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June 10, 2017

Top 3 Affordable K-Beauty Brands Celebrities Swear By

Korean celebs are renown for their perfect skin and makeup on fleek, so if they trust their precious visages to these affordable K-beauty brands, maybe we should, too.



When you’re at a loss for where to begin, look to the stars. We’ve got an inkling that celebs are the best source for the trendiest Korean cosmetic brands on the market. With brilliant package designs, accessible price points, and innovative products that really work, you’ll be gladly throwing your money at these three affordable K-beauty brands endorsed by the most double-tapped faces of stardom.


Tony Moly

affordable k-beauty brands tony moly
Tony Moly


Holy moly. This internationally acclaimed Korean beauty brand is so good, even puns don’t do it justice. With its quirky, pop culture appeal and genius, art-like package design (Pantone-inspired lip tints, anyone?), the eco-friendly line justifies its well-deserved spot in the top K-beauty brands again and again. YouTube-famous Korean makeup artist Risabae featured Tony Moly, choosing their Liptone Get It Tint Water Bar as one of her 10 best products for 2016. The long-lasting tint was one of Korea’s most popular lip product thanks to the influence of the brand’s ambassador, multitalented solo artist HyunA (perhaps best known for her musical collaborations with Psy in “Gangnam Style,” and an OG member of girl groups Wonder Girls and 4Minute). Over 54,000 posts tagged #tonymolyliptint on Instagram alone is enough to see what the hype’s all about.


Other cult favorites like the Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm (about $16) and the Panda’s Dream Brightening Eye Base (about $12) keep fans loyal, and even actress Jessica Alba swears by the Tony Moly Kiss Kiss Lovely Lip Patch (about $6).



Etude House

This one’s a no-brainer. Etude House is a vanity staple in Korean and U.S. abodes for their adorable package design and bargain-priced cult favorite products (think less than $10 for most of their color makeup), setting the precedent for both makeup and skincare trends in Korea. Catering to your inner princess (or prince, if you will), the ubiquitous Korean beauty powerhouse is immediately recognized for their pink-trimmed, brightly lit storefronts that sell sundry cosmetics, from vibrant lip tints to collagen-infused skincare items (which still come in at under $30).


Over the years, a long line of top Korean personalities have represented Etude House, including actress Jun Ji Hyun (My Love From Another Star), Song Hye Kyo (Descendants of the Sun), Go Ara (Reply 1994), Park Shin Hye (The Heirs, Doctors), girl group S.E.S., former 2NE1 member Sandara Park, and boy band SHINee. And the playful brand is a favorite among Korean beauty YouTubers, like the dexterous makeup artist Pony. Watch her use a variety of Etude House makeup products and tools to create a gorgeous soft-glam look.



Too Cool For School

With a diverse international fan base, Too Cool For School is still in session as one of the most popular, affordable K-beauty brands on the market. (The line tops out at about $40.) A far cry from Etude House’s baby-pink aesthetic, Too Cool For School bleeds contemporary art and experimental creativity (case in point: their U.S. Instagram) as the beauty brand “that breaks rules,” and its products run the gamut, offering playful makeup staples to more sophisticated products like their Rules of Skincare line. Among countless celebrity seals of approval, Korean American YouTube star Jenn Im notably popularized the brand’s Dinoplatz Lost Identity Lip Crayon back in 2015; and actress Arden Cho of the American TV show Teen Wolf promoted the Too Cool For School Check Hot Girl Lip Sticker in an Instagram post, gracefully reclining with hot pink lips for a selfie (as one does).



Tony Moly, Etude House, or Too Cool For School  — each has a different feel for different types of girls. Which are your favorite affordable K-beauty brands, and what makes you an Etude House, Too Cool For School, or Tony Moly girl?


Ruth is a 20-something creative with a fixation on black coffee, black boots, and the beautiful black hole that is all things K-beauty. A Southern California native, she loves to share her current skincare favorites and lifestyle inspirations on her Instagram @ruthhlesslyy.



Jane Heur

I absolutely love all the cute products sold at both Tony Moly and Etude House! They're like a Target.. I go in for one lipstick, but come out with a cart full of things. I have yet to try something from Too Cool For School, but will definitely try soon! Thanks for the share! <3

Ruth Kim

Ugh, Target is the bane of my existence!