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Asian beauty products If you were one of the millions of Canadian women who purchased a BB cream this year, you have South Korean soap operas to thank.
The concealing, skin healing beauty balm first gained popularity in the Asian country after its use by TV celebrities to help hide evidence of their most recent plastic surgeries. Now it is a hot global beauty trend, one of many coming out of Asia. International market researcher Euromonitor says the Asia Pacific region already generates more than half of global skin care revenue, and this is predicted to rise to 75 per cent in 2019. Demand for among women of any ethnicity is increasing in Canada. Asian originated sheet masks, kate spade backpack price fibre lash mascaras, cushion compacts and dark spot correctors have all become popular. The reason? The products are clever and innovative. Like a facewash powder that is lathered with water (no spills when travelling), konjac sponges made from a vegetable root for gentle cleansing and exfoliation, or cushion products liquid foundations or BB creams in a compact inspired by traditional Asian stamp seals, where the seal is pressed onto an ink soaked sponge to pick up colour. Initial demand was fuelled by the country's immigrant population. "(They) were looking kate spade outlet florida for familiar brands and products that were suited to Asian features or preferences for example, certain shapes of false eyelashes, foundation shades and whitening products," says Mario Ciolfitto, merchandising manager for the beauty group at London Drugs. Now, customers from all backgrounds are interested, and Asian brands are ready for them. The Face Shop, owned by South Korean electronics giant LG, has stores in Richmond and Burnaby and opened a store at Pacific Centre in June. "We launched in 2013 with 31 stores across Canada, but these were mainly in areas with high Asian populations. This year's openings have had broader appeal and we're seeing interest from all ethnic backgrounds," says North American brand manager Katrine Gouron. Another South Korean brand, Amore kate spade last season handbags Pacific, has been in Canada for more than a decade, and is expanding its retail outlets in 2015. "We no longer need to stay ethnic, for example, in Asian supermarkets," says Esther Dong, Amore Pacific's North American senior vice president for marketing and public relations. Amore Pacific launched its luxe herbal line Sulwhasoo at Nordstrom in downtown Vancouver in September, and its affordable Laneige range is now on shelves at Sephora. In South Korea, cosmetics and appearance are very important to women. "It's like how in Vancouver, everyone is into real estate. The average Korean woman is educated and knowledgeable about skin care routines, products and ingredients. There are countless online sites and community boards where they discuss this," says Crystal Kwon, a PR consultant with Citizens PR, who is of South Korean heritage. "I know of one colleague (in Korea) who spends $15,000 of her salary every year on spa treatments. It is a huge chunk of her disposable what stores sell kate spade purses income, but she sees it as a priority," says Dong. Asia skin care regimes typically have 10 or more stages morning and night, known as layering skin care. "Routines for Asian women are considerably different and often much more complex than European and North American practices. Asian women highly value healthy looking, radiant skin, and to achieve this, they have many steps in their skin care regimen," says Elaine Shigeishi, vice president of Shiseido Canada. Singaporean makeup artist Larry Yeo says the layering is often overkill. "It comes down to skin type and condition, and also the season and climate. A person with (acne) doesn't need too much moisture. A person with very dry skin in a cold and dry climate does not benefit from toner or softener because it can dry out the skin more when it evaporates," he says. It is not all serious skin care. Asian brands also champion the fun and cute no surprise, given that Japan is the birthplace of Hello Kitty, while South Korea brought us Gangnam Style. Japanese founded, French owned Shu Uemura sells dramatic false lashes decorated with feathers and diamantes, Japan's Paul Joe Beaute's fall collection includes lipsticks with a picture of a cat in the middle, and The Face Shop will be launching patterned sheet masks with a Christmas theme.
"We were aware that people found the white sheet masks a bit scary looking, so we decided to turn them into something fun. How much better would it be if you had a mask that made you look like a reindeer?" says Gouron. Asia's latest innovations? Eye masks that self heat, producing steam; foot masks that make your skin peel off in layers; two tone lipsticks that give you contrasting colours with one sweep; and snail slime, originally an ingredient in anti aging masks.
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