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REAL K-Beauty Product Recommendations: Eye Makeup Edition

If you’ve seen articles with a similar title on the Williams Chapter of HerCampus (Skincare edition: Face makeup edition) and clicked this one with the hopes of discovering your next holy grail k-mascara, you’re on the right track. In this article, I’ll walk you through the best eye makeup products of K-beauty, testified by sales rates of Korean beauty retailers, Korean beauty awards, and personal experience!


1.     Clio Waterproof Pen Liner

This product is the most sold pen eyeliner at Oliveyoung (Korea’s most famous beauty retailer), and its quality stays true to its reputation, as the sharp sponge tip enables easy drawing and its unique ink-tank system prevents it from drying up and leaving a blotchy line. The Clio liner also boasts of great staying power, and it stays on through sweat, water, accidental rubbing with hands.. you name it!

2.     lilybyred Starry Eyes Nine to Nine Gel Eyeliner

This product is a gel eyeliner, so people who find gel eyeliners easier to work with than pen eyeliners (and most beginners will do) should reach for this product! The lilybyred eyeliner ranked 1st on Unpa (top Korean beauty community) and is well known for its soft texture that doesn’t irritate your eyes, as well as for its fixing power after it dries. 


1.     Etude House Curl Fix Mascara

This product has long been one of the best-selling products from Etude House and has been rated 94.9% from Glowpick (the top Korean cosmetics rating app) . It advertises 24-hour staying power, which surprisingly holds true! It doesn’t go on too thick, but you can layer thin coats several times to create a more dramatic effect. And most importantly, it doesn’t droop down after hours – hence its name Curl Fix!

2.     Innisfree Skinny Microcara

This product is so unique due to its super thin mascara wand and tiny bristles. It has been a bestseller ever since its release in 2012, and it is also one of my favorite mascaras. I would say this product has clear pros and cons: it’s great for curling every single strand of your eyelashes (some people use it after using their main mascara, for any lashes that haven’t curled properly) or for creating a no-makeup makeup look, but if you like dramatic lashes, this might be a pass for you. 


1.     3CE Multi Eye Color Palette

This product is hands down one of the most sold eyeshadow palettes in the K-beauty industry. It was voted Editor’s Pick in the Korean Allure magazine and is a bestseller at Oliveyoung. It is available in eight colors–I would recommend Smoother for matte brown lovers and Overtake for a versatile daily palette. It has great texture that isn’t too powdery and doesn’t have a lot of fallout, yet it is still soft and settles well on eyelids. A prominent characteristic of Korean eyeshadows is that most colors aren’t too bright or heavily pigmented, but usually show up clear and sheer. You can definitely build the color up by layering them though!

2.     Etude House Play Color Eyes 10 Pan Palette

This eyeshadow palette series (they introduce new colors seasonally) started the eyeshadow palette craze in the K-beauty industry. It has been praised for being one of those eyeshadow palettes where you end up using all the colors because they’re “approachable” but not too boring, and for having an affordable price. I would recommend In the Café or Bakehouse for beginners, Peach Farm for a spring makeup, and Wine Bar for a night look. 


1.     Aritaum Matte Formula Eyebrow Pencil

This eyebrow pencil has been called a dupe for Shu Uemura’s Hard Formula – a cult favorite of many beauty lovers. A well-loved bestseller at Aritaum for a long time, it’s very similar to Hard Formula in how it generates very natural-looking brows and is easy to draw (although it doesn’t go on as well on bare face as it does on foundation). I recommend this to all the beauty beginners struggling to draw eyebrows that aren’t too dark and artificial looking.

2.     FMGT Designing Eyebrow Pencil

This eyebrow pencil is a certified favorite of many Korean beauty youtubers, and my personal favorite as well! It’s not so soft that you can’t draw out a sharp eyebrow shape but not so hard that it hurts when you fill in your brows. It also has great colors that blend in naturally – I personally recommend Grey Brown or Dark Brown.

I hope you liked reading my recommendations! The next time you feel the sudden urge to try out a new K-eyeliner, be sure to check out my article first! :)

Cathryn Kim

Williams '24

Hi! My name is Cathryn and I’m from Seoul, South Korea. I am a rising sophomore at Williams College, undecided about my major but interested in Economics and Biology. I love cosmetics, photography, fashion, food and traveling!
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