Musings of a Muse

A Blog of Musings from a Cosmetic Whore

Mar 17, 2008

Korean Cosmetic Brands

One of my readers had requested I do an entry on a few brands to look out for in Korea. I don't purchase many Korean brands but I do enjoy looking out for exciting new Asian Brands as you know be it Japanese, Korean, or Chinese.

Korea is a place that is near and dear to my heart simply because of it's vast entertainment selection. Aside from Japanese pop culture I'd say that Korea definately holds plenty of appeal for me in the entertainment field. I adore Korean dramas as you may already know and some pop music as well (I'm more of a J-Rock girl but popular Korean music definately gets some of my attention).

Do keep in mine prior to reading this that the post will probably create some hardcore lemmings so don't hold the Muse responsible ;)

One of my all time favorite Korean brands which I haven't be able to locate anywhere aside from Korea would be Clio.

Clio reminds me of Bourjois Paris with it's cute packaging and baked eyeshadows and blushes. I've done an entry on Clio prior to this but it deserves a revisit in this post. Clio is actually made in Italy but distributed in Korea. As I mentioned I haven't seen Clio distributed anywhere else in the world aside from Korea but I could be wrong! From what I understand Sasa carries the line but I'm not sure where else in Korea you can purchase it.

The line contains plenty of beautiful, funky cosmetics that are sure to appeal to those who love a bit of color. If you're looking for a natural, neutral look Clio isn't something you'll want to look into however if you love a bit of color this will be something you'll enjoy!

Price is midway in my opinion with blushes running from about $19 USD and eyeshadows at around $14 USD. I've had little success locating Clio in online shops or on E-bay so if you want the line you're either hopping a plane to Korea or asking a mate to pick you up some!

Overall, it's possibly one of my favorite brands. I own about 6 of the shadows or so and two of the blushes (I wish I had more) and they are all very pigmented, silky, and beautiful more so then Bourjois Paris if possible.

Should you happen to be wandering around Korea another cosmetic line to keep your eyes on would be Laneige. Laneige falls into the luxury group of cosmetics in my opinion but the price is tiny in comparison to some lines. Laneige sells outside of Korea and can be found in Singapore and China however some of the better items pop up in Korea and later are distributed to other countries at later dates. I haven't seen Laneige in Japan but again I could be wrong.

Palettes are about $23-30 USD some lower. Prices vary from country to country and of course it remains cheapest within Korea.

The line is extensive, covering point, base, skincare, and other bits and bobs. It definately has some very interesting items and if you have access it is worth looking at!

Next up Etude....

Let me introduce you to Etude. Now Etude is truly an awesome line. It's girlishly sweet with some seriously awesome packaging. It definately falls into a favorite category for me. The brand is available in drugstores and price wise isn't too bad. The range is very extensive and includes a variety of cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, and other bits.

The beautiful commercials and adverts are especially appealing and cutesy! In the video below I'm especially in love with the makeup from the Peach collection which is a new collection for Spring!

Palettes range from $9 USD and up which isn't bad at all. The shadows fall into the MJ line in my opinion which means they are pigmented as you make them out to be. It takes a bit of work to build up color but in the long run you can get a beautiful look using them!

The new Pore Erasing Peach Base is something to keep your eyes out for. It quite reminds me of Benefit's Erase Paste but looks like it'll work much better plus it's only $11 bucks!

Etude is definately Muse Approved for purchase! If you're in Korea you'll definately want to keep your eyes open for products from Etude's range!

Banila Co is another girlish brand that I adore! The new Spring Collection looks much like Clio's dual shadows but the price is a bit lower at about $9 USD per shadow. The highest item cost wise is about $20 USD.

The line also includes a variety of items from base cosmetics, point, tools, skincare, and even body care!

Banilia is available in drugstores and quality is excellent for the price!

A higher end of cosmetics within Korea is Vidi Vici. Vidi Vici is created by Lee Kyung Min a famous makeup artist in Korean. The line for me is a bit unappealing due to the elegant packaging. I'm more for cute packaging which could be why Vidi Vici fails to wow me. The line up is geared more towards the working class lady and has that air of elegance minus the kawaii feel about 90% of cosmetics in Asia incorporate into their collections! As you may have suspected the price range is also geared towards the mature woman.

Last but not least is VOV. VOV for me has the feel of Kose as some of the palettes resemble those in the line even the Spring Collection has the feel of Visee with it's mirrored compacts! The prices are about the same as Kose as well with palettes ranging from $17 USD or so. The line up is appealing to all with it's beautiful compacts and color combinations.

The line isn't as extensive as some brands but does have it's fair share of point, base, skincare, etc....

Overall, it's definately geared towards the fresh twenty something but the Muse isn't twenty and she adores it!

Well...That's all folks!

I hope you enjoyed this little adventure into Korean cosmetics! Do feel free to share some of your favorite Korean brands!

I'd especially love to hear from those of you within Korea about prices, favorite brands, etc.....

Comment box is open!

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Anonymous lynne said...

I was wondering where you can purchase these asian brands like Etude,etc it at I think they ship to the US right? Thanks for this post!

March 17, 2008 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger PaoPao said...

I just can say... Wow!!!

Never even heard about these brands!

March 17, 2008 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hiya lynne

I haven't had the pleasure of seeing these for sale online. Ebay or otherwise. Yes Sasa does indeed ship free to the US but they don't carry all these brands plus the ones they do carry are older collection items :(

Sadly if you dont have friends in Korea or family it's difficult to get these items! I checked MUA for swap buddy in Korea to see if they can perhaps CP for you!

Hope this helps!

The person I posted this for had asked after the brands b/c her mum is head to Korea soon and she's asking her mum to get her the items!

March 17, 2008 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey pao pao *hugs*

hehe ;) I love introducing new brands to people!

March 17, 2008 at 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

I've tried Korean brands such as Etude (makeup), The Face Shop (makeup and skincare), and Sooryehan (skincare).

While I do think that Korean brands are of good quality for an inexpensive price tag, I don't find myself loving them. With makeup, I find that their eyeshadows, while fine in texture and pretty in colours, are not pigmented enough (this goes for Etude and The Face Shop). I find this also with Japanese brands such as RMK, Kanebo (KATE), and Kose. As for skincare, I used to like Sooryehan, but they are slightly expensive, and after a while, the cream just wasn't rich enough for my dry skin in the winter.

So my overall thought is, if you can get your hands on Korean cosmetics while in Korea, definitely give they a go, but if you have to order them online, it may or may not be worth the extra cost.

March 17, 2008 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

Heya Liz *hugs*

Face Shop has intrigued me for ages. Some girls on Cozy had gotten a few items from the range and they looked pretty cool but I haven't yet tried any of it!

I must agree that cosmetics aren't always pigmented enough when it comes to Japan, Korean, and other Asian brands. It takes a bit more work to get color to work well in certain brands and palettes. Even my love of MJ doesn't sway me from the fact that I wished it was more pigmented and easier to blend!

RMK is pretty high quality and expensive in comparison to some brands which makes it even bigger a disappointment when it fails to work well!

I've never experienced problems with Kate and have always felt it was quite an excellent line for the price! I get excellent color buildup, it blends great, and colors are vast. In terms of quality KATE is a big yes for me.

However I do feel you on Etude. Pigmentation isn't fab and it takes some work to create a beautiful look. In the long run I think the extra work is kinda worth it b/c it gives me such a different and unique look compared to my MAC looks.

Does that make sense?

Sooryehan was a big disappointment for me as well as I am dry skin too and it didn't provide exactly what I needed especially in the winter. The cleansers are a big disappointment as well!

Again, agreed, paying jacked up prices in the long run is not worth it. If it's $2-3 on the price that's fine but $5-10 it's def not worth it!

Thanks for the input ;)

March 17, 2008 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger ♥~Eru~♥ said...

I love etude and laneige as well! :3
Nice post Sweetie. Feel like getting some Korean MU right now! :D
Hughs ^-^

March 17, 2008 at 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Hi Lynne, a site that I've used before for Korean cosmetics is They have brands like Kanebo, Laneige, Etude House. I hope that helps.

March 17, 2008 at 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Hey Muse! Yeah, I hear ya on the uniqueness of Etude. It is a nice departure from the intensive look of MAC (I don't actually have any MAC e/s, but I do have a few pigments and paint pots).

I got most of my Korean cosmetics from Korea, either from my visit or from a friend there. The prices are appealing, and for that, I can (almost) put up with the subtlety of the colours. RMK, on the other hand, I got a few of their e/s in the UK and nearly had a heart attack at the till (and from what I found online, the UK prices are close to the retail prices in Japan), and their e/s turned out to be a major disappointment. Will not repurchase.

My KATE experience was from a few summers ago. Perhaps I should give them a try again?

I think in general, Asian-brand makeup is quite suitable for people who prefer the soft look or for days when one wants to look less 'done'. :)

March 17, 2008 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Becky said...

Hello! I was wondering, could you post about Taiwanese (or Japanese because Taiwan imports most of them). My mom's due to head back again soon and I want to ask her to pick up some goodies! TIA!

March 17, 2008 at 5:11 PM  
Anonymous ilove said...

Skin Food seems to be really popular brand. Have you heard of it?

March 17, 2008 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Dalenna said...

Hey Muse, do you know of Cathy Cat too? It's Korean also, and I've been trying to look for some of the stuff but have been unsuccessful so far. Anyway, it's got really really cute packaging. I caught a glimpse of some lipbalm called Miss Bean Sweetbean Lipbalm in a metallic bean-shaped case - kawaii as hell but couldn't find where to get it. Any clues?


March 17, 2008 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

I really love your blog, and have bought more than one product based on your recommendations!

This post is a funny coincidence - I was just at the Koreatown Galleria mall on Saturday, poking around a beauty supply store full of Castledew and Clio, wondering if I dare try it. The prices, as you said, are middling, so I don't want to waste decent money. The Clio shadows did seem super pigmented and the Castledew nail polishes are so full of shimmer. I actually thought about you while I was there, since you know so much about Asian cosmetics. I guess I'll go hunt down that post you mentioned you did about Clio . . .

I ended up buying some face packs from Fruit Land. After a while, I realized that the Korean word for blackheads translates, often, to "horniness." There were many masks called "Horniness Sleep Mask," "Horniness Scrub," etc. To remove horniness, you see :)

March 18, 2008 at 1:35 AM  
Blogger Humming said...

HI Muse Its Humming here :D
I have been quiet for a while as I have been busy at Uni.I had to leave a comment today since you did a great job of introducing many Korean brands to your viewers. I have no ide how u know all these brands!!
Honestly, my favorite out of all that you have introduced is Banilla Co. As you mentioned it is cheap but the quality is soooooo good!
Clio is also well known for its quality but since Banila Co has its street shop everywhere it is easier to get!I have tried their MAC alike eyeshadows and they are so amazing. You have to try it. I would rather go for their eyeshadows than Mac with 2 times cheaper price hehe ^-^
Etude is good at making girlish packaging but their quality is rather crap in my opinion. Their Fix mascara is famous one though.
VIDIVICI is something that I would like to try in the future as it has good reputation but same as you, the packaging is so unattractive it fails to attract me enough.
Overall big thanks for introducing Korean brands.
It was fresh and pleasant article. Next time when I fly back to Korea this summer I might be able to get you some that you want.
Take Care *Hugs*

March 18, 2008 at 4:04 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey eru!

me too me too :)


March 18, 2008 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

Hiya liz!

I've never ordered from Joseibi as I never see prices or how to add an item to my cart...any helpful hints?

March 18, 2008 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

heya Liz *mwah*

I have to say I like the change sometimes! The softer shadows, pastel colors, etc...if you have pps and piggies you totally know what I mean :)

The prices are just right and with a crafty hand you can create beauty!

RMK scares me too. Although I found quality very good the prices just make me shudder in fear!

I hate hate that the cases are sold separate. It drives me insane! And price wise from Japan to UK is about the same!

KATE then and KATE now is very diff!

KATE has undergone very good changes and the quality of the compacts is much better. The texture is still the chalky formula as all Japanese eyeshadows are but I find blending awesome with the palettes!

I agreee. Asian brands are more towards a "less is more" attitude which I sometimes favor ;)

March 18, 2008 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hello becky how are you today :)

I will indeed. Someone else asked me about Taiwanese brands and I've been brain storming a post. I'm not as familiar with Taiwanese brands as I am about other asian cosmetics but I'll see what I can come up with and share what little knowledge I have!

Many brands are imported which is great and you might want to check under my old "japanese brands" posts to locate what you see!

I know Taiwan has many Kanebo brands such as Lunasol, CoD, etc...I also believe MJ can be found there as well ;)

I'll see about creating a post shortly!

Thanks for the comment!

March 18, 2008 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi ilove,

Skin Food was very popular a few months ago in Singapore and I've seen many girls that have hauled some of the skinfinishes and such. I have indeed heard of it and it looks promising although I hear coverage and pigmentation isn't too fab.

Some of the skincare appears interesting!

March 18, 2008 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey D!

Cathy Cat? that's a new one for me! Got a website?

I know Miss Bean...! There's a seller on ebay that sells the kidney shaped lipbalms. I even have one but I had no idea it was branded as Cathy Cat. I thought it was called MissBean lol!

email and I'll give you the seller id maybe she still has one or two of these!

March 18, 2008 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey Stefanie!

Aw thanks so much! I hope all my recs are good ones and you're enjoying some interesting purchases!

Oh wow! Lucky you to have Clip and Castledew within your general area!

You're within CA I assume as you mentioned Koreatown!? Are the prices raised due to import or about the same as they would be within Korea?

Clio shadows are super nice as are the blushes!

I haven't had the pleasure of trying the VOV castledew nail shimmers though!

Awww hehe I feel special that I was on your mind while shopping ;) I'm flattered I'm thought of when asian cosmetics are around hehe!

Do sneak a peak at my clio blush review and I'll happily do one about the shadows if you want swatches and such!

Wow lots of horniness around Korea LOL LMAO! Thank god for all those scrubs and creams to remove horniness!


Thank god I can't read Korean! I'd be laughing on the floor if I translated blackhead and came out with horniness!

they'd have to carry me out of the shop!

Thanks the your awesome comment!

March 18, 2008 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey humming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Missed you!

I bet Uni is busy :)

aw I'm so happy the post was helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Banilla Co is SOOOOOOOOOOO amazing and cheap! The products are fantastic and the catalog is so vast. So many good things to choose from!

Clio is lovely but pricewise Banilla is so much better!

I haven't tried the mineralized marble shadows but I lem them hard!

The price is too good! Sigh we need this stuff stateside!

Etude does have rather bad quality but I give a Muse approval because the colors are so buildable. It reminds me of MJ in quality. It takes a bit of work but in the end you can create some lovely looks!

I haven't tried the Fix Mascara. Does it have a cult following?

Vidivici is def something I'd like to try due to it's rave reviews but I'm with you the packaging is just blah and so boring :(

Too old ladyish.

You're most welcome I had fun with this post!

Thanks for commenting :)

AWWWWWW thanks! I'll hold you to that promise ;)


March 18, 2008 at 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Hmmmm, I was just at and their site is different now! The last time I was there was May 07 and I was able to see the price for each item and add it to my shopping cart. I had to e-mail them for shipping charges though. I don't know what's happened to the site. Perhaps anyone interested in purchasing stuff from them could email them for more info? Sorry I couldn't be of any help.

I'm with you on the RMK cases... was surprised when the salesgirl asked if I wanted to buy the duo compact case seeing as I wouldn't have anything to put the e/s pans in after I open them. :(

March 18, 2008 at 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oooh~!!very thorough, muse! I am about to hit the sack as it's past 1am in seoul and i need to be awake in 6 hours :( but wanted to tell you about a brand, which is my absolute fav when it comes to korean lower price range brands: Skin Food.
I adoore it! and so do my friends in vienna whom i regularly endow with those gems :) if u wanna i can tell u more about it next time. for now i'll need to get some sleep...zzzZZ - hiromix

March 18, 2008 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey liz!

I've never had success with Joseibi :( It appears like it's a compiled list of products without anyway to purchase! I have emailed but no reply sigh!

aw it's not your fault ;) Too bad as they have a good selection from different brands!

gawd rmk was a shocker when I learned the cases didn't come with plus they cheesy plastic ones are the cheapest and the mirror ones are more $$!

So disappointing :(

March 18, 2008 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey hiromix!

Can you email? I got a ? for you!

Skin Food I haven't tried but I hear so many raves about it! I've been curious about the skin finishes they have!

I'm so happy to hear all the raves b/c I totally want some now!

Do tell me more ;) I'm so curious about the skincare as well as the makeup items ;)

Get some sleep lovie!

Good dreams!

March 18, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

They haven't replied to your email? Hmmmm.... I say, forget about them then! If they can't be trusted with email communication, I'm certainly not going to trust them with my money! >:T

I believe there are Korean sites that do offer international shipping.... the only downside is that Korean websites don't often have English versions... and even when they do, it's often error-riddled. So unless you understand Korean, I wouldn't feel too confident buying off their website.

March 18, 2008 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey liz!

Nope :( True. If they fail to reply imagine if I purchased!

Sadly JPmon is the same it's error ridden and difficult to get through what certain products all!

I WISH I read characters but no such luck ;P It'd make life easier that's for sure hehe!

March 20, 2008 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

booo i posted a big long response to this and it didn't go through :(. oh well.

with regards to the enprani, i found them at the cosmetics counter in my local korean market. i could stomach the $20 for gloss, which i'm sure is really marked up, but not the shadows since i wasn't sure of their quality and i'd never heard of the brand.

i just wanted to say thanks SO SO much for doing this post for me-i was expecting a short list of sorts, nothing this comprehensive. you're amazing as always.

i'm putting together a list with images (thanks to you) for my mother who's leaving for korea in a few weeks. unfortunately i can't make it this time around as i have classes, and i'm seriously doubtful that she'll have the time to stop by stores other than duty free, so it looks like i might not be able to get my hands on these until my next trip to korea.

but either way i absolutely love this list, and will be holding onto it. thanks again!!

March 20, 2008 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey jen sorry 'bout my very long delay in replying!

This post was inspired by you btw!

Honestly even though it's marked up it's nice to have it available locally!

$20 is a bit much though!

It's my absolute pleasure to do it for you! Korea has a fountain of fab brands and I hope you're able to get some at retail cost ;) And enjoy 'em too!

I'm getting the new Peach Collection in soon so I hope I can review it for you before your mum leaves!

Aww poo! I'm so sorry to hear that :( But the good news is you can pick for yourself rather then depend on her for getting them! It's kinda funnier that way ya know!?

You're most welcome!
If I think of any other must have brands I'll shout at you!

Love ya
Happy Easter!

Again sorry for my delayed reply!

March 22, 2008 at 1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

muse, your knowledge of asian beauty brands astounds me. you are freaking awesome. have you checked out DoDo Club? I think that line is totally up your alley, (also from Korea). and the line called Cathy Cat is so cute too, with applicators attached to elastic strings like cell phone charms.

March 26, 2008 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hello anonymous!

Thank you very much for your comment ;) and compliment! I have a passion for all good things asian ;) and cosmetics would be one of those things hehe!

The muse is sad :( The only thing I ever tried from Dodo Club are the masks. It was blue and it was so hydrating and lovely. I've never tried anything else sadly :(

Cathy Cat is SOOOO AWESOME! I'm glad you brought it up and I should have too b/c it's totally kawaii!

I love the small trio shadows! Those are so killer. I sadly haven't purchased any of it! But it's so cutes!

I'm doing a brand spotlight on Indonesia soon and a few other locations ;) I hope you'll drop by to read those ;)

Thanks for the comment I can discuss Korean cosmetics all day hehe!

March 26, 2008 at 1:12 PM  
Anonymous casey said...

i have been looking everywhere for updates and info on korean brands. i love the way they work for me. plus since koreans are all about the perfect "natural" look i love the way all their products apply and usually give that understated beauty look.

i think they sell CLIO in some parts of the US. Last time i visited Seattle they had some of their products (among others) inside an asian market.

June 3, 2008 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hello casey!

You've stopped at the right place :) I try to keep abreast of the latest and greats in Korea, Japan, and other Asian countries :) Plus Europe!

I agree about the natural look the products give plus the excellent quality for the price :)

You are right :) It's available in many stores in San Fran. Sadly I've yet to run across any shops here in New York that sell it!

I'm hoping to open an online store shortly that will be carrying brands such as Clio, Etude House, Etc :)

Thanks so much for your comment! And I hope we talk again really soon!

June 3, 2008 at 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey.. i stumbled on your page and its adorable! i was wondering what do you think is the best brand for face bb cream and powder makeup. i want that flawless looking skin. thanks!

June 27, 2008 at 9:00 PM  

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