The CEW K-Boom! event was a sold-out event that gathered 400 beauty professionals to hear Brad Horowitz, President & CEO of Amore Pacific US, Priya Venkatesh, VP/DMM Skincare & Hair of Sephora, and Sarah Lee, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Glow Recipe, speak their thoughts on the K-Beauty trend.
If you weren't able to attend, here's a brief recap with some of what I thought were the most interesting tidbits:
- Amore Pacific will launch Laneige in Sephora this fall
- Sephora saw their K-Beauty category grow +70% from 2015 to 2016
- Amore Pacific is planning more store expansions of their Aritaum multi-brand stores, which they use as test hubs for new product launches
- K-Beauty will remain mostly about skincare and less about makeup
Key Trends in K-Beauty:
- Sarah Lee of Glow Recipe stated efficiency and efficacy as two main characteristics that define Korean beauty trends.
- She also mentioned multi-tasking as a major trend, which is why products like in-shower masks, overnight exfoliation products, and priming moisturizers are hot product categories.
- Finally, Sarah mentioned a "what you see is what you get" quality to Korean beauty products using colors, sensorial elements, texture and visual cues. She mentioned a blue (clay?) mask that is a beautiful blue color with blue packaging playing up the key visual quality of the product.
- Brad Horowitz from Amore Pacific talked about creme fluids, which is a new product that has done really well in Korea, as a potential rising trend. It has the nutrient and moisture dense qualities of a cream but in the texture of a light fluid/emulsion-like product.
- He also mentioned the Laneige Two Tone Lip Bar which benefit cosmetics recently adapted (I wrote about that here) and anti-pollution products as things that are trending.
Why is K-Beauty so Successful?
- Priya Venkatesh from Sephora used the example of the belif Aqua Bomb. The name, the visuals (huge tub of moisture), it's fun and engaging, it's affordable with great texture and unconventional partnerships are all keys to K-Beauty's success.
- K-Beauty products are the entry into skincare for a lot of millennials because of the reasons above. Product names like "jelly pudding" are very descriptive and the products are very clear about the benefit.
- Promoting "makeup ready skin" has been a big selling point of K-Beauty as well.
- Priya also said that Seoul is the Silicon Valley of beauty. This is where you go to see what's new, what's trending, and what's cool.
What are the Main Ingredient Trends in K-Beauty?
- Brad from Amore Pacific stated that it's green tea, ginseng, and pine mushroom.
- Sarah Lee from Glow Recipe said ingredients that help with peeling are taking off. Ingredients like milk with lactic AHAs are the new thing.
How Can We Keep Our Finger on the Pulse?
- Priya of Sephora said that K-Beauty is a concept and we can all learn about how they communicate their product benefits, their messaging, keeping it fun and engaging. She said teaching people about skincare is a huge opportunity.
- She also gave the example of Peter Thomas Roth who took inspiration from K-Beauty and developed a Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream using great descriptors and great texture, which is doing very well at Sephora stores.