Hubert Burda Media

How are South Korean cosmetics companies making men around the world look better?


It’s been a while since there’s been so much talk about men’s grooming habits. And it’s not just men who are getting excited. Globally, cosmetic and skincare giants, like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal are responding to the growing demand with a litany of grooming products, including cleansers for different skin types, targeted facial serums and rich-hydrating moisturizers, all released with higher frequency.

However, it’s the South Korea brands that are the talk of the town when it comes to grooming products and regimens. No surprises there; South Korea is ranked among the top 10 beauty markets in the world, with an estimated value of US$13 billion in 2017 according to numbers from Mintel. Findings by Euromonitor International also reported that “South Korean men spent more than double of their counterparts in Denmark – the country ranking second highest where per capita spending on men’s skin care is concerned.”

Innovation

A big part of the region’s success is attributed to the abundance of innovative products from the country. While its western competitors are developing cleansers and scrubs, the South Korean companies are already spearheading research in the territory of hybrid concoctions. These include exfoliating moisturizers laced with nano-technology, anti-wrinkle whitening tone-up creams, and lightweight nourishing oil serums, just to name a few.

Of course, a good grooming regimen is also key. The old adage “prevention is better than cure” is gospel to South Koreans when it comes to achieving great skin, as compared to the western approach of finding fixes when only when problems arise. The spending habits of South Koreans reflects this. In the same report by Mintel, facial skincare products accounted for more than half the total, with a total market worth of US$6.5 billion in retail sales. This is projected to reach US$7.2 billion by 2020.

Layering

Korean products are generally less heavy, are quick to be absorbed, and focus a lot on hydration. Their approach to skincare is akin to advice of layering for cold weather.

It’s better to layer the products for better absorption than, say, to apply a heavy and thick cream that takes longer for the skin to process. So, it’s not unusual that most of the Korean brands offer an extended range of products for men, as opposed to the cookie-cutter cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen by the western brands.

Whether it’s the appeal for a flawless and supple complexion brought on by influence from the K-pop phenomenon, or the desire to age gracefully, one thing’s for sure: men are increasingly image-conscious globally. And wanting to look your best is no longer the sole prerogative of women, and hasn’t been so for a while now.

Companies are picking up the hints and developing products that are specifically targeted at men, or at the very least are branding their products as unisex. So what are some of the most sought-after products from the land of K-Pop that’ve gotten everyone’s attention?

Mamonde

The Korean brand with an extensive women’s range launched its men’s line in Singapore this September. The selection of products developed with a combination of potent ingredients including dandelion root extract with taurine, caffeine and vitamin E, helps to recharge, moisturise and brighten with powerful anti-aging agents.

Mamonde Men Recharging Toner (180ml, SGD $24)
A light quick absorbing moisturising toner helps to refresh fatigued skin and remove dead skin cells after cleansing.
Directions: After cleansing, take an adequate amount on the palm and gently apply along skin’s surface.

Mamonde Men Recharging Lotion (150ml, SGD $26)
A lightly-textured lotion for daily use that keeps skin moisturised all day long, while smoothing skin texture and boosting radiance. Directions: After using toner, pump out an adequate amount and gently apply onto skin.

Mamonde Men Recharging Cream (50ml, SGD $28)
An energising, anti-aging moisturising cream with a light, gel-type texture that brightens dull skin.
Directions: After using lotion, apply cream and massage on the entire face and neck.

Mamonde Men Recharging All-In-One Fluid (50ml, SGD 28)
A perfect product for beginners trying to start a grooming routine. This all-in-one fluid acts as a toner, lotion, and essence all at once to tackle wrinkles and brighten dull skin.
Directions: After cleansing, take an adequate amount on the palm and gently apply onto skin.

Laneige Homme

With over 20 years of research, Laneige, as established global Korean beauty and skincare brand, built its expertise on water science to develop hydrating products to address each skin concern. Their latest additions to their popular Blue Energy anti-aging line, Blue Energy Skin Toner and Blue Energy Essence in Lotion, are concocted without animal ingredients, mineral oil, synthetic pigments, polyacrylamide, and imidazolidinyl urea.

This pair of products is packed with powerful agents helps to replenish moisture and reverse the effects of aging on the skin. The Laniege Homme Blue Energy line is 5-free (free from animal ingredients, mineral oil, synthetic pigments, polyacrylamide, and imidazolidinyl urea).

Laneige Blue Energy Skin Toner (180ml, SGD $42)
A gel-type anti-aging toner that replenishes intense moisture and soothes tired looking skin to help the skin appear healthy and clear. Directions: After cleansing in the morning and the evening, take a suitable amount on the palm and apply it on the face and the neck by light tapping.

Laneige Blue Energy Essence in Lotion (125ml, SGD $45)
An anti-aging essence lotion that addresses men’s four skin stressors and provides intense care to help the skin appear healthy and clear. Directions: After using a skin toner in the morning and the evening, take a suitable amount on the palm. Apply it on the face and the neck by lightly tapping.

Sulwhasoo

The prestigious beauty and skincare brand’s holistic approach towards skincare is developed from Asian medicinal herbs including ginseng, pine, skullcap, dried ginger, and ganoderma lucidum, to name a few. Today, its comprehensive skin solutions address problems at their roots, using modern science to rediscover thousands of precious ingredients known in Asia for centuries.

Sulwhasoo Men Refreshing Cleansing Foam (150ml, SGD $40)
Formulated with natural powder ingredients, the daily cleansing scrub gently removes dead skin cells and waste build-up with dense foam. Directions: Release an appropriate amount onto your palm and use water to create a rich lather. Gently massage and cleanse your face, rinsing several times using lukewarm water.

Sulwhasoo Men Inner Charging Serum (140ml, SGD $90)
An anti-aging essence for men that enhances the natural regeneration of the skin to prevent wrinkles, dullness and increase firmness. The water-gel type anti-aging essence provides resilience to men’s skin, reducing wrinkles, dullness, and increases firmness. Directions: After cleansing or shaving, release an appropriate amount (about the size of the 20-cent coin) onto the palm. Gently pat on the skin from center to contour to boost absorption.

Sulwhasoo Men Skin Reinforcing Emulsion (90ml, SGD $68)
A lotion-type moisture-rich emulsion that helps alleviate skin damages from external stress and breathes vitality to men’s skin that needs care and attention. The anti-aging formula also enforces the skin barrier and repairs skin damages caused by external stress. Directions: After applying Sulwhasoo Men Inner Charging Serum, dispense 1-2 pumps onto the palm and gently smooth over face.

Sulwhasoo Men Age Defying Cream (40ml, SGD $112)
A rich moisturizing cream with ingredient infused with ginseng seed oil with moisturizing & anti-aging cream properties to slow skin aging while hydrates, and revitalises the skin. Directions: Dispense one to two pea-size amount of cream onto your palm, and apply gently to your entire face.

Hera Homme

The Hera Homme line uses cutting-edge technology such as the innovative skin cell-mimicking ingredient helps to recover cell strength and illumination, and provides healthy, youthful and radiant skin, together with rare precious ingredients to develop powerful formulations. Its range of fuss-free multi-functional products helps to nourish, protect and slow the signs of aging.

The Hera Homme Black line works to protect the skin against harmful external environmental aggressors, and deliver fundamental vital energy to skin with the use of effective and potent anti-aging ingredients. It effectively targets the problems of large pores, dryness, uneven skin tone and aging.

Hera Homme Black Perfect Skin (120ml, SGD $72)
This anti-aging toning product revitalises skin with Hera Homme Black’s key technology, Black Perfect Blending, and other ingredients including bio-polysaccharides to boosts skin’s moisture retention properties, while calm stressed skin damaged from shaving with its light and refreshing finish. Directions: Take an adequate amount and gently apply to the face along the skin texture after shaving or washing the face and then lightly dab to help the skin absorb.

Hera Homme Black Perfect Lotion (120ml, SGD$72)
This anti-aging lotion is rich in moisture and nutrients. Apart from its key ingredients, this lotion also contains bio hyaluronic acid (HLA) to keep skin deeply-hydrated with its strong moisture retention properties. Absorbed quickly, this lotion spreads smoothly and envelopes skin while leaving a non-sticky finish. Directions: Take an adequate amount and gently apply to the face after applying Hera Homme Perfect Skin the face and then lightly dab to help the skin absorb.

Hera Homme Black Perfect Fluid (120ml, SGD $$78)
This unique 3-in-1 product is an anti-aging fluid that boosts the skin’s vitality. The quick and fuss-free solution serves a toner, lotion, and essence that moisturises, brightens, and controls sebum secretion with anti-aging properties. Rich in vitamin C with outstanding antioxidant properties to help brighten skin and provide anti-aging care.
Directions: Take an adequate amount and gently apply to the face after applying Hera Homme Perfect Lotion the face and then lightly dab to help the skin absorb.

Hera Homme Purifying Cleansing Foam (125ml, SGD$30)
This refreshing cleansing foam works as both a facial cleanser and shaving cream in one. It thoroughly cleanses the skin with fine textured foam, while polymers keep the skin smooth and comfortable during shaving. This cleansing foam also contains mild amino acids to effectively remove excess sebum and dirt from the skin, while menthol gives skin a cooling sensation and soothes skin that’s easily damaged from shaving. Directions: Wash the face with lukewarm water, take an adequate amount on the hands to make a lather and gently massage the face with it in a circular motion. Rinse off with water.

Hanbang Skin Solutions

One of the latest Korean brands that arrived at our shore, offers powerful skin care solutions, including aging and dull skin, with its range of advanced formulas. Its Esthe Twin STCell series combines Geunmak Therapy (a Korean traditional skincare technique for firmer facial muscles and a brighter complexion) with scientifically-developed skincare products, to deliver nutrients to your skin for visible results. The Esthe Twin STCell range is concocted with stem cell of Eryngium Maritimum (or Sea Holly, an evergreen perennial plant), the key ingredient, which is known for its ability to retain moisture and boost skin firmness.

Esthe Twin STCell Revibeau Ex (90ml SGD $120.00)
The Revibeau EX is a quick absorbing serum is developed with nanocapsules for deep penetration into the skin. The light-weight with practically no scent solution has cell activation and anti-inflammation properties to repair and regenerate the skin to counter anti-aging. Suitable for normal to dry skin. Directions: Gently apply a coin-sized amount onto skin after applying skin toner.

Esthe Twin STCell Cleansing & Foam (200ml, SGD $90.00)
The Cleansing & Foam is a lightweight gentle cleanser, which rapidly clean, and clears excess sebum and impurities, as well as prevents acne, without leaving a stripping effect on the skin. Directions: Take 2-3 pumps, work between the hands and apply to damp face gently. Massage into the skin, including the neck. Rinse with water or lukewarm water.

Esthe Twin STCell Trim Lotion (120ml, SGD $79.00)
The Trim Lotion helps to improve and enhance the skin’s ability to absorb and retain subsequent skincare application and also to activate the skin cells. An essential lotion designed to promote healthy skin. Directions: After cleansing, take 4-5 pumps on the palm and gently pat onto the face and neck. Allow it to gently absorb into the skin for about 30 seconds to 1 minute as a guide; It will improve the familiarity of the skin for the serum to be used later.

Esthe Twin STCell Moist Gel R and Moist Gel S (35g, SGD $93.00)
Moist Gels provide rich moisture to prevent drying, rough skin, enhancing the skin’s vitality and firmness. Moist Gel R is developed for Dry Skin and Moist Gel S is designed for normal to oily skin. The gel absorbs into your skin almost immediately with a silky smooth finishing. Directions: After serum, take 2 pumps on the palm and apply gently onto skin.

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