in-cosmetics Korea: 3 K-beauty skincare trends to watch

June 20, 2019
5 min read

South Korea’s beauty industry has officially gone global, impacting markets and influencing beauty and personal care trends worldwide. So much so, that this year at in-cosmetics Korea’s new K-Beauty Inspiration Zone (H110), Mintel will highlight the next phase of the K-beauty phenomenon, including the major trends that are set to shake up the future of the industry.

Skincare undoubtedly plays a major role in the success of the K-beauty sector. Here we take a look at three exciting skincare trends Mintel has predicted will hit the thriving K-beauty marketplace in the months and years ahead.


In recent years, the South Korean beauty industry has seen a steady increase in demand for vegan cosmetics. According to Olive Young, sales of vegan cosmetics rose about 70% in 2018. Since South Korea has not yet established its own vegan certification, the products are qualified as ‘vegan’ by other countries, such as the UK and Australia.

The growth of vegan cosmetics is part of a bigger ethical skincare trend that includes eco-friendly packaging. Companies, brands and manufacturers in the skincare field should explore this emerging trend for future growth opportunities.

Vegan crosses new categories

Derma.e Hydrating Serum
A US-based brand, Derma.e is an eco-ethical skincare range with 100% vegan, cruelty-free formulas. This product, spotted in South Korea, is an intensively moisturising serum which claims to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Holika Holika Essence Pad
This product is a mild, cica-based essence pad that contains EWG verified green-grade ingredients to soothe skin without irritation. The product is said to be made with 90% natural ingredients. Its formula contains water and glycerin to moisturise skin, and centella asiatica extract and panthenol to protect skin against harmful elements.


Fragrance has been gaining the attention of consumers and top brands alike, and today, fragranced bodycare is becoming big business. In fact, Mintel estimates that the bodycare market in South Korea will grow at a faster pace than that of the facial skincare market.

Fragranced bodycare can be marketed as a subtle alternative to wearing perfume, and the fact that it spreads smoothly and gently on the body—due to its formulation—is an attribute that can play to its advantage. Meanwhile, fragranced bodycare can also activate emotions among consumers. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), aromatherapy-related claims in new South Korean bodycare launches are growing, rising exponentially between 2016-18.

Fragranced bodycare that evoke emotions

Hera Velvet Night Perfumed Body Lotion
This perfumed body lotion features a floral-Oriental fragrance that gently touches skin with a sensual harmony of iris, violet and musk. The product is said to deliver a ‘blissful moment’ with a dense finish and an attractive fragrance, and is enriched with moisturising lavender oil to brighten skin; firming flower complex to provide firming and moisturising effects; and shea butter to hydrate and nourish skin.

Innisfree Bija Trouble Body Mist
This easy-to-use moisturising body mist helps relieve stress on the body with the energy of pure bija forest. It features a citrus-green herbal fragrance that’s enriched with a woody scent of phytoncide, as well as lavender, lemon and 100% natural essential lime oil, to calm the body and mind.


More cleansers are making ‘dust-cleansing’ claims to address South Koreans’ concerns about microdust, according to Mintel GNPD. New cleanser launches in the country with ‘anti-dust’ claims nearly quadrupled between 2015-18. Therefore, brands should offer strong-performance, hypoallergenic, dust-cleansing products to support consumers affected by air pollution.

And the issue is not only affecting the skincare category. When a fine dust cloud hits South Korea, sales of consumer goods such as air purifiers, clothes dryers, dust masks, cleaners and sanitary goods tend to increase rapidly, indicating an opportunity for skincare players to consider cross-category opportunities.

High-performance dust cleansers

Isoi Sensitive Skin Anti-dust Cleansing Water
This is a cleansing water designed for sensitive skin which is said to remove makeup and fine dust. Its formula is said to be free from harmful ingredients to minimise skin irritation and support skin’s self-recovery.

Happy Bath Natural Micro 2.5 Watery Cleansing Oil
This product is a cleansing oil with moisturising properties that removes fine dust and deeply cleanses the pores while supplying moisture to the skin. It’s also passed the skin irritation test.



Join Mintel at the new K-Beauty Inspiration Zone to learn how K-beauty has influenced the world and uncover what the future holds for the thriving sector.


Join us to see, touch and test some of the latest beauty and personal care innovations from around the world that are designed to help beauty consumers with skin sensitivities.


Join us as our expert analyst uncovers how brands, suppliers and retailers can be a pillar of support for beauty consumers living with skin sensitivities.

Find out more here.

Hwa Jun Lee
Hwa Jun Lee

Hwa Jun is a Principal Analyst for Beauty and Personal Care at Mintel, based in Seoul. With 15 years of experience as a formulation scientist, he specializes in beauty and personal care formulation and product development. His extensive experience includes roles as a formulation scientist at both Amorepacific and Kimberly-Clark.

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