Korean Cosmetics, not Chinese; Quality, Safety and the Whitening/Brightening Phenomenon.

By Yeon In
on March 05, 2015
1 comment

When I show people my Korean cosmetics, or tell people about my new Asian skin care regime they look at me like I am crazy. At a glance, they are super excited about the product I have and then they look at the label- "oh its Chinese" they exclaim in disgust. And then go off on  speech about how this one girl burned her face off due to cheap Chinese bleaching cosmetics.

At this point, explaining that they are not Chinese, makes no difference. in most British people's eyes, anything with that "Chinese writing" on it, is Chinese. and Chinese=cheap.

But this is of course not the case. Although granted many products from China are indeed cheap and can be bad, Korea is not in China. The only way to get people to start warming to the idea of purchasing Korean products is to point out how many things around us originate from Korea. 




All the above items are Korean! Some are obvious like Samsung, but others like Spigen may not be known to everyone. And as for BB cream, the foundation/primer that we all use and love... YES it was invented and first sold in Korea!  Cosmetics in Korea are growing faster than you can imagine and are sneaking up on us from behind. If we look around us we may not recognise anything as Korean, yet if we look closely we will see that things are sneaking their way in.


These are photos I took in Urban Outfitters in Las Vegas last month when I was on holiday; right there in the middle of the room, strategically placed near the tills, was an entire table of Tony Moly products. Now if any of my friends had seen them there, then they would not have thought twice about buying them! 

However, once over the whole "Chinese cheap" phobia, we stumble across yet another cultural fear- whitening. 

The British and i suspect other nationalities as well, fear the whitening aspect that many of the face creams and other products claim to have. Is it cancerous? Will it burn my skin if I use it every day? Does it have bleach in it? and finally but most importantly, will it make my face go white?

Below i will endeavour to answer all these questions once and for all, based on the research I have done. This is just my opinion and of course cannot be taken as gospel. However it will hopefully quell some initial fears and misconceptions. 

1. Are they cancerous? 

Some ingredients out there in the cosmetics industry are not safe. we all know that and those that don't, should. I would never buy any unbranded, or even branded for that matter, products from a street stall or market. You don't know what it is made of, who it has been tested on and if the brands are genuine. sometimes you will even get something that claims to be brand new, only to find that it has been used- eew!

Rule of thumb is: if the packaging has no ingredients or labelling- stay away from it!

The ingredients in many Etude House products and Tony Moly products appear however to be just fine. i ran the ingredients in the Ctrl + F bar on the UK banned cosmetic substances site and could not find any of them on the list. This means that it appears none of the items have illegal substances in them. This would lead me to believe that they are more than likely safe. 

The second thing that gives me trust, is that providing the brands we use are from leading companies- like Etude and Tony Moly- then they have been tried and tested by thousands in S. Koreans on the highstreet so i would like to presume that all is well! 

And thirdly, I found no literature anywhere to say otherwise!

2. Will they burn my skin? 

Although there are claims on the internet of skin being burned and damaged, I could not find anything anywhere that referred to any of the top cosmetics brands and certainly none of the Korean ones! Most of the ones being mentioned were unknown to me Chinese brands. 

As for how reliable the stuff was that I did find.. well negative news is always sensationalised on the net and the positive stuff (like this blog) rarely make the headlines. 

3. Do they it have bleach in them? 

NO. none of the leading Korean brands have cosmetics that contain BLEACH in them. If they do, then don't  use them! You should NEVER use anything with bleach on your skin! 

4. Will they make my face go white? 

Aha, now here is the question... 

Now I have had conflicting theories on this one and will make my conclusion based on my own experience here. I have been using various different products that claim to have WHITENING properties in them for the last 6 months and my skin has not changed colour. It has not become lighter and certainly not "whiter". 

However, what has happened, is that my skin has become more unified... the blemishes I had on my face have gone, the scars from old spots seem to be fading and even the odd freckle doesn't seem to be as dark. So my conclusion is that when they say whitening/brightening, they mean the products will UNIFY your complexion and maybe blur the edges of any imperfections you have. 


Either way, my skin looks the best it has done in ages! Happy Korean cosmetics shopping!

Click here to shop now <3

Korean Skincare and Cosmetics in the News

By Yeon In
on January 27, 2015

Click on a link to read more:



Featured products

Show products here! Go to the 'Home page - featured products' section of the theme settings in your Admin area to set up the collection you want to show!

Cart Summary

Your cart is empty

From the Blog

An apology from K-CO

August 30, 2016

Dear Customers, Due to unprecedented demand, our launch week has seen us sell out of almost every product in store!...

Read more →

What Age do you start the A...

March 10, 2015

Do you ever look at anti-aging creams and think “im too young for that!”. Or even worse; do you look...

Read more →