6 Korean Skincare Brands in Canada You Need to Know About
If you're not familiar with K-beauty yet, you're missing out. Take your beauty routine to the next level with these six superstar Korean skincare brands, all available in Canada.
Image: Glow Recipe
Korean Skincare Canada: The Brands to Know
Trends come and go in the skincare world, but it’s safe to say Korean skincare, also known as K-beauty, is here to stay.
Korean skincare started becoming popular in North America around the early 2010s with the arrival of BB creams (and the subsequent arrival of CC creams). Also known as beauty balm or blemish balm, BB cream is a powerhouse moisturizer that also acts as a primer and foundation. It came to Canada via Marcelle and quickly became one of the buzziest products of the decade, thanks to its easy application and flawless results.
Since then, many more Korean skincare solutions have become hits, like sleeping masks, cushion foundations and the famous 10-step skincare routine—which includes a double cleanse, toner, essence, sheet mask and SPF.
“K-beauty is in the forefront of bringing the most innovative ingredients and technologies into the skincare world,” says Michelle Shieh, scientific communications manager for popular Korean beauty brand Laneige. The global K-beauty product market accounted for $10.3 billion US in 2019 and is estimated to be worth $31.6 billion US by 2029.
Korean skincare is also responsible for introducing us to much-loved skincare ingredients like snail mucin, fermented rice water, ginseng, birch juice and licorice root, according to Dr. Lisa Kellett, dermatologist and founder of DLK on Avenue in Toronto. These superstar ingredients are loved for their abilities to do everything from deeply hydrate skin to soothe inflammation.
What will the next K-beauty trends be? Read on to get to know six of the most popular Korean skincare brands available in Canada, and learn about the top sellers to try.
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Founded in Korea in 1994, Laneige is known for harnessing the power of water to deliver mega boosts of moisture via lip masks, sleeping masks, balms, serums and more. Its French name, which translates to “the snow,” is inspired by Himalayan snowmelt, which has a milky appearance thanks to all of the minerals it’s infused with. The brand uses different water bases (from berry water to mint water) to address common concerns like dullness, aging and inflammation.
Try: The Water Sleeping Mask. This overnight face mask is formulated with ionized mineral water, apricot and evening primrose to hydrate and brighten skin while you snooze.
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, $33, sephora.com.
Image: Glow Recipe
Glow Recipe is all about fun, accessible products that look great on any vanity (including the Dew Drops and toner that went viral on TikTok earlier this year). Friends Sarah Lee and Christine Chang came up with the idea for the brand over face masks and wine in 2014, and three years later, its bestselling Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask launched. Since then, Glow Recipe has launched serums, creams and lotions made with avocado, banana, plum and pineapple.
Try: The Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops. Skip the shimmery highlighter and get glossy skin in a snap with this multi-use serum, made with niacinamide to help brighten skin over time.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, $45, sephora.com.
Based in the practices of holistic beauty rituals, this high-end brand uses natural fragrances and soothing textures to help restore balance—not just to the skin, but to the body as a whole. The brand was founded in 1966 by Suh Sung-Whan, whose goal was to develop cosmetic products using ginseng—one of Korea’s most precious medicinal herbs that’s known for promoting vitality and anti-aging effects. Today, Sulwhasoo continues to focus on Korean herbal medicine inspired by Asian wisdom.
Try: The Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream. Take on signs of aging and give your skin a long-lasting moisture boost with this cream, infused with Korean red ginseng.
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, $317, holtrenfrew.com.
This affordable brand has a unique history that began 21 years ago on South Korea’s Jeju Island, where founder Sunghwan Suh discovered the perfect spot for growing green tea in the mineral-rich volcanic ash soil. Today, Innisfree uses that tea and 15 additional naturally-derived and sustainably-sourced ingredients (including cherry blossom, volcanic clusters and orchid) from the island to create masks, moisturizers, essences and more.
Try: The Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea Seed. Made with a blend of green tea extract and green tea seed oil, this lightweight gel-serum helps replenish skin’s moisture and protect from environmental stressors.
Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea Seed, $35, sephora.com.
Back in the 1800s, Scottish medical herbalist Duncan Napier found a way to cure his chronic cough using only herbs. He went on to become a renowned medical herbalist, opening the first herbal clinic in Edinburgh (which is still open!). Belif inherited Napier’s original formula and still features it today in every product, using the power of herbs along with Korean technology to offer solutions such as hydration, calming and brightening.
Try: The True Cream Aquabomb. Instantly boost your skin’s moisture levels with this refreshing, water-based gel-cream that also helps to minimize the appearance of pores.
Belif The True Cream Aquabomb, $50, sephora.com.
Image: Slurp Laboratories
This South Korean skincare brand just launched two years ago and is already getting rave reviews. The brand bioengineers the molecular structure of its formulas to mimic the skin’s natural sebum and lipids, which allows the products to get deeper into the skin (hence the name: Slurp!). The first launch, Niacid, is a waterless product that takes on acne scarring and inflammation. Since 2019, Slurp Laboratories has released two more products that take on signs of aging (Hyaluid) and congested pores (Decalt).
Try: Niacid. Formulated with niacinamide, this concentrated, waterless solution was made to brighten and reduce the indents left from acne scars and inflammation.
Slurp Laboratories Niacid, $56, slurplaboratories.com.
Now that you know about Korean skincare in Canada, check out the best skincare acids for every skin concern.