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Top Cruelty-Free Korean Skincare Brands in 2023: Your Guide to Ethical Glow

Top Cruelty-Free Korean Skincare Brands in 2023: Your Guide to Ethical Glow

You might have noticed this cute little badge on many products across our website:

This badge isn’t just an ornament - it holds significant meaning and tells a story about the product you're going to purchase.

But what does 'Cruelty-Free' actually mean? We've done extensive research on this and here are some things that qualify a brand as being 'Cruelty-Free'

  • They do not perform any animal testing on products or ingredients at any point during the making of their products.
  • No suppliers of the brand or associated third parties perform animal testing on their behalf.
  • The brand not engage in animal testing even when mandated by law, and as such, cannot be sold in stores in mainland China. 

In recent years, numerous Korean skincare brands have embraced the cruelty-free ethos, leading the industry towards more ethical and humane practices. Some have been cruelty-free from their inception, while others have adapted over time.

Now, let's spotlight some of the leading cruelty-free Korean skincare brands of 2023:

  1. Dear Klairs: Established in 2010, Dear Klairs champions simplicity and affordability in its skincare line. This brand has been cruelty-free from the start, focusing on products suitable for sensitive skin while working towards the goal of "Simple but enough".

  2. COSRX: Since 2014, COSRX has prioritized transparent communication with its customers to provide effective and affordable products. Committed to being cruelty-free from the outset, it is known for its natural, minimalistic approach to skincare.

  3. I'm From: Founded in 2012, Im From prides itself on delivering the "essence of nature" through its products. The brand has maintained cruelty-free practices since its beginning, boasting high-quality ingredients from the Korean environment.

  4. Krave Beauty: Launched in 2017 by skincare influencer Liah Yoo, Krave Beauty encourages a pared-down approach to skincare. Founded on the principles of simplicity and cruelty-free skincare, it has steadfastly upheld these values.

  5. Purito: Established in 2014, Purito operates under the mantra "safe and honest", aiming to provide transparent and natural skincare solutions. From the outset, the brand has maintained a strong commitment to being cruelty-free.

  6. Beauty of Joseon: Drawing from centuries-old Korean beauty practices, Beauty of Joseon has been cruelty-free since its inception. Its products revolve around simple, effective formulas that reflect the wisdom of past generations.

  7. Round Lab: Established in 2017, Round Lab's mission is to provide simple, yet effective skincare solutions using natural ingredients. Adhering to the philosophy of minimalism, the brand has always followed cruelty-free standards, making a name for themselves with their award-winning Dokdo line that caters to various skin concerns.
  8. SKIN1004: Founded in 2012, SKIN1004 is dedicated to delivering products with the best and simplest ingredients. The brand has upheld cruelty-free practices from the start, distinguishing itself with minimalistic products centered around high-quality ingredients.
  9. TOCOBO: A relatively new player in the industry, TOCOBO aims to provide solutions for the modern skincare enthusiast. The brand has upheld the cruelty-free standard from the beginning, showcasing a commitment to effective, ethical skincare products.

  10. Benton: Launched in 2011, Benton, named after the film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", aspires to restore skin back to its youthful state. Benton has adopted cruelty-free practices since its beginning, winning recognition for their Aloe BHA skin toner and Snail Bee high content essence.

Unfortunately, many common ingredients found in beauty and personal care products include the following:

  • Squalene: Harvested from the livers of live sharks (not to be confused with squalane derived from plant based material). “The squalane in skin-care products is now being derived mostly from plants such as olives and rice bran,” Dr. Garshick says. It can also be derived from other plant oils including amaranth seed, wheat germ, and even sugar cane, Dr. Fisher explains.
  • Carmine: Made from crushed cochineal insects
  • Guanine: Derived from fish scales
  • Honey: Harvested from bees
  • Lanolin: Comes from sheep wool 
  • Shellac: Made from the tiny scale insect called the lac
  • Collagen: Fibrous protein that comes from the tissues and bones of animals
  • Glycerine: Extracted from animal fat

Some products may use vague terms like “natural flavors” or “fragrance,” which can be used to hide animal-derived ingredients. If you see these terms on the ingredient list, it’s best to contact the brand directly and ask for clarification.

By choosing cruelty-free, you're not just selecting a skincare product; you're supporting an ethical approach to beauty that respects all living beings.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore the world of ethical skincare. We'll be delving into vegan skincare brands and Japanese cruelty-free beauty in upcoming articles. Until then, glow ethically and shine brightly with these top cruelty-free Korean skincare brands of 2023.

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