K-Beauty Is Red Hot: Shopping For Skincare At The Source In L.A.

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K Beauty | Koreatown | Korean Cosmetics

K Beauty | Koreatown | Korean CosmeticsKorean Cosmetics

Korean cosmetics and skin care products could be coming to your shelves soon.

The K beauty universe continues to explode, offering an increasing array of face masks, serums, soaps, makeup and creams, especially must have “BB creams” (think, magical, multi-tasking moisturizers). The emphasis is on pure ingredients and, in many instances, playful packaging that may be best described as “super cute.”

Longtime aficionados who are already immersed in the ongoing tidal wave of K-beauty sheet masks and products that include snail secretions — yes, you read that correctly — like to skim the aisles, looking for sales and new products. You’ll get lots of advice on skin care, if you want it, and the post-shopping restaurant possibilities are mind-blowing.

Try before you buy

There are plenty of European and American brands — Dior, Clinique, Bobbi Brown — at Cosmetic World, a high-end store in the Koreatown Galleria, but it also offers a moderate selection of K-beauty items and unobtrusive salespeople who seemed happy to demonstrate product after product. 3250 W. Olympic Blvd., (323) 734-0777

Vast collection of face masks

Nature Republic, which was created in 2009, has a number of bricks-and-mortar outlets in Southern California, including this artfully arranged shop on Wilshire Boulevard. Step inside and you’ll be immersed in a fragrant space with music and salesclerks worthy of a “Blade Runner” tribute film. Bestsellers include a vast collection of face masks and a series of lotions, toners, mists and gels with aloe vera. 3785 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 425-2177

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Free samples

Palace Beauty, the large store in the Koreatown Galleria primarily devoted to K-beauty products, was full of customers and people to wait on them on the day we visited. Two of the salespeople checked in on us on a regular basis and loaded us up with free samples — and advice — before we left. Fun. 3250 W. Olympic Blvd., (323) 734-5844

Huge selection

Plaza Cosmetic in Koreatown Plaza carries big-name American and European brands, as well as a large selection of serums, creams, masks and cosmetics from South Korea, some of them on sales tables spilling out into the mall. 928 S. Western Ave., (213) 384-0008

Younger and hipper

The Face Shop, which sits across the street from Nature Republic, has a similar vibe: much younger and hipper than the mall stores in terms of presentation, products, ambience, customers and salespeople, who, after recovering from the shock of a customer over the age of 30, couldn’t wait to answer all our questions. Bonus points: The Face Shop shares a space with the Chocolate Chair, which means you can indulge in all sorts of sweets, including liquid nitrogen ice cream and something called Dragon Breath (a “novelty dessert made of fruity cereal puffs soaked in liquid nitrogen”) after (or during) your shopping excursion. 621 S. Western Ave., (213) 389-3360