Are you looking to update your beauty shelf with some independent Korean beauty brands that’ll rival the big guys? Luckily, we’re here today to introduce 7 Independent Korean beauty startups to watch for in 2023. The Korean cosmetic industry relies on independent brands like these for inspiration and innovation. In addition, while you won’t find any of the old cult classics that you know and love, we’re sure you’ll find a few new favorites.

7 Independent Korean Beauty Brands to Watch Out For

Dr. Gio Cosmetics


Independent Korean beauty brand Dr. GIO Cosmetics by BEAUFICIAL focuses on K-beauty products for women of color. Dr. GIO is a K-beauty brand dedicated to creating K-beauty cushions customized for women of color by women of color. Since most K-beauty products focus mainly on the Asian market, it is difficult to find the right K-beauty products for dark skin.

Their newest product for 2021 is the ULTRA 7 Brightening Foundation Cushion. It is available for purchase in 6 distinct shades. The cushion itself is SPF 50+ PA+++ and is a functional cosmetic for sun protection, moisturizing, anti-aging, and brightening. The light texture of 48HR long-lasting high coverage with matte finish acts as a barrier for your skin. Best of all, it will not transfer onto your COVID masks.

B-Lab Korea

cosmetics skincare kbeauty

B-Lab Korea is a Korean skincare brand with a focus on creating high-quality products using natural ingredients: all for the sake of a better environment. The B stands for Bath, as in Bath – Laboratory. Furthermore, their flagship range is their “I AM SORRY JUST CLEANSING” line which features a wide range of cleaning products, including peeling gel, cleansing water, and oil cleansers, with the range’s tagline emblazoned on it.

Their brand has a philosophy called the 4B.

  1. Be With Life
  2. Best Quality
  3. Best Ingredients
  4. Better Environment

All their products come in chic and minimalist-looking black and white packaging. Check out their Instagram to lust over the cleansers and start making your wish list. In addition, you can find their products online at G-Market, Coupang, and Memebox. Or offline at LotteMart or Lotte Super.

Duft and Doft

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KBeauty Brand Duft&Doft

Duft and Doft are bringing the scent of Scandinavia to Korea with their Nordic-inspired fragrance range. The company creates pampering products using only natural ingredients and uses no parabens, mineral oils, talc, synthetic dyes, benzophenones, or other potentially harmful chemicals. Furthermore, many beauty bloggers are dubbing Duft and Doft the #1 beauty brand that they want to keep to themselves. For example, their signature Stockholm Rose Nourishing Hand Cream was voted #1 in a blind test in three categories (anti-stickiness, absorption, and fragrance). Furthermore, their popular Pink Milk Mask recently won the Top Spot at the Glowpick Awards for face masks as well.

Their fans rave about Duft and Doft’s use of natural ingredients and unforgettable fragrances. The Korean beauty startup was founded in Seoul by Jai H. Park who has over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. They were able to quickly grow their brand through word of mouth on social media. They have not spent a penny on celebrity endorsements. Now all their products can be found in major department stores in Korea like COEX Mall and Lotte World Mall.  In addition, their products are available at Duty-Free Shops and Olive Young Stores all across Korea.

Thank You Farmer

Korean Beauty Startup Thank You Farmer

Thank You Farmer, is an innovative cosmetic brand that produces high-performance products using all-natural and cruelty-free ingredients. They are known for their great work in researching products that enhance the strength of healthy skin. Their philosophy focuses on 3 key points, honesty, earnestness, and gratitude.  Add this to their 4 principles of Thank You Farmer:

  1. Explore natural ingredients
  2. Research on safe and innovative hypoallergenic formulas
  3. Product development to deliver the right ingredients to the skin
  4. Provide the optimal solution to any skin type

Their Miracle Age Line has been praised by Media giants, such as Vogue and Allure. In addition, their range of products features skincare, BB creams, and sun protection essentials.  We recommend you try their “True Water” line of toners, serums, gel-cream, and emulsions which all have highly moisturizing soothing features that hydrate dry skin.


skincare cosmetics sheet mask beauty
OKA’s latest skincare product

OKA is a fun and exciting independent Korean cosmetics company. They create gorgeous skincare and beauty products that use advanced ingredients for the highest level of care. However, our favorite thing about OKA is the fun packaging of its products with bright pop colors and caricature designs. They are best known for their lipsticks, lip glosses, and facemasks.

OKA also offers services in all areas from product planning to design. They can manufacture and deliver PB products from the largest retailers in the world. For those that don’t have their own brand or want to have a brand that fits your product, OKA can help every step of the way from coming up with trendy concept designs to finding the right ingredients.



PUREFORET is an up-and-coming independent K-Beauty brand that has really grown its eCommerce platform. One of the founders of PUREFORET lived near a forest just outside of Seoul. He had no issues with his skin until he arrived in Seoul and had to deal with the pollution of the city. His aim was to find a skin solution to help with the stress and pollution caused by major cities. The team spent months doing research for over 10,000 recipe trials until they came up with the right formulas.

PUREFORET is a K-Beauty brand that focuses on hypoallergenic, soothing, and healing. Their most popular collection is the Centella Multi. It is formulated with 4 essential ingredients which include tea tree oil, willow extract, Centella infused oil, and madecassic powder. These 4 ingredients work together to fight bacteria that cause skin problems and help get rid of dead skin cells. Overall it does a great job of healing your skin. Some of my favorite products at PUREFORET include:

  • PUREFORET Centella Multi Toner
  • Hand Clean Gel
  • Super Energy Soothing Toner
  • Centella Multi Balm Mini
  • Rose Auto Soothing Mist

Wonjin Effect

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Low pH Cleansing Water by WonJin Effects

Wonjin Effect combines nature and technology to make the most effective skincare products. Furthermore, their treatments have been developed by some of Korea’s leading dermatologists for the ultimate in luxury beauty. Their flagship products are their advanced face masks however, their face creams and ampoules are also popular.

Wonjin Effect offers 1,000 Won to customers who upload photo reviews on purchased products. In addition, they offer 500 won points for written reviews on products they have used. Therefore their site offers real feedback from real customers.  Some of my favorites include:

  • Wonjin Effect Water Bomb Mask
  • Medi Energy Infusion Eye Mask
  • Smart Hydro Pure Cleansing Water
  • Wonjin Effect Baby Glow Cream
  • Wonjin Effect Relief Cure Mask

What’s your Favorite Independent Korean Beauty Brand?

So now that we’ve told you our 7 favorite Korean beauty startups, it’s time for you to spill your secrets. What’s your go-to k-beauty product that no one has heard of? Leave us a comment and let us know in the comments!