Korean beauty, which has dominated the U.S. market since 2011, is doubling down on the burgeoning non-toxic, natural movement for opportunity.
Today, Peach and Lily founder Alicia Yoon is exclusively launching a namesake collection of clean beauty products on the e-tailer’s website. Dubbed “worry-free,” the four-piece lined up, which includes a resurfacing mask, antioxidant cream, face oil and refining serum, is chock full of performance-packed ingredients, but excludes parabens, synthetic fragrances and phthalates, among others. Yoon credits the Peach and Lily community for the product innovation. “People started asking for clean, toxic-free, natural, organic products, but there was a lot of confusion around it,” said Yoon, who relays customer questions on the Peach and Lily site through licensed aestheticians.
According to Grand View Research, the global organic personal care market is projected to reach $25.1 billion by 2025, a 9.8 percent growth from 2017. Korean beauty, meanwhile, was estimated to be worth over $13 billion at the end of last year, according to market research provider Euromonitor International.
“The K-Beauty trend is not merely incorporating the wellness trend prevalent in health and beauty,” said Kayla Villena, Euromonitor senior beauty and fashion analyst. “I would argue that the K-Beauty trend propelled the increased awareness for wellness in the U.S.”
Indeed, U.S. interest in organic beauty is rising. According to research firm Kline & Company, naturals have grown by 7 percent in the States.
Yoon said the Korean customer is a bit savvier, thanks to beauty watchdog apps, like HwaHae which hold brands accountable for what they are putting in their products. “That app encourages beauty brands to be EWG,” said Yoon, speaking of a metric used to measure how clean a product is. “For us, EWG [verified] was not the end-all-be-all, so we also looked at other ingredients that could be sensitizing. That was our bar.”
Villena further explained the trend: “Announcements from the FDA in the past two years about concerning ingredients, company marketing to reformulate products without particular ingredients, and retailer transparency to disclose these products or ban them from their shelves have caused ingredient formulations to become more salient.” That and the onslaught of indie brands offering a safer proposition is fueling the movement, she said.
Interestingly though, Yoon, who has been instrumental in bringing K-Beauty to the States, doesn’t believe using a PEG (polyethylene glycol) or paraben in moderation would be detrimental to one’s wellbeing. Still, she couldn’t deny the trend her community is riding. “We are saying this is an option for [the customer] who doesn’t have to ask any questions; any ingredient that might be worrisome is not even included,” she said.
Yoon is constantly crowdsourcing her customers — she did so before today’s clean launch, before her first product offering of sheet masks in 2016 and before her tightly edited beauty shop at luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman, opened at the end of last year. (She has also previously partnered with Sephora and Target.)
“We were the pioneers of bringing Korean beauty to the States, but when you are responsible for introducing a category, we realized that is all about building an ecosystem,” she said. “It’s hard for consumers to understand why we would just offer what we are doing on one website — we want to be where they shop. All that we do is based on what our community is looking for, from the partnerships to what we do on the site to this launch.”