Want to know your centella asiatica from your sacred lotus? Or how to get really glassy-looking skin? It’s time to brush up on your K-beauty knowledge. After all, the range of skincare products available on the market is constantly evolving (there’s much more to Korean cosmetics than just 10-step routines) and according to Allied Market Research, the industry will be worth an estimated £15bn by 2026. If you’re wondering where to start, follow these K-beauty Instagram accounts for science-backed tips, expert tricks and industry-insider trends.
Liah Yoo aka @liahyoo
Beauty blogger-turned-beauty entrepreneur, Liah Yoo is a Youtuber, social media influencer and founder of Krave Beauty. A South Korean based in New York City with her products formulated in Korea, Yoo subscribes to a much simpler and “slower” skincare approach that challenges her country’s multi-step routines. Instead, she develops and reaches for products that don’t have too high of a percentage of active ingredients and that don’t exfoliate, focusing on gentle cleansing, deep hydration and SPF—Krave Beauty’s The Beet Shield sunscreen was the starting point of the brand and continues to be its bestseller. Mainstays on her top shelf are Then I Met You’s Cleansing Balm, Krave Beauty’s Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, Laneige’s Cream Skin Toner and Moisturiser, and Mamonde’s Floral Moisture Cream, as well as Korean skincare innovation, sleeping masks, by the likes of Laniege and Belif. Follow her for the latest trends and developments in skincare and K-beauty, op-eds on key topics in beauty like sustainability and waterless formulas, and inspirational girl boss advice.
Charlotte Cho aka @charlottejcho
A California native, Charlotte Cho is an esthetician; co-founder of K-Beauty e-retailer, Soko Glam and skincare content platform, The Klog; founder of beauty brand Then I Met You; and author of ‘The Little Book of Skincare’ and ‘The Little Book of Jeong’. Her obsession with K-beauty started fresh out of college when she moved to South Korea, where she learned and adopted the Koreans’ skin-first philosophy, where skincare is considered an investment in overall well-being. Follow her for her ultra-personal, expert K-beauty (and K-drama) recommendations; real skincare solutions for real mom skin conditions (from face to tummy); easy-to-follow skincare regime videos; and all-round healthy, glowing skin inspiration.
Rowena Tsai and Felicia Lee aka @beautywithinofficial
Helmed by two hosts Rowena Tsai and Felicia Lee, Beauty Within is basically online beauty school for skincare enthusiasts. Thanks to their opposing skin types, they offer an array of solutions and suggestions for everything from acne and hyperpigmentation to dehydration and fine lines, delivered through educational skincare reviews, customised step-by-step regimes, and cute infographics with lengthy captions that explain ingredients and skin conditions in-depth in fun, easily digestible formats.
Claudia Christin aka @FunSkincare
Born and raised in Indonesia, Claudia Christin is a medically trained dermatologist and brand consultant. Christin’s interest in K-beauty started when she had a series of bad breakouts at school. “It was the only accessible skincare product for students back then,” she says. However, it wasn’t until she moved to South Korea in 2017 that she felt the need to share her encyclopaedic knowledge with the world, which she continues to do today via Instagram. Head there now for science-backed tips on skincare layering and how to treat hyperpigmentation and acne.
Michelle Wong aka @LabMuffinBeautyScience
Self-confessed skincare nerd Michelle Wong broadcasts her skin tips from Sydney, Australia. With a PhD in chemistry, Wong’s main focus is demystifying the science behind complex ingredients and product formulas in easy-to-understand ways. “I’ve been using Korean beauty products since my mum took me to a Laneige store in Hong Kong when I was in high school,” she says. “My aunt owned a beauty clinic and recommended their products. K-beauty has a lot of interesting innovations and it’s fascinating to dig into how exactly they work.” Currently writing her second book about active ingredients in skincare — you can find her first, The Lab Muffin Guide to Basic Skincare, on her website — follow her now if you want to understand the ins and outs of K-beauty.
Renée Chow aka @Gothamista
As Renée Chow declares at the top of her page, she tries every product so you don’t have to. After a decade of working in product development for various skin and body care brands and as a beauty buyer, her insight into ingredient technology, formulation, pricing and packaging is invaluable. The New Yorker got into K-beauty eight years ago after a trip to Seoul and has been sharing her knowledge via her YouTube and Instagram accounts ever since.
“K-beauty is very innovative and brands continue to create interesting new formulas with luxurious ingredients, integrity and cute packaging, making it very accessible,” she says. “They also bring what I like to call ‘skintertainment’ into our routines and make them feel less of a chore. Whether it’s unique textures, zombie face masks or rubber ones, I often find myself excited to take care of my skin.” Funny, honest and authentic, she knows how to create good content.
Jude Chao aka @FiddySnails
“My take on K-beauty is inclusive and flexible,” says American-Taiwanese blogger Jude Chao. “I want my readers to find ways to feel beautiful and good in their skin, no matter their personal definition of beauty.” Chao started sharing her knowledge about K-beauty via her Fifty Shades of Snails blog, where she covers everything from skincare to mental health. Fast-forward to today, and she’s just as active on Instagram where she breaks down the latest trends. She also has a line of face masks and a book about skincare in the works. Follow her for a crash course in K-beauty.
Coco Park aka @TheBeautyWolf
Former makeup artist and aesthetician, Coco Park was one of the earliest English-language K-beauty bloggers out there. After discovering a bunch of K-beauty products in her mother-in-law’s bathroom, she set up her blog, The Beauty Wolf, to share her discovery with her friends.
Instead of focusing on the scientific aspects of products and ingredients like most other bloggers, Park had a different aim: “I wanted to speak to my subscribers the way I would my friends because at the time, my only readers were my friends!” she says. “It was always my goal to be an authentic voice that was simply sharing the discoveries I tried and loved. I never wanted to do negative reviews so I just wouldn’t talk about products that didn’t wow me.” She co-authored Korean Beauty Secrets (Simon & Schuster, 2015) and today she continues her reviews on Instagram.
Elisa Lee aka @Sokobeauty
Elisa Lee is the mastermind behind the cruelty-free K-beauty webshop, Dot Dot Skin. But most people know her via her Instagram, which is where she shares her thoughts about the latest products and trends. She got into K-beauty in 2012 when she went to Korea to study and started blogging as a way to share her experiences with family and friends before moving to Instagram to keep up with its burgeoning K-beauty community. “The people who have been following me for a long time know my personality and know that I am honest in my reviews,” she says. “Plus that I don’t mind showing my bare skin.” Follow her now for an unfiltered approach to all things skin.
Katherine Spowart aka @SkinfulOfSeoul
Katherine Spowart is an expert in all things K-beauty, having immersed herself in the scene when she lived in Seoul from 2014 to 2018. What started as a blog has evolved into a career and a highly educational Instagram to boot. “I have always made space to learn about and respect the cultural concepts that influence Korean beauty,” she says. “I would say a key philosophy of K-beauty is being able to pick the products that suit you and truly caring for your skin on a daily basis.” Follow her for easy how-tos and digestible product reviews.