Korean skincare has been gaining popularity around the world. It seems to keep popping up in global media and we see Korean cosmetics making their way into our European high street stores. Let's take a look as to why this is happening and what's pushing the hype in Korea and abroad.
Why is beauty and skincare so popular in Korea?
Many women in Korea attach a lot of importance to their appearance. This became evident when in 2015 a global survey, by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, stated that South Korea was the only East Asian country to enter the Top 10 list of countries with the highest rates of cosmetic surgery.
Beauty cosmetics and skincare naturally became another go to item to expand on that desire to look at their best. Yet, as opposed to their counterparts in the west, the majority of them don’t wear heavy make-up. Instead Korean women seek a more natural, fresh and healthy look.
Korean women spend twice as much money on skincare products than we do in most European countries. They think of their skin as a long term investment and gladly spend the time and money to achieve the common goal of “glowy skin”.
The Korean beauty and skincare industry is worth more than $10.3 billion today and increasing rapidly. With that in mind, it’s more than fair to say that the Korean beauty industry is booming and here to stay.
Differences between Western and Korean cosmetics?
There are three main differences between Western and Korean skincare.
#1 Use of natural ingredients
While western skincare companies look for quick-results, sometimes by means of harsh and unnatural ingredients, the Korean beauty industry prides itself in the use of natural ingredients. They focus on soft formulas inspired by nature that will protect your skin in the long run.
Whereas the western cosmetic industry focuses on scrubbing and exfoliating to reveal a newer skin, Korean skincare takes a gentle approach which aims to feed the skin the necessary ingredients and vitamins it needs to be healthy.
#2 Skincare routine
Our approach to skincare is a little more simplistic than that of Korean women. We can all relate with getting home and wiping our makeup away, applying a moisturiser and calling it a day. In Korea however, they have something called the 10 Step Korean Skincare routine.
Korean women take their skincare seriously and it is a big part of their daily routine. They start their day with a variation of steps with the use of cleansers, toners, essence and moisturisers, to end their day unwinding with a face mask. It's more than just a routine, it's a lifestyle that delivers astonishing results.
What many people get wrong with the 10 step skincare routine, is that it is more of a concept than a process. It's about understanding your skin type and being aware of skin concerns. Once identified, you can start multilayering the different products and feed your skin the various nutrients it's lacking. Koreans understand that everyone’s skin is different and therefore each of us should tailor our routine with products serving specific purposes.
#3 Affordable beauty
High-end Korean brands are far more affordable than premium Western brands. One factor pushing the price into the “affordable” zone, is the fact that there is plenty of competition in the Korean beauty industry. The high demand leads to companies pushing competitive pricing, product efficiency and innovation.
Speaking of Innovations…
Korean cosmetic technology is by far the most advanced around the globe. If you want to know what the next western trend in cosmetics will be, just look at what is hype in Korea. By the time we catch up, they have probably already got the next next thing.
Everyone knows about the revolutionary sheet masks, BB and CC creams. However, there are yet so many Korean innovations you should know of, such as:
Cleansing Balms: They are the first step of the korean skincare routine. These amazing oil based cleansers will gently and efficiently melt away any makeup and mascara.
Essences: These products used to be unique to Korean skincare. The lightweight texture of an essence is thinner than a serum and provides your skin with a full hydration boost.
Sleeping Packs: Also known as sleeping masks, they are used as the last step of the evening routine. They lock in all the moisture and act overnight to give you a young, fresh and healthy looking skin in the morning.
Sun Protection: Sunscreen in Korea has evolved to a whole new level. It is light in texture and does not leave a greasy feeling. In addition, they are fully transparent as opposed to the sunscreens we are used to. We no longer have to deal with a grey coloured coating on our skin after use.
In addition to natural ingredients, new technology, competitive pricing and better results, Korea is now investing in the research and development of sustainable packaging.
What is there not to love about Korean Cosmetics?