Alibaba Global Insights

The best of Korean beauty products & the trends in K-beauty industry

best-of-Korean-beauty-products

Korean beauty products are gaining popularity worldwide. Offering intense hydration, protective sunscreen, and unique natural ingredients, k-beauty is becoming a major contender in the global cosmetic industry. Like most beauty trends, k-beauty will continue to evolve as new and innovative Korean beauty products are developed, and brands compete to be the number one. So, to keep you updated, we’re going to explain what k-beauty is, why it’s becoming extremely popular, and new trends to look out for in 2021. Whether you’re curious about the 10-step Korean skincare routine, or you’re thinking of selling sheet masks, snail mucin, and tiger grass color corrector, get ready to learn everything you need to know about the weird and wonderful world of k-beauty.

Table of Contents

What is K-beauty?

Designed to be playful, cute, and anti-aging, k-beauty brands will often invest heavily in packaging, products, and marketing. Brands will typically use fun and creative gimmicks, such as color-changing cosmetics and k-pop idol endorsed makeup, as well as weird and wonderful ingredients like snail mucin, bee venom, and tiger grass.

But, what makes a beauty product k-beauty? Well, K stands for Korean, the same way K-pop refers to Korean pop music, and K-dramas are Korean TV shows. The K-beauty industry has a huge focus on skincare routines and investing in sunscreen and sheet masks to prevent premature aging and protect the skin as much as possible from harmful UV rays. No wonder Koreans are known for their youthful looks! Caring for your skin is part of the culture in Korea, a new concept for the West, who enjoy the healthy sun-kissed glow after a day on the beach. For Koreans, exposing your bare skin on even a cloudy day without sunscreen is a big no! In fact, many people in Korea will hide from the sun and wear very high SPF sunscreen daily to minimize fine lines and wrinkles.

So, why is K-beauty so popular in the West? Well, it’s not only k-beauty that is gaining popularity on a global scale. K-pop, K-dramas, and Korean snacks are all trending. In fact, the K-beauty market is currently valued at over $10.2 billion and is projected to reach $13.9 billion by 2027. And this is all down to social media and k-pop influencers. Video tutorials showing the 10-step Korean skincare routine and Instagram influencers promoting k-beauty brands have helped the industry grow at a significant rate. 1

Plus, in response to the global pandemic, K-beauty brands stepped up their digital marketing campaigns to target international consumers at home and looking for ways to make lockdown more entertaining. With playful products and cute animal-inspired sheet masks, manufacturers in the K-beauty industry were able to promote self-care items as well as pivot to offer hand sanitizers, personal care products, and acne-fighting skincare to combat breakouts from wearing face masks. 2

Popular K-beauty brands

Dr. Jart+

Award-winning skincare brand Dr.Jart+ specializes in color-correcting, sheet masks, hydrators, and toners for sensitive skin. Famous for their rubber derma care masks, give your skin an intense boost with K-beauty skincare pamper session. Or, explore their Cicapair collection, combining the power of tiger grass to soothe sensitive skin and create the illusion of a clear and neutral complexion.

COSRX

For anyone suffering from acne, COSRX has over 10 years of skincare experience and is committed to creating effective, affordable, and sensitive skin-friendly products. Most of the product range targets dry, dehydrated, and troublesome skin with certain skincare items specially reserved for acne and breakouts, such as their acne pimple master patch.

Peach & Lilly

Another popular k-beauty brand for acne and problematic skin is Peach & Lilly. With a simplified 3-step Korean skincare routine, Peach & Lilly offers acne clarifying cleanser, acne exfoliating toner, and an oil-free cleanser for acne skin. Peach & Lilly have also won awards for their Acne Spot Dots, with over 30 million patches sold.

Innisfree

A natural and minimalist approach to skincare, Innisfree is currently promoting a new range of green tea eye creams, serums, and hydrators. Customers can choose from Green Tea Seed Eye Cream to banish dark circles and crows feet, as well as green tea seed serum to achieve that sought-after glass skin complexion. Innisfree also has SPF30 mineral makeup bases to enhance skin tone, balance oil, and protect against harmful UV rays.

What is the innovation behind K-beauty?

What makes K-beauty brands unique is their use of natural and quite unusual ingredients. From snail mucin, carrot seed oil, green tea seed, tiger grass, and bee venom, many brands get experimental when it comes to fighting fine lines, wrinkles, acne, and excess oil. Apart from the 10-step Korean skincare routine, here are a couple of new trends to look out for in 2021;

Mushroom power

Get ready to discover the power of mushrooms this year as K-beauty introduces the world to mushroom moisturizers and serums. Shroom skincare is rich in antioxidants and is a hot new skincare trend.

Carrot seed oil

A natural antioxidant, carrot seed oil is also antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory, which helps soothe and brighten the skin.

Acid layering

K-beauty often uses acids to exfoliate the skin, and the right balance of AHAs and BHAs will help gently buff away dead skin cells and reveal a more youthful complexion.

Asiatic pennywort

Also known as Tiger Grass, this is a key ingredient being used to create skincare products and color-corrector makeup in Korea. Used for centuries for medicinal purposes, it is rich in amino acids and can improve skin elasticity and boost hydration.

The 10 step K-beauty skincare routine

K-beauty products are often designed to be used together and following a multi-step skincare routine to achieve healthy, youthful, and glowing skin. So, let’s take a look at each step that helps you to get flawless and radiant skin every day.

1: Oil cleanser to remove all traces of make-up and bacteria. Oil cleansers can melt away even tough cosmetics such as waterproof mascara and full coverage foundation.

2: It is very popular to double cleanse in Korea to make sure the skin is completely clean, so use a water-based cleanser after oil. Water-based cleansers will remove excess oil, dirt, and sweat. By cleansing your skin twice, you reduce the risk of bacteria build-up and acne breakouts.

3: Next comes exfoliation. For radiant skin, exfoliate with a chemical or physical exfoliator and gently massage the skin, buffing away dead skin cells as you go.

4: Tone your skin to help hydrators, serums, and natural moisturizers deeply nourish the skin. Toners also help balance the pH levels in the skin, reducing inflammation and redness. Look out for toners that also offer pore minimizing properties.

5: Give your skin an instant and hydrating boost with a concentrated serum. Anti-aging and able to improve your complexion, a serum should be applied by gently patting into the skin with clean hands.

6: Now you can treat skin imperfections such as redness, dry patches, wrinkles, and acne. Choose a product that has been made for your unique skin type and helps reduce common skin concerns.

7: It wouldn’t be a Korean skincare routine without a sheet mask! K-beauty sheet masks help relax the mind as well as nourish the skin, combating premature aging and improving skin hydration. So, enjoy this step and team it with a cup of herbal tea.

8: The skin directly around the eyes is very thin and delicate, so make sure to invest in a high-quality k-beauty eye cream. Reducing dark circles, puffiness and targeting fine lines, gently tap into the skin under and above the eyes.

9: Moisturizer with a sleeping mask, night cream, sunscreen, or natural and organic color-correcting face cream. Popular ingredients include snail mucin, aloe vera, bamboo, and hyaluronic acid.

10: Every day apply sunscreen to your face and neck. This is one of the most important Korean skincare routine steps and should be followed even if you don’t plan to go outside much. Fight premature aging and reduce your risk of skin cancer; it just makes sense!

5 Tips to sell K-beauty products on Alibaba.com

1: Expand your products based on data & trends

Sell makeup, skincare, and cosmetics that are trending by keeping up to date on buyer behavior, beauty trends, and industry data. Feel free to read our latest article on; 10 beauty industry trends for 2021 and Emerging trends in the beauty and personal care industry.

2: Highlight key trending ingredients

K-beauty is all about taking advantage of the concentrated and skincare benefits of a product’s key ingredients. So make sure to highlight the major anti-aging, acne-fighting, or super-hydrating ingredients in your product description. Buyers will often search for K-beauty by the ingredient rather than the type of product it is, so this information is key to attracting buyers and converting sales.

3: Choose products that are natural and vegan

While K-beauty uses natural ingredients, make your product range unique by offering 100% natural and vegan makeup and cosmetics. This will complement the rising demand for vegan cosmetics, while also jumping on the K-beauty trend.

4: Expand your products to follow the 10-step Korean skincare routine

Since K-beauty lovers will try to copy the 10-step Korean skincare routine, make sure your business offers a product for each individual step. Failing to do this could mean losing buyers to a competitor who offers a complete 10-step skincare cosmetic range.

5: Keep up to date with K-pop influencers

Since social media has such an impact on K-beauty trends, try to keep up to date with the products K-pop idols are endorsing and promoting online. If you are able to offer affordable alternatives to expensive cosmetics, this could give you the upper hand online.

Final thoughts

The rising global popularity of Korean culture has created a prime opportunity for sellers to offer K-beauty online. With cute and playful cosmetics and highly effective skincare treatments, the K-beauty industry also shows no sign of slowing down. Rapidly expanding across the world, now is the perfect time to start selling K-beauty products online and Alibaba.com is here to help. Sign up and gain instant access to local and overseas buyers and start trading on a trusted and well-established online marketplace. Whether you want to sell snail mucin, green tea extract, or mushroom skincare, seize this change in the global cosmetic industry and start selling on Alibaba.com now.




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