I’m seeing new (ish) indie Korean Beauty (K-beauty) brands pop up left, right, and centre these days. It’s great that there are more indie brands coming to challenge the likes of the more well known, especially in the areas of colour makeup. Most of them don’t have brick and mortar stores (concessions in Olive Young, LOHBs, LALAVLA, and nunC don’t count), so they rely largely on eCommerce and targeted advertising. Guess who is a sucker for targeted advertising.
I’m aware that some of the brands I’m focusing on here have been around for enough time to not be considered ‘new’, but they’re new to me. I’m not teaching elementary or middle school kids anymore, so the fresh off the press, completely new, ‘cheap and cheerful brands that all the girls are fawning over’ I get to a little later now (although I’m firmly placing my finger on that pulse again to keep up to date from today). That’s how I discoveredBbia, it was shown to me by a 6th grade student and I went on a loooong search of different LOHB’s to find some. Turns out they were hot sellers.
If you are looking for more lesser known brands, these are some I’m contemplating ordering from: sugar reve, red cookies, and PRPL,
So what new(ish) indie Korean beauty brands am I seeing All The Time?
Listed as brand (year started/founded – from what I can find)
The items that drew me in to rom&nd as a brand were the ‘Glasting Water Tints’ and the ‘Glasting Water Gloss’. Shoot me for coveting the very glassy lip look in an editorial shoot setting. I’m really interested to try their eyeshadows and blushers, and products from their ‘zero (0) line’, which is a weightless feel semi-matte finish. If you’re looking for bright, vibrant colours, this is not your brand – everything is very wearable, very muted, very Korean, but very pretty!
This one does actually have a brick and mortar store! I was legitimately quite surprised when I stumbled upon it in Hongdae (things change so fast there). They have a really unique concept as a brand: taking ‘Color Play’ literally. On their ‘About’ section on the Stonebrick website, they say (basically) that makeup should be just as fun as playing with bricks was when we were little. They have a colour collecting line called ‘stix’ that you can put together, take apart, and reassemble to make your own ‘color play kit’. It’s really fun, and definitely different. If you’re looking for fun colour – HERE YOU GO.
They got me with more lip gloss adverts (Extreme Glazer Plumping Lip Stix), and it’s a beauty bloggers dream in the store. SO MUCH TO SWATCH AND PLAY WITH. I ended up getting an eye shadow single (they don’t do palettes), a cool toned moisture lip stix (shade 601), the extreme glazer plumping lip stix in purple lighting, and I was gifted a dual mascara for free.
I love that Stonebrick is everything you’d want in a new-brand in the K-beauty scene. There aren’t a lot of brands know for vibrant colour, so the space is wide open to be filled, and Stonebrick have really taken a hold of that niche.
From producing only lipsticks when they started, Black rouge has expanded its product range to include base make up, point make up, and even skincare. Their packaging is all sorts of #aesthetic; pastel colours and minimal design, with the odd cutesy token shape thrown in for certain releases. I’m really interested to try their Peach Cover Velvet Cushion, as well as their Cica Green sun cream. Their brushes also look very soft.
Not the newest of indie korean beauty brands – they’ve been stocked in Olive Young for a fair amount of time, but they’ve been steadily building their brand presence. They were one of the first brands to be very gender inclusive with their advertising – almost all of their campaigns have featured both male and female models in very visible make up. I’ve purchased a couple of things over the time I’ve seen them in Olive Young – I was first taken in by their blush cubes, and was then made aware that their eyeliners were very good so picked up two of their gel style. The packaging is also very clean and some lines are immeasurably cute. Price-wise, they’re cheap and cheerful, a great alternative to roadshop brands like Etude House and peripera.
My fellow kbeauty babe Mina over at mintblossoms.com got me onto this brand. She asked if I could order her some lipsticks, and well, I couldn’t not treat myself. Peach C is the beauty brand attached to Haneul Haneul, which specialises in innerwear (yes, that’s underwear and pajamas), as well as having a clothing line. It might seem a smidge weird for them to also produce makeup as Peach C, but in my opinion it’s a fab addition to what is a very soft and dreamy brand. Peach C is great at doing the soft, barely there, fresh and girly colours. There are a lot of pinks, peaches, corals and muted tones. Some sparkles, some glitter, some beautiful packaging. Again, very Korean.
I will say that some accusations surfaced recently about some of the HR practices of the CEO from former employees. The claims were refuted, but I thought that if that’s something you are interested in, in regards to purchasing, then full transparency.
Another one with a brick and mortar store (located in Seongsu), hince is one I’ve been seeing specifically for … interesting nail colours. I had no idea that they did makeup products until I clicked on the website, and was pleasantly surprised by how chic the branding was. Again, everything is mostly minimal and very clean looking, which helps the colour makeup products to really sing. They have a small selection of different products in multiple shades, and each new collection adds a new product to the lineup, which is a good way to grow a business.
hince has a pretty decent brand MO, as Korean beauty’s indie brands go. It’s about building on natural beauty unique to the wearer using ‘dense and rich’ colours. It’s ‘mood-narrative’ driven, with three key themes of mood, tone, and, attitude.
Dear Dahlia is a luxury vegan, cruelty free beauty brand that is stocked in the likes of chicor, aritaum, Lotte Department Store, Sinsaegae, sephora… with its reach extended worldwide to the US, as well as France and the UK. They do have a physical store in the Lotte World Mall in Jamsil, but all the other places you can buy their products are concessions You’ve probably seen them mentioned if you follow other Korean beauty youtubers as their PR outreach is really quite good.
Visually, the brand is stunning. Golds, marbles, pinks, octagonal shaped products that really do look lovely sat on your dresser. They aim to present timeless beauty, creating high performance products that are safe, natural and ethical. To be honest, the packaging got me the most, and then the adverts for their latest Teddy Bare collection. I do like how they strive to use models with different skin tone, although their shade range for base products is poor. Like, only two shades for their cushion compact poor. Hopefully this improves as they gain stronger footholds in foreign markets, though.
save for later
Well! I hope that this has been a helpful introduction to some different and slightly ‘newer’ indie Korean beauty brands. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these before – or what you think of them! I’d especially love to hear your thoughts on Stonebrick.
Oh, I do promise that I’m going to try and keep as up to date as I can with new brand debuts in both the makeup world as well as skincare. There are a few other brands hitting my radar that I’m interested to check out, and if you have any you want to know more about, please let me know!