Face masks shake up Korean cosmetics industry

SEOUL, March 25 (UPI) — South Korea’s beauty industry, alarmed at a population donning face masks and no makeup, is adapting products to cope.

Since South Korea began grappling with a serious COVID-19 outbreak in mid-February, much of the country has chosen to wear face masks in public. But because the masks tightly conceal the nose and mouth, many have decided not to wear makeup.

That rang alarm bells among South Korean beauty brands, which make up the world’s sixth-largest cosmetics market. In response, many companies are shifting to focus on skin-care products that address issues caused by wearing masks all day.

According to Lotte Homeshopping, a TV shopping channel of retail powerhouse Lotte, sales of skin-care products went up more than 50 percent in February from a year ago.

By contrast, sales of liquid-to-powder foundations and lipsticks dropped 30 percent.

Gmarket, an e-commerce giant operated by eBay Korea, reported a similar trend.

“Because of COVID-19’s fast spread, the beauty industry is facing new trends. Skin-care products are becoming superstars,” an official at L&P Cosmetic told UPI News Korea.

Kolmar Korea has released new long-lasting makeup products that will not easily come off, even as people sweat underneath their masks. On Monday, the Seoul-based brand released four such products: a sunscreen, a cushion foundation, a lipstick and a powder.

“We have developed new-type products to address inconveniences among our clients who wear face masks for a long time,” Kolmar Korea said in a statement.

The company explained that it is using coating powder to keep makeup from coming off.