Continued global interest in East Asian skincare and beauty regimes has boosted the development of new products, and leading the way is South Korean cosmetics company, AmorePacific (named by Forbes magazine as the world’s 28th most innovative company). The company’s Air Cushion technology has helped AmorePacific become South Korea’s top facial makeup brand. Since its launch in 2008, more than 50 million Air Cushion compacts have been sold, and in July this year AmorePacific signed a deal with Parfums Christian Dior to share the technology.
Image credit: amorepacific via tumblr
In the meantime, L’Oréal’s brand, Lancôme, has already launched its Miracle Cushion foundation in Western markets. Clearly, the expectation is that air cushion cosmetics will also become a must-have item for Caucasian women. This is due to ‘Asian-ifcation’ (Asia’s increasing influence on innovation in beauty), the trend for fresh-faced, no make-up-make-up and the growing importance of a clean and healthy skin base as a prerequisite to beautiful skin – something Korean women have long been obsessed with. In their quest for the skin of their dreams – generally equated to a baby-smooth complexion with a dewy glow (known as ‘mul-kwang-pi-bu’) – Korean women tend to follow a 10-step skincare regime. Moreover, they reportedly spend seven times more money on beauty products than Americans. As a result, cosmetics companies in the region are constantly striving to up their game, continually investing in skincare innovation and introducing new ‘game-changing’ products into the market. Here are a few South Korean gadgets which may just turn out to be the next-big-thing in beauty the world over.
Electronic application devices
The MakeON Makeup Enhancer comes with three types of applicator heads. The ceramic massager is designed to boost skin circulation and may be used before makeup application to enable better absorption of ‘effective skincare ingredients’. It may also be used on cleansed skin before bedtime to promote a glowing complexion the following day. The aircell and skincell puffs are for optimal application of liquid foundation.
DIY Face Masks
Huge in South Korea, the face mask trend is also catching on in the Western world. The sheer range of mask products on offer is literally too vast to mention. So I won’t. (But here’s a link to over 2,450).
So what’s new in masking? Apparently, it’s DIY kits. A prototype of a mask making machine piqued the interest of a beauty blogger at the International Expo Korea this month. Much like an ordinary fruit juicer, the idea is that users can whizz up their own customised hydrating masks containing fruits and/or veggies of their choice. Beauty oils, serums and essences may also be thrown into the mix, along with a dose of water and a tablet-type thickening agent. The machine then takes just five minutes to produce a ready-to-wear mask. Once applied to the face, the hydrogel mask is absorbed into the skin and any juicy leftovers can be dissolved in water to create a fragrant spritz. Bonus!
Image credit: therefinery.com
Kim Nan-hee, the vice-president of product strategy at AmorePacific, was quoted as saying “Male skincare is not yet our main market, but it is the fastest growing sector that we cannot miss.”
According to market research company, Euromonitor, South Korean men spend the most per head in the world on skincare, and the country leads the premium men’s skincare market. Cosmetic companies are also targeting the premium sector with home devices designed to address male skincare concerns.
Image credit: nonsonoquitter.blogspot.co.uk
Korean brand Tony Moly has recently launched two beauty tools under it’s Expert Lab line. Aimed at discerning male consumers looking for professional grade results, the devices are described as providing “deep penetration of topical skincare products to make for skin that looks like you just took a trip to the aesthetician.”
The Expert Lab Dual Ion Peel And Filler uses LED technology to improve facial skin elasticity and removal of dead skin cells.
The Expert Lab Relaxing Line Shaper is a face & body massager that purports to make skin healthy and slim through the lymph circulation and meridian effect.
Of course, there are no guarantees that products that have proved popular in South Korea or East Asia will take off in other parts of the world. (Remember snail slime face cream anyone?)
That said, any non-invasive, pain-free product that can deliver beautiful skin gets my vote.
Posted by Vicky Hong
Principal - Research
Chinese and English.
The last thing that inspired me: My recent visit to The Shanghai Exhibition Centre (previously known as Sino-Soviet Friendship Building). It had amazing Russian and Empire style neoclassical architecture with Stalinist neoclassical innovations.
My dream project: Running a hostel with a garden café.
My obsession: My naughty son.