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You might have tried a few famous K-beauty products to see if they live up to the hype, but are you really a Korean skincare guru?

Spoiler alert: some of the most viral brands you’ve seen aren’t actually popular in Korea!

According to TikToker Julia (@juliaaakoo), Internet-famous brands like Beauty of Joseon and Some By Mi are hardly the “real deal” when it comes to Korean skincare.

“Nine out of 10 Korean girls don’t know what Beauty of Joseon is,” Julia claims, explaining that every Korean beauty enthusiast instead uses a secret weapon to find the best beauty products – an app called Hwahae!

Curious about what exactly Hwahae is, and which underrated skincare products are truly “Korean girl certified”? Keep reading for the full scoop!

How Does Hwahae Work?

@juliaaakoo

YOU’RE WELCOME #koreanskincare #skincare #kbeauty #kbeautyskincare #nogatekeeping #clearskin #serum #toner #beautyofjoseon #somebymi #skincaretips #skincareroutine

♬ original sound – Juliaaaak – Juliaaaak

For those not in the know, Hwahae is an app for reviewing beauty products, in which users can input their skin types and rate products that they’ve tested for themselves.

So, you’ll be able to find products that others with your skin type would recommend based on personal experience.

Of course, Hwahae isn’t always completely accurate, and results may vary even with the most popular skincare products.

Still, it’s a great way to keep track of which products other beauty enthusiasts are currently obsessed with, along with their honest reviews and ratings!

Unfortunately, Hwahae is currently only available in Korean, with no option for users to switch languages. However, you can look up Hwahae rankings online to find summaries of the best makeup and skincare products for the month.

On Hwahae, rankings change almost every hour, but we’ve rounded up a few brands that are consistently ranked at the top, along with bestsellers to look out for.

Torriden

Credits: @torriden/Instagram

Known as Korea’s top hydrating brand, Torriden is best known for their Dive-In range, lauded as some of the hottest skincare products in Korea!

The range includes their viral Dive-In Serum, a powerful hyaluronic acid serum that penetrates deeply into the skin, replenishing and soothing your dehydrated skin cells.

You can also check out their popular Dive-In Toner, which improves rough skin texture and calms stressed skin by providing deep hydration.

The Torriden Dive-In Serum and Toner retail for S$24.20 and S$23.20 respectively at Watsons.

Round Lab

Credits: @roundlab.global/Instagram

Inspired by the purity of nature, Round Lab is known for its unique skincare ingredients, which use natural elements such as birch juice, all of which are found within Korea.

Round Lab is perhaps most famous for its 1025 Dokdo Toner and Cleanser. According to Julia, these Round Lab products have been in Hwahae’s top 10 every week since their release, so they definitely have a stamp of approval from Korean beauty enthusiasts!

The 1025 Dokdo Toner gently exfoliates dead skin and provides long-lasting moisture, while the 1025 Dokdo Cleanser purifies the skin and removes excess sebum without disrupting the skin’s moisture balance.

The Round Lab 1025 Dokdo Toner and Cleanser retail for S$39 and S$25 respectively at Guardian.

Illiyoon

Specialising in skincare for sensitive skin, Illiyoon utilises decades of comprehensive skincare research to formulate gentle and effective products.

Their bestselling Ceramide Ato Lotion has a mild unscented formula that’s suitable for all skin types, helping to boost the skin barrier.

It can be used on both your body and face and is gentle enough for the whole family – even infants! So, it’s no surprise that this product is currently the top-ranked lotion on Hwahae and has remained among the top 10 skincare products overall for months.

The Illiyoon Ceramide Ato Lotion retails for S$28 at Guardian.

Wellage

A Wellage product has been topping Hwahae rankings for the past few months, and it’s none other than their Real Hyaluronic Blue 100 Ampoule!

Wellage’s products are driven by extensive research in skincare technology, creating highly concentrated formulas that have been clinically tested for effectiveness – plus, they’ve got the Hwahae ratings to prove it!

Currently ranked on Hwahae as the best ampoule on the market, the Real Hyaluronic Blue 100 Ampoule helps your skin attract and retain moisture through pure hyaluronic acid, delivering intense hydration to soothe and firm your complexion.

The Real Hyaluronic Blue 100 Ampoule (100ml) retails for US$37 (approximately S$50.08) on Olive Young.

THE LAB by blanc doux

This underrated brand has been consistently been one of the top-ranked names on Hwahae because of one specific product – their Oligo Hyaluronic Acid 5000 Toner!

Marketed as skincare made by “nerds”, THE LAB by blanc doux holds itself to high standards when creating their products, from picking out ingredients to testing the efficacy of their formulas.

Their lightweight toner is renowned for its formula, containing low molecular weight hyaluronic acid to boost its absorption into the skin. It’s also formulated to be suitable for sensitive skin, and doesn’t leave a sticky finish!

The Oligo Hyaluronic Acid 5000 Toner (100ml) retails for S$20 on Shopee.

BEPLAIN

With a heavy focus on sustainability, BEPLAIN’s products are designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible, from the harvesting of ingredients to the design of their packaging!

BEPLAIN’s Greenful pH-Balanced Cleansing Foam is ranked among the best cleansers on Hwahae, for its soothing and purifying properties.

It’s infused with 33% mung bean extract, which helps to clear impurities from the skin, and a small amount of mung bean powder to provide gentle exfoliation, leaving your skin smoother and more supple than before!

The BEPLAIN Greenful pH-Balanced Cleansing Foam retails for S$27.90 at Watsons.

LINDSAY

Experience a facial in the comfort of your home with LINDSAY’s Modelling Mask Cup!

LINDSAY harnesses over 10 years of experience in the skincare industry, along with natural-origin ingredients to deliver a top-tier skincare experience.

This thick and creamy mask is conveniently designed for DIY enthusiasts, and all you need to do is add water to get the perfect mask consistency.

Plus, there are five different types of masks to choose from based on your skin concerns, from firming to brightening and more! The current most popular mask on Hwahae is the Cool Tea-Tree mask, a calming mask that helps control sebum.

The LINDSAY Modelling Mask Cup retails for US$4.50 (approximately S$6.09) on Olive Young.