in-cosmetics Korea interviews Paul Kang, senior vice president, skin care division, of Amorepacific’s R&D unit. Amorepacific is Korea’s leading cosmetic manufacturer and here, Kang shares insights into the Asian beauty market, fusion products, sustainability and silver consumers.
in-cos: What trends do you think will be driving the cosmetic R&D sector over the next couple of years?
PK: Cushion compact products are a core creation between skin care and makeup research. Interestingly, the idea for these compacts came from one of my colleague's lightbulb moments upon noticing how a car-parking attendant used his ink stamp on an ink pad. Anyway, according to market research agency Euromonitor, cushion products are categorized as sunscreen products. Some of our researchers at Amorepacific would agree with this categorization, but some would not. Even though cushion products are created by incorporating sunscreen properties, they can also be classified as skin care or makeup products.
So, what does this mean for future R&D trends in the cosmetics industry?
Firstly, it is all about fusion, the new buzzword. “Fusion” products that combine various properties like cushion will drive creativity and innovation by blurring the boundaries between skin and hair care, or makeup and hair care, or body and skin care.
Fusion also applies to the relationship between conventional skin care and beauty devices. Amorepacific’s ultimate goal is to make consumers “beautiful” and “healthy.” By combining IT and skin care, beauty devices can provide various skin diagnoses such as moisture and elasticity levels. This is key for ever-demanding consumers who will experience the benefits of digitally-designed beauty devices and products suited to their own skin diagnosis. We call this the "Total Beauty Solution," and Amorepacific is aiming to become a global total-care provider of beauty and health.
Secondly, it is about sustainable beauty R&D. Consumers are becoming more concerned about the planet, their environment and air pollution. Now, how can we sustain our body, society and the planet? How can we boost biodiversity? What is the sustainable alternative to animal testing? Sustainability is always at the forefront of our development processes and pivotal to our research strategies.
Sulwhasoo, Korea’s leading luxury brand, is made with ginseng and traditional medicine ingredients. The active ingredients in Sulwhasoo are all cultivated in Korea; but, as Korea is not a large country, only a small number of Korean farmers grow Korean medicine ingredients. "Beautiful Fair Trade" is a unique Amorepacific program designed to manage farmers’ lives and sustainable product growth and purchase.
in-cos: What do you think are the key opportunities and challenges affecting the personal care and cosmetics products?
PK: Our vision is to become a "Great Global Brand Company" that makes the world beautiful with Asian beauty. To realize this vision, we are expanding our business in China and emerging markets such as Southeast Asia.
With air pollution becoming a global issue, Amorepacific is using our knowledge in skin care and beauty to protect our customers’ skin from pollution. Based on our research, air pollution affects skin aging, and we are planning to develop anti-pollution beauty products especially for Chinese consumers.
The growing aging population gives us an opportunity to affect personal care and cosmetic products. The over-60 age group is now growing fast in Korea and China, but very few cosmetic companies understand “silver consumers'” skin characteristics or how to develop beauty products for them. Some have physical difficulties when using cosmetics products, and many of them use anti-aging products actually designed for consumers in their thirties or forties. There are two reasons for this. First, they don’t want to be categorized as silver consumers. Second, little study has been carried out to find out how their skin type and lifestyle differ from other generations.
in-cos: What are your priorities when selecting new ingredients for personal care and cosmetic products to make the world, “beautiful with Asian Beauty?”
PK: Amorepacific’s vocation is to be the “Asian Beauty Creator,” where we develop beauty products for Asia drawing on our four key heritage ingredients derived from ginseng, green tea, soy and camellia.
We develop ginseng products for health, beauty and food. Ginsenosides are active ingredients found in 30 different species and are known for their anti-aging, whitening and possibly future anti-pollution effects. Green tea is also a very effective ingredient, but Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a typical antioxidant active ingredient in green tea catechin, is fragile and unstable. However, we succeeded in stabilizing this ingredient for cosmetic formulae. We can obtain green tea essential oil from green tea flowers, and these also have several active ingredients. Soy is also a typical and much-used Korean ingredient with very interesting properties when fermented. Camellia has historically been used by our forebearers for hair treatment. Innisfree uses Camellia oils sourced from Jeju in various products. Using these four heritage ingredients ensures we differentiate our cosmetic products from Western brands, in keeping with our “Asian Beauty Creator” strategy.
Finally, in addition to cosmetic products, we also offer beauty food, thus creating synergies with skin care. This is our holistic approach, designed to achieve our “Total Beauty Solution" and “make the world beautiful with Asian beauty.”
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