In recent years, South Korea has received a great deal of popularity among the youth. K-pop, k-drama, and now k-beauty are all getting more and more popular.

K Beauty refers to a wide range of South Korean skincare products.

In recent years, this market has grown at an exponential rate. In 2020, the market size of Korean Beauty products was estimated to be 7.6tr KRW.

The export value of South Korea developed significantly as the popularity of K Beauty goods grew in many regions such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, and others.

Due to the success of K Beauty, South Korea became the world’s third-largest cosmetic exporter in 2020 (after France and the United States).

The top importer of K Beauty products is China, followed by Hong Kong, the United States, and Japan.

The popularity or efficacy of K Beauty is another topic to discuss.

However, our concern is whether or not K Beauty items (which are exported from South Korea to nations such as China) are cruelty-free. Are they suitable for vegans? Read on to find out!

About K beauty

K beauty stands for Korean beauty, and it refers to skin care products originating in South Korea.

South Korea has grown in popularity in recent years. People are crazy about South Korea, whether it’s K Pop, K Dramas, or K Beauty.

K Beauty has grown in popularity in recent years. It had the greatest impact on East Asia. However, it is also gaining popularity in South Asia, the United States, and Europe.

According to a survey, K beauty is most popular among Indians, followed by UAE, US, Australia, and other countries.

South Korea has risen to become the world’s third-largest exporter, thanks to K Beauty.

Because the no-makeup look is popular these days, people have to kind of expose their skin. That is why skincare, especially K Beauty, is gaining popularity.

K Beauty primarily focuses on giving the skin a glassy appearance, i.e. it hydrates and brightens the skin.

K Beauty consists of ten steps (or more than 10).

Makeup cleanser/oil-based cleanser, water-based cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essence, face oils/serums, masks, eye cream, moisturizers, and sunscreen are among the steps.

Because K Beauty is a broad term, many brands sell K Beauty products. Some of the most well-known K Beauty brands include Peach & Lily, Missha, Innisfree, Skinfood, The Face Shop, and others.

Is K Beauty cruelty-free?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of K Beauty. The question that arises is whether or not K Beauty is cruelty-free.

Let’s look at the definition of cruelty-free to find out.

Cruelty-free means that cosmetics or other products are not tested on animals to determine their effectiveness. Cruelty-free cosmetics and products should not be sold in countries where animal testing is mandated by law.

In 2018, the South Korean National Assembly passed a law prohibiting animal testing in the country. However, the figures indicate something else.

In South Korea, 4,141,433 animals were used for testing in 2020, up from 3,712,380 in 2019.

Furthermore, China is the leading importer of K Beauty products. Animal testing is required by law in China. So many questions have been raised.

K Beauty is a broad term that encompasses many brands. And each brand has a unique vision, goals, and policies.

That is why not every brand tests its products on animals or sells them in China.

You can easily determine whether a K Beauty brand is cruelty-free; simply check whether the brand meets the cruelty-free criteria or not.

If a brand meets the following criteria, it is cruelty-free: 

  • The brand should not test its products on animals.
  • It should not permit or request that other companies conduct animal testing on its products.
  • Brand should not sell its products in countries where animal testing is required by law.
  • The brand should have a cruelty-free certificate from any respectable organization.

Using this checklist, you can quickly determine whether or not a K Beauty brand is cruelty-free.

Overall, K Beauty is not entirely cruelty-free because China is the largest importer of K Beauty products, and animal testing is still practiced in South Korea. However, some K Beauty brands sell cruelty-free products.

Is K Beauty Vegan?

Vegan products do not contain any animal ingredients.

As previously stated, K Beauty is a broad term that encompasses many brands.

Every brand has its own set of policies and visions. However, to determine whether a K Beauty brand is vegan or not, simply look at the product’s ingredient list.

If a product contains even a single animal ingredient, then it is not a vegan product.

As veganism is gaining the attention of the masses, many cosmetics brands are going vegan.

In short, K Beauty has many vegan brands.

Is K Beauty ethical?

K Beauty stills suffer from animal testing (even though it has been banned in South Korea), also some K Beauty brands might not be vegan.

Hence, K Beauty is somewhat not ethical.


Since K Beauty is a wide term. Hence it is difficult to describe whether it’s cruelty-free or not.

However, most brands of K Beauty are not cruelty-free and vegan.

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