Back in October last year, I was invited to the Diversified headquarters in Brighton. Diversified are the publishers of Natural Products News and Natural Beauty News, amongst other titles, and organisers of several trade events including Natural & Organic Products Europe.  

The panel was chaired by Julia Zaltzman, editor of Natural Beauty News, and also sitting were Sonia White, founder of Love Lula, Donna Ashcroft, buyer at www.biggreensmile.com and Lorraine Dallmeier from Formula Botanica.

Four questions were posed, and I thought it would be interesting to share my musings on all of them with you. Here is the second question:

The K-Beauty Trend – Asian, in particular Korean, beauty trends are driving innovation in the beauty field, from BB creams to serums, brightening creams, dark spot correctors, face masks and anti-aging products – but can/will they deliver innovations in natural beauty? And what developments are coming out Asia that we think will really impact our sector?

To this question, I posed the question that there are so many crossovers between natural beauty and K-beauty that it is difficult to know who is copying who. K-beauty formulas, although not completely natural, utilise natural ingredients within their formulas.

I suspect there is probably a bit of poaching ideas from both sides, Asian beauty brands looking out for the latest innovative natural ingredients and natural formulators looking east for formulation inspiration. In 2016, quinoa was reported as a big ingredient trend in K-Beauty, however Green People launched their quinoa hair care in 2015.

Think about the waterless beauty trend we discussed in the first part of this series, this movement came out of Asia undoubtedly, however, think of all the gorgeous beauty balms and body whips we have in the natural products industry. These products have been around for years, before we even heard the term K-beauty. One might argue that waterless beauty has been around for years, but it is the Asia beauty movement that has created a trend around this kind of product.

Next comes the BB-CC cream trend, which has undoubtedly grown over the past few years in the UK. I was shocked to learn that Korean women have been using BB cream for over thirty years! One brand in the natural products industry that showed innovation and a certain marketing quirk in this field was Green People. They created a DD cream – that’s a Daily Defence cream with a tint for even coverage, beauty beneficials and an SPF (hence the daily defence name).

Hydrating essences, pH-balancing toners, and serums are other products utilised in the K-beauty 7 step regime, but again these are nothing new in the natural products industry. It is just that the K-beauty craze has brought these products into the limelight and perhaps made natural marketers think about what messages are used to promote their products.

Cleansing is undoubtedly one of the most important phases of any beauty regimen, but in K-beauty they are serious about their double cleansing, sometimes utilising two products, an oil cleanser followed by a foaming cleanser; and sometimes utilising a one product two-phase cleanser.

I don’t think of oil cleansers as anything particularly new in the natural beauty world, but I do think the K-beauty trend has helped spur the growth of oil cleanser aficionados. Two phase cleansers are the recent big thing in K-beauty cleansing, however, I remember Evolve Beauty’s Gentle Cleansing Melt, which must have been around for at least 7 years if not longer, which has two phases. It goes on a balm and upon contact with water turns into a creamy milk to rinse away leaving no residue behind.

I think western marketers may well look towards Asian beauty trends for inspiration. Think about the current trend of anti-pollution skincare; off the top of my head I can think of FOM London, Alba Botanica Volcanic Clay and Avalon Organics Intense Defense. This is a huge trend in the UK at the moment but has been around on the K-beauty scene for several years.

Last but not least, harder working makeup was another trend reported in 2016, i.e. makeup with skincare benefits. If you are choosing to use natural makeup however you are already opting for makeup that not only offers coverage and/or colour but is also full of ingredients your skin loves.

What are your thoughts on Asian beauty trends? Do you look to the east for inspiration for your brand? We’d love to hear from you hi@rebeccagoodyear.com