Korean beauty products and rituals have been dominating the beauty conversation over the past year, with American retailers snapping up new K-beauty brands to sell on what seems to be a weekly basis. In the meantime, the mainstream beauty establishment is still learning about the products. But a dedicated group of bloggers and K-beauty superfans have been testing and debating them for years before any of us had ever heard of a cushion compact.
Whether you're a hardcore K-beauty user or just want to search for sheet mask recommendations, there are a few bloggers doing a great job at distilling and analyzing what's out there. I lurk and skulk around at many of these sites for information and inspiration. You should too.
There’s a subreddit for pretty much everything. (I found one for "avocado porn" once. Don't even ask.) Korean beauty chatter makes up the majority of the Asian Beauty subreddit, and it’s a good place to start if you’re initially intimidated by the Korean beauty subreddit (yup, there's one of those too). They’re generally welcoming to newbies here. Though, like most of the Internet, it can be a total sh*tshow sometimes.
Tracy, a New York-based academic historian who runs a K-pop fan blog also called Fanserviced, spun off the beauty portion when she found herself posting more and more K-beauty product reviews. Her voice is strong and she does not suffer BS lightly. She’s also a stickler for affordable products, so if budget is important to you, definitely take a look here. She’s also tested a lot of acne products since it’s one of her skin issues. If you live in New York, her site also has a handy K-beauty shopping map and she shares all sorts of local tips.
The Beauty Wolf
When I first started asking for recommendations for where to read more about K-beauty, The Beauty Wolf was at the top of several lists. Canada-based blogger Coco Park, who runs the site, writes thorough, intelligent, detailed product reviews, and always provides multiple links for where to buy them. (Note: Coco is dealing with some complications from lupus so she hasn't been posting as much. She's still pretty active on Instagram, though. )
The Wanderlust Project
Sheryll, the blogger behind the Wanderlust Project, is an American who lived and taught English in South Korea for two years. While she’s now based in Vietnam, she became addicted to K-beauty products and reviews them frequently on the site. She blogs about a variety of topics, but there’s a separate vertical where you can click and get all her beauty reviews. Her swatch and product pictures are high quality.
Snow White and the Asian Pear
Snow White is the most organized blogger I’ve ever seen. (Seriously, check out her spreadsheet.) Her particular skin issues include oily skin and extreme paleness -- despite the fact she lives in a desert. Her posts and reviews are well organized and well written. It’s a great place for product discovery, and she updates fairly regularly.
Fifty Shades of Snail
This anonymous blogger, who calls herself Crazy Snail Lady, is 35, which is pretty ancient by beauty blogging standards, and I’m saying this as someone who is older than her. But her blog is a great resource whether you remember the ‘80s or not. She does the requisite product reviews, which are thorough and organized, and she also writes fun posts like how to repurpose old containers, which she calls “Asian Mom Container Repurposing Disorder.”
Elisa is a Netherlands-based blogger who writes about food and fashion on Memorable Days, but also covers a ton of K-beauty, generally the more mainstream brands like Etude House and Missha. Her site is soft and pretty, with professional looking photography. She updates regularly and her posts prompt a decent amount of comments.
The consumer psychologist behind Adoredee blogs K-beauty (and other stuff) on the side. Her site is attractive and well-organized, and I love her conversational tone. If you’re hunting for K-beauty products that work on darker skin tones (not always an easy task), you definitely need to check her out.
Sun Hye Mi
Hye Mi, a UK-based blogger, runs one of the more professional looking sites I’ve seen, with reviews and information to match. She doesn’t update very regularly, but her posts on her favorite YouTubers and lists for best skin eveners and best products for dry skin are worth a look.
Mizu is an absolutely adorable Malaysian blogger who writes almost exclusively about K-beauty, with a particular focus on makeup. While her English is a bit wobbly, she takes tons of good-quality pictures of color swatches and the products in action on her face.
While normally I would be hesitant to recommend the blogs of e-commerce sites (which, by design, are meant to help boost sales), I’m including my favorite k-beauty sites’ blogs here. While, yes, they want to sell products, they also are all pretty dedicated to educating consumers about K-beauty and what’s out there. They all take slightly different approaches, based on their backgrounds.
Glow Recipe was founded by Christine Chang and Sarah Lee, two former beauty marketing and product development vets. With this background, they do some of the best category and ingredient “explainers” of anyone out there. (They also always graciously answer every silly question I ask them.)
SokoGlam Founder Charlotte Cho is like your lucky friend who gets to travel to cool places and always brings you a fun souvenir. Her Korean travel diary posts are great, and she has a laid back voice that is really relatable.
Peach and Lily
Peach and Lily founder Alicia Yoon is savvy and sophisticated, and she posts interesting interviews on the blog with spa owners and dermatologists from Korea, in addition to tips and how-tos.
Wishtrend is one of the most comprehensive places to buy K-beauty (in English, anyway) online, and the e-comm brand's sister editorial site is gorgeous and professional. There are tutorials galore and lots of information about products and ingredients.
Any glaring omissions? Do you have a K-beauty blog yourself? Tell me about it and throw the URL in the comments below.