The cosmetics and fashion industries are huge throughout the world, but responsible for equally significant environmental damage and animal cruelty. As environmental awareness has increased in recent years, beauty brands are encouraged to rid themselves of the black mark of animal testing. Therefore, when you visit your local cosmetics store in your home country, you may notice the words “cruelty-free” across the label, or an equivalent in your language.
However, finding the best cruelty free products in Korea is not so straightforward, especially if you do not know Korean. But fear not, in this article I will introduce to you some of the best cruelty free K Beauty brands.
The K Beauty Craze
South Korea has one of top 10 largest beauty markets in the world, representing ~2.8% of the global beauty industry. While the beauty market alone grows year on year, K beauty has grown exponentially in its popularity. Nowadays, you don’t need to go all the way to Myeongdong (the heart of K beauty) to buy Korean cosmetics, in fact, you can now find them all over the world! Nonetheless, domestic sales encompass a huge amount of the K beauty trade.
There are 100s of different K Beauty stores each with 100s of different brands, and each of those with 1000s of different products. Reading the labels sounds a little overwhelming now, right? But here’s some good news…
In 2016, a bill was enacted to ban animal testing in South Korea.
However, due to loopholes, many companies are still able to carry out animal testing. On that note, here are some cruelty-free K Beauty brands you can trust.
1. Klairs $$
First up is my person go-to brand for cruelty-free products: Klairs. Not only are Klairs renowned for product quality but they are also vegan and heavily engaged with the global fight to end animal cruelty. What’s more, they refuse to sell their produces in countries that license animal testing, such as China, which is another huge beauty market.
The Klairs brand ethos is “simple, but enough!” and their sense of minimalism transfers to both their ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. If you are someone with sensitive skin, you can rest assured that Klairs products are free from harsh chemicals.
I also highly recommend their sunscreen! It has a lovely texture with no white cast.
Where to Buy
Klairs Flagship Store Address: 44 Nonhyeon-ro 153-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Operating Hours: 12:30pm - 9:00pm Website: klairs.com Chicor Address: multiple locations Website: chicor.com
You can purchase Klairs products online, both from and outside of South Korea at the following sites:
Click here for official Klairs distributors by country
2. COSRX $
Another certified cruelty-free brand, COSRX uses no animal testing and, like Klairs, does not sell in countries where animal testing is permitted.
Some of their most popular products include their snail mucin essence, pimple patches and birch moisturiser. They are also widely available in Korea and abroad, not to mention affordable too.
Where to Buy
Olive Young Address: multiple locations Website: global.oliveyoung.com ALAND Address: multiple locations Website: a-land.co.kr ** Also available at Lotte, SSG and Shilla duty-free stores **
Click here for official COSRX distributors by country
3. Krave Beauty $$
This name might ring a bell in your mind as it has recently gone viral for its Oat So Simple Water Cream moisturiser. Once again, it seems cruelty-free goes together with sensitive skin-friendly. Krave Beauty state that all their products are vegan and cruelty-free. Moreover, they’re also free of fragrance, essential oils, colorants and potential allergens, all of which can irritate skin.
Where to Buy
Krave Beauty is not as widely available as the previous two brands. The easiest place to buy Krave Beauty products is on their official website.
4. BENTON $
Last but certainly not least is BENTON. BENTON offers a variety of cruelty-free K beauty products including sheet masks, serums and sunscreens, all formulated with natural and ethically-sourced ingredients. BENTON also obtained a cruelty-free certification with “Beauty without Bunnies” by PETA.
Fun fact: The BENTON name and unique selling point was inspired by the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” a story of a man who ages in reverse. Therefore, BENTON seeks to protect the youthful appearance of healthy skin.
Where to Buy
Olive Young Address: multiple locations Website: global.oliveyoung.com
Want to know about K Beauty and Health? Take a look at our dedicated category on KoreabyMe.com!