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2016 F/W Korean Cosmetic News

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There’s a sort of fixed trend for launching new cosmetics in Korean brands. From April to May, they bring sun-related products such as sunscreens, sun cushions or sun sticks. In summer, of course, light textured pore clearing products or brightening products are popular because of highly humid Korean summer. When the weather gets dry like now, deep hydration lines are on their best time. Korean winter is notoriously dry and many Koreans buy their F/W skincare routine around this time, so it is very important time for Korean brands as well.

3~4 years ago, oil based, fast absorbing, rich textured products were very popular, especially ceramide (Dr. Jart’s Ceramidine / Holika Holika’s Good Cera), omega-3 (IOPE’s Super Vita) and argan oil (many brands) contained products. Snail filtrate is all time favorite for all people so I won’t mention it much. Of course, facial oils are always “Must Launching” items. But this year, the trend seems a little different from previous year. So I prepare some update for 2016 F/W Korean cosmetics, mostly from the road shop brands.


1. Innisfree, the controversial True Care Cica Balm / New skincare line, The Black Green Tea


So, Innisfree also launched this year’s hot ingredient -Centella Asiatica-based balm in early September. They actually did very brilliant marketing this year. They give away 5 day trial sample of this balm, promising improvement on acne scars (at least in the promotion video, it seems like working and I was quite satisfied with the 5 days trial as well). The early batches were sold out fast but interestingly the reviews are quite polarized. While many reviews, people stated actual and visible improvement on acne scars, but at the same time some of the reviews were complaining about break-outs and redness. Seemingly, these break-out or sensitivity comes from added retinols or stearic acid. (They are commonly used ingredients but sometimes it may induce sensitive on skin) So if you plan to buy this, please do the patch test before you use. Innisfree offers “Responsible Refund Policy (책임환불제),” so they give 7ml trial sample for free. It will be a little difficult for us to benefit from this policy though.


Fermented Black Green Tea line is newly introduced as well. There are 3 types of products - serum, cream and wash off mask. In the website, it is stated that cream contains shea butter and serum contains plant squalene (From veggie oil) for oil so I think it will be a good hydration line for winter, if you like Innisfree.


2. Etude House, Glow on Oil Volume Base

Since Etude House is heavily makeup focused brand, they didn’t introduce any new skincare line this F/W. If they do, I will update you later. The Facial Blur was quite a thing this year. This shimmering primer quickly became the queen of glowing primer along with VDL’s Lumilayer. Certainly, they are inspired by Mac’s long time steady seller, the Strobe Cream. The difference is, they give much more natural look on face since Strobe Cream. Anyway, Etude House introduced another glowing primer this winter. The texture is not very mineral/shimmering like Blur, rather it provides oil/watery glow on your face. Texture is in between watery serum and facial oil, and contains golden shimmering particles in them. It feels much lighter than Nymph Glow or Blur, so I think this will be quite popular soon. They introduced lighter version of this base (Glow on Hydra Volume Base) as well.


3. The Face Shop – Korean Traditional Medicine Inspired

CHAEYUL Revitalizing Essence

예화담 채율 생기 순환 에센스 (CHAEYUL Revitalizing Essence) was introduced this F/W. This serum is made from LG’s high-end brand “The History of Whoo” and formulated with lactobacillus / bean fermentation filtrate, plant squalene, shea butter and many other herb extracts, along with conventional ingredients. Interestingly, titanium dioxide is added for unknown reason (seemingly for the instant brightening). Since it claims to be Hanbang (Korean Traditional Medicine) cosmetic, it contains many herb extracts but compared to other brands, this serum doesn’t seem new. So in my humble / personal opinion, The Face Shop’s F/W was quite disappointing. (I’m not saying this product is bad or something, but I’m just saying it seems quite conventional compared to other brands)

Black Tea London Classic Serum

4. TonymolyBlack Tea London Classic Serum

So, probably, this F/W is a Tea Time. While Innisfree uses Green Tea, Tonlymoly brought Black Tea. They had collaboration with Taylors of Harrogate this year and they use black tea extract from England. They use black extract as a base, and added niacinamide as a brightening / anti-aging ingredient. They said Aureobasidium pullulans (black bacillus) filtrate was added but I couldn’t find them from their ingredient list, probably they are contained in their black tea extract base (56%). I think their composition approach is commendable since all of their ingredients are under EWG 2 level. It feels pretty nice and watery but sunflower seed oil and bergamot fruit oil nicely give hydration lock-up for skin. I was quite happy to see Tonymoly’s Black Tea London Classic Serum because I could see they tried really hard to make this serum with safer ingredients. Believe me, it is not easy to make a cosmetic without EWG 3,4,5 ingredients without compromising the texture.

Urban Eco Waratah Cream

5. The SaemUrban Eco Waratah Cream

Although Waratah didn’t come out this F/W, it is rather under-appreciated and it is a deep hydration line, so I will talk about this cream here. Just like what they did with many other products, the Saem substitute water with Waratah extract (55%) and used it as its base. As they market this cream as “skin protection layer strengthening cream,” they added some skin identical, skin repairing molecules like ceramide NP and Phytosphingosine. I think one of the greatest strength in the products of the Seam is texture. This cream has fast-absorbing, silky, non-sticky texture. So if you are more like a texture person, this cream may be the one for this F/W. Ah, dimethicone is added for the texture, so be aware if it concerns you. But texture is just like heaven:)

it's skin flower cell

6. It’s Skin, Flower Cell Cream

After their famous snail cream, It’s Skin’s skincare line has not been very successful for past few years. This year, It’s Skin brought Firming cream with Edelweiss Callus cell culture extract. I know callus cell culture’s skin improving ability is controversial and not scientifically proven most of the time, it is just nice to see It’s Skin’s new product. Other than Edelweiss callus cell culture extract, the composition is pretty conventional but they added good moisturizing ingredients like squalene, sodium hyaluronate and betaine. Adenosine is added as firming / anti-aging ingredient. As I mentioned above, I am really glad to see new skincare line from It’s Skin, but it’s quite questionable that this product will do really well in this competitive market this F/W because of their passive marketing and no “Wow” or “New” factor in this product. Package design is also somewhat old as well. 

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