Korean Beauty

Korean Beauty

K-Beauty: The Rise of the Korean Beauty Industry

The beauty industry has changed globally in recent years and one of the driving forces behind this change is the Korean beauty industry. K-Beauty has conquered the world and has now become one of the most famous beauty trends. In this article, we take a look at the origins of K-beauty, the reasons for its success and products, and its impact on the beauty industry.

What is K Beauty?

K-Beauty is a term that represents Korean beauty products and trends. One of the special and more well-known features of K-Beauty is that K-Beauty seeks to achieve healthy, glowing skin rather than relying on makeup to hide imperfections. The Korean beauty industry is very innovative and relies particularly on natural ingredients, which are often anchored in naturopathic traditions. Examples of this would be snail slime, green tea extracts and fermented ingredients. K-Beauty also played a leading role in the establishment of the (1) clean beauty trend (cosmetic products free of PEG, silicones, parabens, microplastics, mineral oils such as Babacare ), (2) the popularization of multi-step beauty routines and (3) the Focusing on skin PH balance , which, combined with the emphasis on natural ingredients, makes K-Beauty very gentle in its effect.

Numerous quotes from famous personalities document the pioneering role of K-Beauty in many areas:

"K-Beauty has truly revolutionized the way we think about skin care. I love their innovative products and their focus on natural ingredients." - Miranda Kerr (Source: InStyle)

"I believe that every man should take care of his skin. I use a lot of Korean skin care products and think they are really good. K-Beauty has definitely improved my skin care routine." - David Beckham (Source: Allure)

"I use a lot of Korean skin care products and am always impressed with their quality. K-Beauty has really raised the bar for skin care products." - Chris Pratt (Source: Refinery29)

"K-beauty is so innovative and progressive. I'm a big fan and believe everyone can learn something from Korean beauty secrets." - Drew Barrymore (Source: Allure)

"K-Beauty has truly changed the way we think about skin care. Their products are so innovative and have truly positive effects on the skin." - Victoria Beckham (Source: Refinery29)

"I'm a big fan of K-beauty products. I think they're innovative and make a big difference for the skin." - Sandra Bullock (Source: People)

So the question arises as to what circumstances could have caused K-Beauty's prominent role. This question first leads us to the history of K-beauty and Korean culture

The origins of K-Beauty

Korea was isolated from other countries for a long time and therefore still has its own culture and tradition in the field of beauty and skin care. In Korea, beauty is highly valued and is closely linked to the concept of personal purity and education. This is reflected in many traditions, rituals and ceremonies in which appearance plays an important role. For example, the traditional wedding ceremonies in Korea have many steps in which the bride and groom are decorated and made up from head to toe to enhance their beauty.

One origin of this strong emphasis on beauty is Confucianism, which has had a strong influence on Korean culture. In Confucianism, the concept of external beauty is associated with moral and social virtue. A person who is beautiful or well-groomed on the outside is assumed to also be balanced and harmonious on the inside and behave accordingly. Therefore, in Korea social advancement seems to be more closely linked to external beauty than in other countries, and people invest more in this aspect of their lives. Skin care is an integral part of daily life in Korea and both women and men need to care for their skin regularly. Korean skin care culture often involves a holistic approach that includes both cosmetics and a healthy lifestyle. This holistic perspective on beauty, in contrast to other countries, also illustrates the deep roots of K-beauty in ancient naturopathic and religious-philosophical traditions such as Confucianism.

The special skin care traditions of Korea can be traced back to the Middle Ages during the time of the Joseon Dynasty, when the Korean aristocracy used ingredients that seemed rather exotic to us, such as fermented plant extracts, to rejuvenate and care for the skin. To this day, Korean culture is closely linked to natural healing practices. She uses a broad knowledge of plants, herbs and their active ingredients and to this day integrates ingredients such as green tea, bamboo, algae, ginseng and chrysanthemums into beauty care, the potential of which has so far only been used to a limited extent in Western cultures.

During the Japanese occupation in the 20th century, Korean culture was suppressed. However, after the Second World War and the division of Korea, a process of rediscovering one's own culture and traditions developed. Homemade face masks were first made by Korean women in the 1950s. These were based on natural ingredients such as green tea, rice or honey. In the 1970s, the first Korean cosmetics companies were founded, which combined unique Korean and naturopathic traditions of other countries with modern science. The Korean government has acted as a strong driver here by investing in research and development in the beauty industry and setting up support programs for companies and start-ups over the past few decades. Typically, state dirigisme tends to focus its investments on high-tech industries, which makes the fact that the beauty industry has been promoted in Korea and therefore K-Beauty very unique.( The background to this unusual area for state dirigisme was that In this area in particular, support and protectionism were considered necessary in order to substitute imports. This can have long-term positive effects on the current account of an economy.)

While companies initially produced simple products such as soap and shampoo in the 1970s, government support in the following decades, combined with the unique Korean beauty culture, brought about significant progress.

K-beauty today

The comparatively "small" South Korea (hereinafter referred to as Korea) is now the third largest exporter of cosmetic products behind the USA and France, although growth figures suggest that Korea could climb even further up this ranking.

Exports from the K-beauty industry have increased fivefold in recent years and Korea is now one of the world leaders in patent applications in the beauty sector.

As already mentioned, the international use of many natural ingredients, the spread of new more detailed care routines or the use of advanced technology such as serums in beauty routines, which lead to better absorption capacity, can be traced back to Korean research efforts.

The Korean market is now one of the most competitive in the world.

  1. The high consumer interest in beauty products and treatments in Korea,
  2. the strong presence of Korean beauty brands and manufacturers in the market,
  3. the high state and private investments in research and development,
  4. the use of advanced technologies in the production of beauty products,
  5. the use of natural ingredients,
  6. the use of traditional beauty methods,
  7. the introduction of innovative beauty treatments such as laser treatments, skin rejuvenation and other non-invasive procedures,
  8. the high demand for K-beauty products and beauty services in other countries.
  9. the intensive marketing of beauty products and treatments by Korean beauty brands and influencers
  10. and the global influence of K-pop culture

have created a cosmetics industry that is also considered by many who must be considered cosmetics industry experts to be one of the most innovative in the world:

  • David Greenberg, CEO of Maybelline New York: "The beauty industry is looking to Korea for the latest trends in skin care and cosmetics. K-beauty has the potential to transform the beauty industry around the world."
  • Fabrizio Freda, CEO of Estée Lauder: "K-Beauty has shown that innovation and technology are the key to the future of the beauty industry."
  • Sue Y. Nabi, CEO of Orveda and former CEO of L'Oréal: "K-Beauty has revolutionized the beauty industry by transforming the beauty routine into a wellness routine."
  • William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman of The Estée Lauder Companies: "K-Beauty has shown that beauty is more than just external enhancements. It is also about taking care of the well-being and health of the skin."

Overall, there is a lot of evidence that K-Beauty could be of great benefit to any skin care routine. This is particularly true for facial care products for men, which in Korea, where facial care for men, as shown, is deeply anchored in historical and cultural terms. The highly competitive cosmetics market in Korea, with its natural consideration of the male part of the population, has played a leading role in the field of facial care for men worldwide for decades. The “Made in Korea” for facial care for men can be seen as an equivalent to the “Made in Germany” in the field of mechanical engineering.

If you are interested in trying Korean facial care for men, please check out our Babacare products .

Now that some innovative practices in K-Beauty have already been touched upon, some of these practices will now be briefly explained in more detail.

Korean skin care routine

A good picture of the comprehensiveness and thoroughness of K-beauty is given by the Korean 10-step skin care routine:

  1. Makeup Removal: This step removes all traces of makeup and impurities that have accumulated on the skin during the day.

  2. Cleaning: Cleaning removes any remaining contaminants and oil that may not have been completely removed by the first step. This will completely cleanse the skin and make it more receptive to the subsequent steps.

  3. Peeling: A peeling removes dead skin cells and promotes cell renewal. This makes the skin smoother and more radiant.

  4. Toning: Toning balances the pH of the skin and soothes it. This makes the skin more receptive to subsequent care products.

  5. Essence: An essence is a lightweight, hydrating serum that gives skin a boost of moisture and nutrients. This hydrates and strengthens the skin.

  6. Treatment: A treatment is a special serum or ampoule that targets specific skin concerns such as pigmentation, wrinkles or acne. This means that skin problems are treated specifically.

  7. Mask: A mask provides intensive moisture and nutrients to the skin and, depending on the type of mask, can also soothe, tighten or brighten.

  8. Eye care: A special eye cream or serum provides moisture and nutrients to the delicate eye area and can also reduce puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.

  9. Moisturizer: A moisturizer or lotion restores moisture and nutrients to the skin and strengthens the skin barrier. This hydrates and protects the skin.

  10. Sun protection: Sun protection is an important protection against harmful UV rays, which can lead to skin aging and skin cancer. Regular use protects the skin from damage.

Explaining the meaning of all these steps in depth is beyond the scope of this article. However, an innovative aspect that is particularly addressed by K-beauty care routines should be explained, which was also mentioned above: Creating a pH value balance: Too high a pH value of the skin can lead to sensitivity of the skin or . Cause irritation and dryness. However, a pH value that is too low can result in oily or impure skin. A toner therefore has the task of creating the golden mean or the ideal pH value. A toner contributes significantly to gentle cleansing without irritating it, which is particularly important for men's skin, which is often very sensitive anyway. Men's facial skin is exposed to around 16,000 shaves over the course of a lifetime. This leads to a much higher level of stress for the male facial skin. Removing upper layers of skin through shaving makes the skin more sensitive to environmental factors. Approximately 40% of men have skin problems related to regular shaving.

Furthermore, the protective function of the skin barrier depends largely on an optimal pH value. Here and in many other places in the 10 steps, the above-mentioned feature of K-beauty becomes clear: striving for healthy skin instead of superficial cosmetics.

Natural substances such as hyaluronic acid and AHA/BHA are added to the peeling to achieve a balanced pH value. Hyaluronic acid, for example, supports the skin's collagen, which forms a kind of framework, through its high water absorption capacity, which can be up to 1000 times its own weight.

In Korea, where more complex facial care products for men have a long tradition, such advanced skin care mechanisms have long been a natural part of men's beauty products. If you are interested in such advanced beauty products for your beauty routine, take a look at our Babacare Pro Set.

Double cleansing

When listing the Korean 10-step skin care routine, you might have asked yourself at some point whether “cleaning again” is really necessary. But don't worry, this will soon be unraveled. Gels that are water-based are used as part of the so-called double cleansing. While common cleaning agents are often oil-based, these water-based cleaners offer the advantage that they can be used to remove an even greater proportion of contamination. Gels in particular should not be missing from the routine of men who often struggle with skin impurities. If you are interested in double cleansing, check out our products .

Vegan beauty

Vegan beauty is also an important aspect in the Korean beauty industry. K-beauty products are often made from natural ingredients and manufacturers make it a point to ensure that their products are not only natural, but also ethical and sustainable.

In the context of K-Beauty, vegan beauty refers to cosmetic products that do not contain any animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals. There are now many Korean brands that specialize in vegan beauty products and are committed to animal rights and environmental protection.

Vegan K-beauty products are often enriched with plant-based active ingredients such as green tea, algae or ginseng. These ingredients are intended to nourish and care for the skin in a natural way, without resorting to animal ingredients. Vegan beauty is not only a trend in the K-beauty industry, but also an important step towards a sustainable and ethical cosmetics industry.

Of course, our facial care products for men also meet this standard.


K-pop culture has gained massive international popularity in recent years. In the slipstream of this trend, however, one of the most progressive cosmetic markets that may be helpful for you and your skin problems is developing in Korea. We hope we have conveyed to you what exciting possibilities K-Beauty offers you and invite you to explore the great potential of K-Beauty for you and your skin with our products .