For those of you who missed our Instagram #SeoulBeautyTripping series, we wanted to show you that beauty innovation in Korea is alive and kicking. So, here are some of the coolest things we saw and products that are trending at this moment:
Color Collaboration: VDL + Pantone
Two of the world’s foremost color authorities partnered to produce an artist-worthy color palette. VDL is a leading color brand in Korea that works with makeup artists, taking cues from the runway and celebrity trends to launch the latest in rich, vivid colors. Pantone, as you may know, is THE global color authority out there so, needless to say, we were ecstatic to see what they came up with.
Unveiled just in time for our Spring 2015 arrival, VDL + Pantone launched a collection of products including:
- Eye palette (Expert Color Eye Book 6.4)
- Concealer palette (Expert Color Cover Book 6.4)
- Nail colors (Expert Color Nail Color)
- Lip colors (Expert Color Lip Cube Ex)
- Face colors (Expert Color for Face).
We had the pleasure of visiting the VDL + Pantone store in the Garosugil area which was a realization of beautiful color and simplicity in design: A+++ for a successful marriage.
Latest Product Innovation Hit: Laneige Two Tone Lip Bar
This product was launched February 2015 and comes in a rectangular format (hence the name “lip bar”) combining a darker lip color and a lighter, brighter lip color (2 in 1) to help achieve that ever-so-popular ombre look. Normally, the ombre lip look requires application of several different lip products, but Laneige came up with the excellent Two Tone Lip Bar to cut these down to a single item.
The Two Tone Lip Bar has been selling like hot cakes since it first made its debut and has been consistently sold out. The line-up of colors is modern yet feminine and we found the stick/bar format a refreshing twist on the traditional lipstick/lipgloss we typically see.
In 2008, Amore Pacific invented and released the cushion compact, a liquid-based BB cream in portable compact form through their Iope brand. The cushion compact is applied with a puff applicator by dabbing a porous sponge soaked in a liquid BB cream and then gently patted over the face.
Since its release, the cushion compact has overtaken the world of beauty in Korea. According to global research firm TNS Korea, 75% of Korean women have used or are currently using cushion products. The product is now at a global tipping point, on the cusp of becoming a worldwide phenomenon, Amore Pacific recently stated that sales of cushion products outside of Korea having increased 140% year over year in 2014.
Seeing how the cushion compact has become a quintessential Korean beauty sensation, we weren’t at all surprised to see the cushion technology expressed in different iterations. Here are just a few:
Banila Co. VV Cushion
Banila Co.’s new line of V-V products are formulated with collagen to help firm and plump the skin, firming the “V” line (i.e., your visage) and improving Volume: hence the name “V-V Cushion”. It’s no longer just about BB or CC Cream; we’ve graduated to VV Cream.
Iope Cushion for Man
Yes, there is even a cushion compact for men. This men’s line launched in 2014 and is aimed at providing the sun protection and coverage both men and women want for a healthy, radiant face. Korean men (and men in Asia, in general) are a big growing market for beauty. Male celebrities in Korea have long adopted and promoted skincare which helped create and grow the men’s grooming category, and it doesn’t hurt that most of the women around them are obsessed with their skincare routines as well.
Iope Cushion Blush
Since the BB cream cushion compact was such a hit, Amore Pacific extended the cushion concept to blush. This Iope Cushion Blusher is similarly designed with a sponge to soak up the blush formula to then be applied with an absorbent puff. You then dab the puff gently onto your cheeks for that natural dewy glow to complete your no-makeup made up look.
For a more in-depth on the cushion compact, refer to our previous post for a deep-dive.
No one does packaging quite like Korean brands, who perfect the union of convenience and design. Here are some of our favorites:
Too Cool for School Magic Wand
An evergreen favorite, this product makes you wonder why this product isn’t in everyone’s bag. It’s simple: just a Q-tip with a stem filled with makeup remover. Twist off one end and the makeup remover liquid in the stem soaks down into the other end of the Q-tip and allows for super easy eye makeup and lip color removal. It also comes in a handy case that’s perfect for travel.
Too Cool for School Dinoplatz Multibox and CC Cheek
Too Cool for School has been at the helm of designing products that are a combo-pack of multiple product categories in one package. The Dinoplatz Multibox is the Transformer of makeup: it looks like a traditional cushion compact but has a separate hidden compartment for lip/cheek, pore balm, and concealer palette–talk about efficient and adorable!
Along the same lines, CC Cheek is a CC cream that has a blusher crayon within the cap that you can use to add some cheek color. Again, brilliant packaging innovation.
Primera Essence Portion Markers
The Primera Lotus Seed Essence bottle is so smart to include volume markers to indicate suggested usage amounts. Each marker represents a day (30 days total) so that each half a marker represents ideal usage for morning or night on a cotton pad. The average consumer under-uses essence in their daily routine (we’re no exception), so these markers were a great built-in instruction.
Moonshot Double Mask
Masking is a great way to give your skin that weekly at-home spa treatment, and these Moonshot Double Masks packs a 2-for-1 punch. It’s a physical reminder to keep your skin pure and nourished by combining both products into one concept. The brilliant yet simple container won’t leave you an excuse for skipping any steps.
As you can see, a consistent theme woven throughout a great majority of Korean beauty products is the thoughtfulness in beautiful packaging. From VDL + Pantone, to Laneige, to Too Cool for School and many other brands, eye-catching design is not an option but a staple of the savvy beauty consumer’s collection. Since the Korean beauty market is so competitive and saturated, brands need to strategize the very best way to stand out on the shelf and remain a distinct image in consumers’ minds. The result, however, is a surprisingly vast ocean of unique, innovative, and fresh packaging designs.