K-Beauty and K-Pop: Pride of Korean Exports

Skincare first, makeup second. This phrase is highlighted in the Korean Beauty (K-Beauty) industry as it plays a huge part in Korean culture. Adding K-Pop stars to the mix, catapults their popularity in the beauty industry. When K-Pop fans see their favorite K-Pop stars with clean and healthy skin, they want to achieve the same results by purchasing the K-beauty products they use or similar to them. ENHYPEN for Abib and NCT127 for Nature Republic are examples of K-Pop and K-beauty collaborations. Functional cosmetics and innovation are key elements as K-Beauty continues to dominate the beauty industry. 

Functional cosmetics are regulated by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) which oversees the pre-market approval of K-Beauty products. With the support of the MFDS, this allows K-Beauty companies to research and thoroughly create high-quality beauty products. These high-quality beauty products such as anti-wrinkle, whitening, and sunscreens fall into the functional cosmetics category. Anti-wrinkle, whitening, and sunscreens have ingredients that are generally approved in 7 days if they meet the functional cosmetics category. This means they do not need to submit efficacy and clinical safety data. Any K-Beauty product that claims as “brightening” or “anti-aging” does not get approved as a functional cosmetic product. Planning and launching K-Beauty products takes about 6 months or less. Likewise, manufacturing costs in South Korea are significantly lower than in most countries which leads to K-Beauty products being affordable. 

Photo Credit: Etude House

Aside from their affordability and use of natural ingredients, K-Beauty continues to be innovative. To attract consumers to buy K-Beauty products, K-Beauty brands spend time getting creative by putting in entertaining and colorful designs. An approach to putting entertaining and color designs on beauty products can convince consumers that the beauty product being presented enhances their skincare routine. Etude House’s sleeping packs were packaged looking similar to bubble tea. These sleeping packs come in different “flavors” to target areas of skin concern; strawberry for hydration, green tea for excess sebum, and black tea for skin elasticity. Using catchy phrases on K-Beauty products also attracts consumers to remember. Elizavecca’s “Milky Piggy Collagen Coating Protein” hair treatment uses a catchy phrase. This reminds consumers using this product that the words “Milky”/“Coating” nourishes hair.  

Photo Credit: Abib

4th generation K-Pop male group ENHYPEN became global skincare models for Abib in October 2021. Dressed in dainty white and cream colors, this highlights their tall figures and striking visuals. Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, and Ni-ki fit Korean beauty standards to varying extents. On Abib’s website, purchases over $100 USD include a free ENHYPEN sticker pack. Past purchase benefits included an ENHYPEN group photocard and a 4-cut photo postcard. Meanwhile, NCT127 has collaborated with Nature Republic since April 2020. Nature Republic’s “The Green Derma Tea Tree Cica Set with NCT127 Goods” is being sold for $80 USD. Some of NCT127’s past photoshoot themes with Nature Republic include California aloe sun (sunscreen advertisement) and Fresh Boys (vitamin C advertisement). 

Photo Credit: Nature Republic

The K-Beauty industry is not slowing down anytime soon. As the K-Beauty industry stays up-to-date on what’s in or out, they are making a name for themselves amongst other countries such as Japan and France with high-quality beauty products. With K-Pop and K-Beauty collaborations, K-pop fans feel connected by purchasing K-Beauty products advertised by their favorite artists. 

Did you learn anything about K-beauty? What are your favorite products? Let us know at @KpopWise! 

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