Korean Makeup Brands vs. Western Makeup Brands – What’s The Difference?

July 12, 2019

Korean Makeup Brands vs. Western Makeup Brands – What’s The Difference?

Korean makeup and skincare has literally taken the world by storm in recent years. Korean makeup isn’t just a new phenomenon however; the benefits, quality and affordability of the products have simply led to mass adoption globally as they have become well known.

The same brands have dominated the Western market for decades, so this wave of interest in alternative brands has proven refreshing. Although, for many, adoption of Korean makeup remains something they are merely exploring.

If you’re interested in learning more about Korean makeup and how it compares against the brands you’re currently using, we’ve got a quick guide for you. Let’s explore together what the key differences are between Korean makeup brands and Western makeup brands.


For those looking for the best affordable makeup yet want to purchase quality products, Korean makeup can prove the best option. In terms of quality, comparable Western brands tend to prove much more expensive – due to their marketing and formulas largely. Given that makeup is a recurring expense, it can make financial sense to explore different brands and that’s a key reason driving adoption of Korean makeup globally.


Western makeup products have always traditionally been based on largely chemically based formulas, with synthetic, manmade ingredients. Korean makeup formulas tend to be based more on natural ingredients – and often ingredients which are quite unusual. Green tea, bee propolis, fermented botanicals, birch sap and black sugar, are just some of the more “unusual” ingredients that are typical among the formulas of the best Korean makeup brands.

Sun Protection

A staple element of Korean skincare is skin protection. Koreans have long invested in sun protection to prevent and minimise the signs of ageing that are caused by sun exposure. This obsession with sun protection is carried through into Korean makeup products. Even on affordable makeup sites, Korean makeup products always tend to frequently contain sunscreen filters with a high SPF, which protects the skin from the sun's harmful rays. A popular way to do this is with titanium dioxide, a natural ingredient which blocks both UVB and UVA rays.

SPF protection, on the other hand, is only a relatively emerging feature, and yet one still severely lacking in most Western makeup brands. In fact, it is typically only a benefit and feature offered by the more premium Western make brands.


Makeup artists and specialists worldwide claim that Korean makeup and skincare products are years ahead, if not even decades, ahead of their Western counterparts. Korean makeup brands were researching and trialling new makeup formulas long before Western brands and so are bringing new formulas and innovative products to markets which are far beyond any options available elsewhere globally. In fact, often key makeup “trends” have long been established in Korea or a thing of the past by the time they are introduced by Western brands to market.

A focus on the basics

Rather than introducing a mass amount of products, Korean makeup brands often focus instead on a core range of essentials – the “basics”. For Korean makeup brands, staple items include eyeliner, lip liner and brow pencils – the makeup items which effectively help to frame the core features of the face. These are the essentials - every other item is an added extra. Korean makeup brands focusing on developing and providing the products you need most.

There’s a major movement in the global makeup market – and it’s all centring around Korean makeup. The Western world has observed how flawless the skin and makeup looks are that Koreans adopt and they want in on the action! Rather than moving from brand to brand from the same small group of companies you have always been familiar with it can really pay to try out something truly different.

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