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K-Beauty (Korean케이뷰티; RRKeibyuti) is an umbrella term for skin-care products that are derived from South Korea.[1][2][3][4] The fad gained popularity worldwide, especially in East Asia,[5][6] Southeast Asia,[7][8][9] South Asia[10][11][12] and the US[13][14][15][16][17][18] and focuses on health, hydration and a preferred lack of pigment.[19][20][21][22] K-Beauty is associated with the Korean Wave; for example, the South Korean cosmetics company Amorepacific sponsored My Love from the Star, a 2014 K-drama whose constant marketing of Amorepacific products resulted in an increase in skincare and lipstick products of 75 and 400 percent. The combination of increased international tourism in South Korea combined with K-Beauty products' presence in duty-free shops has also worked to increase sales of cosmetics in Korea.[23]

Beauty trends and products from Asia are setting the stage for the evolving beauty industry. Causing an increase in the beauty business market in both Asia and the West. 80% of global skincare revenue has come from Asia. This is due to the influence of K-Beauty. These products have a greater inclination for innovation. Products are not just limited to just hair care, cosmetics, and skincare. They offer products for nail care, well being and spa products, toiletries, personal care, and natural health products[24] all originated in South Korea. The global K-beauty product market size was valued at $9.3 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $21.8 billion by 2026[25] .K-Beauty products are presented using sophisticated ingredients and appealing packaging. These products include snail creams, sheet masks, packing with poppy colors, whimsically shaped bottles like pandas, and cracked hard-boiled eggs as well as having nonsensical names such as Tonymoly. Ingredients can include anything from snail mucin, which is used to boost cell regeneration. bee venom that is used as an anti-inflammatory “faux-tox” alleged to relax facial muscles. Pig collagen is used to firm and tightens the skin and Starfish extract which is used for moisturizing[1].

Although the focus for these beauty products is on skin aesthetics such as health, hydration, and luminous textured skin. Glowing “glass “skin is favored by South Koreans. Rather than having layers of foundation, It is preferred to have a lengthy skincare regime with a focus on toning and clarifying[25]. The ultra-elaborated K-Beauty skincare regimen consisted of an average of 10 steps. It normally starts with a dual cleaning ritual, series of sheet masks, essences lotions, serums, and rich moisturizers and then ends with an SPF sunscreen, except at night when the sunscreen is swapped for a thick sleep cream[1]. The facial skincare products having such success is due to the abundant development of new skin products and that two-thirds (68%) of all launches of skincare products were products from South Korea[26]. Although men are increasingly participating in the market, the focus is still on women. K-Pop artists who have undergone extensive cosmetic surgery are standardized. Youtubers offer tutorials on how to apply cosmetics and skincare products. Beauty ads are posted across buses, subways, and tv all to bombard women into what beauty should be [27].

The Korean wave has led to unrealistic beauty standards among young people in South Korea. More advertisements on cosmetics and facial beauty products are found in South Korean fashion magazines than those in the United States[26]. This is evidence of South Koreans’ strong interest in physical attractiveness [28] South Korea has the world’s highest rate of cosmetic surgery per capita. It has become the destination for a nip and tuck tourism[27]. The tough standards in South Korea have created the “Escape the Corset” movement to cast off the country’s rigid beauty standards. This movement was created by a group of women that wanted to put a stop and challenging tone of the most beauty-obsessed capitals in the world, their long-accepted attitude towards plastic surgery and cosmetic. This movement was inspired by the #Me Too Movement [27]. The value that South Korean place on physical attractiveness can influence a young person’s self-esteem and interpersonal and romantic relationships[28]. Social pressure to wear makeup and have a small heart-shaped face is strong. In South Korea, violence against people that leave the mainstream path is very intense as opposed to other countries[27].


Korean beauty standards in the 21st century prize a youthful look and the appearance of moisture on the skin, which results in a preference for cremes over powders. K-beauty products are also more often designed for export, as a result of South Korea's history of import substitution industrialization.[29] Products use ingredients ranging from more natural sources such as green tea leaves, orchid, soybean [30] to snail slime, morphing masks, bee venom (an anti-inflammatory “faux-tox” alleged to relax facial muscles), moisturizing starfish extract, and pig collagen.[31][32][33] The regimen involves a series of steps including cleansing rituals (with oil and water based products), sheet masks, essences, serums, moisturizers, cushion compacts, fermented products, and SPF 35 sunscreen. At night, the sunscreen is replaced by a “sleep cream”.[1][34] Each regimen is addressed differently depending on complexion factors including hormonal fluctuations and lifestyle choices.[35][36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "K-Beauty: The Exhausting Skin-Care Regimen That May Be Worth the Effort". The Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ "This Year-Old Startup Is Now Southeast Asia's Largest Online Korean Beauty Market". Forbes.
  3. ^ "K-beauty attracts investment from international big shots". Korean Herald. 22 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Korean Beauty Products". Korean.
  5. ^ "Hallyu and The Rise of Korean Cosmetics in China". www.cityweekend.com.cn. Archived from the original on 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  6. ^ New, Ultra Super (13 July 2012). "The Korean beauty secrets are out - Japan Pulse". blog.japantimes.co.jp.
  7. ^ migration (13 June 2015). "The rise of K-beauty in Singapore and globally".
  8. ^ ppp_webadmin (27 June 2013). "K-pop a boon for cosmetics shops".
  9. ^ "5 Skincare brands found in Malaysia that are worth trying". 7 September 2016.
  10. ^ "A Korean Wave: The Rise Of K-Beauty In Sri Lanka". Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka.
  11. ^ "How South Korean Beauty Brands Are Winning Consumers in India". TranslateMedia. 17 August 2017.
  12. ^ "K-Pop in K-Town". Nepali Times.
  13. ^ "The rising wave of Korean beauty". 25 June 2015.
  14. ^ "The Korean skincare routine explained". Cosmopolitan. 26 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Here's why K-Beauty is killing it". Marie Claire. 9 June 2016.
  16. ^ "How Charlotte Cho and Soko Glam Changed the US Beauty Landscape". Justluxe.
  17. ^ "Korean beauty products and masks are taking over the industry". Yahoo Beauty.
  18. ^ Herald, The Korea (2016-02-16). "Western brands want in on K-beauty action". Retrieved 2016-12-08.
  19. ^ "K-Beauty: What?". Elle UK. 23 September 2019.
  20. ^ "The draw of fast K-beauty". Straits Times. 11 August 2016.
  21. ^ "K-Beauty Expo". Business Korea.
  22. ^ "10-step K-beauty routine is the latest fad to hit desi shores - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-12-08.
  23. ^ Hoontrakul, Pongsak. "Asia’s Vanity Capital." Economic Transformation and Business Opportunities in Asia. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. 61-92.
  24. ^ Expo 2016, Beauty. "Asian Beauty Standards and Products Make Way for Innovation and Influence Markets in the West". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  25. ^ a b http://bi.gale.com/essentials/article/GALE%7CA616437163/c6c88c3423d1af89ed14b6aa7bb37b98
  26. ^ a b Team, Mintel Press. "A bright future: South Korea ranks among the top 10 beauty markets globally". Mintel. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  27. ^ a b c d Stevenson, Alexandra (November 24, 2018). "A South Korean Movement To Change Minds on Beauty". New York Times.
  28. ^ a b Baek, Eunsoo; Choo, Ho Jung (2018-07-30). "Everybody loves beauty? The moderated effect of body attractiveness among young Koreans". Fashion and Textiles. 5 (1): 16. doi:10.1186/s40691-018-0130-8. ISSN 2198-0802.
  29. ^ Hu, Elisa (2019-01-30). "Pretty Hurts". NPR.
  30. ^ "Natural Ingredients".
  31. ^ "Hair Essences- What To Know About This Korean Beauty Innovation". Real Style Network.
  32. ^ "K-beauty grows!". Korean Times. 15 March 2016.
  33. ^ "Radical Self-Care". Slate.
  34. ^ "So-Ko your skin: why South Korean skincare is serious stuff (despite its cutesy packaging)". Evening Standard.
  35. ^ "I Do K-Beauty (And You Can, Too)". Clinique.
  36. ^ "Watch out K-beauty, we're going global: East-meets-west approach is secret to Shiseido success, says CEO". Global Cosmetics News.