The Korean cosmetics industry is one of the largest in the world, and it’s growing year by year.
And whilst many people in Western cultures probably think that it just sprang up overnight, K Beauty has been a part of Korean culture for far longer than most people realize.
So today, we thought we’d give you a quick overview of the Korean cosmetics industry.
It’ll be a bit of a whistle-stop tour, but you should come away knowing more about K Beauty than you did before. So, let’s get right into it!
How It All Began
Korean cosmetics started sometime in the Ancient Chosun Era.
We can’t know for sure exactly when it began, but the Korean people of the Ancient Chosun Era were the first people to experiment with products to influence their skin.
One common thing that they would do was use lard on their skin over winter, to protect it from frostbite.
What they eventually found, though, was that lard made their skin softer.
It nourished it and helped make their skin appear healthier, and feel much nicer to the touch. And so the Korean’s love of cosmetics was born.
K Beauty Through Time
K Beauty as we know it today (cosmetics, skincare, and makeup) actually started during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD) and peaked during the Goryeo Kingdom (918 AD-1392).
During this time, women used makeup, facial scrubs, oils, and creams to appear healthier.
The aim of this early cosmetics industry was not to appear more beautiful (as other cosmetics industries around the globe often were), instead, it was about making your skin look the best that it could be.
Health and looking after oneself were put above any egotistical need to ‘look pretty.
During the Chosun Period (1392-1910), cosmetics became steadily more industrialized, and selling products for women’s skin became a viable career path.
Before this time it was often women themselves concocting their own formulas from natural ingredients, but now the Korean cosmetics industry was truly born, and products were being created en masse.
After 1910, the cosmetics industry in Korea only continued to grow, with brands popping up every few years.
Until today, in 2021, where K Beauty is now a worldwide phenomenon.
Who Are the Big Players in 2021?
Korean cosmetics are bigger today than ever before, with products being sold all over the world.
There are plenty of huge names in the K Beauty industry, so we couldn’t possibly list every one of them here.
However, here are just some of the biggest players in K Beauty today:
- Dear, Klairs
- Dr Jart
- Etude House
- Nature Republic
- Peach and Lily
- Some By Mi
These brands are huge names in 2021, and their success only continues to grow.
Why Are Korean Cosmetics So Popular Today?
If you’re wondering why Korean cosmetics are so popular in 2021, then looking back at the history of the industry really explains it all.
The Korean cosmetics industry has always prioritized health over aesthetics, and most other cosmetic industries in the world have not.
Women in 2021 don’t necessarily care about making themselves ‘more beautiful’ by covering up their skin with thick makeup or hiding their eyes behind thick eyeliner and eye shadow.
Instead, they want to make themselves look like the best versions of them – not like somebody else entirely.
And this is exactly what K Beauty is all about, and what it’s always been about.
Korean cosmetics help women look like the best versions of them by prioritizing healthy skin.
They take what a woman has already and enhance it.
In many ways, K Beauty is real beauty, because it’s about highlighting your best bits, not covering up your worst.
So, if you’re wondering why Korean cosmetics are still so popular today – it’s the same reason it’s always been popular: K Beauty helps you find the best version of yourself, making you more comfortable in your own skin! And what’s not to love about that?