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Here are the brands that have passed the Sharon Lee test for gentleness, effectiveness and awesomeness! As well, a shout out to these brands for a focus on cruelty-free products with clean, natural ingredients and wallet friendly prices.


Acwell focuses on sensitive skin, but its fan base is – everybody! Here's why: the products are free from parabens, dyes or mineral oil. Ingredients are mostly natural, to reduce inflammation, brighten, improve hydration and even out skin tone, with a big emphasis on pH friendly products at the 5.5 level. 



AESTURA is a brand owned by Amore Pacific and was established with a mission to address the needs of sensitive skin, although the formulations are so healthy that any skin type will benefit from their products. AESTURA is derived from the word ‘ ESTUARY ’, a name that symbolizes the meeting of different waters to form a fertile delta. The brand aims to combine our extensive pharmaceutical expertise with cutting-edge dermatological science to enhance your natural beauty. It is highly recommended by Dermatologists in Korea and globally.



AMPLE:N specializes in ampoule-based skincare and is part of the Coreana Cosmetics family of brands. AMPLE: N relies on the concept of "Dermo-Ampoulism," in which ampoules are employed for a variety of skin problems, as the basis for developing its products. Drawing upon over 30 years of knowledge accumulated by the Coreana Cosmetics Laboratory, the brand's products are infused with patented ingredient combinations that have been proven effective.


A relatively new Korean brand, Anua has gained signficant success for using natural ingredients like heartleaf, peach, green lemon and birch extracts. Its heartleaf toner and cleansing oil is highly regarded in particular. It constantly reviews and improves its current products and is developing more products with the same natural ingredients and high standards of quality and safety. Its products are suitable for all skin types -- and for the heartleaf line is particuarly good for sensitive, combination and acne prone skin.


AXIS-Y takes a community and transparent approach to skincare by seeking constant feedback for each product line. The brand's vision also includes using environmentally sustainable methods of production, as well as developing products that are safe and made with natural formulas that have proven results. Its products are free of ingredients like sulphates, parabens, artificial fragrances, and mineral oils. Particularly popular is its 6+1+1 line to improve skin's texture, glow and reduce pigmentation.


Jerry Kim founded AROMATICA in 2004, and helped establish a new era of clean skincare in South Korea by developing products with plant-based and herbal ingredients. Today, Aromatica is one of the most popular brands in South Korea, known especially for their nourishing face and body oils. 


A game-changing company, Banila takes a skin-first approach based on the philosophy that you look your best, and your make-up looks its best if your skin is at its best. Banila is famous for the Clean It Zero solid oil cleanser, which melts into the skin to clean it without stripping the natural skin barrier. A jar of Clean it Zero is sold once every 3 seconds globally! Banila also has lovely hydration products, and make-up designed to work with its skincare line.

Be the Skin spent five years creating best-in-class formulas based on powerful, nutritious herbs and botanicals. The result is balanced and luxurious natural products with different lines for sensitive, dry, normal and hyperpigmented skin. Ingredients like royal jelly from honey create a lovely texture. I use Be the Skin Nutrition Power Toner and Serum and they're two of the best, most effective products I have ever tried. The consistency is like liquid silk, and they are so, so hydrating! These are beautiful, aromatic products that leave skin luminous. 

Blithe's products are innovative, fun to use, and gloriously luxurious; A patting splash mask to tone and exfoliate in the shower! Toners derived from beans to give skin vitality! Time-saving hybrid serums and moisturizers! Anti-polluaging (anti-pollution and anti-ageing) products that eliminate toxins and grime from city living - or just living! No matter your postal code, you will appreciate how beautiful your skin looks after using Blithe products. 


Created in 2015, COSRX has significantly impacted the skincare industry with minimalistic, natural and safe ingredients that offer profound benefits to the skin. The COSRX Low PH Good Morning Cleanser is a category leader. Developed with extensive customer consultation and known for its skin-friendly, non-stripping pH level of 5.5. Toners and essences meet a range of different skin needs without irritating. Targeted ampoules are inexpensive and some of the best on the market due to their simplicity and small ingredient list. I'm looking at you, COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Ampoule!



Created in 2000, this brand is yet another example of South Korea's cosmeceutical approach to skincare - with science-based formulas and clinical research to create natural skincare products that are healthy and good for skin. Using botanicals like centella asiatica (tiger grass), propolis (bee and tree sap resin), tea tree oil and fermented Kombucha, Dr. Ceuracle products are in high demand, effective and lovely to use. The brand's packaging has also been recently re-designed to look clean, spare and environmentally sustainable, just like the products within! 

Dr. G. is a cosmeceutical company from South Korea, known for its medical and scientific approach to skincare. Their tag line is “My Skin Mentor”, referring to the education/teaching approach the brand takes to providing you with skincare formulas based on science.  


Goodal is a sister brand to Clio make-up brand, this Korean company centres its products on fermented ingredients like plant-based and herbal extracts. Its differentiator is that its products are good for all skin types. This brand is getting buzz for its Vitamin C products, derived from unripe green tangerines that contain a stable and potent source of Vitamin C to brighten dull skin. 

Modern, chic and effortless Heimish uses a curated list of luxurious ingredients to maximum effect. I love their Rose line. The Bulgarian Rose Hydrogel Eye Patch and Bulgarian Rose Satin Cream are to die for. Dare I say it? Yes, I dare! It is even better and less expensive than Fresh Rose. Plus, their All Clean Balm smells like a coconut grove, dissolves make-up instantly and luxuriously clean skin.


Huxley is a brand that formulates skincare products with natural ingredients found in harsh environments - such as Prickly Pear Cactus extract that survives in the Sahara Desert. These seeds are carefully sourced from Morocco and are cold pressed to extract the best possible benefits. This cactus extract is nourishing, hydrating and rich in antioxidants to keep skin healthy and protected from environmental stressors.

I'm From is yet another Korean company which prioritizes clean and natural ingredients to formulate all of their products. Products are safe and effective, yet luxurious. Think warming masks and toners and essences derived from botanicals and fruit extracts. Packaging is straightforward, to highlight the natural forumulations.
Isntree has such a great philosophy - no "pernicious" ingredients, all natural, proper pricing, quality assurance and eco-friendly packaging. It makes me want to carry all of their products! Happily, Isntree products are beautifully formulated - their serums, toners and masks are right up there with the best of the best. 

Mediheal is South Korea's #1 sheet mask brand. Some believe that for every pot, there is a lid. MEDIHEAL thinks that for every skin type, from anti-ageing to hydrating, to brightening, to blemish control, there is a mask. Made from natural fibres and bio-cellulose to help the skin absorb the essence, emulsion or serum in each packet. Sheet masks are a great way to pamper yourself while addressing specific skincare needs. MEDIHEAL is the go-to for those in the know.



MISSHA's high quality, affordable products have been around since the early 2000s. Their essences, derived from fermented ingredients, are top-notch, penetrate deeply into the skin but cost less than competitors like SKII. MISSHA's Time Revolution series has a strong following, and many feel it outshines SKII's essence. I prefer the MISSHA product as I find it more hydrating. I could not believe how good my skin looked after just one application. You do not - I repeat, do not need to spend $200 for an essence. MISSHA's is in the $40-60 price range. Reviewers find MISSHA's Time Revolution Night as as good or better than Estée Lauder's Night Effects Serum, but it is much less expensive. Their milky sunscreens and luxurious BB creams are game-changers, too. Skin transformation at reasonable prices! Sign me up.



Established in 2019, MIXSOON is a Korean beauty brand with a commitment to deliver the joy of having healthy, youthful and glowing skin to all of its customers by listening to what their skin needs and utilising only the most essential natural ingredients to bring the best products. Vegan and cruelty-free.






NEOGEN uses biotechnology to produce safe and innovative products that are also wildly popular, well-priced and effective. Gentle exfoliants, foamy cleansers, essences and serums work wonderfully together. Their Vitamin C serum is second to none, and their Daily Sunscreen (SFP 50 ) is one of the best on the market. I wear it every day. NEOGEN is on top of every innovation, from calming CICA (centella asiatica) for sensitive skin, to fermented essences for plumping. What a great company! I cannot keep their products from flying off my shelves!



 Founded by Lee-iljoo and Kim-daeyeong, Numbuzin was born out of a shared passion for Korean beauty traditions and a desire to innovate. The values of the brand are authenticity, quality, and transparency - from product development to testing. All their products are Cruelty Free and follow a unique numbering system that simplifies product selection for customers so they can develp their own unique skincare routines. 

Pyunkang YulI heard about Pyunkang Yul from the popular skincare influencer, Gothamista. Since I'm a fan of her and she's a fan of Pyunkang Yul I had to give it a try. I started with their toner - a Gothamista favourite. Wow. With just seven ingredients, it instantly soothes and resets the skin. The whole Pynkang Yul line, from toners to moisturizers to eye creams, contain the same healing and soothing ingredients. Hello to healthy and refreshed skin!



Re:p stands for "Real, Elemental Practice" and showcases very pure skincare, with completely biodegradable packaging. These products are insanely good! Nourishing botanicals, fresh and natural herbal scents - they are an absolute treat to use. Vegan and cruelty-free.

TirTir LogoTirtir was founded by a Korean beauty influencer in 2016, and has gained much love for its extensive range of makeup, skin care, body care and more. In skin care, the brand’s products cater to different skin types and skin concerns, with bestsellers like the the Milk Skin Toner, SOS Serum and eye cream.These products are infused natural ingredients such as rice bran extract, centella extract and natto beans-derived polyglutamic acid to offer different benefits ranging from soothing to brightening to anti-aging care.

Korean beauty brand VT was originally founded in 2010 by Gonsen Inc. as an oral care brand. VT then expanded into skin care and makeup products. The brand embraces simplicity while emphasizing natural ingredients, and dermatological research and development. Bestsellers include the Reedle Shot series of essences, which provide microneedling effects like the the treatments that originated in esthetician's offices. All VT products are manufactured in Korea.