Korean Skin Care Products

Hand cream in panda-shaped containers, face masks that transform your face into a rabbit, lip balms that look suspiciously like popsicles -- if you’ve ever walked through the cosmetics isle in any beauty shop or department store, you probably have noticed a colorful assortment of skin care products filling the shelves, with some of the most popular being Korean beauty products. The amount of Korean beauty products that can be found in the U.S. market has greatly increased and they can easily be spotted through the many celebrity endorsements. Korean beauty products have hit the nation in a wave!

The Korean beauty market, otherwise known as Kbeauty, is now valued at around $13 billion, with $7.2 billion coming from facial skin care. With all the cute designs and affordable rates, it’s no wonder that these cosmetics have caught the people’s eyes. Certainly, a large factor contributing to the success of Korean beauty products is the hallyu movement, otherwise known as the Korean wave. This wave is an increase in popularity in South Korean culture, particularly with the rise of the many internationally acclaimed Korean pop groups composed of numerous adorable heartthrobs. But surely, affordability, cute packaging, and the rise of Korean culture must not be the sole reason why Kbeauty is so popular. There must be some other reason why people keep purchasing Korean skin care products.  

One of the reasons why Korean skin care products may be so popular may be due to the components included in it. Korea is one of the few countries that have “functional cosmetics,” a label used by the Korean Food and Drug Administration to describe the properties some Korean skin care products have, from anti-wrinkle to pigment-fading. This has fueled many beauty companies to research more about creating better products. On the other end, this has also fueled the consumers to learn more about cosmetics. The Korean skin care companies have always been interested in natural ingredients, some of which can sound intimidating at first. The popular brand SkinFood takes this quite literally with their “food cosmetics.” They are taking the phrase “you are what you eat” to a whole new level by incorporating the things that we generally eat, like strawberries and black sugar, into their cosmetics.

There are numerous popular components found in many Korean skin care products. One example is snail mucin. This is known to have hydrating and regenerative powers which can help reduce hyperpigmentation and help moisturize and soothe acne. Snail mucin is produced naturally by snails to help them heal wounds. Another popular component is hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring humectant in our skin tissues that is important in retaining skin moisture. As we age, we produce less of this, resulting in wrinkles and saggy skin. A third example is propolis, an antibacterial substance used in ancient medicine. It can help with cell renewal. Not only is it known for its anti-aging properties, but it is also helps relieve irritation and decrease blemishes. Propolis is a gummy substance used by bees to seal and sterilize their hives. A final component is centella asiatica extract. This extract is a medicinal herb used popularly in Asia, and in Korean folklore, tigers roll in it to help heal their wounds. Asides from healing wounds, it is recommended to treat various skin conditions like eczema and varicose ulcers. There are many more examples, from the common tea tree oil to the anti-aging properties of ginseng.

These are just a few of the interesting ingredients common in Korean skin care. Another great thing about Korean skin care is that you can understand many of its ingredients, making it more fun to research the best product for you. Hopefully this article will help you begin your journey in Korean skin care!

Resources:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/health/korean-makeup-beauty-health-benefits/index.html

https://medium.com/s/youthnow/how-k-beauty-conquered-the-west-f8bf81d28bf7

https://beautymnl.com/bloom/articles/k-beauty-101-your-cheat-sheet-to-9-popular-ingredients

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116297/

https://stylecaster.com/beauty/k-beauty-popular-ingredients/#slide-4

https://blog.euromonitor.com/growth-k-beauty-us-market/

Mary Yoshikawa