Korea’s commitment to beauty is a cut above the rest in Asia where it is leading the way with some serious brainpower and cool technology.
And when it comes to personal care and beauty, this hefty R&D spend yields cutting-edge advances in ingredients and formulation – from nanotechnology to stem-cell related actives and growth factors.
This has motivated skin care brand, Artistry to hold an event in Seoul for local and international cosmetics experts to discuss the future of the Korean companies and products that are already gaining traction around the world.
The country's beauty launches have been categorized by trends like 'K-Pop' which are heavily influenced by flamboyant male pop icons, the alphabet craze known as 'BB' (et al) creams, and more generally 'K-Beauty' which refers to Korea's influence on the West's skin care developments.
Discussions at the Artistry event this month were led by the likes of Korean makeup artist Woo Hyun-jeung, Chinese designer Ye Mingzi, Artistry beauty trainer Park Jin-hee as well as K-pop star Sulli of f(x) who shared their views and expertise on the latest cosmetics trends and standards.
Even the smaller players are benefiting from global K-beauty demand
As the West calls for more of South Korea's beauty innovations, even the smallest of players are benefiting, despite struggling to ward off stiff competition at home.
This overseas demand is giving even the smallest of players a voice where they might be struggling to be heard in their competitive domestic market.
Take for example; the Elisha Koy brand first launched in 2007, which got major coverage for its BB cream in the West and now exports to over 20 countries and accounts 60 per cent of its sales from overseas demand.
According to OECD statistics, market-leading scientific research is the foundation of Korea’s top industries. Indeed, the country is world champion when it comes to R&D investment (4.4% of GDP in 2012).
In fact, trends analyst Nica Lewis says that thanks to a surge in patent registration in 2013, South Korea is now among the top five in the world for trademarks.