If there’s a new trend in beauty, there’s a good chance it began in South Korea. The influence of the Korean beauty scene is no secret – it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, has brought us some of the best beauty innovations in decades, and even proved to be one of the key debate topics at this year’s Condé Nast International Luxury Conference (which, it is worth noting, was this year hosted in Seoul). Just last week LVMH bought a minority stake in Seoul-based company Clio Cosmetics for $50 billion, while sites such as Cultbeauty.co.uk and Lunatu.com have made it possible to get Korean beauty products delivered right to your door.
But the way in which So-Ko (that’s South Korean) beauty has influenced us most is the innovative ways in which we now apply our products. In fact, Korean-born trends are so embedded into the Western beauty offering now that you might not even realise their origin. Think back 10 years and the only conceivable way of applying foundation was out of a tube or bottle. Nowadays we might choose a cushion compact instead, or even a BB or CC cream for the in-built skincare benefits. And masks? No longer necessarily something that comes in a jar. The rise of sheet masks over the past few years has been lightning-fast and broad-ranging, with companies from Olay to Estée Lauder launching their own versions to meet demand. And it’s all down to Korea. From make-up to skincare, from the complex 12-step regimes to the clever packaging, we have Seoul to thank for some of our favourite beauty innovations over the past few years. See eight of the best here.
Related reading: Explore the best Korean beauty products to try now.