Korean beauty products…hits & misses

October 10, 2012

Earlier this year, I traveled to the land of mass market beauty products a.k.a. Korea.  I was really looking forward to trying out all these great products that everybody keeps raving about, and loading up my stash at cheap cheap prices.  With the vast array of offerings, it was way too easy to over-indulge.  As we are nearing the end of the year, it is a good time to review some of my pickings.

First of all, one brand / shop clearly stood out amidst all the typical Korean storefronts – Too Cool for School.

The hip art school-style layout with warm interior lighting drew my eye, and the cute innovative product packaging amped up the fun factor.  3 visits and $$$ later, I went home with these along with tones of samples (not shown)!

Having taken the products for their test runs back on homeground, they all met my expectations.  The star product was the aqua shaking BB which is more like a foundation in terms of coverage, but provided a fresh dewy glow.  As it was winter in Korea, my skin was severely dry and chapped so this BB worked marvelously.  I also loved the souffle texture and the cool sensation as I applied it on my face.  BUT, back home in humid Singapore, this really oxidized quickly on me, so will require a good makeup primer and setting powder.  I also found the slanted tip eyebrow crayon to be well pigmented, just the right level of softness & easy to use.

I was also in the market for a good mascara base, and I found my winner in Baviphat’s Fiber Proof Mascara Base!  In fact i liked it so much, i had my friend load up more for me when she visited Korea last month!  This helped hold my mascara in place (panda-eyes are a HUGE problem for me regardless of how water-proof / smudge-proof the mascara is!) all day, and added length and volume to my lashes.

The greatest disappointment came from Baviphat’s Easy Drawing Eyeliner… this smudged the moment I applied them, and continued to smudge throughout the day!  I also found the tip too stiff so it hurts if i poked too hard, and the color did not dispense easily if held at certain angles (which made it challenging to draw a perfect line on my left eye with my right hand…).  So for now, it looks like my reigning queen of liquid eyeliner is still Shiseido’s Majolica Majorca!Lastly, I tried Tony Moly’s Maxi Volume Force Mascara which was supposed to be the latest and bestest with it’s “tubing technology”.  To me, it served its purpose in coating my lashes without clumping or smudging.  However, i was not overly impressed with it’s volumnizing ability.  A good one for a 2nd or 3rd coat, but certainly not one i can’t live without.

All in all, I wouldn’t call myself a total Korean beauty convert, although there are some gems in there.  I would love to see Too Cool For School here in Singapore just to have something fun to my makeup mix.  Regardless, given the sheer variety of products in that market, i would be very selective indeed.