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K-beauty Expo 2019

December 30, 2020

K-beauty Expo 2019

K-beauty Expo 2019

This year 5 of our team members headed off to the K-Beauty Expo in Ilsan, Korea to see the latest Korean beauty products and meet with the companies behind them.

This is everything you need to know about K-Beauty going into 2020!

K-Beauty Expo

The K-Beauty Expo that’s held in the second week of October every year is the biggest event on the global K-Beauty calendar, attended by thousands of companies, influencers, media and more from both Korea and the world.This year marked the 11th annual K-Beauty Expo at Kintex, in Ilsan, about a half an hour’s drive outside Seoul.

5 STYLE STORY team members attended this year’s expo, including 4 of our Seoul-based team and one of our Australia-based team members.

Not only did we see over 750 booths packed with the next wave of Korean skincare and beauty trends, SS Founder Lauren Lee was invited to be one of the guest speakers at this year’s Global Beauty Trends Forum, delivering a presentation on market entry strategies for companies looking to export to Australia.

Rise Of Vegan Beauty

If this year’s Expo is anything to go by, vegan skincare is the next big trend in K-Beauty and one that we expect to see much more in 2020 and beyond.

With the popularity of a vegan lifestyle continuing to grow, many Korean skincare companies are turning their focus to the vegan beauty market, with brands like The Vegan Glow and Subi focusing entirely on vegan formulations. Many brands at this year’s expo even had vegan certifications and were, of course, proudly cruelty free.

Other brands are strictly formulating their products with EWG green-grade ingredients, and are making the shift to environmentally-friendly packaging made from recycled paper and plastic with soy ink printing.

Puritois one such brand, using toxin / chemical-free products made from ethical, environmentally-friendly packaging. Purito also donates a portion of its profits to the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement. The brand’s entire Centella Asiatica line is 100% vegan, with the remaining products being 100% cruelty free.

Keeping It Natural

Natural, “clean” beauty was the other star of this year’s Expo, in a category that we have seen growing considerably for the last 5 years.

A wide variety of brands are now completely dedicating themselves to clean beauty, using only natural plant extracts and ingredients. One such brand, which has just been curated for the STYLE STORY website is Nacific, a brand that taps into the power of natural ingredients using scientific research. Nacific products make use of natural ingredients like herbs and flower extracts to provide solutions to common skin dilemmas like oiliness, dullness and dry skin.

Other brands we spoke with included Dalra, whose water-free products are based on cypress extract rather than purified water, Bota Moa, whose products are derived from nature and intended to do no harm to the skin and W.ant, a brand that has recently made the shift to using 100% recyclable packaging.


Partly in line with the trend towards more natural alternatives, we noticed far less products making a play in the “cute” category this year, although Kocostar’s adorable Waffle Masks were a standout.

The winner in the visual beauty stakes this year was clear though – hologram. Brands from Subito Sooae are making use of holo in their packaging this year, giving gorgeous eye-candy and highly instagrammable beauty options that incorporate all the ingredients and natural philosophies other brands are embracing.

Global Beauty Trends Forum

This year STYLE STORY Founder Lauren was invited by the Korean Government to attend as one of the guest speakers at the Expo’s Global Beauty Trends Forum. She took the stage in front of 500 companies to discuss how Korean brands can cultivate market entry strategies and successfully comply with cosmetic regulation in Australia.

The Global Beauty Trend’s Forum is attended by companies looking to sharpen their export skills and explore international markets, giving them practical tips and guidance for successfully navigating international distribution channels, consumers and cosmetic regulations.

Other presenters at this year’s forum included directors from multinational pharmacy chains, luxury retailers, indie beauty brokers and experts on American consumer and beauty trends.

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