Seoul Beauty-full: Trending beauty innovations in South Korea

July 22, 2019
4 min read

South Korea has long been leading the pack when it comes to innovative beauty launches—and Seoul is the best place to explore K-beauty at its heart. During my recent visit to Seoul, I had the opportunity to discover some of the latest trends and product innovations shaking up the K-beauty marketplace. Here are some of the latest, most trendy beauty innovations that I spotted.

An alternative to water: Vinegar

A’Pieu’s Raspberry Hair Vinegar is a vinegar-based haircare product described as a fast and easy-to-apply treatment that gives consumers a healthy scalp and silky, shiny hair. The vinegar is said to keep the scalp healthily acidulous, and perfect oil-moisture balance. Based around an alternative to water, this product resonates with Mintel’s 2025 Global Beauty & Personal Care Trend ‘Water: The New Luxury’ which looks at how, with water becoming a precious commodity and consumers becoming increasingly more aware, beauty brands are looking at different approaches to manufacturing and formulating products in a bid to limit dependence on water.

Printing percentage of active ingredients on-pack

Botanic Heal boH’s Derma Intensive Ampoule taps into the emerging trend in packaging where the percentage of active ingredients in a product are clearly printed and stand out on-pack. The formula of this product contains 10.2% panthenol that claims to calm skin, and 50.4% Centella asiatica 5 that’s said to be excellent in calming, soothing and moisturising exhausted, sensitive skin.

Artemisia the next hottest plant-based ingredient

Hanyul’s Pure Artemisia Fresh Calming Water contains 100% pure artemisia extracts grown in Ganghwa Island, South Korea, and is said to soothe and moisturise tired skin. Artemisia is no doubt one of the most trendy new plant-based ingredients to pop up in the busy K-beauty industry. Artemisia has long been used in Asian medicine and is known to be a great ingredient for all skin types, especially dry, sensitive and acne-prone skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help to nourish and smooth dry, irritated skin.

The capsule-breaking mesh dispenser

Klavuu’s Blue Pearlsation Marine Drop Serum features Klavuu’s signature, exclusive mineral-rich marine complex and energy to soothe and provide moisture, radiance and healthy vitality to skin. It is said to be formulated with sea silt for effective soothing as well as CICA (Centella asiatica) for strengthening skin’s barrier against the perils of the environment. The product is also formulated with Deep Water and Hyaluronic Acid Capsules that claim to offer deep, lasting hydration. What’s even more appealing is its patented quadruple mesh dispenser that is designed to effectively break the Hyaluronic Acid Capsules into a milky-like serum for maximised absorption of moisture and nutrients.

Innovative foot care application

Nature Republic’s Canada Whistler Pure Ice Foot Massage contains premium glacial water from Whistler, Canada, and is described as an ideal product to use in warm and humid weather as it provides a cooling effect. This product has an interesting applicator that, when stepped on, pumps out formula—at the same time, providing a massage experience. This concept is a step ahead of the wider foot care category as most products in the sector are either a foot cream or a foot bath. This product concept, on the other hand, incorporates a unique ‘pampering’ massage experience.

Cooling cosmetics for the summer season

South Korean beauty conglomerate Amorepacific has launched eight ‘Ice Beauty’ products under its various brands, including Laneige’s Water Bank Sherbet Cream, Hanyul’s Yuja Freezing Sleeping Pack and Easy Peasy’s Watermelon Ice-Stick. Amorepacific’s ‘Ice Beauty’ campaign introduces a new way for skincare storage: the refrigerator. These products are formulated specifically for the summer season and feature claims including calming effect and dropping skin’s temperature, among others. After popping them into the refrigerator, the texture of these products will stay sherbet-like but not completely frozen, making them easy to use.

Product display of Amorepacific’s summer campaign ‘Ice Beauty’ at Aritaum

Laneige Water Bank Sherbet Cream

Hanyul Yuja Freezing Sleeping Pack

Sharon Kwek
Sharon Kwek

Sharon is a Director of Consulting, Beauty and Personal Care, South APAC, at Mintel. With over 12 years of experience in the FMCG industry, she helps beauty manufacturers, retailers and brands make strategic business decisions across Southeast Asia.

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