What’s in Store for K-Beauty in 2017

By December 23, 2016

The trends, innovations, and ingredients that will be huge in Korean beauty in 2017.

I’m looking forward to another year of amazing K-beauty trends and innovations that will take the global beauty industry by storm. As I have done in years past, here are my predictions for K-beauty in 2017 that will keep everyone on their pretty little toes!

1. The Decline of the No-Makeup Makeup Look
Last year I predicted more makeup products fused with the benefits of skincare. Since then, I have already seen the rise in the “base makeup” category, along with developments in the cushion compact category. I expect more development here, starting first with cushion compacts that will have more options for various skin types and skin tones, plus some new innovations in the actual cushion technology (i.e. filter screens, mochi-based cushions).

In general, I’m seeing more and more rising Korean beauty bloggers that are influencing the street style makeup trend for the millennial generation in Korea. You’ll be surprised to know that they are actually going away from the “no makeup, makeup look,” and trending more towards the Western style of makeup, from contouring (yes, contouring!) and bright, vivid colors in eyeshadows, brows, and lips. With this change, I’m excited to see how Korean makeup brands adapt to the trend and see if their color offerings can compete against the likes of color cosmetic powerhouses such as NYX, Urban Decay, and Tarte.

2. A 10-Step Scalp Routine
As much as the 10-step skincare routine may be the gateway to K-beauty, get ready in 2017 to focus on the skin on top of your head (aka your scalp) to maintain voluminous and silky smooth strands. Both Korean men and women are extremely invested in the health of their hair. Trust me, the reaction you’d get if you tell the average Korean girl that you don’t usually use hair essence is one with shock and horror. Hair products from Korea are more in the spotlight, especially brands featured in top hair salons in Korea. Spoiler alert: I’ve been so into this category, you can expect some really great hair products being curated to Soko Glam next year!

3. Convenience, Convenience, Convenience!
It’s not only about creating whole entire product categories, but it’s also about making existing categories so much better, effective and convenient! Case-in-point, Korean sheet masks are not limited to microfiber and hydrogel any longer, you’ll see clay-based sheet masks that look exactly like a regular sheet mask. This clay sheet mask eventually hardens after the 20-30 minutes on your skin to remove excess oil and impurities, then you peel it off and rinse for one simple, easy, and clean application—something that, traditionally, (messy) clay masks don’t offer.

4. Natural, Time-Tested Ingredients
2017 is all about the natural ingredients from plants and natural sources found primarily in Asian countries and that have been used for centuries in Asia to soothe, hydrate and brighten the skin. Think yuza (or “yuju,” “yuja”) for it’s concentrated vitamin C properties, bamboo for it’s ability to hydrate, truffles for anti-aging, pearls for brightening and royal fermented honey as a natural humectant. Let’s not forget birch juice, which is slowly making it’s way into many Korean products as a substitute for the most overrated skincare ingredient, water.

5. Power to Ingredients
Ingredients are not the only important factor, but it’s the way in which your skin interacts with them (texture, consistency) as well as the efficacy of the ingredients after it hits your skin. Cosmetic scientists are finding ways to slowly release powerful vitamins and minerals throughout the day and figuring out how to maximize the benefits of the active ingredients. Leave it to Korea to push the limits of ingredients and make sure they work well for us!

6. Global Brands Double Down on K-Beauty
Chances are you’ve spotted a cushion compact or a sheet mask, and surprisingly it’s not from a Korean brand, but a Western brand. Long story short, you’ll be seeing a lot of non-Korean brands doubling down on not only Korean trends, but also opting to work directly with Korean manufacturers to launch a new, innovative concept even before it launches via a Korean brand! K-beauty is not only disrupting the cosmetic brands out there, but it’s also bringing more love to the entire supply chain of cosmetics in Korea from packaging to ingredients and to final production and formulation.

Easy tip to confirm sneaking suspicion about the origin of the product: Flip the bottle or compact over and checking for the “Made in Korea” stamp, though even that won’t be reliable for long, as some Korean manufacturers are building out their factories stateside!

7. Rise in Counterfeit K-Beauty Products
Counterfeit K-beauty is very real. As K-beauty rises in popularity, be wary of counterfeit products out there! Unfortunately, there are many cases of such products, despite the low price point. That’s why brands like Missha has to constantly change their packaging for their popular Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence, to keep counterfeiters at bay with constant updates to the product. Make sure you are getting your products from a source that works directly with the brands in Korea and has done proper US labeling, as well as FDA compliance. (Rest assured, Soko Glam works directly with all the brands on the site!)