Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor in Chief, Global Cosmetic Industry, tapped K-beauty pro Alicia Yoon of Peach & Lily for her insights on the K-beauty brands that are shaking up beauty and creating a path for innovation. Here, Alicia’s top picks.

The K-beauty trend has been a beauty junkie’s dream, injecting seemingly endless innovation and fun into the global beauty industry. Often treated as a monolithic category, South Korea churns out more than 100,000 unique products* that span the spectrum of novelty offerings (maple tree sap, fermented extracts, etc.) and proven solutions (quality naturals).

“I think K-beauty—and how it’s being defined right now—will fade away,” said Alicia Yoon, founder of K-beauty mecca Peach & Lily. “However, the conversation around K-beauty will evolve and focus on the brands that truly wow, and these brands will have staying power like the beloved brands Stateside (and beyond).”

Alicia, who recently opened Peach & Lily’s second brick-and-mortar location in California, gave Global Cosmetic Industry an exclusive list of some of the most innovative and trusted brands defining K-beauty today.


Kicho means “basic,” (기초) in Korean, evoking the brand’s minimalist skin care approach. Focused on the omission of harmful or otherwise unnecessary ingredients, these natural, hypoallergenic products—including the Ultra Moisturizing Sun Cream—offers proven efficacy that has sustained the brand for 50 years. Learn more »

Be the Skin

Be the Skin was developed during a five-year quest by its founder to discover the best herbs and botanicals for the brand’s hydrating and beautifying skin care collection. A sister brand of legacy K-beauty brand Saengreen, Be the Skin includes the Botanical Pore Toner, which offers sebum control for oily and acne-prone skin and contains fermented extracts and witch hazel. Learn more »

Aromatica’s Ecocert-certified products are among the few to have earned the Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep Champion Status for its creation of toxin-free products. Comprising naturals from around the world, the brand is focused on responsible sourcing. For example, aromatica’s Sea Daffodil Aqua Gel Cream contains aloe and essential oils, such as rose hip, citrus peel and cedar wood, and sea daffodil, which helps diminish hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Learn more »

May Coop
May Coop uses maple tree sap as a base that improves absorption of its skin care because of the small size of its molecules. For instance, the brand’s Raw Sauce contains the sap paired with Ecocert-certified fructan powder, and Asian herbal and fruit extracts that hydrate the skin and give it a dewy appearance. Learn more »


For 25 years Shangpree Spa has served Korea’s spa-going elite. Now, the brand has brought its spa experience to the world with products, such as S-Energy Long Lasting Concentrated Serum, which includes skullcap callus, oxygen and a violet herb complex for cell regeneration; hydrolyzed silk, propolis and pantenol for skin repair and hydration; and S-Energy Resilience Cream, which comprises natural oils, shea butter and betaine to protect the skin against free-radical damage and to boost skin turnover. But the real fun is in the masks, including the Fruit Cocktail Mask, which contains blueberry, lemon, papaya and more; the Snail Moisture Mask, featuring snail mucin that hydrates and repairs the skin and encourages growth; and the Gold Premium Modeling “Rubber” Mask, which features gold and Asian botanicals that offer hydration and antiaging benefits. Learn more »

Bonus: Want to read about two more breakthrough K-beauty brands? Click here to visit Global Cosmetic Industry for the expanded list, as well as an in-depth Q&A with Alicia Yoon.

*According to figures gathered by the organizers of CosmoBeauty Seoul;