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Title Four Reasons Why K-Beauty Is Popular
No 53 Inquiry 1901 Date 2017.09.12

German national daily newspaper 《Die Welt》 has shed light on the popularity of Korean cosmetics. 《Iconist》, a lifestyle section magazine of 《Die Welt》, spotlighted K-Beauty, or Korean cosmetics, which begin to gain recognition in German aided by popularity in Europe in an article titled “Why Are Korean Cosmetics Now So Popular” dated September 3. Until so far, in Germany, Korean cosmetics have sometimes drawn attention from fashion magazines but rarely occupied column inches in a national broadsheet newspaper. 

<The article on Korean cosmetics on the main page of Die Welt's lifestyle section magazine (leftmost)>


Die Welt first confirmed the strong presence of K-Beauty, which is Korean cosmetics as a brand, in the European market. The newspaper noted that for those who keep up with the latest beauty trends, "K-Beauty" is synonymous with products that are worth their time and money. “When a trend gets a cool shortcut, you know it's serious. Korean cosmetics are called ‘K-Beauty’ in specialist circles. The range includes far more than just the well-known masks,” it added.
The newspaper first noticed a sheet mask fad on the social media. Worldwide celebrities' selfies with a mask on their face on Instagram seems to have become a fad. Sheet masks are now produced not only in Korea but also in other countries, but they are still considered to be a symbol of Korean cosmetics. 《Die Welt》 introduced the Instagram posts of Hollywood actresses wearing a sheet mask, saying that the masks are now an "Instagram accessory," and that these actresses use them to prepare for an important public appearance.


<Die Welt noted that sheet masks are now an "Instagram accessory".>

With this, the German daily presented four specific reasons why K-Beauty is now so popular in the country: natural ingredients, cost-effectiveness, focus on innovation, and colorful designs.


1. Natural Ingredients
Korean women were the first to turn their back on cosmetics with artificial ingredients. Rather, they have relied on natural and botanical ingredients such as tea or ginseng extracts. Unlike the European and American beauty markets, the Korean beauty market is dominated by herbal cosmetics made mostly with natural ingredients.
2. Cost Effectiveness
Korean women's daily skin care routine consists of more various steps than that of European women. In addition to mask sheets and basic products such as cleansing foam, peeling gel, toner and cream, many Korean women also apply essence and serum for daily night care. A Korean skin care program consists of up to ten different steps. Due to the high demand for various products, the Korean beauty market is much more competitive than the German market is. There is a great diversity in products and price range is lower. German consumers should pay more with the cost of import added. However, Korean cosmetics are still much more affordable than the local cosmetics.
3. Focus on Innovation
Different types of skin require different types of products. Innovative products have already been introduced in the market, such as improved moisturizing masks or special make-up cushions. Korean cosmetics companies are at the top level of research and product development.
4. Colorful Design
While the Western market was dominated by the minimalism in product design, Korean brands wanted to make more unique designs. They apply mascots, emojis, and various colors for an eye-catching packaging to make their products stand out from the shelves. The packaging is sensuous and surprisingly colorful, and the cuteness is unrivaled.

This analysis seems pretty accurate. In particular, it is remarkable that the newspaper praised Korea as the world’s top cosmetic maker in research and product development. Due to competition in the beauty market, Korea brands launch new products and new designs almost on a daily basis. This is certainly new to the German beauty market, where a product or a design usually remains as it is for several years. 《Die Welt》 introduced a number of products through this feature article and included links to the web sites for the purchase of these products, as usually seen in an advertising article. Most of the links were connected to the online store of the cosmetics shop Douglas, which has offline stores in Germany as well as in Europe. It has recently introduced the Korean brand Dr. Jart, and has been actively marketing Korean cosmetics. In addition to Douglas, the links included in the article were connected to the online and offline stores selling Korean cosmetics in Germany.
What is noteworthy about this article is that it dealt with the emergence of Korean cosmetics in the German market, not the US or other European markets. Until so far, Korean cosmetics have been reported by German media only in relation to the phenomena in the Asian or the US markets. This coverage of 《Die Welt》 shows that Korean cosmetics have now established their presence in the German market.
《Die Welt》 is a daily newspaper published by German media company Axel Springer, and is recognized as the most prestigious conservative newspaper in Germany. It publishes online magazine 《Iconist》 that specializes in fashion, beauty, design, and trends, keeping up with the digitization of media.
※ Source:


* Yujin Lee, Correspondent of KOFICE in Germany