It’s hard not to notice the explosion of K-Beauty, or Korean Beauty, products. It brought us BB and CC creams as well as experimental ingredients like sea kelp, bee venom and even snail mucus, all promising a youthful glowing complexion.
The Korean French skincare brand Erborian creates products that deliver effective results with little effort and we sit down with President and co-founder Katalin Berenyi to discover exactly how they make the complexity of K-routines easy to use.
You may not have noticed, but you probably already have one or two K-Beauty items on your bathroom shelf. If not, then it’s time you got to know this phenomenon that has taken over the cosmetics industry. K-Beauty is all about nourishing your skin, and gives you a flawless complexion that requires minimum makeup. Pristine, glowing skin is what the Asian market measures beauty by, so cosmetic brands must work extra hard to deliver products with those high-standards in mind.
Katalin Berenyi, President and co-founder of Erborian tells us; “The Korean cosmetic industry is incredibly fast. Basic principles in Korean beauty are the ones that we incorporate into our own routine, such as double cleansing, skin detoxifying and moisturising with non-alcoholic liquid lotions.”
Erborian was created in 2007 by Berenyi and Hojung Lee, a Korean scientist. A perfect balance between Seoul and Paris, Lee develops sophisticated formulas and Berenyi uses her creativity to devise innovative concepts and create high-end products, inspired both by traditional Korean medicine and modern French luxury. In 2009, Erborian launched the first BB Cream in Europe, that became an immediate international success and won the 2010 Beauty Awards Prize becoming part of the L’Occitane Group. The concept is to take the 10-step routine preferred by Korean skincare fanatics, and filter it down to one or two products for easy use and maximum results.
“Everything is researched and made in Korea,” Berenyi says. “The silky feeling and quick absorption comes from Korean technology, but we include the French approach of combining as many elements in one product. In Korea they layer, they can use up to 10 products, but I don’t want an Erborian woman to use 10-15 products, I want her to use two or three, and to do that we increase the level of actives that makes it efficient.”
It’s a fast-growing business, surpassing other beauty leaders, with Forbes.com reporting sales from the region’s market exceeding US$150 billion (Dhs551 billion) this year. It also highlighted that Asia’s leading names in beauty are expected to account for 80% of global cosmetics revenue gain by 2019. In the UAE, Sephora stores have introduced multiple Korean products into their beauty halls, with Erborian being one of the newest names to grab our attention, but will the Middle East market take to this concept?
“Women here are extremely sophisticated,” Berenyi observes. “I think they have a sophisticated ritual for prepping the skin and using the right products. You have heat and humidity which makes it challenging, so I guess there are many women who have mixed or oily skin. Some women love to use a good primer and that’s it, but that’s not the best way to treat mixed and oily skin. Cleaning is key, with a product like the Double Mousse which is an exfoliating foam that shrinks the pores and has eight infused active ingredients. Second will be Bamboo Matte Lotion because you still need moisture, but you want something that mattifies. The third step would be the Pink Perfect Primer that creates a smooth canvas that the Middle Eastern women look for.”
The right ingredients aren’t the only thing you should be looking at when introducing K-Beauty into your routine, it’s a lot to do with the correct application and use. Berenyi adds, “Every product should have a gesture. When applying the toner and lotions you need to use your hands to splash and tap your skin to bring blood to the surface. With serums you use your hands and create a vacuum for it to penetrate, and with BB creams you put 4 or 5 drops and smooth it from the middle out and from the bottom to the top.”
She believes that less is more when it comes to skincare, which in some way goes against the Korean ritual that encourages to layer as many products as possible to achieve a luminous complexion. But, in order to tick the global box, many cosmetic brands are now looking at creative ways to make products more user friendly and just as effective. From what we have tested, Erborian may just be the name we turn to for ultimate results with minimum effort.