Interview

Korean Beauty

Dedicated to innovative skincare and unique branding, Korean beauty has become a leading influence throughout the world and has made its way to many of our beauty cabinets.

Today, companies like Sephora are dedicating entire areas to K-Beauty. Leading skincare corporations are incorporating popular Korean ingredients like rice bran extract, crushed pearl and products like sheet masks and BB creams into their product portfolios.

Many professionals will agree that part of what differentiates K-Beauty is its focus on very specific skincare issues and target areas. The 5 to 15+ step regimen, morning and night, supports the respect Koreans have to how they care for their skin. Korean skincare is never rushed, and always done well. First, we spoke with Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, founders of the Glow Recipe website. Glow Recipe provides a collection of their favorite Korean skin care companies and products with advice, tips and great perks. These ladies have been in the beauty business for 20 years, and wanted to share their experience, knowledge and love of K-Beauty with the world.

In your opinion, why has the global demand for Korean beauty taken off in recent years?

K-beauty’s holistic approach to beauty – where skincare is an enjoyable, pampering ritual – has resonated with global customers that are increasingly invested in caring for skin vs. covering it with makeup.

Korean beauty is undoubtedly at the forefront of the industry, developing and creating never-before-seen innovations, unique textures and ingredients, and products that push the boundaries of beauty. We have received so much feedback from our customers saying how incorporating K-beauty into their routines has dramatically transformed their skin. K-beauty also takes a holistic approach to beauty, in which skincare is an enjoyable, pampering ritual. This practice has resonated with global customers who are increasingly invested in caring for skin over covering it with makeup.

Are there specific products that do better in the U.S. as compared to Europe, South America and other parts of the world?

We feel that US customers are especially practical and result-driven. Multi-taskers with lightweight, breathable textures do well.

Korean beauty products have a sense of humor that tends to make them more accessible. Where does that playfulness originate from?

Skincare is such an integral part of the Korean lifestyle, and it defines an enjoyable time of the day partly because of the fun, playful nature of the products. We like to refer to this lighthearted sensibility as ‘skintertainment‘ – where we take the chore and bore out of a daily routine.

Regarding ingredients, applications and addressing skincare issues, Korean beauty seems light years ahead of many other countries. In your opinion, where does this drive and knowledge stem from?

So many of the of ‘innovative’ ingredients and applications are very much inspired by Korean skincare and beauty traditions that are centuries-old. Take Blithe’s Splash Masks for example; these concentrated liquid masks, which are splashed onto the skin to brighten and re-texturize instantly, are rooted in a bathhouse tradition of splashing milk or rice water onto the skin to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin. Some of our favorite ingredients, like camellia flower, green tea, and bamboo, as well as certain techniques, like fermentation, are steeped in traditional, time-tested, and proven beauty rituals.

However, that is not to say that Korean beauty is only inspired by the past, as the industry is very much focused on the future. The speed of advancement and creation of new categories such as pressed serums or hybrid products are both very much so driven by the hyper-competitive local market and highly demanding Korean consumer.

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Dino Ha, CEO and co-founder of Memebox, a website that sells K-Beauty products organized by category (skincare, trending now, best-in-lash, etc…). All products feature reviews, comments, tutorials, how-to’s and links to purchase everything. He also shared his insight on the rising popularity of Korean skincare.

In your opinion, why has the global demand for Korean beauty products increased dramatically in recent years?

It’s fun, easy, and new to consumers. But more importantly, the quality and innovation are also superior. I see K-beauty as the future for beauty.

What continues to inspire Korean beauty and skin care to be a leader amongst many, regarding new ingredients, applications, and playful delivery?

It’s the customer base that we have in Korea. They are well known for having more than 15 steps in their skin care routines. Close to 10% of our employees spend more than 5 hours on the weekends on their skin care routines. The customers drive innovation and they push the brands to do better!

How do your private label brands, I Dew Care and Nooni marry the best of eastern and western beauty? Are there a couple favorites, which are close to your heart?

I Dew Care was designed specifically for the U.S. customer. The products are from Korea but the brand name, concept, packaging and all design elements were created here in our Francisco offices. We wanted to ensure we were making a brand relevant and intriguing to the U.S audience interested in K-Beauty. Personally, I am a fan of I Dew Care Berry Bubbly for its texture and our Nooni Repair Turnover Peel Pads for their convenience and the instant glow that they produce after application.

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Skincare is such an integral part of the Korean lifestyle, and it defines an enjoyable time of the day partly because of the fun, playful nature of the products.

Vanessa Baumann

Vanessa Baumann has been a licensed, medical aesthetician in New York for over twenty-three years, working with some of Manhattan’s top plastic surgeons. Choosing to change gears and express herself through her love of writing, she is now a freelance writer and beauty editor. Vanessa also may be found on Facebook and Instagram, sharing her knowledge of skincare products, advice, and the quest for glowing skin.

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