Olive Young - you see them all over South Korea no matter which city you go to - Seoul, Busan, Jeju, or Daegu. As one of the country's largest beauty and skincare retailers (or some call it drugstores), Olive Young offers a vast selection of high-quality products from both local and international brands. Whether you're a skincare enthusiast or makeup lover, embarking on an Olive Young beauty haul is an exciting and rewarding experience.
When you enter the store, there'll be a plethora of products waiting for you. And if you're wondering what to buy at Olive Young on your next trip to Korea, this is the blog post for you. We will guide you through must-have products and share valuable shopping tips to make the most of your visit to Olive Young in South Korea. Get ready to indulge in the world of K-beauty and discover your new beauty essentials!
And for those who are not going to South Korea anytime soon, but don't want FOMO, don't worry, we've also included some links to our favourite Shopee where you can also shop till you drop from wherever you are!
What to buy at Olive Young: Korean Skincare Products
One of the highlights of Olive Young is its extensive collection of skincare products. Stock up on K-beauty essentials such as hydrating toners, essence serums, and nourishing moisturizers. And in 2023, these are the top favourites!
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
This good old favourite, the COSRX low pH good morning gel cleanser is a gentle and pH-balanced cleanser from COSRX is a cult favorite among skincare enthusiasts. Formulated with tea tree oil and natural BHA, it effectively removes impurities, excess oil, and makeup residue without stripping the skin's moisture. Especially when in the morning, you don't have to get rid of makeup - this cleanser is a basic one that leaves your skin feeling clean, refreshed, and ready for the next steps of your skincare routine. (ps: I'm already on my 2nd tube!)
Abib Heartleaf Cleanser
The ABIB Heartleaf Cleanser is my go-to for when I need some "stronger" cleansing. Although it is said to be a gentle and effective cleanser, I do find that it cleanses much deeper and this might not work for everyone. Heartleaf, also known as houttuynia cordata, is a natural ingredient known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, making it perfect for sensitive and troubled skin.
Like Cosrx, it has a creamy texture that lathers into a soft foam, effectively removing all your impurities, excess oil, and makeup residue without stripping away your skin's natural moisture. For those who enjoy facial soaps, you'll be happy to find that there's one from abib.
Anua Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner
The Anua Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner has recently gained a loyal following for its soothing and calming properties. Formulated with an impressive 77% heartleaf extract, this toner delivers a powerful dose of hydration and nourishment to the skin.
The lightweight and watery texture of the toner allows for quick absorption, leaving the skin feeling refreshed and revitalized. With regular use, the Anua Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner helps to reduce redness, soothe irritation, and promote a healthier complexion. It is a fantastic addition to your skincare routine, especially if you're looking to calm and balance your skin while boosting hydration levels.
What I love about it is that it is non-sticky and its formulation is really just like water! My pro tip? Pour the toner into a spray bottle, spray it onto your face and then tap it in!
Abib Heartleaf Toner Pad
As you can see, I'm all about heartleaf! On days when I'm lazy or just want a "quick mask", I use these abib toner pads and put about 3 pieces on my forehead and cheeks. I'll leave them on for about 10 minutes or so, and ta-dah, that's my night time skincare routine on lazy days.
Torriden Dive in Serum
Writing about this makes me annoyed. The Torriden Dive in Serum was out of stock in all the Olive Young I went to. And the only time I could try it was when I was back in Singapore. I ordered it from my favourite K-beauty Shopee store. This serum is my next step after toner. It contains hyaluronic acid which is hydrating for the skin.
As skin experts say, hyaluronic acid is best used when your skin is a little moist. So the best way is to damp some water, or use a water spray before you put this on. I've actually also tried The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid, but it can get a little "sticky" if you know what I mean. So the Low Molecular Dive in Serum is a lot more like "water" which is easily absorbed into my skin. I love this!
Goodal Vita C Dark Spot Serum
The Goodal Vita C Dark Spot Serum is a powerful and targeted treatment designed to address dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone. Infused with a potent blend of vitamin C derivatives and natural botanical extracts (including green tangerine!), this serum works to brighten the skin and fade the appearance of dark spots over time.
This product has been in the market for a long time and it got into the spotlight again because Madison Beer uses it! I've always wanted to try Vitamin C, but there's always a ton of different types of "warnings" about using this. Thankfully, there's no stickiness at all for this product and the lightweight and fast-absorbing formula of the Goodal Vita C Dark Spot Serum allows for easy application!
I've also tried the Goodal eye gel patch, but so far eye skincare hasn't quite worked for me. For people in Singapore, this can also be found in your regular Watsons and Guardian so if you're not sure about the Vita C Dark Spot Serum, you could try their other range of products in the meantime!
Kahi Wrinkle Bounce Multi-Balm
All the Korean drama watching influenced me to get the Kahi Wrinkle Bounce Multi Balm when I was in Korea. This little product doesn't come cheap but oh, it's great as a travel moisturizer. You know how moisturizers always come in huge jars? This is a good way to bring your moisturizer whereever you go.
What to buy at Olive Young: Korean Sunscreens
The two top contenders in South Korea for sunscreens right now is the Beauty of Joseon sunscreen vs the Round Lab Birch Juice Sunscreen. Both of these sunscreens are always OOS at Olive Young. Which is the winner? Let's have a look!
Beauty of Joseon Sunscreen
The Beauty of Joseon Sunscreen features a lightweight, non-greasy formula that absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving a white cast. It is infused with traditional Korean herbal extracts, such as hanbang ingredients, that nourish and soothe the skin while providing broad-spectrum protection. (By the way, what's slaps now is the sunstick version of the Beauty of Joseon sunscreen)
Round Lab Birch Juice Sunscreen
On the other hand, the Round Lab Birch Juice Sunscreen features a refreshing and moisturizing formula enriched with birch sap, which helps to soothe and hydrate the skin while acting as a protective barrier against UV rays. It has a lightweight texture that absorbs quickly without leaving a sticky residue, making it ideal for daily use.
When you are in Korea, look out for the 50 ml + 20 ml offer where you get to try out their other range like Tone-up (in pink) and Mild-up (in green). PS: Their Dokdo cleansers and toners are also extremely popular! And of course, in true blue competitor fashion, Round Lab also has their sunstick version.
Beauty of Joseon vs Round Lab Birch Juice Sunscreen?
Ultimately, the choice between these sunscreens depends on personal preference, skin type, and desired additional skincare benefits. I personally preferred the Round Lab Birch Juice sunscreen when I was in Korea as the weather is really dry and the formula actually absorbs into my dry skin very quickly. There was no white case and no greasiness even after a full day out.
However, when I'm back in Singapore, I do prefer the Beauty of Joseon sunscreen. Because of our humid weather, somehow I feel that the Round Lab Birch Juice causes me to break out in a full face of oil as compared to the Beauty of Joseon sunscreen.
What to buy at Olive Young: Korean Hair Products
Next up, many people often miss this out as there's already too much skincare products to shop for. But South Korea's hair products are my new finds and these are some of the trendiest ones in Olive Young now!
Mise en Scene Perfect Repair Hair Serum
If you're looking to repair and nourish damaged hair, the Mise en Scene Perfect Repair Hair Serum is a go-to product. Packed with argan oil and keratin, it helps to restore moisture, smooth frizz, and enhance the overall health and shine of your hair. If you forgot to pack your shampoo or conditioner, it is worth going to your nearest Olive Young to get this to try!
Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Root Enhancer
The Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Root Enhancer (another always sold out item) is a powerful and effective product specifically designed to promote a healthy scalp environment and enhance hair growth. Infused with organic rosemary leaf oil and peppermint oil, this scalp root enhancer stimulates blood circulation, which in turn promotes the delivery of essential nutrients to the hair follicles.
How you use it is that you can spray it onto your scalp right after showering and drying your hair. The root enhancer helps to strengthen the roots, minimize hair loss, and improve hair density. I particularly like the refreshing scent of rosemary and peppermint that provides a pleasant sensory experience during application. However, whether or not is helps me achieve fuller hair? I'm still in the midst of trying it!
I've also tried the Aromatica Rosemary Scrub and while I really like the fact that it feels like I've gotten a good scrub, the "salt" may be a bit too much for some people.
Cer-100 Collagen Coating Protein Ion Injection
The Cer-100 Collagen Coating Protein Ion Injection is my find from TikTok and is another one of the many items that I actually couldn't find in Olive Young :( This revolutionary hair treatment is indeed revolutionary! I cannot believe how soft my hair felt right after using it. The crazy packaging doesn't quite tell you how good it is as it provides intensive repair and nourishment to my very damaged and brittle hair.
This product is formulated with ceramides, collagen, and protein ions, which work together to replenish and strengthen the hair strands. Ceramides help to restore the hair's natural protective barrier, while collagen and protein ions deeply hydrate and fortify the hair shaft, improving its elasticity and resilience. I've been loving it so far and it is definitely recommended!
What to buy at Olive Young: Korean Makeup
When it comes to Korean makeup, Olive Young is a treasure trove of beauty products that cater to a wide range of preferences and styles. From natural and subtle looks to bold and vibrant creations, Korean makeup offers innovative formulas, stunning shades, and impeccable quality. Whether you're a makeup enthusiast or simply looking to enhance your everyday look, Olive Young is the perfect destination to discover and explore the world of Korean makeup. I'm not really a make-up kinda girl so this portion will be much shorter.
The Saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer
The Saem Cover Perfection Tip is my go-to concealer. But sadly, because I'm a tanned skin girly, Korea's Olive Young only stocks it till 2.0 (and I really need 2.5 and 2.75), so I've been buying and stocking it up by purchasing them online.
I like how inexpensive this concealer is and is a very good alternative to the very expensive Make Up Forever Concealer. I mean, girls will know how painful their wallets are whenever they get tanner or lighter.
WakeMake Anyproof Eyeliner
The WakeMake Anyproof Eyeliner is a surprising find because I only got it when my friend told me to help her buy it when I was in Korea. When I have been shelving lots of money on Stila Stay All Day Waterproof eyeliner, this is a good alternative! It comes in 3 colours and I like how easily it glides onto my eyelids.
Rom&nd Glasting Water Tint
Because I was FOMO that I couldn't get my hands on Rare Beauty's Lip Oil, the rom&nd glasting water tint is supposed to be its cheaper alternative. I can't say for sure that it is comparable because I still haven't got my hands on the restock of Rare Beauty, the many colors in the aisle of Olive Young means you can try many tints for the price of just 1 lip oil.
Shopping Haul Tips in Olive Young
Now that we've covered all the must-buy products, we have our final shopping tip! Buy the item you've seen right then and there and don't wait till your "next Olive Young" because even though there are tons of stores throughout South Korea, stocks are not on your side.
For tourists and travellers, my advice is to bring your passport out with you so that you can opt for tax-free within the store. This means that you don't need to queue at the airport when leaving and can already get your tax "refunded" at the cashier counter.
From skincare to haircare and makeup, Olive Young offers a diverse selection of high-quality products that can transform your beauty routine. We've covered an array of must-have items, from skincare staples like toners and serums to haircare heroes and captivating makeup products. Whether you're seeking radiant skin, luscious locks, or a stunning makeup look, Olive Young has you covered.
So, the next time you find yourself in South Korea or browsing their online store, don't miss the opportunity to experience the wonders of Olive Young and embrace the beauty secrets of K-beauty. Don't find a must-buy in this list? Comment down below and we'll add to this blogpost!