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K-beauty Won’t Last Forever

Contact Author Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor in Chief
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Peach & Lily founder, Alice Yoon, says K-beauty will evolve to focus on the best brands and products.

“The Korean market now seems to be attracting global attention as a beacon of inspiration,” author Curt Altmann (Yonwoo/PKG) wrote in Global Cosmetic Industry in 2015. He added that the Korean beauty consumer is “ravenous for product,” and therefore has little brand loyalty. (Read "5 K-beauty Brands You Need to Know" below.)

At the same time, they employ elaborate beauty care rituals that require numerous products. It’s no surprise, then, that this relatively tiny country has become such a hub of newness and innovation.

Often treated as a monolithic category, South Korea churns out more than 100,000 unique products* that span the spectrum of novelty offerings (maple tree sap, fermented extracts, etc.) and proven solutions (quality naturals).

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"We're launching our own branded Peach & Lily products this year (stay tuned)..."

“I think K-beauty—and how it’s being defined right now—will fade away,” Alicia Yoon, founder of K-beauty mecca Peach & Lily, recently explained. “However, the conversation around K-beauty will evolve and focus on the brands that truly wow, and these brands will have staying power like the beloved brands Stateside (and beyond).”

Yoon, who recently opened Peach & Lily’s second brick-and-mortar location in California, gave Global Cosmetic Industry (GCI) an exclusive interview regarding the state of k-beauty and what lies ahead for this hottest of regional trends, as well as a list of some of the most innovative and trusted brands defining K-beauty today (see: 5 K-beauty Brands You Need to Know). 

GCI: How does the new California Peach & Lily shop differ from the NY location?


Yoon: The New York and California Peach & Lily stores have similarities—such as a highly trained staff to help people understand their skin type and find the right products, and products organized by steps of the Korean skincare regimen, the latest Korean beauty trends, or skin benefits versus brand [name] only. To keep in line with Peach & Lily’s overall brand identity and mission, there are some differences as well to cater to each demographic and region.

"I think K-beauty and how it’s being defined right now will fade away..."

In the California Peach & Lily store, given the sunny climate, SPF, hyperpigmentation and dehydrated skin are big skincare issues; so we have broader product selection to address these concerns.

Also, given that the store is located inside the Macy’s that is attached to the Westfield Mall (and we’re excited that we are located right next to the mall entrance!), we know that there are a lot of folks who come to the mall to browse and see what’s new, especially when it comes to Korean skincare and Korean cosmetics. So we kept the store layout more open and airy to make sure people could see everything at a glance when walking by.

Also, the California Peach & Lily store has a more diverse demographic—from an older shopper seeking luxury goods to high schoolers who are swinging by the mall to grab lunch. To cater to a broader set of consumers, we have a different Korean beauty assortment and a more colorful layout with bright Lucite sheet mask stands, but still an overall elevated look and feel to keep in line with our brand identity.

"We have learned so much about our customers’ preferences by having a physical store."

GCI: How has the product mix been adjusted for California?

Yoon: There is a deeper assortment of sheet masks and those Korean skin care products for all things sun-related.

GCI: What has the consumer response been to the online and physical stores?

Yoon: The consumer response has been overwhelmingly positive to both www.peachandlily.com and our physical Peach & Lily stores. Opening physical stores has been exciting as there is a depth of interaction that isn't possible online—we can analyze skin better in person, and the consumer can touch, smell and try products before purchasing.

And, of course, the kind of back-and-forth question and answer is so much more dynamic in person. We have learned so much about our customers’ preferences by having a physical store, which gives us the ability to better serve our customers both online and in-stores.

GCI: What do you see ahead for K-beauty?

Yoon: Ultimately, whether it’s in one year or five years, the overall K-beauty trend may die down. That’s not to say that K-beauty brands will not remain popular, but a trend that points widely to beauty from one country lumped together in one big way is hard to sustain because there are so many nuanced things about each brand—and to say something like “French beauty” or “American beauty” is more a trend that includes high-level generalizations about all brands from that one country.

And, definitionally, trends ultimately evolve or fade away. I think K-beauty and how it’s being defined right now will fade away; however, I think the conversation around K-beauty will evolve and focus on the brands that truly wow, and these brands will have staying power as beloved brands Stateside (and beyond), whether the K-beauty trend is going strong or fading away.

GCI: What’s next for Peach & Lily?

Yoon: We're launching our own branded Peach & Lily products this year (stay tuned), which we’ve been working on for the last 18 months. We’re also launching an independent content platform that will be focused on Korean beauty and, more broadly, lifestyle. There will be a huge emphasis on skin care education.

This is a natural outcome of our Peach & Lily blog—seeing the traffic and interest in articles geared towards skin care education … and also Korean lifestyle stories. I think there’s a big gap in content that explains Korean beauty products, rituals and skin care advice in a more cultural context. The content site will be for those wanting a more multifaceted look into Korean beauty, Korean lifestyles, and skin care-talk in a digestible, expert-driven, fun way. 

5 K-beauty Brands You Need to Know

Alicia Yoon, founder of K-beauty mecca Peach & Lily, provided Global Cosmetic Industry with her curated list of some of the most exciting K-beauty players, spanning both novel and established brands.


1. Kicho**

2. Be the Skin

3. aromatica

4. May Coop

5. Shangpree

BONUS: Rose By Dr. Dream

This cosmeceutical brand is built upon skin rejuvenating rose stem cells and distilled rose water, which provide antioxidant defense, boost elasticity and moisture, improve skin tone and soothe irritation. The brand’s products include the Dream Age Radiance Facial Mask, Dream Age Radiance Powder Essence (pictured), Luminous Rosegold Cushion and Rose Bubble Clay Pack.

BONUS: TwentyFour Seven


These multifunctional beauty products were originally designed to meet the busy lives of Korean professionals. TwentyFour Seven’s range includes the Honey Dual Lip Treatment Oil & Color Tint Balm, which moisturizes the lips while imparting a coral tint, and a Touch Up Skin-Perfecting Cream appropriate for all skin types that comprises antiaging ingredients and adds a shimmer to the skin for a dewy effect that can be applied over or under foundation, and can be blended with foundation or bb cream to boost the glow effect.

*According to figures gathered by the organizers of CosmoBeauty Seoul

**Click here to learn more about these and other brands.