Anyone who is serious about skincare will already know about Korean beauty. Highly regarded for their quality ingredients and cutting-edge formulas, products from the East Asian country have become increasingly popular over the past few years.
Thankfully, these products are now easy to get hold of in the UAE, both in-store and online. So we've put together a list of where to go when it comes to buying K-beauty products.
Read on for eight top spots, and prepare to make plenty of room in your beauty bag.
1. The Face Shop
For those who like to physically visit a store, then check out The Face Shop, which is a veteran of the UAE skincare scene. The brand is also stocked online at Noon.com and DubaiSavers.com. As well as selling its own products, such as the excellent Jeju Volcanic Scrub (Dh30) that cleans the skin just as thoroughly as the name suggests, it also carries Belif, Beyond and Yehwadam (look for the latter's revitalising eye cream, Dh231).
K-Secret.com offers an impressive selection of 50 different brands, including A'Pieu (look for its Mineral Lip & Eye make-up remover, Dh59), Heimish (try the All Clean Balm, Dh120) and even TonyMoly. Don't forget to try the wonderfully named Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream (Dh90).
KGirlsCloset.com is another online store obsessed with all things Korean, and stocks a wide range of brands, including the famous Some By Mi. All of these products are good, but the adventurous should look for the Snail Truecica range, that is made of – you guessed it – snail slime. Taken from the black snail, truecica is said to contain remarkable moisturising and healing qualities, making it good for those with acne scars or wrinkles.
Another brand to look for is Innisfree, which is excellent for those with excess oil, breakout skin or just looking for deep pore cleansing. Also available is the brand Dr Jart +, with its endless array of face masks for all skin types. This site offers good bundle deals.
Another online site that carries a good range is Shofon.com. For sunscreen, try Axis-Y's Complete No Stress Physical Sunscreen SPF50 (Dh110). If your hair is in need of some emergency help, give the La'dor Keratin Power Glue Leave On Hair Essence a try (Dh144). Or, if you need something to help with dry skin, pick up the Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Emulsion by It's Skin, which offers good hydration for Dh99.
Chicsta.com also has an impressive range, including Skinfood, Peripera and The Yeon. It also stocks the super popular Lip Sleeping Mask by Laneige, which is essentially an intensive leave-on lip balm. Free of parabens, phthalates and not tested on animals, this is good for those concerned about ingredients and animal testing, and costs Dh121 for the large pot.
The site also offers step-by-step guides for different skincare regimes, from simple morning and evening routines to the increasingly complicated three, five and even 10-step beauty programmes.
SkinGarden.ae also sells Korean skincare, but has a different approach in that it stocks only two brands, PureHeals and CLIV. As the name suggests, PureHeals opts for only botanical extracts and is aimed at skin in need of what it dubs "recovery and de-stressing".
CLIV, meanwhile, is medicinal based and dermatologist approved, including the Supreme 24K Gold Ampoule serum (Dh124) that contains gold, copper and silver extracts, and is said to be rich in antioxidants. The Centella 80 Eye Cream by PureHeals contains 80 per cent centella and jojoba for intense moisture in the undereye region, for Dh90.
7. 1004 Gourmet
Describing itself as the first dedicated Asian supermarket in the country, 1004 Gourmet's selection of K-beauty is, unsurprisingly, excellent. Things to look for include the Mediheal Soothing Bubble Tox Serum sheet mask (Dh12.50), and the wonderfully named History Of Whoo SooYeon gift set. Said to be based on the beauty secrets of Korean royalty, this set includes four products for Dh737.94 that can't be found anywhere else. Those with skin breakouts, meanwhile, should grab the handy Blemish Anti Trouble pen by Biolee Acnepris, a roll-on spot treatment, for Dh117.
Of course, no beauty round-up would be complete without mentioning Sephora, the multi-brand beauty superstore. While it carries many of the brands listed above, it also has an impressive array of so-called "clean" brands, made without ingredients such as sulfates (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, formaldehydes and coal tar. Look for Saturday Skin's Bright Potion Probiotic Power Serum (Dh187), which is packed with sea buckthorn fruit for deep nourishment. Also try the Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask by Glow Recipe for Dh154, designed to reduce puffiness, while the Belif Aqua Bomb Hydrating Toner (Dh102) is vegan, lightweight and moisturising.