Whether you are tuning in to Squid Game, singing along to BTS or cleansing your face with Innisfree, all eyes are on Korea.
This new trend of Korean focussed exports has been creeping up on the West. In the case of K-Beauty, it has already had a major impact on Western beauty brands, who have been influenced by Koreans in how they manufacture their products and the types of products they offer. From serums, sheet masks, ampoules and sleeping masks the world has their eyes and ears tuned in to South Korean Beauty manufacturers.
Why Korean Skincare?
Korean skincare manufacturers are at the forefront of skincare technologies and their approach to skincare borders on the obsessive. For South Koreans, skincare, beauty and cosmetics is a big deal.
Young, old, male, or female this is a multi-billion-dollar industry that is competing for consumers at an extremely high level.
Seoul is widely considered the plastic surgery capitol of the world and most families will make regular trips to the dermatologist just to chat about their skincare routines.
When the stakes are this high you better believe that the quality of the product lives up to the demand and expectation. When Korean skincare brands like Innisfree boast that the Green Tea they use in their skincare range is "made on a special volcanic island and selected after studying 2,401 varieties of Green Tea", you know these people are serious about their skincare!
One of the things you might have heard on the grapevine is the 12 Step Korean Beauty Method. This refers to the number of steps and products Koreans apparently use in their nightly skincare routine.
Rumour is they don’t even stop at one cleanser but instead use TWO (double cleansing, anyone?). Each step targets a specific skin issue and prepares the skin to absorb the following steps. The results? Dewy, plump, glass skin.
If these terms seem unfamiliar to you, that’s ok! They are all K-Beauty buzzwords. So, strap in and let’s talk about the basics.
(Oh, and just a warning - while it might sound like a lot don’t be put off. Part of our philosophy at STYLE STORY is that you choose what works for your skin and prioritise the steps that you need. It’s your style, your story).
K-Beauty prides itself on its use of natural ingredients. Common ones you will find in Korean products include:
A big difference in the ingredients found in K-Beauty products vs Western skincare is the gentleness of Korean ingredients. K-Beauty tends to steer clear of stripping or drying ingredients like retinol and harsher acids in favour of newer ingredients like EGF.
The reason for this is simple: Koreans prefer a gentler, slower approach to their skincare. They also usually start looking after their skin from a younger age. Unlike Australians, who have a culture of surf, sun and sun-baking, Koreans are wary of the sun and the havoc it can wreak on the skin.
It’s also common for young Australians in their 20’s or even early 30’s to not have a solid skincare routine. Many continue to partake in activities like tanning, binge drinking and forgetting to wear SPF.
All these factors contribute to skin damage like inflammation pigmentation and premature aging. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see Westerners turn to treatments like retinols and harsh acids to try to strip back the damage. Koreans take more of a preventative approach.
One of our favourite things about K-Beauty is the affordability. That’s not to say that there aren’t high end Korean beauty products available on the market – take luxury Korean skincare brand Sulwhasoo, for example. BUT there are a heap of products with beautiful ingredients at great prices.
Sheet masks are around the $2 - $4 mark and we even have an Under $5 section to shop on STYLE STORY.
As with every brand and product on the market there is a spectrum but even in the cheapest K-Beauty products you can guarantee quality ingredients and advanced formulations. It’s a big part of why K-Beauty has taken off in such a big way.
The fact that Koreans follow a 12-step routine probably gives you some idea of just HOW many products are available on the market. To begin with the 12 steps, you have the following;
Not to mention hand creams, foot masks, lip masks, eye gel patches.
All of these products have hundreds of different offerings on the market and target every single skin concern/condition imaginable; oily, ageing, dry, sensitive, combination, dull, pigmentation, acne prone– the list goes on.
K-Beauty is not a one fit for every type, the size of the industry allows you to pick and choose products tailored exactly to your skin concerns or your favourite ingredient. It’s also what makes discovering and trying K-Beauty so fun and exciting. Using a Cleansing Balm or a Powder-To Foam-Cleanser for the first time is fun!
The packaging of K-Beauty is also a way to have fun with your routine – whether it’s the fruit themes of Tony Moly, the deliciously tasty Jelly Ko boxes or the hologram packaging of Subi, K-Beauty knows how to make skincare fun. It brings in new ways to engage with your routine and introduces a different approach to skincare.
This huge variety in product offering, ingredients and packaging is one of the main reasons we decided to call ourselves STYLE STORY. When it comes to K-Beauty it really is Your Style, Your Story.
You have the luxury to tailor your routine to whatever suits you with the guarantee that you are getting high quality skincare made with incredible formulations. Your skin changes with age, seasons and environmental factors and K-Beauty’s there waiting every step of the way on your skins journey.
These are just SOME of the reasons why K-Beauty has taken off in recent years and is dominating the industry.
Forget the 12 steps and just remember these four. Gentle ingredients, great formulations, good packaging and guilt-free prices!
If you have any questions about K-Beauty, your routine or you are just looking for a place to start please reach out to us. We love hearing your questions and are always here to help.
"Korean skincare manufacturers are at the forefront of skincare technologies and their approach to skincare borders on the obsessive. For South Koreans, skincare, beauty and cosmetics is a big deal."- STYLE STORY K-Beauty
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