Interview: Korean Beauty & Skincare Trends with Alice of W2Beauty!
Affiliate Links Sponsored May 15, 2013 | Industry Professionals, Interviews
If you’re wondering who Alice is, she’s the young entrepreneur behind W2Beauty, the Seoul-based online Korean cosmetics and skincare shop that specializes in making Korean beauty brands easily accessible to the US and other countries worldwide. She has a wealth of information about Korean beauty products and trends, so I thought it would be exciting to interview her!
I asked Alice all kinds of questions about what’s trending in Korea, what her personal must-have products are, and what trends are on the way out. I, for one, am paying attention to what she has to say because in addition to having an all-access pass to the Korean cosmetics world, this girl has one of the best complexions I’ve ever seen.
When did you first become interested in cosmetics?
In my young days, my acne problem was a real nightmare. I had a real war against acne and tried so many products! I even tried to do my best to cover it and I believe this is when cosmetics really became part of my life.
I started using foundation when I was 14 years old. My mum bought me one. Since I was too young, I didn’t know much about cosmetics so I was just using that foundation. (Note to my old self: using foundation without skincare products is dangerous, dear).
Anyway, I could cover my red spots so I was lucky. At that time, I really wanted to look good to a boy whom I liked (if you wonder what was the end of this love story, I couldn’t make it with him but I got a more handsome boyfriend in the end^^). I think that’s the reason why I fell in love with cosmetics.
For the story – one day, I went to a cosmetic shop to buy the foundation again and the shop assistant asked me which skincare products I use. I answered that I didn’t use and I will remember my entire life the face she did at that time; totally shocked. That was my first memory of cosmetics.
What is your skin type (dry, oily, sensitive, acne-prone)?
I have oily, sensitive, acne-prone, and non-elastic skin. Such a shame. My skin turns dry every summer. But I think so many girls have the same problem. Our body rhythm always changes because of the weather and hormones, mainly.
But the main concern of my skin problems is how to cut oil from my skin, and since my skin is so sensitive, I do care about the ingredients of cosmetics. I always prepare functional essence and fresh type watery cream (even though my skin is oily, it doesn’t mean that I don’t need moisture). Trouble spot essence and anti wrinkle products are always on my lovely list.
What is your current skincare routine?
I think skincare starts with a clean skin. Even “how to do cleansing” is really important. I will usually take 5 minutes to clean my face.
• Lip & Eye Remover:
– Innisfree Apple Juicy Lip & Eye Remover
I recommended this product to all my friends, and they all changed their remover to this one. This is so hypoallergenic and removes makeup quite gently (and I love Innisfree ^.^).
• Cleansing Foam
I’m currently using many!
– Etude House Baking Powder Cleansing Foam for normal days.
– A’Pieu Real Marmalade Apple Cleansing Foam for non makeup days.
– Leaders AC Stop Foam Cleansing for the days I have some troubles on my skin.
– Missha’ Super Aqua D-tox Peeling Gel
• Wash Off
– Innisfree Capsule Recipe Pack Series
– Banila Co’ Tea Party Capsule Mask Pack Series
• Toner: Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener
• Essence: Missha The first treatment essence
• Emulsion: Nature Republic Multi Perfection MAX Cream
• Emulsion: Nature Republic Multi Perfection Special Effector SPF15
• Cream: A’Pieu Essential Source Snail Cream (I CANNOT live without this snail cream.) or Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Master Cream
• Anti-aging: Innisfree Eco Science Wrinkle Spot Essence
• Mask Pack:
– Leaders’ all kind of sheet mask packs
– The Face Shop’, Innisfree, Etude House mask pack series.
• Mist: ‘Nature Republic’ Bee Venom Mist Essence
I love this mist. The spray is so mild feeling, like fog. I always put one in my bag and I put one on my desk.
• Sun Block
– Holika Holika Sun Cream
– A’Pieu Sun cream
Do you have any favorite skincare brands?
Missha and A’Pieu. A’Pieu’s skincare products have always satisfied me so far!
I love Laneige’s skincare products, especially the Water Bank line.
And last but not least, Innisfree. That makes many favorites… I can’t really choose one on top of another…
What’s on your skincare wish list?
Innisfree recently launched a new line of skincare products: The Balhyo line. I already ordered some…I’m so excited to try them out! ^.^
I also want to buy the BIO Activator Plant Stem Cell Active of ‘IOPE’. My friend is using it and I can see that her skin got better.
What are your favorite makeup products?
Once again, I have so many favorites!
• I cannot live without the Air Cushion Sun Block EX Cover from ‘IOPE’. It’s my Must have!
• I absolutely love A’Pieu’s tint lipsticks for normal days. Even if I drink 3 cups of coffee, the tint won’t go which is quite rare.
• Banila Co. and Laneige’s eyeshadow are always amazing, and top of the list.
• I have a terrible desire to get all of the Ameli’s Platlips (Lipstick). Please have a look at the lipstick in our shop, you will understand why.
• For my nails, I usually use Etude House since they are the cutest in my opinion (especially the packaging, I totally fall in love for it).
What skincare trends are most popular in Korea right now?
I cannot say that “THIS” is popular because it changes almost every week.
This is a kind of history of Korean Skincare Trends and the hit items:
• Aloe (Nature Republic Aloe Soothing Gel)
• Honey (Skin Food Honey Line)
• Collagen (Etude House Collagen Moistfull Line)
• Water (Laneige Water Bank Line)
• Pitera Essence (Missha The First Treatment Essence)
• Anti-Aging (Mamonde Total Age Repair Line)
• Whitening (Tonymoly Tomatox Brightening Pack)
• Repairing Ampoule (Missha Time Revolution Night Repair New Science Activator Essence)
• Syn-ake (Tonymoly Intense Repair Syn-ake Wrinkle Filler Line)
• Yellow Oil Serum (The Face Shop Arsainte Eco-Therapy Extreme Moisture Tonic With Essential Line)
• Snail Cream (A’Pieu Essential Source Snail Cream)
• Jeju Volcanic (Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask)
• Mild Cleansing Oil (Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil-Moisture)
• Bee Venom (Nature Republic Bee Venom Line)
• Harakeke (The Saem Urban Eco Harakeke Line)
• Mango Seed Moisture (The Face Shop Mango Seed Facial Butter)
• Balhyo (‘Innisfree’ Soybean Energy Essence with fermented bean extract)
• BIO (‘IOPE’ BIO Activator Plant Stem Cell Active)
• Chia Seed (‘The Face Shop’ Chia Seed Line)
• Washing Pore (‘Etude House’ Wonder Pore Line)
• Whitening (‘Tonymoly’ Capsule Essence)
Are there any trends that are declining in popularity?
It’s really hard to say. We do have newer trends, but I believe when people start liking some ingredients and skincare products, it’s very unlikely that they will change. They may buy some newer products to try but they will still get their “beloved” products in the end, unless they really find something new that they love even more.
As of now, I can see that the Syn-ake products are not so popular and the honey line is not that special, so it’s declining. For the other trends, I still see people using and buying them.
What are your current bestsellers in skincare?
• Etude House “Wonder Pore” line.
• Tonymoly “Tomatox Brightening Pack”
• The Face Shop “Clean Face Spot Essence”
• Missha “Urban Soul The First Treatment Essence” (for Men)
• Missha “Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail” line
• Missha “The First Treatment Essence”
• Laneige “Water Bank Moisture Cream”
What inspired you to open W2Beauty?
I believe the idea came after travelling to many Asian countries, especially Hong Kong! I saw SO MANY Korean Cosmetic brands opening new stores etc. And as a sign of prosperity, people were QUEUING to enter Etude House or Innisfree shops for example, which totally amazed me!
I mean, in Korea, we have so many shops everywhere so we barely have to queue, not even 1 minute to check out…but in Hong Kong they were actually queuing just to get into the shops. And the prices were like 50% higher than in Korea (and they also gave less samples and no free gifts most of the time). That was definitely when I started thinking that there is a real opportunity and W2beauty will answer to a real need.
What makes W2Beauty different from other online Korean cosmetic shops?
I believe most companies just think about making money. We also wish that our shop is prosperous but we do care about our customers above all. We have a mission: to give the people from around the world the same shopping experience as if they were in Korea, which means low prices, good services and good products! We want to make people excited whenever they visit our shop! Making our customers happy and satisfied is our utmost priority.
We offer free shipping because we are aware that customers are getting bad experiences in many shops at the checkout step. And we offer quite a wide range of brands and products so that our customers have more choices! We wish to accompany you on your journey to the Korean Cosmetic World!
We are still a small company but it is growing every day, thanks to all the support we have. This motivates me to give even more of myself to satisfy our customers! Welcome to beauty!
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
I love watching Korean Dramas…can’t help it…I’m Korean after all ^.^ ! If you need some recommendations, please ask me, hehe.
I also love watching Baseball games (which is a very popular sport in Korea); watching Kpop related videos, watching RUNNING MAN (I’m sure some of you already know this) and playing video games… (I’m being honest ^.^ Korean people are born geeks).
What are you looking forward to right now?
I really wish that my shop will become successful. For the moment, I have no other project than improving the shop and offering better services and experiences to my customers. I wish to say thank you to all of you who support us! Later on, I wish to start offering the Korean Style (clothes) too…but that’s a project I keep for later. I still have so many brands to put into the shop (and that’s so much work and especially time consuming ^.^) .
* * * *
Author’s note: I can personally attest to the higher level of customer service you get at W2Beauty. I now order from this shop regularly, and the service has been great. All products are fresh from the manufacturer, and there are plenty of samples included. Samples are, after all, a part of the Korean shopping experience!
Do you have questions about any Korean brands or products? Are you looking for Korean Drama recommendations? Comment below with your questions for Alice!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Any opinion I express in a sponsored post is still 100% my own – a sponsored post simply means that a specific brand has compensated me for the exposure they receive by being featured on this blog. For more information, see full disclosure. This post also contains affiliate links. Shopping these links helps support this site!
I’ve spoken to her a few times over email and she is really a lovely person! Would be buying right now if my bank account wasn’t hurting so much haha – I do have the Banilla co tea party capsule mask on my wish list though!
I hear you on the bank account front! After my orders from yesterday, I’m basically a street urchin now.
What a great opportunity to learn more about Korean products…it’s definitely an area that has piqued my curiosity, and I’m always looking for reviews and recommendations on new products…definitely adding some of hers to my list!
Ooh, what products are on your list?
Before this interview I had literally *just* placed a W2Beauty order. Then I worked on this post and ended up going back and placing a second order, this time for the IOPE Cushion, Innisfree Lip & Eye Remover, and the A’pieu Lip Gloss. Needless to say, I’m broke now. But I’m going to be one good-looking broke lady.
I would love to know more about her “how to do cleansing” part. Thanks!
I would be interested to know about this too! Alice, do you have any special techniques (like massage) when you use your cleaning products?
Thank you so much ! 🙂
I had such a great pleasure answering the question of this interview and Kerry’s blog is definitely among my top favorites one ! Her review are the best I’ve read so far !
I’m so sorry for your bank account though … if I have a VIP ranking on the online shop, Kerry would be the VVVIP …
Do not hesitate to post your question here, I will come regularly to answer to them and wish I could help somehow ^.^
Hahaha! Being a VVVIP would be hilarious!
I’m so glad you did this interview. It’s such a great look inside the industry and I love how detailed your answers are.
And thank you for the compliments on my blog! I’m so happy people get enjoyment out of it.
Wow. No wonder she looks like she’s never had a breakout…talk about really caring for her skin! I have a feeling true skincare is really going to take off here in the coming years rather than just covering it with makeup. But man, that’s a lot of steps! Time to start a new habit/routine. Great post btw! Thanks for the info ladies.
Yeah, I agree! Her hard work on her skin has really paid off. She looks amazing!
I would also like to see skin care take off in the US the way it has in Asia. Specifically, I would like to see more Korean beauty brands gain popularity here!
She’s the one who message me on facebook and introduce the shop…At first I actually could figure out that she was behind the shop…hehe 😀
Some brands in the site are just unique which I can’t found in other website. However, most of them are too expensive for me than I always buy with the online shops I know.
Anyway, it’s fund to browse! Who knows I might fall in love with some of the brands that are special till I can’t ignore the cost..haha…
*fund : fun
* can’t ignore : can ignore
well, too excited to write till too much of misspelling XD
Yes, some of the brands can definitely get expensive! I am waiting for the day I can afford to pick up a Sulwhasoo moisturizer.
I heard so many good reviews about that brand *_*
Definitely will get them when I start working later…:)
I’ve spoken recently! Wow she’s sooooo pretty~ ^^ She’s also super nice like wow I’m glad to be buying from her shop soon 😀
Oooh, what are you thinking of getting?
alot of things ahaha but mostly etude house and tony moly things aha
I am 51 with combinaiton oily skin, begiinings of fine lines on forehead. I have been using a few Korean sample products: Sulwhasoo brand-for about 3 weeks now. However, it seems to leave my face with a slightly sticky, and somewhat oily appearance.
Can you recommend any Asian products specifically for mature skin. I prefer to use all my skin care products from one cosmetic line, but I’m open to mix and matching.
Thanks for your response
Hi Heather! Let me think about this and get back to you via email. Can you tell me which Sulwhasoo products you tried?
a great post!! i have similar type of skin at the moment, now i know what to look for 🙂
Alice, can you please add what does each product do for the skin? I see products that I want to know more about before buying but there’s no information on what it is good for so it’s hard to buy it without knowing. Thanks. I am really glad you have that website though.
Hey Kieu! I think this is a great request. You should try emailing it to Alice at email@example.com!
I love her face n skin. She really took good care of it. I’m 24 and the same oily, acne prone n sensitive skin too. My skin is going worst at monthly periods. But I just started with these Secret Key essence and snail gel cream. Will go broader with honey bee line. I never been succeed with lotion neither emulsion, which emulsion does she use? I surely alergic to Benzolyne Peroxide and need more organic skincare. And sulwhasoo n history of whoo line didnt suit me really well. And surely I love running man and korean dramas. (back watching my lee soon shin)
Hello! I need skincare help! ^^
I checked out the W2Beauty site but find that the products do not have detailed descriptions accompanying them. I’m looking for a product to reduce bags underneath the eyes, and something to help decrease smile lines. I turned 31 this year and am starting to notice these features. 😛 Which products are highly effective for these issues?
Also, I used to have a good complexion, but in my mid twenties it changed. My skin always looks inflamed and discolored with red splotches and small brown bumps. I know the years of drinking too much alcohol and not enough water has taken it’s toll, so I’m making small life changes to improve my health. However, are there any great products to help balance and clear skin?
I apologize for the lengthy comment. 😛
I need help! Please help me. Now my face is red now especially around the cheek area and little dry with many little small pimples. I went to Missha this morning and they gave me “Super Aqua Marine Steam Cell Intensive Serum”, Super Aqua cleansing cream, Safe Block, and M perfect cover BB cream. But the thing is that when I try all this stuff my face will getting worse than now. Please give me some idea about these products. Please tell me if u have used all or one these stuff. Is it effective or not?
Can i used collagen mask I am 14 year old girl ?
Hi Eunice! This is one instance wherein what the marketing says the product does and what it actually does are two different things, and it actually works to your benefit. Skin care companies would have you believe that applying collagen topically is somehow infusing your skin with collagen, or making you product more collagen. What’s actually happening is that the collagen is just making your skin temporarily softer and smoother, as well as providing additional moisture. Moisturizing is good for all ages of skin – as long as the mask doesn’t contain any ingredients you’re sensitive too, or more serious anti-aging ingredients such as retinoids. If you’re going to be using skin care products at 14, the best things to looks for are hydrating moisturizers, antioxidants, and sunscreen. Sunscreen is the most important thing – if you start using it now, you’ll thank yourself when you’re older! 🙂
I want korean prods in india!!!!! :'(
Lyn, you should try emailing Alice at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’m pretty sure she ships to India, but she would be able to tell you for sure. 😀
They do ship to India! 🙂
I am Korean, but have never seriously given the korean skincare a try. I really wanted to give it a real try this time! What would you recommend for someone like me who has dry skin, some fine lines, and sun/age spots? I am 36 years old, by the way. The biggest problem I have with most products is that they are not hydrating or moisturizing enough. Would really appreciate your advice!
Whoa Alice.. You loook great and your skin is just too clean and clear..
Loved reading every bit of your interview :* 🙂
Really admire Alice with her w2beauty shop, young and good in doing business,very rare to see. Hope the best for Alice.
Thanks for putting her on the interview, Alice and I spoke on emails, very nice and helpful lady.
Hello I’m 16 years old and Id like help
To get a stable Korean skincare routine! But I don’t know what products I’m allowed to use as a teen I have very oily skin by the way.
I simply love Korean products and its a great pleasure reading such a wonderful post with so much beauty knowledge.
There are soooo many korean skin care and I dont know where or how to start, please help:'(.what name brand set would help with brown spots or acne scarring?
I have 1 vote to Tomatox Magic White Massage Pack
This is really good night cream, I have used for 2 years and happy with it
Hi Kerry, I have a skin trouble question for you. What products would you recommend to get rid of milia, and small bumps(cloged pores?) This doesn’t seem like a widely discussed problem and I can’t found any good advice.
P.S. my current skin routine seems to keep the problem at bay mostly but I have quite a few, especially around my eye area, from past skin negligence.