When it comes to beauty products, Asia is far ahead of the game—discovering new technologies, ingredients and innovations long before other parts of the world. Everything from BB creams to eyelash extensions, Asia, and Korea especially, is responsible for introducing some of the biggest beauty crazes over the past few years. And when searching for upcoming trends in skin care, Korea is one of the best places to look.
Amarte, one of the leaders in luxury Korean skin care, is trying to bridge the gap between Seoul and the US in a perfect “East meets West” synergy. With a deep understanding of ancient Eastern beauty philosophies and Western dermatological aesthetics, Amarte products are designed to bring clarity, brilliance and beauty to every woman’s complexion. Formulated with unique ingredients and advanced technologies, Amarte’s multistep ritual cleanses, hydrates, rejuvenates and protects to reveal youthful, radiant skin.
We sat down with specialist Dr. Craig Kraffert—board-certified dermatologist, founder of DermaStore, owner of Redding Derm (the largest dermalogical practice in Northern California) and President of Amarte—to ask about his take on Asian beauty products.
JustLuxe: How is the technology behind Asian brands different from the other products on the market?
Dr. Craig Kraffert: One major difference is Asian consumer expectations in product sophistication (from on-shelves packaging to aesthetics and in-use experience) drives a lot of the innovation. Daily beauty regimens translate into healthy skin care practices. For example, in lead markets such as Korea and Japan, as many as seven steps could be involved in the morning regimen alone. As such, most products have a very light feel as they need to be applied one after another. India is an exception for multi-step product use, but their expectations for excellent product aesthetics is the same. New product formats drives differentiation. Past examples include BB, CC creams, and new ones such as gel-creams (serum-cream hybrid) and oil-based cleansers are becoming popular.
DCK (cont.): [The] quest for lighter skin tone amongst Asian women is well known due to their melanocompetent skin type. Skin lightening/whitening pervades all product categories from cleansers to facial masks. These products are meant to lighten skin tone and reduce skin pigmentation issues. Derm procedures such as intense pulse light are also very popular for faster results. Terms like “whitening/lightening” is largely Asian-centric, while “even tone/spot reduction” are the common descriptors used for the same products that are sold in the West. Anti-aging products in Asia have invariably incorporated skin tone improvement benefits into the same sku and similar offerings are appearing in the West. Skin lightening is also making steady inroads into the Middle East countries.
DCK (cont.): Regard for health/beauty is also translating into adoption of home-use beauty devices (cheap to manufacture in the region) that promise better efficacy. This appears to be a step progression from the very popular tissue facial mask that provides a home-spa experience which has been an Asian staple for more than a decade. Ingestibles, ingredients derived from traditional herbs (for example Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine) and products containing cow/horse placenta extracts have also fueled the quest for higher product performance.
JL: What is the most popular beauty question you receive?
DCK: Face—How fast can I expect to see visible improvements/results? While quick results are desirable, immediate results are perceived as temporal, and results that are quick suggest harsh ingredients are used. Interestingly, anti-aging products are increasingly being used at an earlier age (20’s) to delay fine lines and spots.
DCK (cont.): Body—Can I use my body products for the face and vice versa? Some examples are dry skin, sun protection products, age spots on the back of hands.
JL: What is one golden rule of skin care no woman should live without?
DCK: Sun protection is key to good skin care. Good sun protection products must be photostable and broadspectrum, facilitate easy reapplication, [and be] aesthetically pleasing. Johnson & Johnson have superior technologies that fulfill these requirements, namely Helioplex, Wet Skin and Ultra Sheer technologies.
JL: What do you think will be the next biggest trend in skin care?
DCK: Skin lightening—many players, but no brand has successfully owned this segment. This segment is in need of transformational innovation to provide breakthrough solutions. Most technologies today target the tyrosinase enzyme system responsible for making the melanin pigment in the skin. However, the biology of how spots are formed in skin remains poorly understood. The underlying mechanisms are multifactorial and targeting [a] single cause is not as effective. Active research in Johnson & Johnson aims to address root causes of spots and their relevance in different ethnicities/populations. The insights will lead to better strategies to treat or prevent formation of spots in skin.
DCK (cont.): Mask—Facial mask has been one of the more successful categories in Asia. This category is now becoming highly competitive with more new facial mask products and new alternative competition of home devices. Potential remains, as evidenced by L'Oréal's recent offer to buy a top-selling face mask brand in China. New face masks formats that are convenient/easy to apply and deliver superior user experience and efficacy will be key to future growth in the segment. There is also potential to introduce face mask into markets outside Asia with consumer acceptance.