If a cosmetic brand wants to survive in this harsh competition, the creation of a signature product is a must. I’m not sure how you got to know these Korean cosmetic brands, but I think most of you got hooked up with one product of a brand, and began to try other products. In most of the cases, those first hooks are signature products. As an "insider” of Korean beauty business, I have seen so many strangeness in the United States. I mean, the famous products in Korea and the popular products in the US, are not the same always. CosRX is a very good example. I would describe it “underappreciated” in Korea because not a lot of Korean customers know of this brand despite the superb quality. When I brought in Elensilia in the United States for the first time, people had no idea what that brand was, even though Elensilia is one of the most prominent cosmetic brand in Korean home-shopping channel. Again, the “famous” does not mean much in Korean beauty industry especially in the United States. In terms of a “famous” product, China is also a very interesting example. Jayjun is relatively an unknown brand in Korea but it is one of the most-selling brand in mainland China.
Most of the brands hold few signature products which people remember by them; some products may be more popular in certain country over the other. So, I have prepared a list of signature products from several brands that you are most likely to be familiar with, one for Korea and one for United States. I think it will be a fun read, and at the same time, a good guide for the products that you may have missed. No matter what, there must be a reason for signature products gaining such fame much more than others.
It’s quite hard to choose signature products from Etude House, because they have quite a lot – Wonder Pore, Moistfull, Look at My Eyes or Precious Mineral, etc. But I think the definite signature of Etude House is still color especially in Korea. In United States, the skincare products are much more appreciated than the color products due to the skin colors and different preference in colors.
Dear Darling Tint (Korea): The Dear Darling Tint is a history of Etude House. It first came out as a replica product of Benefit’s Lip and Cheek Stain and quickly got its fame because of its extremely cheap price (it was around $3 dollars 10 years ago, and now its slightly around $5) and relatively good quality compare to the original benefit. When it first came out, it only had red color just like Benefit, but now there are 10 colors and Etude House keeps updating the texture and formula since then. Now there are 8 tint series from Etude House (lip mousse, oil tint, rosy lip, twin-shot, etc) but still, the Original - Dear Darling Water Gel Tint still is the absolute best seller.
Moistfull Collagen Cream (United States) – Actually, Moistfull Collagen Cream is a signature product worldwide not only in the US. I mean, it had launched on the market 6 years ago, and has been rated as the best-selling cream in Etude House for 6 consecutive years in Korea as well. The bouncy texture and deep yet light hydration from 63.4% of super collagen water is just a perfect mixture for moderately dry to combination skin.
No-Sebum Mineral Powder (Korea): I am sure this is the most selling “powder” product in the cosmetic history. It is sebum-controlling and translucent setting powder that can be used for the final fixation for the perfect makeup. It has been sold more than 80 million packages over past 8 years. Innisfree used denatured corn starch and mica instead of using talc, so it has less concerning for contamination and toxicity issue. Because of its popularity, there are lots of “side” product with the
similar packages such as No-sebum Moisture Powder, No-sebum Blur Powder, and No-sebum Mineral Pact.
Green Tea Seed Serum (United States): I wasn’t sure whether I should pick It’s Real Squeeze sheet mask or Green Tea Seed Serum, but when it comes to the “Signature product,” I should consider the originality of the product as well. Green Tea Seed Serum is at the core of Innisfree’s identity – Jeju plants, Green tea, and herbal complex. I mean, it has every possible element of innisfree’s brand identity. The light-textured green tea water hydrates and detoxifies the skin, and prepare the skin for more further skin care routine.
The First Treatment Essence (Korea): As I mentioned above, originality is a very important factor for signature products. Ironically, Missha has been used “copy and improve” strategy for a long time, and the First Treatment Essence was the first product that made major success. It is a replica product of SKII’s Facial Treatment Essence. I mean, practically they are both based on the galactomyces filtrate, so in terms of active ingredient, they are 90% identical. The rest 10% are humectants, surfactants, preservatives, and water that does not make the major impact on the quality of the product. So practically, Missha’s version is much cheaper and arguably better, in my opinion.
M- Perfect Cover BB Cream (US): We cannot discuss about BB cream without talking about Missha's Red- Tube BB cream. Now there are millions of BB cream products from almost all cosmetic brands but when this product was first launched 10 years ago, it was one of few products on the market. Because of its pinkish particle, medium coverage and relatively light texture, this BB became the best- seller everywhere. I mean still, there are millions of fans of this classical BB. It used to have quick oxidization issue when for the first 3 years of launching, but Missha modified the formula and it’s not a problem anymore. It has 6 colors for wider audiences – that is a big plus for this product.
Prestige Crème d’Escargot (Korea): I think Crème d’Escargot is the product that made it’s skin a major brand. Its reputation is nothing like 3~4 years ago, but still it’s skin is definitely worth to try. Prestige Crème d’Escargot got popular in China first, then got famous in Korea. It’s definitely one of the major snail product despite of its stiff tag ($60.) Unlike many other snail-based products, this one has superb light texture, moisturizing, and something between gel and cream. So, it is a cream for most of the skin type and quickly become the favorite cream of many. By the way, this one only contains 21% of the snail mucus filtrate. I mean considering the contents of the snail mucus, $60 is a little overpriced, though.
Power 10 Formula VC Effector (US): I am really not sure why, but vitamin C is a classical active ingredient that is highly appreciated by US customers. Out of all Power 10 Formulas, VC (vitamin C) is the most popular one, and I am sure many of you know it’s skin by this product. Polyglutamic acid and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (this is a stabilized derivative of vitamin C) are the active ingredients used. It has very light texture and absorbs quickly. By the way, be aware this product contains triethanolamine.
Cover Perfection Concealer Duo (Korea): 9 out of 10 Korean beauty bloggers recommend this concealer. Seriously, the texture is good, consistency is good and the solid-liquid dual container is also very smart. Liquid concealer can be used for under eyes and large area while stick solid can cover the smaller area with more obvious color. I also think I haven’t seen any better concealer than this, in terms of coverage, consistency and color.
Urban Eco Harakeke Toner (US): Yes, finally the Harakeke Toner. The whole Harakeke line and some of its sidekicks are famous, but the Harakeke Toner is definitely the signature product of the Saem. This toner is quite popular in Korea as well. This bouncy gel toner contains 90% of Harakeke extract, and deeply hydrates the skin without making it sticky or oily. If you are looking for a hydrating toner for winter, this toner can be a good candidate.