Beauty Trends

K-beauty Skincare Trends for 2024

26 December 2023

   

 

 

What will be 2024’s trend predictions for the skincare and beauty industry? Asian and international beauty trends mirror that of Korea’s, so one way to forecast is to take a look at the Korean beauty industry and its trends. Besides its dominance in the music and drama industry, Korea is one of the biggest trendsetters in the global beauty sphere. For reasons such as its use of cutting edge delivery systems, novel ingredients and celebrity endorsements, Korean beauty products and experience have received a global appeal.

 

I was recently in Seoul this year to get updated on the Korean beauty industry. Here are what I found to be popular and trending in K-beauty for 2024. For my recommendations on where to shop in the city, please head to Best Korean Beauty Stores & Experiences in Seoul.

 

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TONE UP SUNSCREENS

Korean sunscreens will continue to dominate 2024 and beyond; judging from their viral popularity in 2023 and 2022. Sunscreens from Round Lab, Beauty of Joseon and other Korean brands were wildly popular, and this looks poised to continue. Kolmar Korea and Cosmax are the two largest sunscreen contract manufacturers in the K-beauty and the clients include the aforementioned brands; and have invested in R&D and patents for their innovative delivery systems and lightweight formulas.

 

When I was in Seoul, I also noticed that numerous brands carried a Tone Up version of their usual sunscreens. Tone Up sunscreens are similar to tinted sunscreens, but with colour correction and a brightening effect. Unlike BB creams and makeup products with SPF and PA benefits; Tone Up sunscreens tend to be lightweight, with less cosmetic coverage. Korean Tone Up sunscreens also differ from most tinted sunscreens in that their finish tends to be more radiant and luminous, rather than to provide true cosmetic coverage.

 

Related blogposts:

Sunscreen Reviews 2021

Sunscreen Reviews 2019

 

Some of the tone up sunscreens that I bought in Seoul to review.

 

In Korea, Tone Up sunscreens are taking off in popularity. I bought several to try, and found mixed results with different brands. I like Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Tone-Up Sunscreen for its lightweight finish and radiant finish. I also like Sulwhasoo’s UV Wise Brightening Multi Protector in Milky Tone up for its radiant and dewy finish; but the texture is thicker and some users may find this too heavy for Singapore’s weather.

 

Related blogposts:

Review: Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturising Sunscreen

Review: Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun: Rice + Probiotics Sunscreen

   

   

SUNSCREEN STICKS

The popularity of sunscreen sticks shows no signs of abating in Korea. Sunscreen brands that offer sunscreen sticks for reapplication on the go are countless. These sunscreen sticks usually come in a twist-up or push-up tube format with differing consistencies and finishes. Where older forms are greasy with problems in transfers; we can expect 2024’s sunscreen sticks to be more user friendly- different finishes for diverse skin types; addition of UV protective antioxidants and glowy, primer like finishes on the skin.

 

Some of trending K-beauty sunscreen sticks of the moment are Abib Quick sunstick Protection bar, TOCOBO – Cotton Soft Sun Stick and Cell Fusion C Aquatica Stick Sunscreen. Sunscreen sticks offer a convenient mode of sunscreen reapplication; but the amount of transfer is difficult to estimate. I share more tips on using sunscreen in this post.

 

Related blogpost:

Is the Beauty of Joseon Matte Sun Stick Worth Buying?

   

   

MULTI USE BALMS 

Another product that’s been riding on the Hallyu and untact trend from Covid-19 is multi-balm products. These are stick balms with multi-functional skincare and cosmetic benefits that can be used over different parts of the face, neck and body; and their popularity shows no signs of abating. The breakout multi balm that has enjoyed global success phenomenally is the KAHI Wrinkle Bounce Moisturizing Multi Balm Stick, which I reviewed and discussed in detail in Review: KAHI Wrinkle Bounce Multi Balm.

 

 

Other multi-use balms that have jumped on the foray and are popular in Korea are JUNGSAEMMOOL Essential Mool Stick, Haruharu WONDER – Centella A.C.E. Vitaful Miracle Healing Multi Balm and CNP Propolis Multi Ampoule Balm.

 

   

SKIN BARRIER REPAIR SKINCARE

Another range of skincare products that is currently popular in K-beauty: skin barrier creams. The skin barrier is made up of the outermost layer of the skin, and it plays a vital role in protecting the body from toxins and water loss. The network of skin cells, lipids, and proteins make up the skin barrier.

 

A damaged skin barrier can result in hypersensitivity, dryness and predisposition to infections. As consumers become more savvy about their use of active ingredients; and incorporate more active ingredients in their skin care routines; the awareness of having a healthy skin barrier to tolerate these actives has grown. You can learn more about the skin barrier and how to protect it in How to Repair Your Skin Barrier.

 

 

One K-beauty skin barrier cream that has gone viral this year is AESTURA AtoBarrier365 Cream. This cream was seen at the bedside table of Korean actress Shin Seul Ki in an episode of hit reality TV series Singles Inferno 2. Eagle eyed viewers who zoomed in on this detail catapulted this cream to overnight popularity. I bought AESTURA AtoBarrier365 Cream, and I liked that it was very moisturising without clogging my pores. If you’re in Seoul, I recommend purchasing AESTURA AtoBarrier365 Cream from the Amore Pacific flagship in Seongsu instead of Olive Young for cost savings. More about my recommendations for skincare and cosmetic experiences in Seoul in Best Korean Beauty Stores & Experiences in Seoul 2024.

 

Other popular skin barrier creams in Seoul right now are the Illyoon skincare range. Other active ingredients for reducing irritation and strengthening the skin barrier that are also popular in Korea include propolis, microbiome or probiotic skincare, cica, mugwort and Houttuynia Cordata (Heartleaf). I’ve shared about some of these ingredients in Probiotics in Skincare and Supplements: Do They Work? And Cica in Skincare: Centella Asiatica Explained. Anua Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner and Abib Heartleaf Calming Toner Skin Booster were among Olive Young’s most popular products at the time of my trip.

 

 

LIP TINTS (VS LIP STAINS)

Although lip tints were introduced to the K-beauty scene years ago, lip stains remain popular in Korea. The lasting colour payoff and lightweight feel of lip tints; as well as the gradient lip trend have contributed to the popularity of lip tints.

 

Related blogpost:

Lip Care: Do’s and Don’ts for Healthy Lips

 

   

Lip tints typically have a liquid base; as well as pigments that do not transfer easily. This is unlike lipsticks and lipglosses which have a higher wax and oil amounts for the product to slip off lips. As the colour of lip tints last more than a few hours, frequent reapplication is not required. The disadvantage of lip tints is that they are less moisturising than lipsticks and lip glosses. I tried Black Rouge’s Drip Hot Water Tint and Half N Half Water Glow 2 and I like both of them.

   

 

CUSHION FOUNDATIONS

Another type of beauty products that originated from Korea; and became a mainstay in K-beauty brands is cushion foundations. Although cushion foundations were first introduced by Korean cosmetics conglomerate AmorePacific in 2008; cushion foundations have undergone multiple iterations by several other popular K-beauty brands to cater to a variety of finishes and skin types.

 

Cushion foundations were initially marketed as a more lightweight form of the popular BB cream trend; but with a sponge (the “cushion”) that dispensed the liquid foundation for convenient makeup reapplication. AmorePacific also released multi-tasking cushion foundations that also contained sunscreen and skincare ingredients; and these products proved to be a phenomenal success with an estimate of one cushion being sold every 1.2 seconds in 2014.

 

The concerns of a wet sponge harbouring bacteria and fungi led to AmorePacific’s competitor, LG Care to launch a metal cushion in 2014: the Isa Knox X2D2 Metal Cushion. Instead of a sponge pad, foundation was dispensed from a metal plate with little holes. This mechanism was thought to be more hygienic and provide a cooling effect on application. Based on these developments that improve user wearability and enhanced skincare effects, the popularity of cushion foundations are likely to grow in 2024.

 

My current favourite cushion foundation is Laneige’s NEO Cushion Glow- it’s a medium coverage cushion that doesn’t transfer, and lasts a good 4-6 hours and leaves my skin looking glowy.

 

 

Snail mucin skincare

Snail mucin skincare enjoyed popularity years ago; and this ingredient is making another comeback again, especially in social media. Snail mucin is trending again on TikTok with many popular content creators and dermatologists sharing about this ingredient. A walk down Myeongdong will also reveal many stores selling snail mucin skincare in various forms. Snail mucin may seem passe; but it seems to be one of those ingredients that will earn a perennial position in K-beauty, just like ginseng.

 

I’ve shared about the science of snail mucin in skincare in as well as review of Cos RX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence in Snail Mucin Skincare Explained. Snail mucin is said to have moisturising and anti-aging benefits. Some of the trending snail mucin skincare products right now are COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream and I’m From Snail Repair Essence.

 

COLLAGEN SKINCARE AND SUPPLEMENTS

Another ingredient that remains immensely popular in K-beauty is collagen. Take a walk along popular streets like Myeongdong, and you’ll come across posters and advertisements of K-drama artistes endorsing collagen containing beauty products.

 

As I’ve shared in Is Collagen Skincare a Scam?, collagen skincare does not replace collagen fibers in the skin. Instead, collagen skincare moisturises the skin and reduces fine wrinkles. Collagen supplements, on the other hand are still lacking in robust evidence to show that these supplements replenish collagen fibres in the skin. Please read Do Collagen Supplements Work? to learn more about collagen supplements.

 

 

PROPOLIS SKINCARE 

Another skincare ingredient in K-beauty that beauty companies are jumping on the bandwagon is: propolis. Some of the trending propolis containing skincare products of the moment are CNP Laboratory Propolis Energy Ampule, COSRX Propolis Synergy Toner and I’m From Propolis Synergy Serum.

 

Propolis is also known as “bee glue”. It is a substance produced by bees for sealing cracks and holes in the construction of beehives. Propolis and its extracts contain flavonoids, vitamins and micronutrients. Some of the benefits of propolis are its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal effects.

 

   

CLEANSING BALMS

Cleansing balms cleansers with a liquid to solid consistency for cleaning off makeup and skincare. They are typically used as part of a double cleansing step in Korean skincare routines. This method of gentle cleansing is a fundamental part of Korean beauty rituals; and newer formulations have improved the cleansing function while remaining gentle on the skin.

 

Cleansing balms typically contain oils and surfactants. The balm’s consistency thins out and becomes more lotion-like as the cleansing balm is rubbed on the skin. The surfactants and oil break down makeup, skincare and sebum on the face. This residue is lifted away during the rinsing process.

 

Some of the reasons for the popularity of cleansing balms in Korea its its ability to remove waterproof makeup and sunscreens without stripping the skin of its essential oils, making it suitable even for sensitive and dry skin. By preserving some of the skin’s oils, the skin barrier is not damaged, unlike harsh cleansers that remove these lipids. Some balms may leave an oily residue behind so double cleansing is still recommended.

 

Two of the most popular K-beauty cleansing balms in Korea are Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original and Then I Met You Cleansing Balm.

 

 

PERSONALISED BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Personalised beauty products and experiences are trending in Seoul; and its popularity has also spilled over to the rest of the world. Personalised colour analyses, for example, where one learns about their seasonal colour; and colour palettes as well as dressing styles that suit them best are riding on an all time popularity high in Korea. I’ve shared about my colour analysis session in Seoul in Review: Personal Colour Analysis in Seoul, Korea; and I highly recommend anyone to try this out.

 

Creating personalised skincare and cosmetics products, such as customised cushion foundations and sheet masks with brands like Laneige and IOPE respectively are a trend in Seoul. Demand for personalised products is high in Seoul; with a wait list of at least a month. As I’ve shared in Best Korean Beauty Stores & Experiences in Seoul , please make a booking for these services a month in advance for popular brands like Laneige.

 

Some of the reasons for the popularity of personalised beauty products is the appeal and novelty of tailor made products for diverse skin types; and the innovations in the K-beauty industry that have made these services sophisticated and convenient. For some brands, the turnaround time can be as short as one hour.

 

CONCLUSION

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on the popular and trending skincare and cosmetics products in the K-beauty right now. These trends are likely to remain popular for the next few years; and I expect that more personalised experiences and new innovations and active ingredients will also emerge. Have you noticed any beauty trends that interest you?

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