. If you go to Olive Young or Lalavla near Korean universities, you might get to see how popular this brand is among the Korean twenties.


What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
Mediheal Mask sheets

They also have several kinds of mask sheets, so try one upon your skin type. Actually, my sister and I use this mask sheets, as well. Recommendation based on experience, quite reliable, huh?

The Saem Blush

This Korean cosmetics brand named “The Saem” might not that famous for tourists. You might have heard of the concealer or cleansing water of this brand. K-pop Idol Seventeen is the model for this brand, so many Japanese people who love Seventeen seem to visit this brand.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
The Saem Single Blusher

However, once you try this blush, you might be surprised at the cheap price and great quality. I, myself, use several blushes (both domestic and foreign brand), but I can say that I can’t really find any difference between this blush and expensive blushes of foreign brands.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
The Saem Single Blusher

There are almost 30 different colors of this blush, so try the samples at the shop, and get the right color for you 🙂 Personally, I love the orange-ish blush of the saem.

The Saem Cleansing Tissue

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
Only $3 for 100 sheets of cleansing tissue. It’s amazingly cheap, right?

You might wonder “What? Who recommends cleansing tissue? We can buy that wherever, you know?” First of all, I want to clarify the fact that I have received nothing from the saem lol. This is totally my opinion based on my experience. If you use cleansing tissue to remove your makeup(You might use cleansing water or cream), please buy this.

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What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?
I’ve tried both of these cleansing tissue, but they’re not that different! Same price!

I’ve used a number of cleansing tissue from different brands, and I can assure you that this is the best for its price. It’s only $3(3300won in Korean Won) for 100 sheets!!!!! I buy 5 at one time and share it with my family.

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TonyMoly Shocking Lip Tint

If you are a lady like me, you might understand the reason why we buy so many lipsticks even though we have only one lip haha. You can easily be happy by buying a new lipstick for not that pricey money. And even though the lipsticks look similar, they’re all different, aren’t they? lol

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?

Korean Lip tints were actually popular among young Korean students, at first. Students wearing school uniforms were unable to wear heavy makeup so they applied tints to emphasize their lips. But thanks to its color and persistence, it has become popular among adults, as well and also among foreigners as tints often appear on idol makeup.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?

The TonyMoly lip tint, which is almost the oldest lip tint boasts tremendous sustainability.

COSRX OneStep Pad

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?

You might have seen this product in Olive Young or Lalavla. This COSRX one-step pad has won several awards as you can see from the picture. You need to use this pad to clear up the leftover of makeup after washing your face.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?

There 3 kinds of this pad, so choose one that is right for your skin type. My friends who use this every day always say that once you use this product, you will be so surprised at how dirty your face is even after washing it lol.

Sulwhasoo

I might need no explanation for this brand Sulwhasoo because it’s already super-duper famous for tourists, especially among Chinese people. If you visit the duty-free shop at the airport, you might see people putting Sulwhasoo products in a huge box to carry them back home.

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?

Sulwhashoo belongs to the mega-huge Korean company name “Amore Pacific” which also owns Aritaum, LANEIGE, Mamonde, IOPE, HERA, Primera, and even Innisfree. Isn’t it surprising how one company runs these many cosmetic brands?

What to buy in Korea?! Must-buy Korean cosmetics - What cosmetics do Koreans actually use?

Anyhow, if you buy enough for yourself, this time you have to buy souvenirs for someone you care about, like parents. (My mom has been used Sulwhasoo for more than 10 years) You won’t be disappointed at Sulwhasoo, for sure. They’re expensive for cosmetics, but still, they’re totally worth the price(according to my mom lol).

About the author

Contents operating manager of HaB Korea. Born and raised in Korea, graduated from university in Japan. Love traveling and sharing those experience with people!
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