Retailers and consumers can’t get enough of K-Beauty resulting in beauty products becoming one of South Korea’s most lucrative businesses. Statistics from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) show exports reached US$ 2.75 billion in 2015, an increase of 53.6% over the previous year and the US is the third biggest export market.
“For years, Korean women have focused on skin care products rather than makeup,” said Sarah Jindal, senior innovation and insights analyst for market research firm Mintel. “The ultimate goal is to achieve a complexion that has a dewy, glowing finish, one that doesn’t need concealers and foundations to hide it.”
While the category has seen a meteoric rise, it is grounded in a particularly narrow cultural standard around beauty. In recent years South Korea has surpassed Brazil for the highest ratio of plastic surgery per capita. Sabrina Shim shares her “K-Dramas” and what it’s like growing up with the Korean beauty ideals in i-D Vice.
Read more on the topic at i-D Vice