I have to be real: skincare routines and favorite lists make me so nervous! They’re these big declarations of liking stuff, and it’s sorta dangerous to say you like something, right? For example, I once said that I loved a conditioner only for it to be reformulated into watered down trash with no warning — but I didn’t know that and a bunch of readers picked up tubes on my recommendation and now they have sub-dollar-store conditioner that I recommended. That smells like chlorine and leaves hair tangled. Total nightmare.
That said, I’m willing to risk it because I think there’s a thirst for ideas and opinions on beauty from regular people who aren’t in the business of selling you something. So much of what we read in mainstream magazines and on big beauty sites feels like regurgitated press releases, ripped off Reddit threads, and paid posts (minus the required US FTC disclosure that it’s paid #sideeye). It’s basically advertising without the visual and textual cues that it’s advertising. Sure, there’s good info mixed in, but I don’t want to spend my life squinting at articles to try to figure out the ulterior motive.
I want to hear what smart, passionate people who use a lot of products think about stuff I might want to buy. I suspect that I’m not alone in that, so I’m cracking open my personal playbook to share my favorite blogs and Instagrams. I’ve resisted writing this list for a long time because I didn’t want to inadvertently hurt feelings or screw up and forget someone I adore, but I think that holding this info back is doing a disservice to my readers. You deserve to know where I get the best intel.
Here’s what attracts me to my favorite accounts:
- I trust this person to tell me what they think about products, shops, and ideas. We don’t have to agree, but I trust that they’re going to use their influence on me in positive ways and lead me to the best stuff, warn me from buying the worst, and keep me informed about what’s happening in beauty.
- The blog or IG account has a strong editorial vision. It doesn’t feel like someone is just reviewing random stuff that they bought without even being interested in it or accepting and reviewing every press sample ever offered to them. Ideally, there’s some sort of theme to the blog or journey that they’re on that informs what they post. That sounds rather complex, but it really boils down to just being a person who likes beauty products.
- Proper disclosure of affiliate links, press samples, and paid posts according to the laws of their country. None of those things bother me as long as they reflect the strong editorial vision that attracted me to the blog and are disclosed according to the laws of the blogger’s country. Laws vary wildly and I’d prefer to see some sort of disclosure no matter what, but I can’t expect people outside the US to follow FTC disclosure laws lol.
- Something about it delights me. I don’t need every account to be my everything, but I find that I like accounts that have either good photos, good info, good writing or some combination of all three.
- Low drama/stress. I’m dramatic enough for a whole theater troupe, so I’m looking for chill blogs/accounts.
My Top Korean Beauty Blogs and Instagrams
Friends I talk to A LOT
I’m hopelessly biased when it comes to friends. I have a kbeauty podcast with Cat, Chel, and Fiddy called the Snailcast, so check that out if you’re into NC-17 discussions about skincare.
- Cat at Snow White and the Asian Pear: OG kbeauty blogger, science fangirl, once reviewed Nature Republic’s aloe gel.
- Chel at Holy Snails: maker of Shark Sauce, EXO/Kim Jongin fangirl, actually has a blog she needs to update.
- Dee @adoredee: fellow lover of sparkle, EXO/Lay fangirl, THE cushion expert.
- Fiddy at Fifty Shades of Snail: leading us on an anti-aging quest, Big Bang/TOP fangirl, seriously soothing voice.
- Tiffany @tiffanyandlupus: always has the best masks and travel routines, BTS/Jimin/sometimesTaehyung fangirl, #hospitalglam Lupus warrior.
Independent bloggers that deserve a follow
I use the term “independent blogger” here to note that these blogs were created by skincare fans; their blogs were not created by shops or brands to market products. I think that’s an important distinction since independent blogs tend to be vastly more compliant with FTC regulations regarding disclosure (if they’re in the US) and they obviously aren’t trying to get you to buy products…that…they…don’t stock. Since they’re just blogs. Aside from Korean-language news sources, I only have independent blogs on this list.
- Beauty and the Cat: these two cat ladies are fucking hilarious, soft and sharp like a kitty paw, opinionated, exploratory, they review Western, Korean, and Japanese products, check out their dead useful comparison of Sunday Riley’s Blue Moon and Banila Co Clean It Zero.
- Beauty Versus Zombies: thoughtful reviews of interesting products from the West and Korea, lots of really helpful comparison reviews, some beauty box reviews, if you’re shopping for a cleansing stick you must check out this comparison review.
- hoversjelly on YouTube: makes videos in Korean and English, seems to mostly buy her own stuff, and just seems really chill and normal, once made a really relaxed Modi gel nail video that enabled me hardcore.
- Lab Muffin: a Chemistry PhD explains the science behind skincare, makeup, and nails in a really understandable way and also reviews Western and Asian beauty products, her post on nail blogger secrets for pretty nails is life changing.
- Vanity Rex: really detailed reviews of Japanese, Korean, and Western products with nice photos, makes me buy Japanese products I’ve never heard of before, check out this forthright and timely review of Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich.
Kbeauty blogging greats you probably already love and follow
- Coco at the Beauty Wolf: the very first kbeauty blogger I ever followed (!!!), aesthetician and makeup artist, originator of the amazing Beauty Wolf visual style.
- Kerry at Skin & Tonics: the gold standard kbeauty blogger, she hasn’t posed in some time but her reviews are evergreen, seriously I’m not over the S&T hiatus.
- Sheryll at the Wanderlust Project: seriously, if Sheryll reviews something and says she likes it, I will buy it without fail, I’m weak — and I never regret it.
English-language independent Asian Beauty new release and news blogs
- Christinahello: kbeauty blogger who regularly updates us on new releases in her What’s New in K-Beauty posts.
- KindofStephen: the spot for the #BeautyRecap, a weekly roundup of beauty news from around the world.
- kinseng: currently on hiatus, but still a great source of kbeauty news and new releases and Get It Beauty episode translations.
- @ryanraroar: up-to-the-moment intel on the latest kbeauty and global beauty releases.
Korean-language beauty news sources
- @allurekorea: their feed is probably sponsored as hell, but I find the photos and videos of new releases really interesting and timely.
- beauty+ on facebook: also probably sponsored, their website is a bit tricky to navigate, but the facebook posts make it easier to get to interesting stories about products. I’m a fan of their product roundups, which tend to mix Korean and Western products together and have nice photos.
- Cosmetic Mania News: this site seems to have all the latest news on the Korean cosmetics industry along with new release and collaboration info.
Lots of these IG users also have blogs, so I wasn’t sure where to list them. Ultimately I decided to put them where I encounter their work most (which usually means Instagram).
- @abheartts: sheet masks, hauls, and skincare routine photos (plus adorable kids) from Australia.
- @beauty_unplugged: beautiful skincare routine photos and regular product reviews.
- @beautybangbang_: amazing taste in luxury products — very enabling!
- @cecibeautytherapy: the funnest, nicest blogger in NYC (hahahaha I also live here) with a fabulous guide to Chinatown beauty shops and awesome reviews.
- @dameebaby: Korea-based, tons of swatches, extremely focused on Western and Asian beauty.
- @damsluv: Korea-based makeup IG account that often posts new kbeauty releases.
- @fuckyeahkoreancosmetics: Korea-based Australian, super funny and welcoming, consistent kbeauty IGer.
- @gracefulfaceblog: colorful photos in lots of different styles with product reviews.
- @hiddenharmonyworld: gorgeous skincare and makeup photos, each post feels very fresh.
- @honeynlacquer: really clean, pleasing photos with product mini-reviews.
- @jolenecyl: Singapore-based IGer killing us with makeup and food porn.
- @kbeautysavedmyskin: fun, interactive IGer with sheet mask reviews and cute, colorful photos.
- @labellevie245: photos of beauty from around the world and #WhooPorn (History of Whoo packaging shots).
- @littlebitofglow: brightly lit photos and a bright, friendly voice — her posts are very soothing to me.
- @mapletreeblog: consistent posts and mini reviews, an Asian Beauty community organizer: follow to hook up with IG skincare challenges.
- @maskaddict: super consistent and detailed mask reviews and very welcoming IGer.
- @ruhimaach: awesome skincare reviews, routines, and thoughts from a busy professional interested in luxury and cruelty-free skincare.
- @skinfullofseoul: Seoul-based UK blogger going on all sorts of kbeauty adventures and posting looks/reviews/product info. I really look forward to seeing what she’s up to.
- @somevely: Korea-based, a mix of swatches, selcas, and life photos.
- @syloft: Singapore-based, makeup releases and events, her Stories are the most interesting I’ve ever seen.
- @yourskinwithin: super nice kbeauty and natural beauty IGer with really interesting, diverse posts.
Longtime Western bloggers who always make me drop the $$$
- Nouveau Cheap: even before I knew G, she alwayyssssss was leading me into beauty temptation and pointing out the best deals that helped me snag a lot of gorgeous products cheaply.
- Temptalia: seriously rigorous reviews with incredible standardized swatches that allow for comparison across brands and products. The gold standard for beauty blogs.
The box bloggers who keep it real
- Bits and Boxes: I’ve known B&B since way back and I always hit up her blog before subscribing to a new box to check what she thinks; she has no problem dropping the hammer on trash, but she’s also very fair.
- Unboxing Beauty: super detailed box and kbeauty reviews with loads of photos, variety, ingredients, and visuals.
Did I miss your fav? Tell me in the comments — I probably just don’t know them yet!
The Lipstick League – week of 2.20.17
The Lipstick League is a group of established Western beauty bloggers and I’m soooo excited to have been asked to join them last year. We post a roundup of links each week; see back posts in the Lipstick League category.
Question of the Week: Quick! What were the last shampoo and conditioner purchases you made, and how are they working for you?
Pravana The Perfect Blonde Purple Shampoo and Conditioner (a set), which I’m OBSESSED WITH. They’re amazing for my grouchy scalp and tone my brassy blonde hair. I think the shampoo is the standout, totally worth the $$$.
Nouveau Cheap – A tale of corporate acquisitions, blooming orange blossoms, and Fruit Loops. (Otherwise known as my review of the delightful, budget-friendly Couvent des Minimes Botanical Cologne of Love.)
Phyrra – I have a rant to share – How Brands Should Make Foundation! I give constructive feedback on what we need to see in 2017.
Prime Beauty – has all the deets on the newly launched products in the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line!
we heart this – discovered a household cleaning tool that will help with something you probably need to do right at this minute: clean your makeup brushes!
Beautygeeks – has the scoop on Le Petit Marseillais, a much-loved French body care brand that’s just now showing up in North American drugstores. You’ll want to check it out, trust.
Blushing Noir – One of the best luxury lip pencil lines has expanded with 10 new colors! Learn more about the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils & see swatches here!
Clumps of Mascara – A skincare shop that also doubles as a therapy saloon? Say what?
EauMG – I’ve put together a list of refreshing perfumes that I think perfectly “match” Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery.
fanserviced-b – Ever wonder which products Asian Beauty fans really buy most? Here’s my roundup of the top 20 Korean and Japanese beauty products on Amazon.
Gouldylox – Ever walk into a store, asking for something magical and actually get it? If you have dry, damaged or frizzy hair, this is everything.
My Beauty Bunny – Have you heard of Enchanted Polish? I’m loving this indie nail polish brand and their fun holographic shades!
(Wondering what the Lipstick League is? Find out here.)
Nouveau Cheap is Currently Craving: Cetaphil has a new fragrance-free, bi-phase Gentle Makeup Remover that I can’t stop thinking about. I’m loving that it contains aloe vera, cucumber extract, and green tea.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links before you shop means that fan-b receives a small commission, which helps to support the blog. Please see my full disclosure for more information.