i’m seeing a major beauty war going on in korea. there are so many beauty brands targeting the 18-34 female demographic, that you really can’t go 50 feet in any direction without running into one of its stores. unlike the US, where most consumers purchase makeup at drugstores, department stores, or general beauty retailers like Sephora, many 18-34 y.o. korean women seem to purchase their beauty products at these kinds of single-brand stores.
there’s very little differentiation among these brands (in fact, many seem to sell the exact same items at exact same prices with with slightly altered packaging), and the stores are often located right next to each other in a long row on the same block. behold:
The Face Shop (no relation to The Body Shop) has also been around for some time now. last time i came to korea, it was all about Missha vs. The Face Shop. back then, i thought Missha was the girls-wanna-have-fun sort of store and The Face Shop was more of then one-with-nature sort. now that they have a gazillion imitators, i don’t know what’s what.
Nature Republic is an obvious Face Shop wannabe. i bought a korean herbal facial gel thingie here because i wanted to get some freebies. oh yeah, these kinds of stores are very generous with freebies. more on that later.
Etude House is probably more of a Missha wannabe. except they really cranked up the disney princess factor. this store kind of makes me want to puke. everything about this store is so PINKPINKPINK and so CUTECUTECUTE. the first time i saw this store was in china, interestingly.
Beauté Urban Beauty: i don’t even know what this is. seems to me like it’s some mishmash of Etude House-meets-Urban Decay-gets-confused. i also wish koreans would stop french-ifying everything (wait until i tell you about the bakery chains in this country).
and there are many many more. Tony Moly, Beauty Credit, Aritaum, etc., etc. seriously, how much beauty products could the women (and some men?) of korea possibly use?