Daily Vanity Logo

Additional reporting by Hwang Ji Ah

Korea is one of the hottest travel destinations these few days, thanks to the Hallyu-wave (K-pop, K-dramas, you get the gist). On top of that, Korea is now on top of the Asian beauty game, creating looks and trends which men and women all over Asia strive to achieve.

The secret to the Korean beauty craze? Their local beauty brands. We’re not the only ones who think that – many travelers make it a point to haul home luggage full of Korean skincare and cosmetic products for their own use or to distribute to their friends and family back home. It’s no wonder the Korean beauty industry is booming better than ever before.

There are a ton of Korean brands available in Singapore, but what about the up and rising underdogs? They haven’t yet achieved the international fame and glory as the big players in the market, but enjoy significant popularity amongst Koreans.

We’ve done the work for you – here are eight most underrated K-beauty brands you might want need to check out ASAP.

1. Too Cool For School

Underrated Korean Brands Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Ufo Multibox

Too Cool For School Dinoplatz UFO Multi Box; Source: UrHappyBunnie

Designed for youths from 16 to 25 years old, Too Cool For School’s basic makeup products feature cute and fun designs at pocket-friendly prices!

This is the K-beauty brand that every cool girl in class would have inside her makeup bag. All in all, it’s a great brand that gets some major love from makeup junkies wanting more quirky and unique products.

Underrated Korean Brands Too Cool For School Rodin Shader

Too Cool For School Rodin Shader; Source: Everything About Bella

Some of their most popular products are:

  • Dinoplatz UFO Multi Box: an all-in-one beauty box consisting of a BB foundation, pore balm, concealer, and lip and cheek products.
  • Rodin Shader: a contour powder that is highly recommended!
  • Rodin Blusher: a blusher compact

Where to find them:

  • Althea Singapore (carries 3 items – Rodin Shader, Oil Blotting Sheets and Rodin Blusher)
  • Hongdae, Myeongdong, South Korea

2. VDL

Underrated Korean Brands Vdl Oil Perfume In Candy Bar

VDL Oil Perfume In Candy Bar

VDL, which stands for “Violet Dream Luminous”, was founded in 2012. They’re best known for its violet light Lumilayer Technology that gives the skin a radiant and healthy glow.


VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot

You might also want to consider purchasing from their extensive lip collections. One of VDL’s highly raved products is their Tint Bar Triple Shot, which acts as a 3-in-1 lip balm, lip tint, and concealer.

Some of their most popular products are:

  • Tint Bar Triple Shot
  • Rouge Supreme Comfortable Lip Oil
  • Oil Perfume in Candy Bar (for those of you who love sweet scents, this is amazing

Where to find them:

  • ION Orchard Linkway (#B2-75)
  • Bugis Junction
  • Suntec City Mall (Tower 5 / 2F)
  • Bedok Mall
  • Jurong Point 2 (#03-07)

3. Cosrx

Underrated Korean Brands Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad

Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad; Source: Urban Outfitters

Cosrx has already been starting to gain lots of attention over the past year or so, combining extremely affordable pricing with extremely effective products.

They first gained popularity when it seemed like everyone suddenly started swearing by their acne-clearing pimple patches, but since then their other skincare products have also gained fame in their own rights for being simple, effective, and easy on the wallet.

Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Balancing Essence, Source: Cosrx

Some of their most popular products are:

  • One Step Pimple Clear Pad (retailing for SGD22.90 for 70pcs at Watsons)
  • Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence (retailing for SGD23 at Althea)

Where to find them:

4. Dear, Klairs

Underrated Korean Brands Dear Klairs Mochi Bb Cushion

Dear, Klairs Mochi BB Cushion

This skincare brand generated a lot of attention on social media with their super-cute Mochi BB Cushion (who could say no to that packaging?!).

But Dear, Klairs has actually already gained a steady cult following for many years before the Mochi BB Cushion came along. It’s loved by fans worldwide for its gentle formula, designed to be used on those with sensitive skin.

Underrated Korean Brands Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Some of their most popular products are:

  • Supple Preparation Facial Toner
  • Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Where to find them:

  • Althea Singapore

5. Glow Recipe

Underrated Korean Brands Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe is a brand that features the best of Korean beauty, founded by beauty industry experts Sarah Lee and Christine Chang.

Over the years, they tasked themselves with creating hybrid skincare that would simplify these needs while bringing to life everything they love about Korean skincare: innovation, excitement, and sensoriality.

Glow Recipe skincare pairs the best Korean technology with the results-centric principle of Western beauty.

Some of their most popular products are:

  • Watermelon Sleeping Pack (yes, the one that had a 5,000-person waitlist)
  • Blueberry Bounce Cleanser
  • Green Tea foaming gel

Where to find them:

  • On their website here (postage fees are flat rate at USD23.)

6. Cremorlab

Underrated Korean Brands Cremorlab

Korean beauty may have brought us many awesome things, but Cremorlab really brought the Korean mineral-rich skincare game to the next level.

Cremorlab products boast Geumjin thermal water (which they call T.E.N. water), rich in the minerals Selenium and Vanadium and which are said to be A+ for skin hydration. Fun fact: Geumjin is the only known region where these two minerals can be found in such abundance in its natural spring water.

Underrated Korean Brands Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence

Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence; Source: Susan Wu

The brand is even planning to open a hotel and spa at Geumjin so that tourists can literally bathe in all that hydrating goodness.

Some of their most popular products are:

  • T.E.N. Mineral Treatment Essence
  • T.E.N. Mineral Water Mist
  • Eau Thermale Cushion O2 Lasting Set

Where to find them:

  • On their website here
  • Guardian Beauty (Jurong Point 1)
  • Tangs Vivocity

7. A’pieu

Underrated Korean Brands Apieu

What we love about Korean brands is how affordable they can be without compromising on quality and packaging! A’pieu mainly targets young adults and teenagers, but we’re sure that their irresistible packaging will still do a number on you, no matter what age you are.

And when we say they’re affordable, we really mean it. A box of 33 sheet masks (that come with a pair of mini disposable tweezers to make your skincare even more convenient) retails for only KRW9000 (that’s about SGD11) in Korea.

Underrated Korean Brands Apieu Air Fit Cushion Blusher

A’Pieu Air Fit Cushion Blusher; Source: Midori Kitty Kitty

Some of their most popular products are:

  • Sugar Melting Tint
  • Haratatoo Brow
  • Air Fit Cushion Blusher
  • Stamp Puff

8. Klavuu

Underrated Korean Brands Klavuu

Source: The Klog

Although a relatively new brand, Klavuu has been making waves in the Korean beauty world for its high-quality skincare. Their first flagship store opened recently in Myeongdong, Seoul’s beauty hub, and the rest is history.

Underrated Korean Brands Klavuu White Pearlsation

Klavuu White Pearlsation Enriched Divine Pearl Serum Mask; Source: Hi Charis

Some of their most popular products are:

  • White Pearlsation Enriched Divine Pearl Serum Mask
  • Stress Care Deep Sleeping Pack
  • White Pearlsation Ideal Actress Backstage Cream

Where to find them:

  • Myeongdong