The beauty industry, much like the fashion world, thrives on reinvention. Old trends give way to new, and anything out of date is replaced with fresh novelties. A while ago, the industry seemed obsessed with “essential oils” and other exotic ingredients. Now, it is made-in-Korea beauty care that is getting all the
Name a skin problem, and K-Beauty (shorthand for South Korean beauty products) will offer a quick solution. “Korean skincare is a great combination of quality ingredients merged with technology,” said Nihir Parikh, Chief Business Officer at Nykaa.com, an e-commerce portal selling beauty products online.
Parikh continued, “The exotic ingredients like orchid, goji berries and rice water used in Korean skincare tackle a wide array of skin issues, while maintaining the highest standards of care. Korean skincare is constantly evolving with new product lines introduced on a regular basis.”
It is especially the sheet masks and serums from South Korea that have found a big market in the country. Be it their packaging that focuses on key ingredients and benefits, their hassle-free application, or the quick fixes they offer, these skincare products from Korea have a lot to offer, and have managed to strike the right chord with consumers across India.
Nykaa.com has been a pioneer in bringing K-beauty brands to India—brands like Faceshop and Innisfree to name a few. We asked Parikh how they managed to establish that there was a real demand for Korean products in India. He answered, “We follow global trends very closely, so we identified K-Beauty as a very important and big global trend. Falguni Nayar, CEO and founder of Nykaa.com visited Korea to study the market and also met with a few industry experts. We felt there was a big gap in Indian skincare category and K-Beauty was a great fit to fill that gap. Nykaa started educating and talking to consumers on K-beauty, the goodness of the ingredients in K-beauty products and their benefits. We were the first ones to introduce sheet masks to Indian customers. We educated them on the convenience and use of these products.”
Korean skincare products are known to be light on the skin and are easily absorbed as well. Most of the products target a specific skin concern and are not those all-in-one nostrums like those thick, heavy creams some Western cosmetic brands make.
Social media platforms have also played a big role in popularising K-Beauty in India. The growing numbers of bloggers and vloggers have also helped in engaging more customers through makeup tutorials and reviews centred on South Korean beauty brands.
“K-Beauty products are mainly meant for digitally savvy millennials, who are the main consumers of the plethora of content available on social media platforms. These products are fun and innovative, as well as high performing with great value for money, and the millennials are the perfect target group for such products. Digital influencers, bloggers and social media are the perfect platforms to popularise K-beauty products, as the target group overlaps with other categories. These platforms have been instrumental in educating customers and creating awareness of not only skincare in India but Korean beauty as well,” Parikh said.
K-Beauty is all about making skincare fun. And while there are also a wide range of both luxe and affordable beauty products from various countries available in India, K-Beauty, with its pricing strategy and exotic list of ingredients, has made a significant impact on the international market.
Parikh said, “Korean products are very different from the skincare products that Indian customers are accustomed to. They mainly focus on key ingredients, different textures, forms and formats at an affordable price. K-Beauty products are always up to speed with the latest technology in beauty. Products and formulations are constantly upgraded keeping in line with technology and advanced research in skincare. You›ll always find new brands and new products to choose from.”
The brands from South Korea mainly make use of the digital platforms to reach out to customers. And while there are a lot of online portals that have K-Beauty products on sale, the recently launched Koko Glam is a website that exclusively caters to Korean beauty and skincare products. Currently, they have Korean cosmetic brands like Neogen, Banila Co., Skinfood, Etude House, Elizavecca, TONYMOLY, Missha, Holika Holika, Laneige, A’Pieu and Too Cool For School on their website.
We asked Komal Kapoor, co-founder of KoKo Glam, about the idea behind having a K-Beauty exclusive website. She told us, “The Korean skincare philosophy states that no two people have the same skin. Then why do we apply just one or two products that may or may not work? Different people have different and varied skin needs and a beauty routine must incorporate enough products to address each issue. Once you begin to understand your skin better, you will be able to adjust your routine and be wiser with your skincare and cosmetic purchases. This lack of knowledge and not enough innovative Korean products in the market led to the birth of Koko Glam. Thus, Koko Glam came into being on the 30 March 2018.”
Kapoor also talked about the attractive packaging that makes young buyers more interested in Korean products. “The packaging is attractive and innovative which makes young inquisitive girls want to try out the product. Marketing philosophies state that attractive products help increase sales,” she said.