Although we are living in an age where goods are being imported all across the globe everyday, we can still occasionally face difficulties obtaining certain products when brands decide to make them exclusive to certain countries. Just why?! Many times, these items aren’t found on online retailers, or our shopping prowess on these platforms is limited by language barrier.
The best option in these cases? Before your next holiday planned for a certain country, take a look at what products are exclusively found there and grab whatever you can.
This article will unveil some brands and products exclusive to South Korea, and tell you what cosmetics to buy in Korea! Look out for any 1+1 deals in stores over there for even better deals.
Pst, don’t forget to request for tax exemption if your purchase fulfils the spend minimum (we have faith in you)!
You may or may not have heard of AmorePacific before, but they’re actually the parent company to most of the Korean beauty brands you’d be very familiar with, such as Etude House, Innisfree, Laneige, and Mamonde.
Other than doing the research and development for the 30 odd brands under them, AmorePacific has recently developed their own line that can only be purchased in South Korea and a few other countries (like America), but not Singapore.
1. AmorePacific The Essential Creme Fluid
The Essential Creme Fluid has been raved by many beauty bloggers as well as Youtubers. It is said to be one of the best moisturisers on the market, making every cent spent value for money.
It has gotten stellar ratings (an average of >4 out of 5 points) from users on Influenster and Sephora USA, with reviews saying it made their skin “glow”. Check out Liah Yoo’s review on the product in the video above as well!
Reviewers have commented on its strong green tea scent, most probably because its main ingredient is baby green tea leaves. However, do be cautious with this product if your skin is sensitive to fragrances.
AmorePacific The Essential Creme Fluid (90ml) can be purchased at AmorePacific counters in Lotte Department Stores for KRW120,000 (about SGD150).
2. AmorePacific Sun Protection Cushion
Another best seller from AmorePacific is their Sun Protection Cushion. Many Korean users have raved about it as a summer essential, being one the most convenient ways to touch up makeup and SPF coverage throughout the day.
AmorePacific Sun Protection Cushion, which comes with a refill, at AmorePacific counters in Lotte Department Stores for KRW65,000 (about SGD80).
A’Pieu is definitely one of the most affordable beauty brands in South Korea, with most of their products being less than 50,000KRW.
They mainly target teenagers and young adults who have just stepped into the working world, as can be seen by the numerous collaborations they’ve had with cartoon characters like Doraemon and Rilakkuma.
A’Pieu is a brand that is expanding furiously in Korea. You can find their stores in various renowned shopping districts in Korea, such as Ehwa and Myeongdong.
3. A’Pieu Daily Sheet Mask
Have you ever been tempted by the idea of doing a sheet mask every day, but thought it was too expensive and extravagant?
A’Pieu’s Daily Sheet Mask allows you to do just that for an affordable price. You can now pamper your face daily with sheets soaked in serum infused with the antioxidant goodness of red tea and green tea.
A’Pieu’s Daily Sheet Mask comes in a pack of 33 sheets, as well as a mini disposable tweezer (we love the little touches like these). Each pack will only cost you KRW9,000KRW (about SGD11). That’s less than SGD0.50 per day!
4. A’Pieu Wonder Tension
The packaging of this cushion foundation is so sleek and luxe, you wouldn’t believe that it actually only costs KRW12,800 (about SGD15).
The foundation is available in two variations: Perfect Cover and Moisture, both of which can be differentiated from the other by having either a Rose Gold or Gold rim.
Don’t worry, A’Pieu did not compromise on the quality of the product just for a pretty packaging.
The Wonder Tension pact is well-loved by many beauty junkies and YouTubers alike. They have raved about the product for its great quality and how it has superb lasting power without turning cakey.
Endorsed by Korean actress Jeon Ji Hyun, Hera is a premium brand to look out for when you are in Korea. They are popular with both fans and non-fans of K-beauty for their consistently high-quality products. You can also find their products at their counters in department stores.
5. Hera Black Cushion
While the dewy makeup look is still quite trendy in Korea, semi-matte finishes are gaining in popularity as well.
Riding on this up and coming trend, Hera released the Black Cushion, which promises full coverage while being lightweight as well as being able to last for a whole day.
If that’s not enough to tempt you, we also found out that it has won 5 beauty awards despite having only been released at the start of this year!
Hera Black Cushion retails for KRW55,000 (about SGD70), and comes with a cushion and a refill.
6. Hera Cell Essence
Hera Cell Essence has been a steady bestseller since 2013, when it was first launched in Korea. It is one of the first watery essences on the market, and has gained a cult following since its launch.
The product is meant to be used directly on skin after cleansing, so that it could further prepare the skin for later skincare steps. The trend of essences has since been picked up by many, many Korean beauty brands.
Hera Cell Essence comes in 150ml and retails at KRW60,000 (SGD75~).
OK, you may be thinking: why would you need to go all the way to Korea to get Innisfree products when you could probably find an Innisfree store at your nearest shopping mall?
But here’s where you’d be surprised. Innisfree has two lines that are exclusively sold in Korea only, so if they sound appealing to you, you definitely need to check them out on your next holiday.
7. Innisfree True Care
Innisfree True Care Line consists of 13 products so far. It ranges from a facial cleanser to a facial oil, and even a lip balm.
The most popular product from this line is their True Care Cica Intensive Balm which helps to soothe skin that is troubled from various environmental irritation.
Innisfree True Care Cica Intensive Balm retails for KRW20,000 (about SGD25) while the rest of the line ranges from KRW5,000 (about SGD6) to KRW25,000 (about SGD30).
Do take note that many products in this line are only available on the Innisfree Korean website, which is exclusively in Korean. If you are able to get someone to help you translate, or if you are able to read Korean, buy it online and have it delivered to your hotel or hostel when you’re in Korea!
8. Innisfree Super Food
The Super Food line has been around even longer than the True Care, and it still remains a line worth your attention.
The concept of this line revolves around making food-derived substances that are beneficial for your skin as key active ingredients in the products. These ingredients include blueberry, broccoli, oats and fig.
Each of these ingredients were chosen to address different skin concerns: blueberry for rebalancing, broccoli for clearing, oats for moisturising and fig for brightening.
This extensive line consists of 22 products so far, with prices ranging from KRW4,000 (about SGD5) to KRW15,000 (about SGD18).
9. Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask
If you’re at all a fan of K-beauty, especially the ones available in Singapore, you’d probably be familiar with the Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask.
Did you know that they have recently rebranded the sheet masks line into My Real Squeeze Mask, and have even added a few new types?
These masks have yet to reach our shores and are still relatively hard to find even online. If you are making your way to Korea, do stock up on these and be one of the first few Singaporeans to try them!
Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask retails at KRW1,100 (about SGD1.50) per sheet.
Another premium brand to look out for in Korea is IOPE, who has recently signed on Lee Yeon Hee, known for her flawless and glowing skin, as their latest celebrity ambassador.
IOPE is famous for having been the first in the market to put out BB cushions many years ago, and they still remain competitive with their cushion formulas today.
Although they are well-known for their makeup products, IOPE also carries their own skincare line too. You can even try out the IOPE Lab experience at their Myeongdong branch.
10. IOPE Golden Glow Facial Oil Special Set – Holiday Limited Edition
If you feeling a little fancy, check out the IOPE Golden Glow Facial Oil Special Set which retails for KRW42,000 (about SGD50).
This facial oil claims to be infused with 4 kinds of golden plants. They contain antioxidants to strengthen your skin and supply nutrients, while moisturising the dermal layers at the same time.
11. IOPE Deep Care Tint Lip Balm
The Deep Care Tint Lip Balm is one of IOPE’s newest products. It was featured in Lee Yeon Hee’s latest drama, The Package, and has since been selling like hotcakes.
IOPE Deep Care Tint Lip Balm retails for KRW25,000 (about SGD31) and comes in four shades.
Jungsaemmool is one of Korea’s most sought after celebrity makeup artists. She has recently set up her own makeup school as well as developed her own line of products. You can find her store at 40, Apgujeong-ro 12-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
12. Jungsaemmool Essential Star-cealer Foundation
The Hera Essential Star-cealer Foundation is a 2-in-1 product where matching shades of foundation and concealer are packaged together in the same compact. It also contains SPF30 PA+++ so you’ve got some sun protection going on.
Jungsaemmool Essential Star-cealer Foundation retails at KRW42,000 (about SGD50).
13. Jungsaemmool Refining Color-bony Brow
Another show-stopper from this brand is their Refining Color-bony Brow which has won numerous beauty awards since its launch in 2016.
It is an eyebrow all-in-one product which contains three parts: a pencil, smudging powder, and a brush. There are six differen shades to choose from, so you’ll definitely be able to find one that matches your hair colour.
Jungsaemmool Refining Color-bony Brow retails for KRW18,000 (about SGD22).
14. Jungsaemmool High Tinted Lip Lacquer
Of course, any makeup brand worth their salt will have at least one signature line of lip products. For Jungsaemmool, that will be their High Tinted Lip Lacquers.
The applicator is designed to make it that much easier to blend out lip colours and define your lips precisely. Many users have raved about it on the official Jungsaemmool website!
Jungsaemmool High Tinted Lip Lacquers retails at KRW20,000 (about SGD25).
Klavuu is a relatively new brand which has recently open their first flagship store in Myeongdong. Here are the three best-selling products that they offer!
15. Klavuu White Pearlsation Enriched Divine Pearl Serum Mask
Pearl is an ingredient that is now commonly used in skincare as a skin brightener, and it’s present as a key ingredient in the Klavuu White Pearlsation Enriched Divine Pearl Serum Mask.
Besides brightening the skin, the mask also claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles with its infused seaweed extracts.
Klavuu White Pearlsation Enriched Divine Pearl Serum Mask retails at KRW40,000 (about SGD50) for 5 pieces per box.
16. Klavuu Stress Care Deep Sleeping Pack
The Stress Care Deep Sleeping Pack is a multi-tasking sleeping mask that rejuvenates skin textures, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and tighten pores, all at the same time!
It also helps to soothe skin that is stressed from environmental damage, leaving the skin looking youthful after every use. The pack is also infused with 10 marine complex ingredients to deliver on its numerous claims.
Klavuu Stress Care Sleeping Pack retails at KRW28,000 (about SGD35).
17. Klavuu White Pearlsation Ideal Actress Backstage Cream
The Klavuu White Pearlsation Ideal Actress Backstage Cream is seriously doing some overtime here. It’s a 5-in-1 product, and claims to be makeup base, primer, sunscreen, pearl base, and fixer combined. The product comes highly recommended for dry skin types.
Klavuu White Pearlsation Ideal Actress Backstage Cream retails for KRW28,000 (about SGD35).
Make P:rem is another rising brand in Korea along with Klavuu. They are known for using safe ingredients that do not irritate the skin, so they’re a huge boon for sensitive skin types everywhere.
18. Make P:rem Safe Me. Relief Moisture Cream 12
According to their website, this is one of the best moisturisers you can find on the market, and a lot of Korean beauty influencers have found themselves agreeing with this bold claim.
The Make P:rem Safe Me. Relief Moisture Cream 12 is made of safe and non-irritating ingredients, and is also safe to use for children and pregnant ladies!
Make P:rem Safe Me. Relief Moisture Cream 12 retails for KRW28,000 (about SGD35).
19. Make P:rem CICAPRO Revitalizing Cream
The CICAPRO Revitalizing Cream is yet another award winner from Make P:rem is the CICAPRO Revitalizing Cream who has clinched three stickers despite being a relatively recently release.
Riding on the Cica trend in Korea, Make P:rem CICAPRO Revitalizing Cream aims to soothe and rejuvenate irritated skin.
Many Koreans have raved about their experiences with this product so we can imagine it’s definitely something not to be missed.
Make P:rem CICAPRO Revitalizing Cream is retailing at KRW32,000 (about SGD40).
20. Make P:rem UV Defense Me. Blue Ray Sun Fluid
This sunscreen actually went viral in Korea the moment it was launched!
It promises to reduce the heat of your skin with the help of water lily extract. This can even aid in reducing skin inflammation, and result in less acne.
Bonus point: it is waterproof as well!
Make P:rem UV Defense Me. Blue Ray Sun Fluid retails at KRW28,000 (about SGD35).
Famous for their wine exfoliating pads and Canadian Clay Pore Cleanser, Neogen Dermatology is an old hand in the market. You can easily purchase some of their well-known products through various online platforms in Korea.
We’ve compiled some of their new products or hidden gems below!
21. Neogen Voluming Hair Cushion Tint
Despite being a new product for the brand, this Hair Cushion Tint has already become a bestseller! Just dabbing this cushion tint on the bare spots along your hairline is supposed to make your hair look fuller than before.
However, it is also one of the most expensive products on this list, even though it’s sold in the drugstore.
Neogen Voluming Hair Cushion Tint retails at KRW50,000 (about SGD62) for 15ml.
22. Neogen UV Defense Longlasting Protector
Another bestselling product from Neogen is their sunscreen. Their newly upgraded formula, the UV Defense Longlasting Protector, provides a coverage of SPF50+, PA+++.
Coming in a tube of 50ml, this sunscreen does not leave a white cast nor will it have a greasy feel after application.
Neogen UV Defense Longlasting Protector retails at KRW25,000 (about SGD31).
23. Neogen Real Cica Pad
Neogen has also hopped onto the Cica bandwagon with their Real Cica Pad. Users have loved the products so far, as evidenced by glowing reviews on their Korean website.
Neogen Real Cica Pad retails at KRW17,000 (about SGD22) per bottle.
We’re almost certain that you would’ve heard of South Korean makeup artist Pony before. Some of her YouTube makeup tutorials have gone viral on social media, and if you’ve ever watched any of them, you might see how frequently she uses makeup tools under the Piccasso brand.
Check out Piccasso tools in Cree’mare outlet at B2 Urban Hive, 476, Gangnam-Daero, Gangnam-Gu, Sinnonhyeon.
24. Piccasso Black Monster Makeup Sponge
The Black Monster Makeup Sponge by Piccasso has been hailed as a holy grail sponge by many beauty junkies. Simply soak it in water and it will soften and expand, like most other makeup sponges.
Piccasso Black Monster Makeup Sponge retails for KRW15,000 (about SGD19).
25. Piccasso makeup brushes
Piccasso is most renowned for their makeup brushes, and many Korean makeup artists often use them on celebrities as well as in demonstrations on TV.
That being said, they do come at quite a hefty price tag. Do take a look only if you are willing to invest!
26. Piccasso JAM Double Eyelid Glue
If you have single eyelids but don’t want to make such a huge commitment as plastic surgery, this might be a solution for you! The JAM double eyelid glue can help you create seamless double eyelids with just one swipe.
Don’t worry, it’s as easy to remove as it is to apply. Simply use a cotton pad soaked with makeup remover, and gently rub it on to the eyelid.
Piccasso JAM Double Eyelid Glue retails for KRW6,000 (about SGD7).
If you have ever heard of Gentle Monster and love the concept of their stores, you should check out Tamburins and experience another level of “extra”.
You can locate their flagship store at 44, Apgujeong-ro 10-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
27. Tamburins Nude H. And Cream
Tamburins Nude H. And Cream is the first of an upcoming series to be released in their store soon. Being a conceptual store, their flagship store has an artsy-fartsy atmosphere, and the only product they sell is this hand cream – for now.
Tamburins Nude H. And Cream retails for KRW26,000 (about SGD32).
Fans of Park Bo Gum, rejoice! vProve has signed on the popular Korean actor as their celebrity ambassador. He has been with the brand since they were first established about a year ago.
Yes, this means that if you patronise the shop, you’ll be loaded with Park Bo Gum freebies and merchandise! vProve can be found in Myeongdong as well.
28. vProve Cream Expert
The Cream Expert line consists of 10 different kinds of cream targeting different skin concerns. In a recent survey done on 116 people, 99.1% of them found that they loved the product after using.
Its performance has been highly raved about by many consumers, with reviews leaving mostly 5-star ratings and users strongly recommending the cream to others.
vProve Cream Expert retails at KRW25,000 (about SGD31).
29. vProve Ampoule Expert
Utilising a similar concept to the Cream Expert line, the Ampoule Expert line consists of six different ampoules addressing various skin concerns as well.
All of the ampoules were very popular with users online, with the Betaglucan Soothing Ampoule being one of the most hyped in the line.
vProve Ampoule Expert retails at KRW25,000 (about SGD31).
30. vProve No Make-Up Creamy Fit Lipstick
vProve No Make-Up Creamy Fit Lipstick is one of the newest additions to the brand, but it has already been recommended on various beauty shows.
The lipstick has a creamy velvet finish, and the most well-known shade is RD03. There are a total of ten shades available in the line.
vProve No Make-Up Creamy Fit Lipstick retails at KRW9,000 (about SGD11).