K-beauty hasn’t stopped being the talk of beauty town ever since it made its way into our hearts and our skincare routines a couple of years ago. And rightfully so! For generations, South Koreans have cracked the code to clear, glowing skin –– and not-so-surprisingly, that’s where most of the skincare trends we see circulating on social media originate from. Whether it’s the routines, ingredients, or products, anything K-beauty-related is sacrosanct. So, as Indian consumers, what is it that drives our obsession with K-beauty? And how is it different from what we have been doing for years?
K-Beauty or Korean beauty follows the philosophy of treating your skin with a more holistic ‘inside-out’ approach. It’s not an overnight treatment that promises instant results but goes with a long-term mantra. It’s simple –– Korean beauty is preventive, rather than reactive. After all, prevention is better than cure right? The K-beauty motto is to get down to the root and prevent skin issues from occurring. Even with makeup, it’s all about going with the ‘no makeup’ makeup look or something that’s more subtle and subdued.
The main goal? Healthy skin from within that is customized to your requirements, rather than a one-fits-all kind of approach. And since you need to go the distance with this one, consistency is non-negotiable!
What Caught India’s Eye?
It all traces back to the famous 10-step-routine, and the rest was history! Like Indians, Koreans have an obsession with ‘glowing’, ‘radiant’ skin, and they don’t just want to stop at the basics. Breaking away from the usual cleanse-tone-moisturize routine, K-beauty involves the layering of multiple products to get to your skincare goal. These are the brains and faces behind beauty inventions like BB and CC cream, sheet masks, and pimple patches, and skincare trends like glass and honey skin – so if they say that a 10-step-routine is the way to healthy skin, you better believe it (the proof is in that glow, isn’t it?).
…And Why Do We Continue To Love It?
K-beauty has boomed since its launch in India. Be it a sudden rise in Korean brands or Korean-inspired products retailed by homegrown brands - it’s all about that K-beauty. According to the Indian National Importance Of Cosmetics, as of 2017 Korea ranked fifth after China, the USA, the UK, and France. So, what drives this love for K-beauty?
All Things Natural - We are a nation that loves its natural ingredients. Thanks to our Ayurvedic roots, ingredients like turmeric, honey, lemon, neem, coconut, hold a special place in our skincare routines and products. And if your grandmother swears by it, you know it holds magical powers for your skin. Similarly, K-beauty relies on natural ingredients that help nourish the skin. When it comes to their skincare philosophy, nourishment is key! Korean skincare often has ingredients like chia seeds, bamboo, avocado, rice water, as well as, potent active ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, and hyaluronic acid that aren’t only gentle but are also super effective when it comes to providing nourishment and hydration your skin requires.
Social Media Presence - K-beauty tapped into social media and influencers way before it became a global thing! Circa 2015-2016 had every blogger and vlogger showing off their 10-step-routine skills – and that’s where the boom occurred. Tapping into a global market, Korean beauty brands have been able to raise awareness about different ingredients, trends, techniques – allowing their audience to be far more educated about all things K-beauty. This drives consumers to opt for Korean beauty over other local or internationally sourced skincare products.
The Korean-Indian Connection - Both cultures emphasize the importance of physical appearances. Unfortunately, for both Koreans and Indians, their preference for white skin over darker skin tones is common ground. Thankfully this is changing – however, the notion of looking good naturally, rather than hiding under a veil of makeup to cover your flaws still prevails in both cultures.
Korean Pop Culture - You cannot ignore the huge influence Korean pop culture has had on the Indian audience in the last few years. From Korean music (hello BTS!) to dramas to even food, the culture has taken over and influenced the Indian audience in more ways than one. And the common factor in all of these references? Radiant, glowing skin sported by each and every celebrity – age no bar! So, why wouldn’t you want to opt for K-beauty if you’re going to achieve that much-desired ‘glass skin’ like Son Ye-jin, right?
Thanks to its approach of prevention rather than cure, K-beauty continues to grow in the Indian market. Be it the current cultural influence or the plethora of unique natural ingredients present in the products, K-beauty has found comfort in many Indian households and is definitely on its way to a whole lot more.
(The article is written by a Beauty Expert at Belif)