Korea Focus: Our most-read stories on the K-beauty industry

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Korea Focus: Our most-read stories on the K-beauty industry
We round up our best stories on the South Korean beauty market, featuring the trending minimalist beauty movement, vegan collagen, Amorepacific’s new R&D efforts in anti-pollution products and more.

1 – Minimalism momentum: South Korean consumers turning their back on complex beauty routines

The rise of minimalism is creating opportunities for beauty companies to create simple products to cater to South Korean consumers that are looking for more straightforward beauty​ routines.

The minimalist trend is driven by young urbanites who are beginning to embrace a simpler lifestyle to combat everyday stress.

“A growing number of younger consumers have started to embrace a minimalist lifestyle to give themselves space to breathe as well as take a rest from anything that may be pressurising, even if just slightly,” said Hwa Jun Lee, senior beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel.

These consumers, he continues, are happier when buying ‘just the essentials’.

“Instead of purchasing many products at once, they tend to buy small, portable and easy-to-use products with reasonable price tags.”

2 – Vegan collagen: Korea’s AHC adds Geltor’s human variant to best-selling eye cream

Geltor’s vegan human collagen is now being used​ in Ageless Real Eye Cream for Face, the latest version of AHC’s best-selling eye cream range.

AHC is manufactured by Kolmar Korea, which said the deal reflected growing consumer demand for high-performing clean animal-free products was increasing.

Biodesigned Human Collagen

HumaColl21 is a commercial human Type 21 collagen, which was identified by Geltor as essential to the generation of type-2 and type-3 human collagen, which help to maintain the elasticity and youthfulness of skin.

It is the second product from Geltor after Collume, which was previously known as N-Collage.

Geltor claimed that the product can improve skin collagen content, reduce wrinkles, firm skin, improve elasticity and moisturisation.

3 – Lego-like cosmetics: Shinsegae targets millennial beauty consumers with Stonebrick brand

South Korean retail conglomerate Shinsegae has launched Stonebrick,​ a colourful make-up brand designed to attract young consumers who are ‘leading consumption’.

The packaging of Stonebrick’s products is reminiscent of Lego. Like the famous toy system, it is also modular.

This allows consumers to build their own ‘make-up systems’.

With over 200 products, consumers are free to create many varieties of combinations.

According to the company, the creative potential was very important to the brand because its target demographic had distinctive tastes and personalities.

“You can use two lipsticks in one holder, or you can mix different colours to find your own colour.”

4 – Amorepacific opens centre dedicated to the research and development of anti-pollution products

Amorepacific has launched an anti-pollution research centre​ at its Technology Research Institute in Korea in an effort to research the negative effects of pollution on the skin.

The goal of the facility is to develop new products with anti-pollution technology that can protect the skin from pollution.

The company said it planned to develop various anti-pollution solutions that protect the skin as well as remove pollutants from the skin surface and reduce the signs of damage.

“The Amorepacific Anti-Pollution Research Center was founded by Amorepacific Technology Research Institute, which has been able to predict the harmful environment and protect the skin health of our customers,"​ said Kim Chang-gi, director of the centre.

5 – Sale of Carver to Unilever made Korean PE history, analysts reveal

A KRW300bn investment in a South Korean cosmetics firm in 2016 has proved to be the ​most profitable private equity acquisition in the country’s history, a new analysis of data has shown.

The US$263.5m deal, led by a consortium of Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs for Carver Korea, returned more than six times the invested capital after just a year, analysts at Korea Economic Daily found.

The two financiers came out of the deal with proceeds of KRW1.9tr (US$1.6bn) from the sale of shares in Carver Korea to Unilever for around KRW3tr in 2017.

Founded in 1999, Carver had shown exponential growth over five years prior to the sale. Starting off as an aesthetics company supplying professional products to beauty salons, it since became the fastest-growing skincare business in South Korea, through sales of its brand, AHC.

AHC’s portfolio is focused on age management and hydration and nourishment. The range includes a hero product, Eye Cream for Face, along with essences, toners, moisturisers, masks, and sun protection.

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