K-Beauty is officially everywhere.
Following a meteoric rise which has seen the South Koreans shoot straight to the top of the beauty game, K-Beauty has solidified its standing as player number one.
In the last five years, Korean beauty conglomerates like Innisfree have become household names and permanent fixtures in the country’s Westfields and shopping strips. Famed for their innovative formulations, cutting-edge ingredients and cruelty-free approach to skincare, Koreans have redefined a new approach to beauty.
The Korean philosophy to skincare is far more considered and delicate than their Western counterparts, with a focus placed on prevention rather than cure. With routines that can include as many as 12 steps, the Korean approach allows for an incredibly tailored and personalised skin care regiment that can be adapted as required. The option to include (or remove) serums, sleeping masks, essences and acids allows you to target specific skin concerns and find a routine that works with your lifestyle.
With so many brands and products it can feel like an overwhelming space to enter. Today we will guide you through some of the main reasons K-Beauty reigns supreme.
South Koreans have consistently been at the forefront of innovative beauty formulations and ingredients. With a strong cultural identity that spans thousands of years, Korean Beauty infuses ancient knowledge of ingredients with modern advanced technologies.
Whether it is Innisfree harnessing of the nutrient rich soil found on the volcanic island of Jeju or Beauty of Joseon recreating the skincare knowledge of the women from the Korean Dynastic Period, ingredients and formulations are taken incredibly seriously. There is also a large focus on natural, gentle, soothing ingredients as opposed to chemical, harsh or stripping ingredients often found in Western skincare. Common ingredients found in K-Beauty include Centella asiatica (often referred to as Cica), Glutathione, Niacinamide, Mugwort and natural Vitamin C alternatives.
Other examples of their ingredient innovation include their use of snail secretion filtrate in products (all of which is collected in a safe and environmentally friendly way - without harming the snail!) and green tea. Innisfree boasts that their Green Tea formulations were made “ after studying 2,401 varieties of Green Tea”
Why is Kbeauty so innovative?
The population in South Korea, a whopping 51 million people for a country that is 1/78th the size of Australia, means that competition is rife. With so many giant conglomerates competing for people's attention and wallets, the race is on to come up with the best formulations and the best product (often at the best price). This healthy and robust competitive space is what has kept the K-beauty industry moving forward in leaps and bounds.
Now more than ever consumers are wary of what is in their skincare and what they are putting on their face. By using mostly natural, soothing ingredients, minimal fragrance, and formulations that are designed for sensitive skin, customers can rest easy knowing that Korean formulations aren’t going to strip the skin or damage their skin's barrier.
Many products are also Vegan friendly, meaning no animals have suffered for your beauty. Testing on animals is not legal in Korea, so consumers can rest easy knowing that their K-Beauty is cruelty free.
The sheer size of the K-Beauty industry and the key players vying for the top spot means that Korean skincare is designed for every skin concern/condition imaginable; oily, ageing, dry, sensitive, combination, dull, pigmentation, acne prone– the list goes on.
The skin-friendly approach starts at the very first step. The Korean Double Cleanse. The double cleanse method introduces an oil or balm cleanser to remove SPF and makeup, ditching the harsh and often stripping makeup wipes often found in Western beauty.
One of the core philosophies underpinning K-Beauty is their focus on prevention over cure.
Koreans will often commence a beauty routine in their teenage years, long before most Westerners. There are also other significant cultural differences like attitudes towards the sun and UV exposure. It’s not uncommon for Westerners (particularly Australians) in their 30’s and 40’s to turn to lasers, fillers, botox and, in extreme cases facelifts, to reverse the signs of aging caused by years of sun tanning and exposure to harsh UV rays.
On the other hand, the Korean Beauty industry promotes proper, gentle skincare over a prolonged period of time with results sometimes taking longer to appear. Koreans famously are less reliant on retinol, Western Beauty’s holy grail ingredient of anti-ageing. For more reasons on why K-Beauty avoids retinol you can visit this blog.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and deserves to be treated with care. The Korean ethos is start early, remain consistent and your skin will thank you for it.
Another edge that K-Beauty has on Western skincare is it’s affordability.
While it is true that luxury brands exist in the K-Beauty world (think Sulwahoo, Amore Pacific and Charmzone) K-Beauty is famed for its affordability. Brands like Innisfree, Skinfood and Benton average out at around the $20 mark for their products.
The best part? The affordability doesn’t come at the expense of great formulations and ingredients.
In an industry with so many competitors, the price of K-Beauty has been driven down to give consumers the best possible experience.
K-Beauty has a lot to offer, which is why it’s currently the world number one. For context, the industry is expected to grow to $13.9 billion by 2027.
Thanks to the innovative formulations, advanced technology, personalised skincare routines, natural and gentler formulation for all skin types, prevention techniques and affordable yet high quality skincare K-Beauty is here to stay.
If you are new to your K-Beauty journey or just looking to shake things up, reach out to one of our STYLE STORY team members. We are here to answer any and all of your K-Beauty related questions!
"With a strong cultural identity that spans thousands of years, Korean Beauty infuses ancient knowledge of ingredients with modern advanced technologies."- STYLE STORY Korean Beauty
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