Korea Focus: Our most-read stories on Korea’s cosmetics industry

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

We round up our top cosmetics and beauty stories on the exciting Korean market. ©GettyImages
We round up our top cosmetics and beauty stories on the exciting Korean market. ©GettyImages
We round up our top cosmetics and beauty stories on the exciting Korean market featuring 3D-printed cosmetics, an AI-powered skin care advisor, a smart skin measurement device and more.

1 – 3D printed cosmetics: Kolmar to debut skin cream before developing make-up range

Kolmar Korea is planning to commercialise its newly developed 3D-printed skin cream and the use the technology to develop 3D-printed make-up​ such as lipstick and compact powder.

The South Korean cosmetics manufacturer announced early March that it has successfully utilised 3D printing technology to create a cream that could be moulded into various shapes.

The firm developed this technology with the help of South Korean firm Samyoung Machinery, which specialises in manufacturing automotive parts.

The companies signed a strategic partnership engaged in research and development for about two years. Kolmar developed the formulation while Samyoung provided the 3D printing technology.

Kolmar explained that it used two formulations with differing viscosity – an essence and a cream – in order to create its new product.

2 – SenzaGen strengthens IP position with Korea patent for non-animal testing tech

SenzaGen has received a patent approval from South Korean Patent Office for its GARDskin testing technology, in a move the firm says will help strengthen its position in Asia.

GARDskin enables a robust and accurate way of predicting the ability of chemicals to induce sensitization, without the use of animal experimentation in compliance

“For a technology-driven company, it is of the utmost importance that we continuously develop our patent strategy and safeguard our most valuable assets,” said Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO of SenzaGen.

She added: “The patent for GARDskin protects the method that SenzaGen's business is built on and strengthens our long-term and global competitiveness.”

3 — Costa Rica agrees to drop tariffs on Korean cosmetics

The governments of Costa Rica and South Korea have signed a trade agreemen​t that triggers the Central American Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, dropping tariffs on Korean cosmetic imports.

The treaty was signed between Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado and South Korean government representative Chansik Yoon, while Costa Rica’s minister of foreign commerce, Dyala Jimenez, was also present.

Designed to foster greater trade between the two countries, the treaty gives South Korea immediate tax-free access to 80% of Costa Rican products, while a further 16% of products will see tariffs gradually reduced, and a further 4% will maintain the current tariff rates.

There is no significant market for the export of cosmetics and personal care products from Costa Rica, but with the industry making up a significant part of the South Korean economy, there is a huge volume of products that will now become more amenable to Costa Rican consumers.

4 – Data drive: Korean inventor of smart skin measurement device targets more metrics

A South Korean skin care innovation is quietly revolutionising the beauty industry by helping consumers and companies objectively evaluate the most important metrics of the skin.

The gpskin Barrier Light is a device that measures Trans-Epidermic Water Loss (TEWL) and Stratum Corneum Hydration (SCH) levels of your skin. Along with a companion app, the device quantifies skin data and tracks its health.

Eventually, its inventor, Joshua Han hopes to develop more devices that target other major skin concerns, such as wrinkles.

With the rise of wearable tech and health data, Han believes there is a demand for more devices like Barrier Light: “We need more professional parameters for other skin concerns like wrinkles and we plan to develop more devices, as well as data analysis technology for the skin care industry.”

Currently, gpskin is working with the seven of the top skin care companies in the world, including Johnson & Johnson and its newly acquired brand, Dr. Ci:Labo.

5 – Finnish tech firm scores Samsung partnership as it eyes Asian expansion

Revieve CEO Sampo Parkkinen believes there is strong market potential in Asia for its AI-powered​ skin care advisor and plans to hone in on the region’s beauty sector.

“This year, Asia is a big focus for us as we see an increasing demand for personalised solutions in the beauty-sector. There is already a pre-existing acceptance for taking selfies, which further helps in us providing our solutions to the market.”

He added: “We would like to see this type of a personalised beauty customer-experience present nearly at every retailer and brand.”

The Finnish company recently announced that it was partnering with Samsung to bring its selfie-based skin analysis and personalised skincare product recommendation feature to its flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S10.

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