Skin & Tonics : A Skincare Blog

Skincare guides & product reviews for beauty enthusiasts & ingredient connoisseurs

2015 Korean Skincare Trends, New Releases, and the Future of K-Beauty with Alice of W2Beauty

The second most popular request I had while I was away was a new seasonal interview with Alice, lifelong resident of Seoul and owner of the Korean beauty e-tailer, W2Beauty. I catch up with Alice a couple of times a year to talk about new releases and ingredient trends in the K-beauty world, and today I’m bringing you the details of our most recent chat about emerging products and trends in 2015!  Plus, Alice shares her personal favorites and where she thinks the future of Korean skincare is going.

Alice W2Beauty Spring Picnic

Alice, at a recent spring picnic celebration in Seoul. Alice, did you make that cake? I want it!

What new skincare ingredients are popular or have become popular over the past year?

Hyaluronic Acid

• A’Pieu – Essential Source Hyaluronic Acid
• It’s Skin Hyaluronic Acid Moisture 

Enhanced Water
Water is the most basic ingredient of skincare products so skincare brands are now moving toward “enhanced waters” instead of plain water.

• Sparkling water:
– Innisfree – Jeju Sparkling Mineral
– Skinfood – Fresh Apple Sparkling Pore

• Deep Sea water :
– Missha Super Aqua aroma deep sea water line

• Ginseng Water:
– Donginbi Red Ginseng Pure Moisturizing Healing Mist

• Black Tea Water
– A-True Real Black Tea True Active Essence

ginseng_healing_mist

Donginbi Red Ginseng Pure Moisturizing Healing Mist on eBay, on Amazon

Seeds

• Chia Seed
– The Faceshop – Chia Seed Line

• Green Tea Seed
– Innisfree Green Tea Seed Line

• Lotus Seed
– Primera Miracle Seed Essence

Primera Miracle Seed Essence

Primera Miracle Seed Essence – on W2Beauty, on eBay, on Amazon

Nature-Based Ingredients

• Honey
– Banila Co Miss flower & Mr. Honey line (I love their cream)
– Innisfree Canola Honey Line
– Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Line

• Banana
– TonyMoly Magic Food Banana Line
– It’s Skin Banana Cleansing Foam
– Shara Shara Banana Cleansing Foam

• Salt
– A’Pieu – Essential Source Salt Line
– Innisfree – Sea Salt Cleanser

• Goat Milk
– A’Pieu – Essential Source Goat’s Milk Line
– TonyMoly Naturalth Goat Milk Moisture

• Horse Oil
– Guerisson 9 Complex
– TonyMoly Horseyu Cream Premium RX

• Thanakha :
– The Saem Thanakha Pore Tightening

Banila Co Miss flower & Mr. Honey

Banila Co. Miss flower & Mr. Honey Cream, on W2Beauty, on eBay

Guerisson 9-Complex

Guerisson 9 Complex Horse Oil Cream, on eBay, on Amazon (Please note: there are many counterfeit versions of this cream on the market. These linked sellers have been verified as carrying genuine Guerisson 9 Complex.)

Which ingredients that have been around for at least a few years are still enjoying popularity in new products?

Snail, aloe, green tea and argan are definitely the big winners!

• Snail
– It’s Skin Prestige d’escargot Cream
– Mizon All-in-One Snail Cream
– Missha Near Skin Repairing Snail Cream
– A’Pieu Essential Source Snail Vital Cream
– The Saem Beaute de Royal Snail & Red Ginseng Intense Cream
– The Saem Snail Soothing Gel
– Tony Moly Timeless Ferment Snail Cream

• Aloe
– Nature Republic Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel
– Etude House Aloe Moistfull Cream
– Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel

• Green Tea
– Innisfree Green Tea Line
– Nature Republic Fresh Green Tea Seed Serum
– Illi Green Tea Brightening Mask

• Ginseng
– Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum
– Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream
– It’s Skin Prestige Crème Ginseng D’escargot

Illi Green Tea Brightening Mask

Illi Green Tea Brightening Mask on W2Beauty, on eBay

It's Skin PRESTIGE Crème Ginseng D'escargot

A snail classic: It’s Skin Prestige Crème Ginseng D’escargot on W2Beauty, on eBay, on Amazon

Is snail mucin still a staple skin care ingredient?

It is indeed, and we now have some new variations of snail products such as the The Saem Gold Snail Wrinkle Plumper or the fermented snail with Tony Moly Timeless Ferment Snail line. Missha also just renewed their popular snail line with their Near Skin Repairing Snail Cream, which was just released in April.

Missha Near Skin Repairing Snail Cream

Missha Near Skin Repairing Snail Cream, on W2Beauty, on eBay, on Amazon

What new skincare products are you seeing emerge for the spring/summer 2015 season?

I’m seeing more and more “sparkling” products such as the sparkling essence, sparkling water, etc. Innisfree’s Jeju Sparkling Mineral really leads in this category.

Ginseng is also coming back with the Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream by Nature Republic. I expect they will develop this into an entire line soon.

Salt is also quite prominent with lines by A’pieu and Innisfree. I believe more brands will also be following that trend.

Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream

Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream – on W2Beauty, on eBay

Are there any newly released skincare products that have already become very popular?

The Innisfree Sparkling Water is really popular these days. The Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream by Nature Republic has been a very popular product as well!

Was there a particular event or celebrity endorsement that caused their popularity?

Yoona from the Girl’s Generation is Innisfree’s endorser for the Sparkling Water.  A big ad was made for the launch of the sparkling water line, and they also put quite some effort in the display of each shop.

 

Innisfree Sparkling Water Mineral Essence Display

Innisfree Sparkling Water Mineral Essence Display

I mean… the bubbles are not a fixed image, it’s really bubble water that imitates the movement of sparkling water.

For Nature Republic’s Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream, they’ve had a special promotion event with several celebrities — the singer from the girls’ band Miss A Lee Min-young, Girl’s Generation’s Hyoyeon, and actress Hwang Shin-Hye.  It was their personal support through Instagram that boosted popularity – all of them took selfies with the product to boost promotion.

What new products have you seen emerge in the past year?

• Primera Super Sprout Serum (2014.02)
• Mamonde Lotus Micro Cleansing line (2014.03)
• Skinfood Premium Tomato Whitening line (2014.03)
• Mamonde Floral Hydro Cream (2014.05)
• Mamonde Rose Water Multi Soothing Gel (2014.06)
• O Hui Super Anti-aging Essence (2014.08)
• Banila Co Miss flower & Mr. Honey cream (2014.09)
• The Saem Urban Eco Harakeke Firming Seed Cream (2014.09)
• Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng fortifying serum (2014.09)
• Skinfood Miracle Food 10 Solution line (2014.09)
• The Face Shop The Therapy Secret-made Anti-aging Cream, line (2014.10)
• Laneige Time Freeze Intensive Cream (2014.10)
• Hanyul Moist Glow Oil (2014.11)
• Su:m37 Signature Essence Full-Energy Essence, Fine-Moisturizer, D-Purifying Essence (2014.12)
• TonyMoly Magic Food Banana Sleeping Pack (2014.12)
• O Hui Miracle Moisture line (2015.01)
• Amorepacific Contour Lift Skin Defining Collection (2015. 01)
• Hera Signia line (2015. 02)
• Laneige White Plus Renew Spot Ampoule (2015.02)
• Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream (2015. 03)
• Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Essence (2015.03)
• Su:m37 White Award Ultimate Whitening Ampoule in Cream, Spot Essence EX (2015.03)
• Skinfood Premium Tomato Whitening Moisture Synergy Cream (2015.03)
• Tony Moly Naturalth Goat Milk line (2015.03)
• Hera Cell Bio Cream Soft (2015.04)


Are any of those new products particularly popular in Korea right now?

• Mamonde Lotus Micro Cleansing line
• Primera Super Sprout Serum
• The Face Shop The Therapy Secret-made Anti-aging Cream line
• Laneige Time Freeze Intensive Cream
• Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum
• Su:m37 Signature Essence: Full-Energy Essence, Fine-Moisturizer, D-Purifying Essence
• Su:m37 White Award Ultimate Whitening Ampoule in Cream, Spot Essence EX
• TonyMoly Naturalth Goat Milk line

Su:m37 Signature Essence: Full-Energy Essence, Fine-Moisturizer, & D-Purifying Essence

Su:m37 Signature Essence: Full-Energy Essence, Fine-Moisturizer, & D-Purifying Essence, on W2Beauty, on eBay


Was there a particular event or celebrity endorsement that caused their popularity?

Yes – in some cases there was a big celebrity endorsement, but for others, it was good reviews and word-of-mouth that helped elevate the product’s popularity.

• Mamonde Lotus Micro Cleansing line:
Park Shin-hye, celebrity endorsement

• Primera Super Sprout Serum: 
Word-of-mouth

• The Face Shop The Therapy Secret-made Anti-aging Cream line:
Suzy from girls’ band Miss A, celebrity endorsement

• Laneige Time Freeze Intensive Cream:
Song Hye-kyo, celebrity endorsement

• Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum:
Word-of-mouth

• Su:m37 Signature Essence Full-Energy Essence, Fine-Moisturizer, D-Purifying Essence:
Word-of-mouth

• Su:m37 White Award Ultimate Whitening Ampoule in Cream, Spot Essence EX:
Word-of-mouth

• Tony Moly Naturalth Goat Milk line:
Word-of-mouth


What skincare products (new or old) are most popular with:

• People in their teens?
– Tony Moly Naturalth Goat Milk line
– Etude House Collagen Moistfull Cream
– Innisfree Green Tea Line

• People in their 20s?
– Su:m37 Signature Essence Ful-Energy Essence
– Su:m37 Signature Essence Fine-Moisturizer
– Su:m37 Signature Essence D-Purifying Essence
– Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum
– Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher

• People in their 30s?
– Hera Cell Bio Essence
– Hera Cell Bio Cream
– O HUI Cell Power No.1 Essence

• People in their 40s?
– Hera Cell Bio Essence
– Hera Cell Bio Cream
– Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum
– Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

• People in their 50s and above?
– Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream
– History of Whoo – Whitening Moisture Cream
– Amorepacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Mist

History of Whoo - Whitening & Moisture Cream

History of Whoo – Whitening & Moisture Cream, on W2Beauty, on eBay, on Amazon

What skincare lines and products are most popular for men?

• Innisfree Forest for Men Perfect All-in-One Skin
• Innisfree Forest for Men line
• A’Pieu Nonco Black Tea for Men
• Missha For Men Urban Soul The First Treatment Essence
• Mamonde Men Sebum Control Toner
• Primera Men Organience Essential Cream
• Iope Men Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning
• Sulwhasoo Moisturizing Fluid for Men

What are your top 10 bestselling skincare products on W2Beauty?

1) Benton Skincare Set
(Snail Bee High Content Essence, Snail Bee High Content Cream, Snail Bee High Content Mask Sheet, Snail Bee High Content Skin, Snail Bee High Content Lotion, Aloe BHA Toner, Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel)

2) Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
3) Laneige Water Bank Sleeping Pack
4) Su:m37 Time Repair line (Toner, Emulsion, Serum)
5) Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum
6) Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask
7) Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive
8) Tony Moly Tomatox
9) Mizon All in One Snail Cream
10) Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (Original/Hard)

Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick

The ever-popular Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick, on W2Beauty, on eBay, on Amazon

What are your top 5 personal favorite skincare products?

I really have a hard time choosing just 5 so I will add some bonus items 😀

• Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel
When I was young, every spring/summer I would played outside with my friends all day. At that time, my mother grew Aloe in the house. Every day she help me wash my face and let me lay down on her knees and she would rub me with pure aloe gel on parts of my face. Sometimes, she just put the aloe gel part on my face like doing a skincare pack. After that, I’ve used so many aloe soothing gels, but I truly enjoy using the Benton Aloe soothing gel nowadays since it really reminds me of this time. I also like Nature Republic – Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel, but it is not really convenient to carry around.
• Sulwhasoo – Overnight Vitalizing Mask
• Laneige – Water Sleeping Mask (formerly called Laneige water sleeping pack_EX)
• Laneige – Lip Sleeping Mask
• Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
• Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
• Sulwhasoo – Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, the best cream I’ve ever used!
• History of Whoo – Whitening Moisture Cream
• Sulwhasoo – Snowise EX Whitening Spot Serum
• Skinfood – Black Sugar Mask
• Su:m37 Secret Repair Toner

Sheet masks:
• Banila Co – It Radiant Lace Hydrogel Mask Sheet Moisturizing
• Innisfree – It’s Real Squeeze Mask-Manuka Honey
• Benton – Snail Bee High Content Mask


Where do you see the future of Korean skincare going in the next 3 years?

I really expect to see the skincare routine simplified, and more all-in-one products that would save time and money for the consumers – even some all-in-one products in the form of a spray! An all-in-one skincare mist sounds great, doesn’t it?

Also, I expect more DIY skincare products, as well as miniature versions of salon skincare, such as special kits for pore treatments, wrinkle treatments, and brightening.

Last but not least, I also expect some more beauty food coming in the market. “Beauty from inside” is a trend that is growing rapidly!

Where to Buy

The Korean Skincare Products and More are Available at:

Store Price Offers
W2Beauty Over 10,000 Korean beauty products shipped worldwide w2beautybanner First time customers can get a $5 W2Beauty voucher by entering my sponsor code at sign-up:025605. buy
Amazon.com Amazon has an all-new, dedicated Korean beauty store! amazon buy
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16 comments on2015 Korean Skincare Trends, New Releases, and the Future of K-Beauty with Alice of W2Beauty

  1. Tiffany

    Alice & Kerry, I am so happy that you girls are back! Thank you for the very informative update on this year’s skincare trends!! I can’t wait to get my paycheck this week and splurge on some of these products, though this time around I’ll be deviating from my usual buys and get some Sulwhasoo products and the Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream 😀

    • Kerry

      Thanks, Tiffany! Those are great choices – I LOVE the Miss Flower & Mr.Honey Cream so much. Which Sulwhasoo products are you thinking about?

      • Tiffany

        I feel like the Miss Flower & Mr. Honey will be a hit with my skin 😀 Would you recommend it for morning use too? And the products I am thinking about are the Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher and Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. I would totally LOVE to invest in the legendary Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, but maybe next paycheck haha!

        • Kerry

          Though I love the Miss Flower & Mr.Honey Cream, I don’t think it works very well as a daytime moisturizer. It interferes too much with my sunscreen and makeup application. If you have dry skin and want a rich cream that also works well for daytime wear, I’d recommend Goodal Moisture Barrier Cream!

  2. Thank you for this super helpful post! I’m only 17 and I have very oily skin, I think inisfree’s green tea line would be great! Do you have products you really recommend from their line? I know the green tea serum is super popular.

    http://toomanybiases.blogspot.pt

    • Kerry

      Your welcome Claudia! I think the green tea line would be a great place for you to start. The serum would be a good choice, and you may also want to pick up the Green Tea Balancing Skin. 🙂

  3. I’m so, so, so glad you’re back. I was already worried you left for good. I’d been coming back to your blog and expertise so often during your absence. Totally happy when you announced your comeback recently. Keep it up 🙂

  4. Glad to see you back!
    Primera! Yes! Finally somebody’s talking about it! That serum is delightful. I’m surprised that brand is not more popular in the kBeauty circles. It deserves more attention.

  5. seppinator1111

    What an awesome article! So many things to pin and save and wishlist and … ahem … buy!

  6. belinda

    Those different colored sum essences are really pretty looking! I always look forward to these interviews! 😀

    Is there any chance you’d do a similar interview with Alice on korean makeup trends this year?

  7. Hi Kerry, thank you so much for this post, very insightful and informative, especially coming from Alice, a reliable source as she is the owner of W2Beauty and she curates the products before being sold on the website.

    One thing I really like about skincare is its continuous discovery of ingredients that are good for our skin. If not for my serious interest in skincare, I would not know ingredients such as snail and goat milk would be good for our skin! I am particularly triggered by the list of many new ingredients that are becoming the trend in Korea, especially enhanced water because I would have never thought that plain water as an ingredient can be ‘intensified.’

    I also like how you asked Alice about the popular skincare products for men. From my what I have seen on the media, skincare is advertised heavily towards female audiences, so to see that in Korea skincare is embraced by both men and women is really eye opening. Do you think that other parts of the world can adopt this tendency of men taking care of their skin more precisely like they do in Korea?