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10 Vegan Skincare brands from Korea

As a beauty lover and consumer, what will be the way to be more mindful about our animal rights? Adding a vegan and cruelty-free product might be one of the easiest ways we can do. Vegan and cruelty-free beauty are recently becoming big in Korea since early this year. And here I introduce the 10 vegan skincare brands in Korea that officially commit to being both vegan and cruelty-free with all of their products. You can find many vegan products or product lines from other more popular K-Beauty brands like isoi or Klairs, but it doesn’t mean that 100% of their products are vegan. So if you are looking for a simple way to find vegan & cruelty-free products at a brand level, this post is for you!

Vegan vs Cruelty-Free

So what exactly is vegan? How is it different from cruelty-free? Vegan beauty means the absence of animal ingredients or animal by-products. Cruelty-free refers to a product that doesn’t test on animals. It’s possible for a vegan product to have been tested on an animal and a cruelty-free product to contain animal ingredients. For example, Lush is a cruelty-free brand but not all its products are vegan.

What about Clean Beauty?

Clean beauty is often confused with vegan, but it is slightly different since it is more about a non-toxic product (vs. non- animal ingredients) that is made without ingredients linked to harmful health effects. You also have to note that it is not necessarily about chemical vs. non-chemical since natural (=non-chemical) ingredients can be toxic. The definition of the toxic ingredients varies by each brand or organization. The 10 vegan brands that I introduce here also claim to be clean but the parameter each brand is using is all different.

Environmentally Conscious (Eco-Friedly)

Another concept that a smart consumer should know would be eco-friendly or environmentally conscious. Reducing carbon footprint throughout the manufacturing process, using sustainable ingredients or recyclable packaging can be the examples. A lot of the US brands are partnering with Terra Cycle to collect and recycle empty containers of the brands. In Korea, brands refers FSC certification to ensure that their packaging materials come from responsibly managed forests. 

#1 Melixir

Launched in 2018, Melixir is one of the pioneers of vegan beauty in Korea. It uses high standard plant-processing technology to produce effective products. 100% of its products are vegan and acquired PETA vegan certificate. It also claims as a clean brand by excluding the usage of EWG red labeled ingredients. It also uses FSC certified packages. Melixir recently partnered with Korean actress Im Soo Jung in developing and launching Vegan Relief Facial Cream. Im Soo Jung herself has been a vegan for over 4 years and endorsed the brand. Available at melixir.

#2 Be:ve

Launched early this year, Be:ve is a vegan brand certified by the Korea Agency of Vegan Certification and Services. The brand has a hero ingredient – birch water. Birch water is known to have a similar moisture ingredient and structure similar to that constructs Human skin. All Be:ve products went through low sensitivity test and are free of 8 harmful ingredients – 7 parabens, 12 tar colors, triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Clofenesin, mineral oil, benzophenone-3, imidazolidinylurea.

#3 Serumkind

You can easily find that Serumkind’s product assortment is quite simple – they are all serums! With the name “drop”, each one has unique “single care formula” with different ingredients, colors, and effects from moisturizing, soothing, to balancing. The drops are free of 78 harmful ingredients – the full list is available here. They use recyclable packaging and soy bean-based ink in printing. Available at Serumkind.

#4 Aromatica

Well known for its Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Aromatica introduced EWG to Korea for the first time in 2009 by being a partner company of EWG’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. It was the first Korean beauty manufacture brand to acquire EWG VERIFIED™ certificate in 2016. It also has been registered as Vegan Society partner being a vegan and cruelty-free brand. Some of its products have Eco-Cert certificate being natural/organic. Aromatica has started to use Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) plastic containers since this year to reduce plastic waste. Available at Aromatica.

#5 Dear Dahlia

With its hero ingredient Dahlia flower, known to be a natural anti-oxidant effective in anti-aging, it has a wide range of makeup products from face, lip, eye, products to cleansers. The brand is also known for its iconic octagon-shaped packages with marble prints. Dear Dahlia’s products are free of 8 harmful ingredients – Paraben, surfactant, phthalate, metal estrogen, oxybenzone, formaldehyde, synthetic fragrance, animal-derived ingredients. Available at Dear Dahlia.

#6 Beigic

Beigic is the brand of which the hero ingredient is a green coffee bean. A green coffee bean is full of essential amino acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, and natural caffeine that help skin regeneration, pore tightening, skin brightening, and skin resilience. The brand also excludes five toxic ingredients – artificial fragrance, artificial pigment, silicone, sulfates (SLS, SLES), and paraben – from all of its products. Find my personal review here. Available at Amazon.

#7 Hersteller

Cleanly and ethically made in U.S.A with vegan, cruelty-free ingredients, hersteller’s first skincare line “Little Drops” consists of 9 serums, with each made to address a specific skin concern ranging from hydrating dry skin to soothing sensitive skin. Each drop contains plant-based extracts from 50% up to 84%. The brand uses green level EWG ingredients and pursues eco-friendly packaging with FSC certificate. Available at WConcept.

#8 Real Rael

Rael started as a feminine care brand with its organic sanitary pads in 2017. This year in March, it launched vegan skincare brand Real Rael. All of Real Rael’s products contain low PH level (5~7) and completed the low sensitivity test. All containers are BPA Free and packages are eco-friendly paper made. Available at Rael.

#9 Athe

Launched in last October by Korean fashion/lifestyle group LF, Athe is a premium vegan brand that uses high technology co-developed with Mibelle Group in Switzerland. It also excludes 11 toxic ingredients and uses eco-friendly packaging with FSC certified materials. It has about 45 product assortment from makeup, skincare, to cleansing. The brand muse is Jung Ryeo Won, a Korean actress. Available at Beautyboxkorea.

#10 Fitty

Fitty is an affiliate brand launched last December by a beauty group Clio that owns Clio, Peripera, goodal, Dermatory, and Healingbird. Fitty is daily athleisure vegan makeup brand with only one product assortment – BB cream. Fitty BB Cream was developed with ‘sweat proof’ formula which prevents the product to be melted with sweat. It acquired Vegan certification from Eve. Available at Beautyboxkorea.

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