Why Korean cosmetics are popular in PH

By Christine Choi

Posted at Sep 18 2013 06:03 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2013 02:38 AM

Why Korean cosmetics are popular in PH 1Sulli of the Korean girl group f(x) is among the endorsers of Etude House. Photo from the Facebook page of Etude House

MANILA -- More and more Korean cosmetics are finding their way to the Philippines with brands like Etude House, The Face Shop, Nature Republic, Tonymoly, Missha and Skin Food opening stores to take advantage of the country’s growing market for beauty products.

For instance, Skin Food now has 14 stores in the Philippines since it opened its first branch in July 2006, while Etude House has 37 branches since launching in 2010.

The interest in Korean beauty brands is an off-shoot of the current “Korean wave,” as many young Filipino girls want to look like their favorite Korean singers and actors.

Through locally dubbed Korean soap operas, Filipinos have developed an interest in Korean culture, which has extended to products.

It also helps that Korean cosmetic brands use famous K-pop stars to advertise their products in the Philippines. Etude House has Sandara Park, f(x) and Shinee, while Tonymoly features JYJ.

According to Linda L. Yu of the Philippine Society of Cosmetic Science (PSCS), Korean cosmetics are popular among Filipino customers who want to be appear young with “clean and white” skin.

Moreover, many Filipino customers are curious about Korean cosmetic brands as they are quite “unconventional” compared to other local products despite their higher price points. Korean cosmetics are perceived as the high-end products with their high quality and great efficacy. It also helps that their packaging is also attractive.

Recently, the most popular Korean product among Filipinos is the “BB cream,” which has many functions like covering blemishes. It can also be used as a foundation.

According to the ASEAN Cosmetics Focus report by the Korea Cosmetic Industry Institute, Korean cosmetics are also riding on the popularity of “renewing” products in the Philippines, citing the Korean brand Pure Beauty, which makes the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream and Pomegranate Antioxidant for Filipino customers who are looking for renewing effects. Skin Food also came up with Watery Berry series, which contain the ingredients from ice berry, cloudberry and arctic raspberry.

Interest in Korean beauty products have led to other fields such as Korean dermatology and cosmetic surgery. The popular Korean TV show, “Get It Beauty,” is now attracting young Filipinos via its YouTube videos. “Get It Beauty” teaches young girls how to apply makeup and style their hair. About 10,000,000 videos have been uploaded on YouTube with English subtitles.