Why are Korean cosmetics so successful?

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Similar to other women in the world, American want their skin to be fresh, healthy and young looking. They seek natural skincare products to prevent the signs of aging and avoid harmful ingredients. They also use cleanse, toner, and mask for better results. However, it is not effective to just use skincare without knowing how and when to apply the products on skin. Therefore, South Korean skincare routines come in the way and blow the world.

Different from American, South Korean place heavy emphasis on skincare rather than makeup and use natural and herbal ingredients such as tea, ginseng… for better absorption. Therefore, Korean women take pride in skincare routine in order to have beautiful and healthy skin, and spend lots of money on skincare lines. They believe that healthy skin comes with a price, which is daily effort. When you rush, you fail. The skincare routines are extensive, which vary from 8 to 10 steps:

Day time:

  • Face wash with only water
  • Toner helps balance pH levels
  • Ampoule/serum contains active ingredients for wrinkes, dark spots…
  • Eye cream helps smooth and hydrated
  • Moisturizer helps all-day hydration
  • Sunscreen (not using for night time).

Night time:

  • Face wash with oil-based cleanser to remove oil makeup
  • Exfoliate twice a week helps remove dead skin cells
  • Toner
  • Essence/Ampoule/Serum
  • Sheet mask helps deliver deeply hydrating and anti-ageing treatment
  • Eye cream
  • Moisturizer
  • Healthy food and good sleep are as important as using skincare products.

Korean beauty products are pretty cheap because of mass production. According to Fast Company, high-quality moisturizers only cost $10 to $20 in Korean while they are $50-$200 in America due to import taxes. Moreover, the cosmetics industry in Korea is already ahead of US. In 2008, while American beauty products figured out how to put parabens to prevent bacteria growth in products, Korean already experimented, tested, and succeeded with products that contained parabens compound. As a result, Korean government supports cosmetics industry because of its strong export.

One of the most popular Korean beauty products that export to US is BB cream, which is used for decades in Korea. BB cream is considered an innovation in Korea that contains both moisturizer and foundation. Moreover, the cream benefits the skin through anti-aging, suncreen, and anti-acne, which are very necessary in selfie culture.  In 2011, Sephora first introduced Korean BB cream that other US brands started to launch their own BB cream.  In 2014, the BB cream alone was worth $164 million in US market.


  • https://www.fastcompany.com/3038283/why-korean-skincare-is-booming
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