With the launch of Benefit Cosmetic's two-tone lipstick which leverages (copies?) the same concept that came out in Korea in early 2015, I thought it'd be interesting to trace how long it takes for Korean beauty innovations to make it Stateside. By "making it Stateside", I mean how long it takes for Western beauty companies to lift the same concept or idea into their own product line.
BB Cream - 27 years
The BB Cream, or blemish balm was invented by a German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek in the 1960s as a product to protect her patients' skin after procedures like peels and surgery. It made it to the Korean and Japanese beauty markets around 1985 and became a ubiquitous product. BB Cream didn't make it to the US until 2011/2012. L'Oreal launched the first mass BB Cream under their Garnier brand in 2012. This category has grown to $164MM in 2014.
Time from product introduction in Korea to mass introduction in the US - 27 years.
sheet masks - 10-12 years
By now, everyone knows what a sheet mask is. It is the latest product category to have taken the US market by storm. It's an easy at-home mini facial you can treat yourself to without much fuss. When I was in Korea talking to R&D folks from a beauty brand manufacturer, I remember him telling me that sheet masks were actually invented in Japan. It wasn't until they were brought over to Korea about 10-12 years ago that they became a mass and staple beauty product.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when sheet masks became a mass item but judging from global Google Trends, it looks like 2015 was when it started to be a more heavily searched term.
Time from product introduction in Korea to mass introduction in the US - 10-12 years. (credit Charlotte Cho of Soko Glam for this information)
cushion compact - 7 years
The next ubiquitous innovation that landed in almost every cosmetic bag in Korea is the cushion compact. It was developed by Amore Pacific and launched under their IOPE brand in 2008. It's a porous sponge soaked in a tinted moisturizer with SPF protection similar to the BB Cream. It comes in a compact and with an anti-bacterial puff that you dab onto the sponge and then *pat pat* onto your skin for coverage. In 2015, Lancome launched their own version of the cushion compact with a broader variety of shades to accommodate the US market.
Time from introduction to Korean market to mass introduction in the US - 7 years.
two-tone lipsticks - 2 years
As I wrote about before, Benefit Cosmetics launched they're real! double the lip lipsticks this year (2017). The product is more or less the same concept as Laneige's Two-Tone lipsticks which were launched in Korea in early 2015. The product easily helps create the popular ombre/gradient look by offering a two-colors-in-one lipstick. Since the ombre/gradient look may not be as popular in the US, Benefit launched their version marketing it as a lip liner and lipstick in one product.
Time from introduction to Korean market to mass introduction in the US - 2 years.
As you can see, as Korean innovations are becoming more popular and as more beauty houses are looking to Korea for its innovation, the time between Western cosmetic companies "leveraging" some of these products is shortening.
What will be the next product that L'Oreal or Estee Lauder brings over from Korea? Here are some guesses:
- Tinted Peel-Off Brow like the one from Etude House
- Rubber Masks like the ones from Lindsay
- More gel-like moisturizers like the Aqua Bomb from belif
- Cleansing sticks like the one from su:m37, belif, and Neogen