Hwa Jun Lee
Hwa Jun is a Senior Beauty and Personal Care Analyst at Mintel, based in Seoul.

While just half the size of the facial skincare market in South Korea, the South Korean colour cosmetics sector is set for growth, according to Mintel estimates. In fact, Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) reveals that almost two thirds of total beauty launches in South Korea in 2017 were colour cosmetics—making it the most buoyant sector when it comes to new product development (NPD).

Here, we highlight three product trends that are currently taking shape in K-beauty’s colour cosmetics market.

1. Simple customisation

The South Korean makeup market has taken one step closer towards customisation, embracing consumers search for the perfect product that expresses their individuality. While we are seeing an expanding range of shades and variants in the market, brands are starting to make an effort to take on a more fun, ‘Lego-like’ approach that allows consumers to create their own products without taking up extra time while also remaining affordable.

Innisfree’s My Foundation range is the first 50-variant foundation to come from an Asian beauty brand. However, the 50 variants the brand offers aren’t confined to just shades. Instead, consumers are allowed to personalise with moisture levels and amount of coverage. A digital device is used to find the perfect fit.

Etude House’s Mini Two Match Set allows users to combine two colours (from a choice of 20 shades) and effects ( from glitter, gloss, lip balm, lip concealer or CMYKW colours to adjust the shades) in an all-in-one stick. The mini-sized lip colours and effectors have a magnet at the bottom of the pack which allows the two products to be assembled in the docking holder in the middle.

2. Moisturising-yet-matte lip tints

Matte lip tints that still provide moisture are a continuation from the craze for water and oil tints in South Korea. These moisturising-yet-matte lip tints appeal to consumers for their long-lasting, highly pigmented tattoo-like benefits, as well as velvety-soft, mousse-like texture.

Matte textured lip products have grown in popularity in recent years. Consumers, today, are after the ‘gradient-over-lip’ effect and are seeking ‘my lips but better’ shades to create this look. Brands in the K-beauty market are competing to create a trendy rage of shades that are matte yet offer non-drying effects.

Nature Republic’s Triple Mousse Tint offers long-lasting, vivid colour (like a tattoo) and the sheer formula moisturises lips, while leaving a matte finish without a sticky feel.

Peri Pera’s Ink The Airy Velvet Lip Tint is dubbed ‘air tint’ thanks to its super-light application and moisture-led, velvety finish.

3. Clean makeup

With consumers increasingly concerned about ingredient safety, more sophisticated ingredient standards are influencing not just the skincare sector, but also the colour cosmetics market. This is a fertile breeding ground for ‘clean makeup’ launches that focus on natural ingredients and free-from claims.

Instead of following a classic ‘pure and natural’ narrative, they use professional makeup positioning to assure makeup-savvy users of the impressive results, like high pigmentation and multi-use effects.

Dear Dahlia’s Dual Palette is a multi-use makeup item for cheeks, lips and eyes. It’s formulated with EWG green-graded ingredients, as well as ECOCERT ingredients including organic sweet almond oil and dahlia flower extract to moisturise.

Dewytree’s Lindo Wink Long Lash Mascara and eyeliner is the first eye makeup range from the dermocosmetic brand. These eye products are made of EWG green-graded ingredients and designed to be safe for the sensitive skin around eyes.