If you’re in Korea and you want to buy some affordable cosmetics, you won’t head to your local pharmacy to browse the latest L’Oreal and Maybelline lipsticks.  What you’ll probably do is head to the nearest Etude House, Face Shop, or Skin Food chain store (whatever your preference, these stores can be found all over) and allow a sales assistant to help you select some items suitable for you.  In this series, we’ll cover the major beauty shops: their concepts, bestsellers, and of course, which celebrities endorse them.  We’ll begin with the JYJ-fronted brand Nature Republic, which has over 100 stores located throughout Asia.

Newcomers to Nature Republic may be slow to notice the many plant-based cosmetics and lotions adorning the shelves, as JYJ’s handsome images are prominently plastered throughout the store.  (And for good reason, as sales quadrupled after the toothsome trio began endorsing the brand!)  But once you manage to pull your gaze away from Jaejoong’s oh-so-cute smile, you’ll quickly realize that the real stars behind Nature Republic are the unusual botanical extracts contained in almost all the products, as well as the naturally-sourced waters.  Some Nature Republic products are labeled with an alphanumeric code that tell you what kind of water it contains: for example, MD 202 is deep sea water from Greenland, MD 102 is glacial water from the Alps, and MD 201 is Japanese hot spring water. 

The friendly manager of the store told us that Nature Republic’s top bestsellers are the Advanced Cell Boosting skincare products.  In Japan, this line of lotions and creams have gained near-cult status among bloggers, as they encourage cell regeneration and are good for preventing the signs of aging.  Also popular are the collagen sheet masks, which deliver a lot of moisture in ten minutes, and the 90% Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera Gel, endorsed in the CF by Micky Yoochun below.  There’s also one unusual product that sells quite well — an armpit wash that promises not only to remove any odor-causing bacteria, but also to whiten the skin on your underarms.  The manager told us that it was a bestseller because no other brand carries such a product.  Well, it’s certainly true that we’ve never seen them anywhere else!

Nature Republic also carries a full line of makeup.  Here, the manager told us, it’s the powder blushes which sell the best, as they’re known compare favorably to their high-end counterparts, such as Benefit.  As with everything else in the store, these products are quite affordable, at less than 10,000 won each.  (Other Nature Republic products may go up to about 40,000 won.)

Kara’s Goo Hara, Park Gyuri, and Kang Jiyoung have recently signed to endorse the brand, so we should see some advertisements and CFs from them in the near future.  In Japan, it’s Jang Geun Suk who endorses the brand.  The most recently retired Nature Republic spokesperson is Rain, but past spokesmodels also include fresh-faced beauties such as Song Hye Gyo, Moon Geun Young, and Han Chae Young.  Check out some ads and CFs below!