Every so often, a national phenomenon becomes a worldwide sensation. That’s how it happened with Chanel’s little black dress and Thatcherism punk. A few bold innovators came up with something new to wear and the piece slowly engulfed popular culture, first in local communities and then through the rest of the world. Though it hasn’t had nearly the thunderous impact of an LBD or studded leather jacket, K-beauty seems to be 2017’s nation-centric trend gone global. The allure of K-beauty is different than most industry trends. It’s more about a philosophy of beauty than new techniques or innovative products. Rather than improving your beauty regimen with new ingredients, K-beauty will teach you to pamper yourself and enjoy active facials and creams that bubble, foam, and fizz with style. It’s no wonder a treatment that is equal parts soothing, healthy, and entertaining caught on with such speed.
THE ART OF “SKINTERTAINMENT”
While most other skincare brands are using technology to usher their labels into the customization era, K-beauty companies are fusing unexpected techniques to create healthy sensorial overload on your face. The entertainment value of K-beauty is unmistakable. The ingredients are just plain fun. Their damp sheet masks come in bouncy rubber and moleskin-like techstile. If you opt for a dry mask, you’ll look like Zorro as you gently massage the essential oil-infused fabric over your face. Other more traditional facials often substitute efficiency for farce, covering your face in rejuvenating purple bubbles and soda orange fizz. It’s as close as you’ll ever come to having a fireworks display all over your face.
This emphasis on experience is one of the things that sets K-beauty apart from the rest of the skincare industry. In a unique twist on personalized beauty, K-beauty focused on personal experience rather than appearance. That’s not to say you won’t look and feel refreshed after a skintertainment session. The Asian-inspired trend produces some innovative products that utilize the latest in scientific research. It’s just a new way to see beauty. In a subtle, funny way, K-beauty seems to be reminding its users that beauty is a very personal thing, something in the eye of the beholder rather than plastered to a poster.
PRODUCTS THAT ARE FUN AND EFFECTIVE
The demographic most taken with K-beauty’s theatrical products is millennials, but everyone appreciates the trend’s efficiency. This is how Korean innovators and inventors keep their clientele returning over and over again. Their products are fun to use and produce flattering results. Many of these items are made from a blend of different substances so they can multitask on your face. You can purchase a serum that combines exfoliation beads with the hydration of a moisturizer and wipe it across your face. The ingredients will interact in sequence, enacting a salon-quality treatment while you relax motionless in your chair. Many companies have discovered the possibilities behind active ingredients in serums, but K-beauty is surpassing them. While Western brands scramble to conduct sufficient research to produce their own multi-taskers and self-activating products, K-beauty is already perfecting their first collections based on customer feedback.
K-BEAUTY AND THE FUTURE
K-beauty’s rise from Asian beauty star to international superpower was unexpected. For nearly the entire 20th-century, the West ruled beauty and built an empire on innovation and spectacle. Technology and social media expanded the nations and cultures who could directly influence the international beauty industry, but no one was expecting power to shift hands this quickly. K-beauty signals a sharp change in expertise and could invite similarly exotic influences. It’s an intriguing cultural adjustment to pay attention to. If beauty trends are dictated by countries outside the typical Western bloc, how will philosophies and perceptions change? With technology putting everyone on a near-equal footing to start, the future possibilities are endless.
Fusing culture, entertainment, and innovation into one sweeping trend, K-beauty is anything but boring. In the past year, the trend has gone from fad to fixture. Time to start in on your weekly helping of bubbling, fizzing facials.
— Scarlett Price