Korean beauty products have taken the world by storm and become immensely popular in recent years. The Chinese language term “Hallyu” translated as Korean Wave or K-Wave can be used to describe the widespread popularity of South Korean pop culture, including k-dramas, k-pop music, and Korean skincare or k-beauty, among other things.
An example of Korean pop culture’s widespread popularity is the k-pop group — BTS (Bangtan Boys) having a huge fanbase across the globe. One reason for K-Beauty’s growing popularity is the desire to achieve the “glass skin” look that is trendy in Korean dramas and pop culture. Celebrities in South Korea often use the best skincare products and undergo specialized beauty treatments to achieve this look.
- Why is Korean Skincare so Popular worldwide?
- Why do Koreans have good skin?
- 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine
- Why are Korean Skincare products so affordable?
- Popular K-Beauty ingredients and products to look out for
Why is Korean Skincare so Popular worldwide?
Korean beauty products are well promoted on television and the internet and are used by many famous k-drama stars and k-pop bands like Blackpink. Ever since “Hallyu” or Korean Wave, Korean beauty brands have started making their way into the United States, the UK, and Europe, offering consumers unique skincare products that are not commonly found in the West. These products are known to have a cult following among Western beauty influencers and YouTubers like James Welsh and Hyram Yarbro that promote and tout k-beauty products.
Korean skincare companies like Dr.Jart+ and Innisfree have made their way into major U.S. skincare retailers like Sephora. This is due to the increasing demand in the U.S. for Korean skincare products as well as the initiative of the South Korean government to prioritize cosmetics exports.
Many Western fans of K-Beauty are consciously following Korean beauty standards, especially younger generations including Gen Z and Millennials, and are highly influenced by Korean culture. The increasing popularity of Korean cosmetics and beauty products has led to a significant impact on the Western Cosmetics industry and consumers.
The desire to achieve the “glass skin” look has become a new trend in skincare, and companies use this to market their products. In South Korea, consumers are well-informed about the various skincare ingredients and products offered by Korean beauty brands.
When shopping for K-Beauty in Seoul, consumers can find products that suit their specific skin concerns, types, and needs, allowing them to enhance their natural beauty.
Why do Koreans have good skin?
From a very young age, Koreans are taught the importance of skincare and beauty, as it is considered an essential part of taking care of oneself. Having a beauty and skincare routine is not seen as high-maintenance in South Korea, but rather a necessary aspect of maintaining healthy skin.
Achieving the “glass skin” look is a popular skincare goal among Koreans. The K-beauty industry creates unique products for men and women, and those looking to achieve a glowy dewy look may want to consider using the best Korean skincare products for their goals.
10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine
The K-Beauty routine commonly followed by Korean beauty influencers involves an extensive 10-step regimen. Korean Skincare brands offer a wide range of products that focus more on prevention, protection—and skin elasticity.
The 10-step Korean skincare routine includes the following steps:
- Oil-Based Cleanser: The first step is to cleanse using an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen.
- Water-Based cleanser: The next step is to use a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining impurities from the skin.
- Exfoliator: The next step after double cleansing is to use a physical or chemical exfoliator that can be used 1-3 times a week. It is used to remove dead skin cells and reveal smoother brighter skin.
- Toner: The next step is to use a toner to balance the skin’s pH level and hydrate it for the next steps in the routine.
- Essence: This is a light, watery product that can deeply penetrate the skin to deliver active ingredients that can hydrate, boost, and protect your skin.
- Serum: This is a more concentrated form of essence packed with active ingredients that absorb quickly into the skin and are used to target specific skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, or acne.
- Sheet Mask: Korean face masks are available as sheet masks or sleeping masks that can be used 1-3 times a week. Sheet masks are a sheet of fabric soaked in a concentrated serum and left on the skin for a few minutes to provide intensive hydration and nutrients for skin replenishment.
- Eye Cream: Eye creams can be used to lighten dark circles or prevent wrinkles by hydrating and nourishing the delicate skin around the eyes.
- Moisturizer: The next step is to use a moisturizer. Moisturizers help your skin barrier by improving hydration and protecting the skin by reducing the amount of water loss from it.
- Sunscreen: Using sunscreen helps prevent many skin problems including wrinkles, aging, and damage from harmful UV rays. Spf is essential in any skincare routine.
Why are Korean Skincare products so affordable?
Generally, low-priced products are often low in quality, but with Korean beauty products, this is not the case at all. South Korean companies are known for being innovative in the beauty and cosmeceuticals industry, making Korean skincare products very high-quality and at affordable prices compared to the western competition.
Korean beauty brands are not hesitant about research and development of innovative new ingredients and testing unique formulations. This is the reason they are becoming increasingly popular among the young population and beauty influencers.
Since Korean cosmetics are becoming more innovative this can call for fierce competition among other markets. The Korean beauty market is one of the top 10 global beauty markets estimated to be worth USD 21.8 Billion by 2026 according to GlobalData.
Skincare brands are constantly investing in research and innovation to keep up with the ever-changing skincare and cosmetics industry. South Korea is the world’s 4th largest cosmetics exporter, following France, the United States, and Germany. The U.S. is now the third-largest market for South Korean cosmetic exports, and many Korean beauty brands are now easily available through both online and in-store retailers.
Popular K-Beauty ingredients and products to look out for
K-Beauty products contain a wide range of natural and traditional Korean ingredients that are beneficial for the skin. They contain unique ingredients that are not commonly found in western skincare products. Ingredients such as licorice root extract, ginseng, mugwort, snail mucin, birch sap, honey, fermented rice water, and various other fermented substances are commonly found in Korean beauty products.
Additionally, K-Beauty products often include botanical ingredients like Green tea and Centella asiatica. These ingredients of superior quality can be found in products like essences, toners, serums, and moisturizers.
Best Korean Cosmetic Products
There are several popular Korean cosmetic products that can be added to your beauty routine.
Korean Lip Masks can be very beneficial in effectively healing dry or flaky skin on your lips. They can provide a plump appearance to your lips and including them in your skincare routine can provide long-lasting benefits.
BB Creams have been a sensation in South Korea since the early 2000s, helping women achieve “Chok Chok” skin — considered a true sign and beauty standard in Korean culture. BB creams provide a whiter appearance, radiance, and hydration to the skin, making the facial skin look like porcelain.
Pimple Patches can help heal single pimples and usually have ingredients that help with acne such as Salylicic acid and Tree tea oil. These patches can prevent the urge to pick pimples and absorb any drainage from pimples, thus promoting quicker healing.
Cushion Compacts contain a liquid foundation that is portable in an easy-to-carry compact form. It can be used to touch up your skin and provides a “natural glowing effect” that Korean people desire.