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The K-Beauty Trend Dominated By Indie Beauty Brands

May 23, 2023

The K-Beauty Trend Dominated By Indie Beauty Brands

On Episode 198 of the Korean Beauty Show podcast, Lauren discusses the Korean Beauty trend that indie beauty brands are winning at in Korea. Plus, how should you use and store Vitamin C products. Real customers review products from Subi and Beauty of Joseon. Lauren shares her recommendation of the week. 





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K-Beauty News

Clean Beauty Shows No Sign Of Slowing Down 

  • One offline retailer in Korea announced that the cumulative sales of brands selected as "Clean Beauty" exceeded 500 billion won (nearly $400,000,000 USD) . This is an achievement made in less than three years since its debut in June 2020.
  • In particular, indie beauty brands are doing well out of this trend
  • Round Lab’s Dokdo Tonerwas cited as an example of a leading clean beauty product
  • "Product safety" is being highlighted as a benefit of the trend 
  • I find this quite dubious considering the MFDS is diligent at removing problematic ingredients from the market, as they frequently do.
  • It’s not like retailers conduct their own tests into a product’s safety; it’s all done on the basis of ingredients lists. Anyone who works in the industry knows that the purpose of ingredients lists are to show allergens to people with allergies, not to categories how green or clean a product is.

The K-Beauty Trend Dominated By Indie Beauty Brands

Question of the Week: Questions About Using and Storing Vitamin C

Our listener, Lindsay, writes: 

"Hi Lauren, 
I was listening to the Podcast episode about Vitamin Cand had some questions about the APLB Bee Pollen Propolis Ampoule Serumthat I’m waiting to be delivered. Since it has ascorbic acid (11th ingredient listed):
- Do I need to store it in the fridge? 
- Slowly introduce it to my routine (after patch testing)?
- Need to use it at a different time of day than my acids? 
- Using it before my toner, or not since it is pH balanced at 5.5?"


"These are all great questions and yes APLB's Bee Pollen Serum does have pure ascorbic acid in it but from personal experience with this one (I love it!) it doesn’t  oxidise quickly out of the fridge so I don’t bother refrigerating it. 

Definitely patch test it but I’ve found this to be very mild and gentle on the skin so I don’t think you’ll need to worry too much about using it at a different time than your other acids.

If it passes your initial patch testing I think you’re fine to just keep using it daily. 

Since it’s pH balanced you don’t need to worry about using it before your toner."


Review for the Korean Beauty Show Podcast

Insight into the Korean Beauty Industry

"I’m a casual UK k-beauty fan who loves listening to Lauren Lee’s perspective on the k-beauty industry. Informative and well-researched.
FrauErdapfel via Apple Podcasts · Great Britain · 04/30/23"
The K-Beauty Trend Dominated By Indie Beauty Brands


Recent K-Beauty Reviews

Subi Perfect Pimple Patch 

"The best pimple patch I’ve tried

This pimple patch is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Extremely thin and does the job."

Powder Cleanser

"A must have

This is my first time trying a powder cleanser and I definitely was not disappointed. It lathers beautifully and helps exfoliate just enough that my skin is always feeling smooth."

Subi Powder Cleanser

Beauty of Joseon Apricot Peeling Gel

"Lovely gentle peel

An important part of my weekly self facial, use all my Korean beauty products night. Leaves skin feeling beautifully smooth."

Recommendation of the Week

Korean Film The Hunt

  • 2022 Espionage film 
  • Screened at the Cannes Film Festival 
  • Set in the 1980s, when the military dictatorship reached its peak
  • Tells the story of two unit chiefs from the Agency for National Security Planning searching for a North Korean mole within the agency, known as Donglim.
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"Product safety" is being highlighted as a benefit of clean beauty trend, which I find quite dubious considering the retailers aren't conducting additional tests themselves."

- Lauren Lee, Host of the Korean Beauty Show

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