The Origin of K-Beauty

There are many Korean cosmetics brands these days in Korea. They are called 로드샵, which translates into ‘Road Shops’ in English. It literally means a shop on the road (street). If you walk down any street in a shopping district of Seoul, you will see at least 2-3 beauty shops (and they will always be full with shoppers!).

Many famous Western brands like Lancome, Bobbi Brown, Mac, etc., are in the cosmetics market but most of them are way too expensive for teenagers or young ages. Like in all countries, young girls are really interested in makeup. However, due to the fact that all of the cosmetics had to be imported into Korea, prices were not affordable.

To be competitive against fancy brands, many road shops moved into the Korean cosmetics market. They obviously saw a business opportunity there, and were very successful. They are called road shops, because you can find them anywhere on the street – originally street vendors, they are now fully established shops. If you have been to East Asia before, you will probably have noticed many people selling you their products on the street (with carts or small stands). Cosmetics were actually sold like that in Korea for a while too, and that is where the name “Road Shop” comes from.

The most attractive fact of road shops is not only their price, but also their quality. In fact, they got so popular among the general public, that a lot of them are now competing with the big brands for market share. While the European brands are still very popular in Korea, a lot of the Korean brands actually have a some of types of makeup, which I think are a lot better than what you can buy in Europe.

This is due to the makeup craze in Korea – everyone uses makeup, so the market is huge. And because Korean companies are competing with each other as well, many invest a lot of money to improve their products and lower prices.

You have probably not heard of the Korean makeup brands before, so let me introduce you some of them: innisfree, Missha, TonyMoly, Etude, Aritaum. Those are the most famous brands 🙂

Those are the most popular ones in Korea. But if you want to know other Korean cosmetics brands, please just let me know and I would be happy to tell you!

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