Facial exfoliation is quickly becoming a daily skincare practice in South Korea, and formats such as boosters, serums and creams are adopting exfoliating claims
Gentler daily exfoliants take over traditional scrubs and peels:
- Exfoliating dead skin cells is essential to achieving a glowing, well-moisturised, ‘K-beauty’ look, and this is driving brands to develop easy-to-use, lower irritation and multifunctional exfoliants.
- Gentler exfoliants such as toners, serums and overnight creams present a lucrative opportunity that meet consumers’ needs and will increase usage frequency. PHA ingredients look set to follow the growth of AHA and BHA, and this highlights the importance of lessening irritation.
- In addition to their increasing launch frequency, exfoliants show potential as a specialised at-home treatment. Brands should consider utilising natural ingredients, sensory experiences, easy applicators and gender- or age-based segmentation.
Facial exfoliation is an essential part of the daily routine for most South Korean women:
K-beauty is well known for its lengthy, meticulous skincare rituals, which often incorporate up to 10 steps. Korean skincare innovation is driven by women’s desire to achieve a so-called ‘chok-chok’ complexion – plump and moisturised. Exfoliation is regarded as an essential step towards ‘chok-chok’, with as many as three-quarters of Korean females in their 20s and 30s regularly using facial peels and 88% of these using at-home treatments.
Exfoliants like scrubs and peels remain the most popular format but, despite their positive results and inclusion of moisturising functionality, consumers still express some concern about irritation, convenience and time. These unmet needs could therefore drive the development of new exfoliants designed for daily use.
Exfoliation: from weekly scrub to daily skincare essential
The growing launch frequency of daily, leave-in format exfoliants is based on the popularity of chemical ingredients such as AHA, BHA and the newer PHA (poly hydroxy acids), which excel at removing dead skin cells without the need for scrubbing.
South Korean derma-cosmetic brand CNP’s Invisible Peeling Booster is a hero product which has taken the market by storm since its release in late 2014. Leave-in daily exfoliators are not a new concept, as evidenced by Clinique’s ‘3 step’, but local launches in South Korea, which are affordably priced and have a variety of claims, have boosted interest. Such products are evolving to embrace a wide variety of beauty-centric claims including moisturising, whitening, anti-ageing, wrinkle reduction and hypoallergenic.
Exfoliants can be incorporated into different skincare steps
Brands looking to follow CNP Invisible Peeling Booster’s lead should explore opportunities in other skincare categories outside of the ‘booster’ format.
IOPE launched its peeling essence, which contains three acid ingredients and is ideal for overnight use, while Espoir’s lightening toner works to smoothe skin before the application of make-up. Overnight creams and sleeping packs – a growing category in Asia – present opportunities for synergy with peels. Global brand Bioderma is tapping into this trend by promoting its sebum serum as a sleeping pack.
Following the success of AHA and BHA ingredients, PHA is seen as a gentler, lower-irritation exfoliant, and will thus be taking the spotlight amongst 2016’s new product launches.
Convenience and safety are essential to driving innovation
While the facial scrub category shifts into daily skincare launches, physical exfoliation has been seeking a new format which enhances its efficacy and minimises irritation. Special cotton swabs and pads that are soaked with an exfoliating, beauty-functional formula can offer the dual effect of both physical and chemical exfoliation. Sheets which mimic mud or rubber paste masks also claim to exfoliate and unclog pores. Products like these will help to meet consumer need for convenient at-home treatments.
Multi-functional daily exfoliants and exfoliation-focused treatments are the two main directions in which peeling products are evolving, and convenience and safety will be pivotal in driving further innovation. This evolution could lead to an increase in natural ingredients, easy application formats, and sensory experience. The relatively unexplored areas of age- and gender-based segmentation are also key avenues for product development.
Jane Jang will be presenting on trends in the South Korean beauty markets in-cosmetics London, on the 4th April at 12.15am in the Marketing Trends Theatre. You can also visit Mintel on Stand JJ70 where they will be hosting live product demonstrations.