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What’s In Store for K-Beauty in 2016?


I just came back from a really quick trip to Seoul. Quick trip, meaning I think I got only a few hours of sleep the entire week because there were so many products to explore, experts to meet and so little time. You know you’ve packed your Korea trip in too tight, when you don’t even have one Korean BBQ sesh the entire time. SAD.

Despite my whining, in truth it was so good and I know I’m so lucky. Just look at my spoils! Both of my suitcases were stuffed to the brim, literally about to pop open any second. Even the person at the airline checking me in tsk tsk’d me for going over the luggage weight limit.

This was probably my last trip to Korea for 2015, closing out the year with a total of five trips! Considering I’ll be back often again next year, I thought it would be fun to jot down some of my predictions for 2016. Now that everyone is taking a more serious look at K-beauty and what comes out of Korea ends up usually becoming the next big thing, who knows if my thoughts will come to fruition!

1. Next-level Sheet Masks
2015 was the year of the animal sheet masks and other pretty lacey designs. What I’ve personally realized is that sheet masking (and skin care) should never be boring. and I wouldn’t mind if they just came out with more fun patterns in 2016.
In reality, I think we’re going to find more serious innovations in the sheet mask category. They will come with more skin benefits than your standard hydrogel or microfiber sheet masks. I’ve already seen some sheet masks that are injected with vitamins right before you smooth it onto your skin—with amazing skin-benefitting ingredients.

2. More “Real” Ingredients in Products
I’m seeing a lot of fermented extracts used across various skin care product categories, which are popular because those are extracts that are not cultivated in a lab. Along that same vein, I predict the use of more “real” ingredients in all products. I’m already seeing wash off masks infused with real herbs, floating rose petals in cleansing waters, and sheet masks where you can see the real ingredients (yes, real calendula petals and herbs) infused into the hydrogel/ sheet masks for extra skin loving effects. I hope it doesn’t go too far, because I’ll draw the line if I see real snail shells in my jar of snail cream.

3. Cleansing Waters
Cleansing waters are starting to make a big splash in Korea. Although cleansing waters are not a Korean innovation, I’d say their philosophy to keep the skin dewy will mean their cleansing waters will be particularly hydrating. Some of the best cleansing waters I’ve tried have come from Korea and they have been absolute game changers. I’m excited to see what else they can do to make cleansing waters more effective and good for the skin.

4. Multi-functional Products
While Korea is known for their multi-step skin care routine—I know that multi-functional products have the potential to be huge in Korea. For example a toner, essence, moisturizer in one and cleansing waters that remove makeup, tone and exfoliate. No matter if you’re in Seoul or New York—everyone is busy and it’s hard to fit a multi-step skin care routine into an already hectic schedule. People will be looking to make their skin care routine more efficient while maintaining the same benefits as a full 10-step skin care routine.

5. Intersection of makeup and skin care
While Korea is known for their skin care products, I’m seeing more brands concentrating on makeup innovations. Just like the cushion compact made a huge impact because it provided anti-aging, moisturizing sun protection and coverage in one, look out for more makeup innovations that will provide more than just color or coverage.

6. Beauty Foods
I’ve talked to the top R&D specialists and they’re currently working out a way to make consuming a big greasy cheeseburger result in glowing, luminous skin. Juuuuust kidding! Hey, a girl can hope!

Do you agree with my predictions? Do you have any predictions of your own? What do you think will be the next big innovation to come out of Korea? Sound off below!

xo Charlotte

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