In the past few years, Korean brands have revolutionized our approach to skincare, brought forward intelligently crafted formulas, and redefined our routines. Needless to say, K-beauty is now an essential part of our daily lives. With most of us riding the wave, we’ve fallen in love with many of the best-loved brands and cult-fave products. However, there are some lesser-known names that have flown below the radar—until this year, that is.

We listened in on the buzz, crunched the numbers, and dug up 6 K-beauty brands that have gotten a lot more lovin’ in 2018. Have we piqued your interest? Below, we reveal 2018’s most stand-out beauty lines—and the products that made them famous, of course!


HERO PRODUCT: Miracle Toner, now on sale at P890 (limited time only)

Some by Mi made a clean sweep of all the beauty awards earlier this year, and it’s no mystery why. Their Miracle line, which sold by the hundreds of thousands worldwide, consists of a roster of zit-zapping formulas that target the skin at a cellular level.

At the forefront of it all is their famed Miracle Toner. It doubles as a brightener and exfoliator, effectively lifting off dead skin to reveal a healthy, visible radiance. You might have heard about their star ingredients, namely AHA, BHA, and PHA—which are a complex of plant-derived acids that work synergistically to brighten dark spots and heal acne scars. We even tested it ourselves!

Shop it here.


HERO PRODUCT: Licorice pH Balancing Toner, now on sale at P842 (limited time only)

Founded in 2009, ACWELL has been in the market for almost ten years. Their products pretty much describe the nature of Korean skincare: age-old beauty traditions enhanced by scientific technology. In line with this, they’ve used all kinds of herbal remedies in their bestsellers, such as peony, kudzu root, and licorice.

And the product that put them on the map? Their bestselling Licorice pH Balancing Toner is a well-rounded restorative that addresses all kind of skin issues: inflammation, irritation, and even long-term scarring. Rich in both amino acids and glabridin, it contains compounds that inhibit tyronisase activity (A.K.A. hyperpigmentation) in your skin. Even Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho considers it one of her Holy Grails!

Shop it here.


HERO PRODUCT: Moisture Serum (100ml), now on sale at P1,113 (limited time only)

Spearheaded by the renowned Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic, this Seoul-based apothecary has made its name with its no-nonsense approach to skincare. Their motto? No frills, no fillers, and absolutely no fragrance. This is easily observed just through their straightforward product names, like their fan-fave Moisture Serum, for instance!

Unlike most serums, this one has a lotion-like texture that feels silky and lightweight. Infused with Coptis Japonica Root Extract and olive oil, this balancing solution is specially designed for troubled, pimple-prone skin. It works two-fold: it delivers ample hydration, while effectively controlling sebum production—giving you skin that’s always plump and never greasy.

Shop it here.


HERO PRODUCT: Secret of Sahara Oil Essence, now on sale at P1,501 (limited time only)

Drawing inspiration from the English novelist Aldous Huxley, the future-forward minds behind the brand Huxley are the zeitgeists of the beauty industry. They’ve pioneered the use of cactus oils, which are lesser known, yet powerful essentials that have been used (yet overlooked) for thousands of years. Their Holy Grail product? The Secret of Sahara Oil Essence.

Energized with 61% Sahara cactus seed oil, quinoa, and acai berry, this hybrid potion is teeming with vitamins and antioxidants. Made to revitalize dull, fatigued skin, it soothes signs of stress and blurs fine lines and other imperfections. It’s so moisturizing, multiple users claim to have ditched their night creams and sleeping masks entirely!

Shop it here.


HERO PRODUCT: Pure Vitamin C Serum, P850

It’s only fitting that Purito’s name is a playful combination of the words “purify” and “soil.” Compared to bigger, multi-billion companies, this clean ‘n green group has a family-oriented feel and promotes honest, all-natural ingredients that are safe for all ages. Plus, they only use clean, recyclable material, so it’s impossible not to love their adorable packaging!

For nourished skin that glows, try their Pure Vitamin C Serum. It’s crafted with 10% ascorbic acid and 84% hyaluronic acid, making it the perfect blend of brightening and anti-aging. It also contains adenosine, White Flower Complex, and red ginseng, which help boost moisture levels and cellular turnover.

Shop it here.


HERO PRODUCT: Pore Advanced Facial Mask, now on sale at P79 (limited time only)

Led by a team of skin experts and dermatologists, Leaders Ex Solution started in the research facilities of Korea’s top medical university. Today, they’re one of Korea’s top sheet mask brands, known especially known for their state-of-the-art solutions and bestsellers like the Pore Advanced Face Mask.

Made with Geo Cellulose fabric, this unique sheet mask is made exclusively from plant pulp. It’s extremely soothing to the touch, and it’s drenched with Enanthia chlorantha bark extract, an astringent that helps reduce redness and purify the skin from toxins and carcinogens.

Shop it here.

What other K-beauty gems have you discovered this year? Sound off in the comments!

Photos by Kat Echon.

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