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

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Top stories on the South Korean beauty market. ©GettyImages
Top stories on the South Korean beauty market. ©GettyImages
We round up our top stories on the South Korean beauty market, featuring Daebong Life Science’s clean beauty oils, Cosmax’s plastic-free efforts, Incospharm’s autophagy-inducing active and more.

1 – Clean beauty in Korea: Daebong Life Science launches natural oils to capitalise on trend

South Korean cosmetics firm Daebong Life Science debuted its natural oils developed especially for clean beauty products​ at this the recent in-cosmetics Korea show.

Rachel Kim, assistant manager, Daebong Life Science, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the clean beauty trend was gaining momentum in South Korea.

“Our company is focusing on natural ingredients development. The reason why we developed natural oil is because of clean beauty, it is the big trend at the moment. We hope to develop replacements for silicones and chemical oils for clean beauty products.”

Cashing in on citron

Among other ingredients showcased at the trade show in Seoul was Korean Citron Oil, which is derived from the Yuja fruit grown on Jeju Island.

“Citron is cultivated in Japan, China and Korea. Korean citron is very famous. This is because it has thicker peels and higher sugar content. The Korean citron we use is cultivated in Jeju Island, in the Southern part of the country. It’s near the sea, which influences the harvest positively,”​ said Kim.

2 – Cosmax partners with Innerbottle to develop eco-friendly packaging

South Korean ODM company Cosmax is linking up with Innerbottle to develop easy to recycle cosmetic containers in a bid to slash plastics use.

In a statement, the company said it aimed to take a lead in reducing the use of plastics, which has emerged as a critical environmental issue.

According to Transparency Market Research, plastic materials accounted for 56.3% of cosmetics packaging worldwide in 2016.

The urgency of the issue is driving Cosmax to introduce its new eco-friendly designs in the global cosmetics market by this year.

"Currently, the cosmetics industry has a lot of concerns about plastic. Cosmax will make various efforts to recycle cosmetics,”​ said Kim Jae-chun, vice chairman of Cosmax.

Steve Oh, CEO of Innerbottle added: “We will work with Cosmax to make Innerbottle’s technology more widely available to global cosmetic brands.”

3 – Venoms and toxins: Nexgen Biotech sees huge cosmetics potential for synthetic spider venom and botox alternative

Nexgen Biotech claims that its bioengineered synthetic spider venom and botulinum toxin (BTX) alternative product have ‘huge potential’ for cosmetics markets in Korea and beyond, covering areas from anti-ageing to wound-healing.

The South Korean bioengineering company showcased both products at the in-cosmetics Korea show earlier this year. The first, dubbed ESV, is a synthetic spider venom and human epidermal growth factor (EGF) hybrid protein.

Kenny Shin, president of Nexgen Biotech, explained that ESV is purely synthetic and has been engineered to have a structure exactly the same as that of natural spider venom.

He explained that small amounts of venom or toxin can help increase cell proliferation but EGF was found to boost the effectiveness of the product, hence Nexgen decided to combine the two.

“Based on our technical data, attaching EGF to spider venom results in 10 to 100 times better cell proliferation and whitening effect,”​ said Shin.

4 – Acne buster: Incospharm launches autophagy-activating anti-acne ingredient

Incospharm has launched an autophagy-inducing active​ that restores the skin’s hydrolipidic film to tackle acne at the recent in-cosmetics Korea trade show. Sebodulin is the latest in Incospharm’s portfolio of autophagy-activating peptides.

Jeong told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that there was a large demand for more sophisticated anti-acne ingredients in the market.

“Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that can impact the quality of life. The problem with acne treatments is that it has a lot of drawbacks. For example, the reduction of skin lipids is so drastic, skin becomes dry or the skin barrier gets damage. It also can cause irritation, especially in sensitive skin.”

The company has increasingly found that autophagy is an important factor in sebocytes and sebum production.

With this knowledge, the company developed a product to restore the hydrolipidic film to its healthy state. The hydrolipidic film, explained Jeong, is a layer made out of water, sebum and sweat that functions as the skin’s protective barrier.

5 — Mediheal goes West: South Korea’s top sheet mask brand expands to the US

K-beauty sheet mask brand Mediheal is expanding its international brand presence by launching in the US market​.

The company launched its US online store last month and scored a deal with Walgreens, which is now stocking Mediheal online and in select outlets. The company said it expects to roll out the brand into 1,200 more Walgreen stores by November this year.

Previously, the brand was available to US consumers through its official Amazon store and K-beauty curated site, Soko Glam.

The company will be bringing in a total of 20 SKUs, all of which are the brand’s global bestsellers. Products will range from $1.99 to $14.99.

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