Interview: Korean Beauty & Skincare Trends with Alice of W2Beauty!
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 ^.^) .
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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!
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