With TikTok skincare influencers sharing about brands such as Krave, CosRx, Laneige, Isintree and Dr Jart+ on the daily, it’s clear that K-Beauty’s appeal has finally gone mainstream. K-Beauty or Korean beauty, best encapsulates South Korea’s influence and ingenuity in skincare, make-up, hair and other wellness products. We may not be strangers to all things Hallyu here in Singapore and Malaysia, but with its appeal skyrocketing globally thanks to charismatic K-Pop and K-Dramas, K-beauty’s global market reach is projected to hit S$45.95 Billion by 2029. So what makes Korean beauty so distinctive?
K-Beauty constantly innovates and pushes itself towards finding skincare, scalp and make-up solutions, often at purse-friendly prices. Its emphasis on healthy skin over make-up means a never-ending slew of essences, sheet masks, sunscreen compacts, acne pimple patches, and under-eye masks.
“K-Beauty is about taking serious care of every layer of the skin with multiple skincare products to protect against ageing,” says Doreen Chia, brand general manager of two powerhouse luxury beauty brands, Sulwhasoo and Hera. For the best results, this means “using a boosting serum to balance and moisturise skin before layering other skincare products and ending the regime with sleeping mask, which is also one of the must-haves in any Korean beauty regime.”
“Korean beauty also focuses on a more gentle approach, activating the skin’s natural ability to regenerate using natural plants extract and herbal medicinal ingredients such as extracts from ginseng, red pine, plum blossom. Even though both Western and Korean beauty have evolved to become more parallel, most Asian consumers still have a preference of using Korean beauty products as they are often innovated with an understanding for Asian skin, addressing skin concerns of Asian women,” Chia explains.
In addition to quintessentially traditional Korean ingredients, we now see a rise in soothing ingredients—heartleaf, cica, propolis and snail mucin essence for example. Popular Korean skincare, YouTuber EuniUnni links this preference for calming products over aggressive exfoliants and retinoids as a result of affordable and accessible in-clinic aesthetic treatments in Korea. Skincare at home therefore, is all about respecting the skin’s natural barrier.
“K-Beauty is more about how to make foundation look and feel like natural skin,” says Ksisters founder, Jungmin Lee, who explains that the K-Beauty ideal focuses more on glowy skin and “beauty from within.”
In addition to the quality and efficacy of products, you can also count on K-Beauty brands to be more inclusive where budgets are concerned. With a myriad of products falling under $20, they prove that cost and worth aren’t always positively correlated.
“K-Beauty really wins the heart of consumers by offering not only quality ingredients with great efficacies, but also innovative technology, and all at relatively pocket-friendly prices,” says Lee. The next K-Beauty trends on her radar are linked to the pandemic, with Lee on the lookout for “innovative ingredients and beauty devices that maximise products’ efficacies and absorption of ingredients into skin.”
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