Korean Beauty and it’s rise in America
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
If the words sheet mask, Peach & Lily, 10-step skincare routine, and BB cream are familiar to you, then you’re probably up on the Korean beauty trend, which continues to grow in popularity in the US! Korean Skin care which is know as K-BEAUTY has grown
since it was first introduced to Americans a decade ago.
Any dedicated skin care enthusiast will have at least a couple brands of korean skin care in their beauty regimen, I'm talking about women from all different parts of the world. For many years France and Japan were known to be the leading country for beauty and skin care however, Korea quickly caught up thanks to the balance of its accumulated fundamental industry, chemistry, bioscience and Korean Wave culture!
If you have teen aged kids (or preteen like myself), they may have a slight obsession with either korean desserts, like mochi, k-pop music/shows or their endless brands of skin care available in Sephora & Ultas. The cute packaging for their products is what grabs the youths attention, I mean who doesn't want a face wash in the shape of a panda or bunny shaped lip balm! What may seem like a new trend to some, has been an ongoing obsession in the US since 2011 when Sephora introduced Dr.Jart to the American culture. Since then over 10k brands have came into the US leading USA to become the 3rd largest country to purchase korean beauty products. According to Mintel, a global market intelligence agency, in 2017 $13B was spent ok K-beauty alone, half of which were on skin care products and retail. The numbers in recent previous years have seemingly not been recorded however; I think it's safe to say the numbers have definitely surpassed that!
Let's take a deep dive into Korean science and why many have flocked to their brands and beauty regimens!
Snail Mucin & Hyaluronic acid, that is all! Hehe! In all seriousness if you have no clue about skin care, these are the key ingredients (besides SPF) that you should know about! Snail Mucin was first prescribed by the most outstanding figure in the history of medicine, Hippocrates. He is said to have crushed the snail and used it to treat dermatological skin conditions and issues like inflammations. He discovered snails were also a good healing remedy for wounds and tissue repair. South Korean scientist quickly adopted the snail concept, ran numerous test, then concluded 'snail secretion filtrate' aka Snail Mucin- hydrates the skin, increases suppleness, improves hyperpigmentation, and contains antimicrobial properties that can help with acne and rosacea.
(If you don't care to read about deep science just skip over this paragraph below)
Let's move onto Hyaluronic acid. A quick little history lesson : In 1934, the German biochemist Karl Meyer and his colleague John Palmer isolated the vitreous body in a cow's eye. Because the substance contained uronic acid, one of the two sugar molecules found in large quantities in the vitreous humour, they named it “hyaluronic acid”. It was approved for medical use initially to treat various issues from eyes to athletes joints. Later in the 1980's it became known in the cosmetics world and has taken off since then. As a science major this topic naturally excites me and can cause me to talk about molecules and chemistry for hours.. but to avoid boring you even more i'll simply elaborate the benefits for skin care purposes.
Hyaluronic Acid = HYDRATION! Simply said. The reason we start to wrinkle and lines appear prematurely is due to a lack of hydration. Dry skin results to dull wrinkly skin, remember that! Korean scientist have focused on this and created their products based off keeping the skin deeply hydrated and cleansing with bubbly foam cleansers. Medical Aesthetics, like dermatologist, Med Spas (& us here at Skin Palace) use these same ingredients with higher concentrations of HA. These higher end products will cost more but in turn will provide some amazing results Koreans like to refer to as 'Glass Skin'. Lower end brands will have a more diluted form of HA which will be mixed mainly with water and fillers and will only hydrate the skin for a short time.
Now that you have a simple knowledge of the key ingredients in Korean Skin Care let's indulge in the most sought after treatment in Seoul, South Korea, the capital of South Korea and Beauty capital of the world!
Due to the high beauty standards of Korean culture, scientist are constantly pushed to release the newest beauty treatments due to it's high profit margin. Korean women (& men) are constantly jumping on board to try these trends to not be left out! According to an article written in the BBC; South Korean women spend twice as much of their income on beauty products and make-up than their American counterparts. Meanwhile, South Korean men spend more on skincare than those in any other country.
Sounds slightly vain yes but let's be realistic here, an asian culture this committed to looking good and feeling good is evident that they're on top of their game as well as staying ahead of research with constant new product launches and the second highest export rates in the world! Moreover, American culture is not too far fetch. There's a reason why Americans spend billions on the cosmetic industry opposed to other countries. Glass Skin is considered to be the epitome of youth and beauty. A method Korean beauty professionals use to obtain this appearance is by adding "Skin Boosters", which are pure concentrated ampoules that are applied to skin, and microneedled into the epidermis. If you are not familiar with "microneedling" do not fret- next weeks blog will be all about "Microneedling" procedure, before/afters and contraindications.
Skin Boosters have become the newest trend in Korea and all of the asian community, they consider it the 'Chanel' of all beauty treatments, as Chanel is one of the highest end brand names in Fashion. This treatment has been widely referred to as Chanel Skin Injections or Chanel 'Skin Booster' Injections due to the microneedles allowing the product to penetrate much deeper into the epidermis leaving the skin radiant, bright, hydrated and glass looking for days and even weeks to come. Here at Skin Palace & Wellness, we pride ourselves to have such passion and knowledge on this beauty treatment making it our "Signature Skin Booster Facial" ! Depending on the depth of the needle there may be down time, which is usually typical of standard microneedling procedure ranging anywhere from 7-14 days. Majority of clients will see results immediately after treatment is complete. Furthermore, the texture of the skin is so soft to touch it's almost impossible to not feel like a top tier Chanel bag! Haha! More on Skin Boosters to come in future blogs!
In conclusion I would just like to reiterate my personal passion for beauty & skin care, as I previously stated in my first initial blog. I first learned of Korean Beauty & their culture after stumbling across a Korean Spa in New Jersey. I recall I was in my second semester of college, I was anxious, deeply sleep deprived and fatigued. I was looking for a mud bath and massage on google and found the Korean Spa. Upon entering this majestic building I recall not seeing an american in sight, I knew it was the real deal. I scheduled my massage and beauty treatments and went on my way. It was on this cold winter day that I found my calling and passion for health & wellness. I walked into that location a tight hot mess and walked out 3 hours later, a blissful and radiant being. This is my ultimate goal for every client that steps into my treatment room; for them to leave restored, renewed and elevated! Until next time...