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Why Are Korean Beauty Products Packaged in English?

March 01, 2023

Why Are Korean Beauty Products Packaged in English?

Why Are Korean Beauty Products Packaged in English?


Episode Description

Lauren answers a listener's question about why Korean Beauty products are packaged in English and why new cosmetics laws in the US are causing a buzz in the Kbeauty industry. Plus, K-Beauty brand I'm From has just launched at STYLE STORY and a new reality TV show in Korea is being described as a real life Squid Game! 



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Episode Summary 


Kbeauty News

How the new MOCRA bill will affect the Korean Beauty industry 

  • The Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022 (MOCRA), which will come into force in late 2023 represents the first time the US has updated it's federal cosmetic law in over 80 years. 
  • There is a lot of chat in the Korean beauty industry at the moment about how this new law will affect Korean cosmetics. 
  • Similarly to many other jurisdictions, in the US cosmetics is a broad term that includes many categories of products. 
  • The new law aims at harmonizing some of the existing laws covering cosmetics and is mainly targeting health and safety. 
  • In particular, cosmetics companies now need to be able to substantiate the safety of their products and have systems in place to report serious adverse events 
  • Womens Voices reports that the law, among many others:
    • "Requires mandatory reporting by manufacturers of serious adverse health events caused by cosmetic products.
    • Requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish Good Manufacturing Practices that all manufacturers will be required to follow.
    • Requires cosmetic facilities to register with the FDA, and provide a list of products and product ingredients, including ingredients in fragrance and flavors, to the agency.
    • Requires manufacturers to keep records that show safety substantiation of a product.
    • Requires labeling of fragrance allergens for all cosmetics and labeling of ingredients in professional use only products used by salon workers."
  • This will obviously affect Korean cosmetics being exported to the US market, particularly the requirements around labelling 


Why Are Korean Beauty Products Packaged in English?

Question of the Week: Why Are Korean Beauty Products Packaged in English?

One of our listeners reached out and asked:

"Why is it that Korean skincare product packaging is always in English? The information on the back is usually in Korean but is the front labeling and brand name in English in South Korea as well? Or do they make specific packaging for different countries in their language?"


This is just my guess but I think the reason that Korean Beauty product labels are often in English is likely twofold - one reason would be for marketing, to make it easier to market the products overseas. Having the labels in English obviously makes export much easier and it also makes it easier to get foreign consumers interested in the products in the first place. Korean beauty as an industry gets a lot of funding from the government and I think they know very well that using English terms, phrases and product names is key for export. Using English definitely gives Korean products an edge over Japanese cosmetics, which aren’t translated, certainly at the smaller end of the market. 

The second reason I would assume is that, kind of like French is to English speakers, a lot of Koreans think that English is cool or sounds a bit more bougee. It’s different from hangeul (the Korean alphabet) and makes it standout from other products on the shelf. As a result, I've seen many brands try to incorporate English into their signs, menus and names. In Korea, it's quite common to see businesses using English terms and phrases as well, across many different industries not just skincare and makeup. 


New Kbeauty Products at STYLE STORY 


I'm From Mugwort Essence 


I'm From Ginseng Serum

  • This radiance serum contains almost 8% Ginseng Extract
  • It aims to boost skin hydration, diminish rough texture and help fade uneven skin tone.
  • It also contains betaine, green tea leaf extract and glycerin to moisturise and condition the skin. 


New Kbeauty Reviews at STYLE STORY

Bubble Tea Steam Cream Review

"My new HG!
Bubble Tea Steam Cream
WOW, i think i have found my new HG! I have been eyeing off this product for a while, but needed to finish the million other KB creams i have purchased.
I usually use the BOJ Dynasty cream for the day as it is nice and light, so when i opened the bubble tea steam cream, i am not going to lie, i was concerned with the thickness - my skin tends to break out with thicker day creams.
3 weeks on and (knock on wood) my face has not had one breakout, not even my hormonal cystic acne at that time of the month!! I did feel comfortable purchasing this without worrying about breakouts."

Why Are Korean Beauty Products Packaged in English?

Subi Brightening Powder Cleanser Review 

"Soooo good!
This powder cleanser is great, you only need a small amount to get a beautiful soft foam. It’s not drying on my skin. It lasts a really long time."

Recommendation of the Week - Physical 100 

  • Physical 100 is a Korean reality TV show currently on Netflix
  • It has been described as an IRL Squid Game meets Tough Mudder
  • The contestants are drawn from professional athletes, influencers, dancers and fighters
  • A good one to try if you love shows like Survivor with a side of eye candy 


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"Having the labels in English obviously makes export much easier and it also makes it easier to get foreign consumers interested in the products in the first place."

- Lauren Lee, KBeauty Expert

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