From the usage of ingredients such as snail secretions, wine, chia seeds, and starfish in their skin care brands to their sought after BB creams, Korean skin care products and regimens are beginning to make their mark, or more appropriately, helping to prevent the appearance of and conceal the marks, on North American consumers.
According to Omona Journal, Target and Urban Outfitters are just two retail giants that have introduced Korean manufactured products as of late, with Sephora set to add them to their shelves next year.
South Koreans are known the world over for taking their skin care very seriously, and while the phenomenon of Korean produced BB creams (all-in-one beauty balms) have gotten the attention of skin-care manufacturers, retail outlets, and beauticians around the globe, it hasn’t been until recently that the general North American public have been offered the opportunity to make use of the regimens and products that the Korean market offers.
Omona Journal noted the fact that the skin care regimens which originate in Korea are not entirely a trend, “[I]nterest in Korean skincare isn’t so much an American trend as the far-reaching ripples of a massive Korean beauty craze fed by competitive suppliers, a supportive government and, most of all, incredibly demanding consumers.”
The western world has therefore simply been the far-reaching ripple of this skin care wave originating in South Korea, which thereby allows North Americans access to the benefits of this craze. Katie Becker of W Magazine noted the apparent phenomenon that is Korean skin care earlier this year, and highlighted the fact that the market for these products is so competitive that there are ongoing message boards across Korea on which reviews of newly released products are posted “where reviewers can make or break a product overnight.”
Anne Carullo, senior vice president of global product development at Estée Lauder and Tom Ford Beauty, relayed to Becker that “Korea is a hypermarket, fast moving, and they are very into skin. It has emerged as an extremely influential place to watch how trends emerge.”
Some of the most sought after brands that are trending their way overseas to eager North Americans include Amore Pacific, Etude House, Senite, Laneige, Missha, Hera, The Skin Food, The Face Shop, and Sulwhasoo. Prices are costly for many of the offered products and treatments; Marie Claire emphasized this when communicating about a Korean skin care method that involves stem cell technology, whereby stem cells are extracted from adult bone marrow and fat tissue for a product named Beaucell. The regimen involving this product gives the face a plumping effect. The cost of such a product is not cheap, yet many Koreans are willing to pay the $2,000 price tag for a six-week supply of the product.
But is it all hype? Are Korean products actually otherworldly in comparison to the products that North Americans are accustomed?
Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice Skin Care and Cosmetics as well as an author of 20 best-selling books on skin care, makeup, and hair care, notes an interesting fact on her website Paula’s Choice Skin Care.
“This is truly a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the world… people in Korea are not walking around with gorgeous, flawless skin because they use only Korean brands. In an ironic twist, the clamor for western (specifically, American) brands in Korea is actually quite a thing to behold! You have to wonder—if Korean beauty products are so miraculous, why are so many western brands selling like hotcakes in Korea?”
The one obvious difference noticed when comparing North American skin care products to those of Korea is that American products focus heavily on covering up imperfections and blemishes, whereas the majority of Korean brands and regimens are intended as preventative measures. That’s not to say that there are not any North American products that are excellent preventatives. It’s just that the priorities of the U.S. skin care market are more heavily focused on masking imperfections and enhancing features rather than preventing the onset of damage.
As Paula Begoun writes, “In truth, there is no regional or national inside track to having great skin… how to have great skin is not a secret, and lastly, there are good and bad products from brands in all corners of the world.”
There are products all over the world that work for various individuals. Are South Korean products the Holy Grail of skin care? Perhaps to some individuals with specific skin types, the answer is yes, but the final words on this topic are to each their own. Find what works best and love the skin you’ve got.
Read up on some fantastic tips about power foods that actually nourish your skin naturally.