Korean Beauty Trends Creating Big Business Here in the US


Bottom line, Korea is the ”new” France when it comes to beauty and skin care.  European countries have long led the beauty market, being seen as the main sources of innovation.  However, the tables have turned and Korea currently has a very strong hold of the market, even out doing Japan, which has been the main beauty innovator of Asia.  If you are reading this, then perhaps you are already a bit familiar with some Asian/Korean beauty trends that have picked up speed here in the Western US market.  For those who are new to the scene, let me explain.

So what started it all? BB creams, yes, that’s right.  As much as American consumers would like to think that the abundance of our beloved BB creams came from us, it didn’t, and we can thank Korea for that.  BB creams have been used for years in Korea as all-in-one skin-care and makeup products long before we got our hands on them.  They single handedly paved the way for the Korean beauty invasion and are one of Korea’s most successful exports.  They became BIG circa 2011-2012, when the Korean Brand Dr. Jart introduced two BB creams to Sephora in the US.  They were a huge hit and since then just about every major beauty company, such as L’Oreal, Maybelline, and NYX to name a few, have taken note and created their own versions.  Can you even name a brand that doesn’t have a BB cream yet?

BB creams piqued the interest of not only American women, but all the big beauty companies as well, and they began to look more closely at the Korean multistep skin-care regimens.  Multistep? Yes.  Korean skin-care regimens can have anywhere from 7-15 steps! Korean woman are savvy and dedicated to their skin-care, it’s a big part of their day and us Americans want in on it! The American approach is far simpler, what’s quick, works, and gets me out the door, while the Korean mentality is comprehensive and detailed.  Korean women can spend up to 30 minutes on their beauty routine, with ten plus products, and while American woman might not take that much time slapping on the layers, we sure are up to try out all the new exciting products that are buzzing around.  The ultimate goal of all Korean skin-care lines is radiant skin, enough said, that’s all EVERYONE wants so no wonder it’s taking over.


There has been a big disconnect between the Eastern and the Western beauty markets but with globalization things are coming around much faster.  In the past, consumers who wanted Korean products had to search Ebay, Amazon, or international sites, if you could even find them.  Many businesses saw this trending in the early stages, and retailers such as Sephora, Target, Urban Outfitters, and even Walmart offer exclusive Korean brand products.

You can also thank a handful of entrepreneurs who saw the void in the market and wanted to fill the appetite for Korean beauty products by creating E-commerce sites to make them more accessible than ever (cough, cough.. ya know kind of like the founder of Beauteque…). Not only are American stores offering some Korean brand products, but big beauty names are creating products to follow their Korean counterparts.  Dior, Shiseido and SK-II have created Korean-inspired masks and essences, to name a few.  Korean brand stores are even popping up in the US.  Tony Moly is a much loved Korean brand that is now opening their very own store in New York City.  Clearly this trend is not leaving anytime soon, and I’m pretty sure it’s for good reason.  Don’t believe me?  Just search the web and you’ll find more literature and articles than ever before on just how hot the Korean beauty trend here is!

– Katlyn, Beauteque Marketing Associate


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