Korean Beauty isn’t unknown to European and US citizens anymore. This phenomenon has already gone mainstream, and we have all heard from the 10 steps’ Korean Skincare regimen: Cleanse, tone, essence, using several serums (you can eve create your own serum cocktail mixing some of them), eye cream, moisturise, suncare/bb creams and mist!
K-Beauty is dazzling people all around the world. Its success resides in the quality of Asiatic women’s skin and the amount of good and innovative products that they produce. But of course, the well played marketing that the products category has received plays and important role on its proliferation… for example:
- The rise of Korean bloggers, youtubers, and beauty brand’s ambassadors – See the Songs sisters, Aimee and Dani Song. Nowadays, this is key to grow the popularity of a product. If fancy girls are using it, you want to also!
- The availability of the products – At the beginning, you could only get your dreamed sleeping mask just when your friends travelled to Seoul, otherwise, you had to contend with labeling you couldn’t read and a long shipping wait. Now, there are many European and American e-commerce sites specialized in Korean beauty products. Specially, I have lately fallen in love with Sokoglam, an e-commerce and lifestyle website founded by Charlotte Cho, american born with Korean background!
- The acquisition of Korean original products on our daily routines – Who doesn’t know what a BB cream is? But, did you know that it was created in Korea many years before we starting using it?
It’s then clear for everybody that Korean Beauty is a growing trend. But what’s the situation then for west leading beauty companies? How are they confronting this situation? How should they?
On this Goole Trends graphic we see that the blue line, which belongs to the word Korean Beauty, is growing through the years, having its bigger peak at the beginning of 2015. Meanwhile, Estée Lauder decreases little by little. Could it be that the world’s globalization is making obvious that asiatic skin-care products are better than ours? Could it be that some Korean brands are stealing the luxury brand’s market share?
In order to overtake this situation, Estée Lauder’s CEO Fabrizio Freda started an aggressive business strategy that tries to embrace Korean trends and technology, because as he says, it’s the only way to compete with them.
This summer 2015, for example, they signed the rainbow-haired model Irene Kim, who was born in Seattle and moved in middle school to Seoul, as a “global brand contributor”. Also, one month ago they invested in Have & Be Co. Ltd., the owner of Do The Right Thing and Dr. Jart+, some of the first Korean skin care brands that participated on NYFW.
In my opinion, K-Beauty is another big global trend created from a local habit. We are seeing similar cases with nordic decoration, latin american energy food full of avocados and acai bowls, etc. This is normal in a world where everything is shared, where time and territory aren’t limits anymore. Thanks to social media we can see what other people is doing and as it inspires us, we want to have it too.
But what if another concept rises and takes Korean Beauty’s throne? The biggest threat of a social media phenomenon is to surpass the “trend” moment of the category and establish itself as a solid product. As Alicia Yoon, owner of e-commerce Peach and Lilly says, “My hope is that just like with any beauty brand that is great, our brands just aren’t lumped together into ‘Oh yeah, that’s K-beauty,'” she says. ” [I want it to be] almost an afterthought where they’re from. As the category matures, the conversation will turn more toward the brand identities. At the very least, I would like for people to think that Korean beauty stands for great formulations.”
Have a wonderful week, and thanks for reading!