Korea has become a center for innovation in the beauty industry, ranking ninth in market size globally and with exports in the category growing at a rate of 43.2% since 2012, according to Kotra. At the recent export trade show, Consumer Goods Showcase Korea 2019, online and offline global distributors met with domestic companies across CPG categories.
We uncovered five brands that represent the evolution of K-Beauty as it transitions from a global trend that saw meteoric growth and matures into a permanent and important player in the beauty landscape. These businesses describe themselves as brands from Korea, eschewing the K-Beauty label. They are focused on building brands with longevity on a foundation of Korean innovation with an eye to the global market.
Metronome: Consisting of two products, the brand was founded in 2017 with the positioning of a cleansing cosmetic for sensitive skin. Using an eco-friendly natural steam distillation method to process the melon, Gentle Wash is formulated with 93% natural ingredients, and Gentle Toner contain 89% natural ingredients.
Modam: The brand was founded in Korea in 2012 with the purpose of helping people struggling with hair loss,using the power of traditional Korean medicine. The hero product is the patented Modam Shampoo Bar formulated as a hair-only soap that prevents hair loss and improves the health of the scalp. The natural handmade soap takes 3-5 months to manufacture, using 13 medicinal herbs, fermentation, ripening, and a crucial step that requires the bars to be kept warm under a blanket for 48 hours.
DM Cell Cosmetic: The professional beauty brand behind the cult BB Glow Derma Brightening semi-permanent foundation uses nano needling technology to safely infuse nutrient-rich natural pigment into the top layer of skin, creating the “glass skin” effect. The product range is based on formulations using a stem cell base and natural organic ingredients with 20 years of patented R&D and manufacturing.
May Coop: Originally a beauty research and manufacturing company. May Coop’s founders discovered maple tree sap’s amazing properties and high absorbability due to the smaller size of its molecules, and use this ingredient as the foundation of their Raw Line. They are now expanding the brand using the sap of other tree and plants with the launch of the Bamboo Line. While this brand may have been part of the first wave of K-Beauty brands to hit the US, they distance themselves from this trend. The business is committed to clean formulations, sustainability, and purpose, and is remains one of the indie beauty brands defining the Korean beauty industry.
The Beautiful Factr: Baba Fashion Group is leveraging what they know about the lifestyle of women and entering the beauty category with the launch of this clean skincare brand. The products are merchandised in five life codes: Fresh (cleansing), Cozy (moisturizing), Surprise (probiotic), Joy (masks), and Relief (SPF). The formulation philosophy is grounded in correcting and enhancing the skin using probiotics and prebiotics. The brand is launching in the US with Facetory, and they will be at Cosmoprof North America in Las Vegas.
Photo: via May Coop