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6 Exciting Outdoor K-beauty Trends to Watch in 2022


Demand for sun care products is increasing as people become more interested in recreation and outdoor activities. This lifestyle trend is paving the way for new K-beauty products that address specific outdoor-related concerns. Learn how brands are responding to changing beauty standards and capitalizing on a profitable market.

Table of Contents
The fascinating outdoor Korean beauty market
Newest innovations in outdoor K-beauty
The outdoor essentials

The fascinating outdoor Korean beauty market

A woman applying sunscreen on her face

Following the pandemic, Korean consumers are engaging in outdoor recreational activities, resulting in a shift in consumer preferences. This means increased demand for pre and post-sun care products in innovative formats across all categories, including skincare, hair, and cosmetics, for K-beauty.

The outdoor and sports sector in South Korea is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.43% between 2022 and 2027, reaching a market value of USD 2.92 billion by 2022. This expanding market presents new opportunities for the beauty industry.

This article delves into the exciting opportunities in the K-beauty market and how changing consumer priorities are influencing product design and innovation.

Newest innovations in outdoor K-beauty

Peal on sun patches

Three beauty products placed on a blanket

As more people become aware of the dangers of UV rays, the demand for sun protection will rise in tandem with the growing popularity of outdoor activities. The younger generation is active and invested in sports such as cycling, golf, and tennis, and brands are developing innovative formulations that are easy to apply while ensuring complete protection.

Sun and golf patches are the latest innovation in outdoor K-beauty, designed to block up to 99% of UV rays. Although many Koreans embrace tanned skin, many still adhere to the pale skin standard. Consumers will keep investing in protective care, whether to avoid skin darkening, lessen sunburn, or maintain skin health.

Xexymix and Oseque, two well-known Korean brands, offer customizable golf patches that are said to block 99% of UVB and UVA rays. They are available in various sizes, cuts, and colors, such as white, beige, and pink, allowing users to match them to their outfits. Some brands use a proprietary formula infused with hydrogels made from propolis, Vitamin C, and collagen.

Product innovation is critical for long-term success, and brands must thoroughly understand their customers’ outdoor interests to develop effective products. With the golf population expected to increase by 35% by 2030, brands must create new sweatproof and breathable sun patches that provide sun protection while also maximizing comfort. Additionally, certifications that prove efficacy will influence consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Mists for instant cooling

Close-up of a woman applying mist

The demand for lightweight, non-greasy formats that provide instant cooling effects will increase, especially in the warmer months. According to Olive Young, the demand for sun care products such as masks and toner pads increased by 129% in the summer of 2022. As temperatures rise, more consumers will seek cooling cosmetics that help lower the skin’s temperature for instant freshness.

The most common products in the cooling category are thermal water mists that can be sprayed on the face and all over the body. Mists contain minerals, making them suitable for all skin types, and they provide instant hydration while reducing redness and itching. These formulations match the skin’s pH and are made with fruit pulp and essential oil extracts.

Aloe vera and peppermint are both well known for their cooling properties and are the most commonly used ingredients in mists. Brands can also incorporate skincare elements, such as herbal extracts, into their mists to provide additional benefits. For instance, Purcell sells a mist that contains more proteins than milk to help minimize skin pores.

Many brands offer refillable aluminum mists in portable sizes with easy on-the-go applicators to reduce waste. Customers will also appreciate brands that provide certifications to back up claims of reducing irritation and sunburn.

Hair and scalp protection

Glass containers with wooden lids

The Korean haircare market is witnessing a transformation thanks to the growing influence of skincare routines on scalp and hair health. Customers want high-quality, natural solutions that address specific scalp and hair health concerns, and this rising demand is driving product innovation.

The South Korean hair care market was valued at USD 1.25 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.18% between 2022 and 2026. Many brands are taking advantage of this lucrative outdoor market by introducing new protective and repairing formulations made using trusted ingredients. 

Brands have developed pre- and post-sun products to protect hair from heat and environmental damage. Hair tonics are popular pre-sun products because they add a protective layer around the hair and scalp and block 65.51% of UV damage. These products also contain active ingredients that help prevent hair loss, such as I-menthol and dexpanthenol. On the other hand, post-sun products are intended to help cool the scalp and provide the required moisture.

Sunburn treatment: aftercare

Woman in purple swimsuit applying body scrub on hip

Prolonged exposure to sunlight due to increased outdoor activities will drive shoppers to look for new skincare routines that nourish, repair, and replenish damaged skin. Cooling products in gel or lotion formats, such as eye creams, toners, cleansers, and sheet masks that reduce inflammation and replenish moisture levels, will be in high demand. This demand indicates that many consumers value aftercare as much as pre-sun care.

Brands can introduce a complete skincare line suitable for winter and summer based on the region. They can also utilize traditional ingredients sourced from South Korea, such as licorice roots, which are widely used in cosmetics due to their soothing effects. Brands should also develop lightweight formats incorporating antioxidants and rehydrating ingredients to foster the skin’s healing process. 

Toner pads are popular among Korean consumers who participate in outdoor activities because they provide immediate relief in the affected areas. Furthermore, hydrating face masks and creams containing natural ingredients to restore the skin’s condition will grow in popularity to help the skin recover overnight.

Outdoor, portable beauty essentials for the go

Black bottle on a table with other beauty items

Travel-friendly, lightweight beauty essentials will continue to be popular among consumers who are constantly on the go. Light, non-greasy, breathable products with multi-purpose benefits are highly sought after as outdoor sports necessitate minimal makeup and more protective skincare formats. For example, KAHI, a leading brand, offers a three-in-one sunscreen, lip balm, and moisturizer combo in a stick format for easy application.

Some popular outdoor beauty products are sunblocks and mosquito repellents made with natural and skin-safe ingredients. Many of these items are designed to be pocket-friendly, allowing users to clip them to their backpacks or belts for easy access.

As many consumers are concerned about the environment, brands must ensure that their products adhere to sustainable practices. Biodegradable or zero-waste packaging is an excellent choice. Erigeron, a leading brand offers vegan beauty products packaged with sugarcane and birchwood byproducts, ensuring plastic-free packing materials.

Beauty products for tanned skin

A woman wearing eye patches

For over a millennium, pale skin was the beauty standard in South Korea. However, spending time outside has changed people’s perceptions of tanned skin, with more Koreans accepting that the natural process of skin darkening is unavoidable. This is fueling the popularity of tanned aesthetics in K-beauty, with brands offering new solutions that celebrate natural beauty and skin expressions. 

K-beauty has witnessed product innovation because the skin tones in East Asia are far more diverse, and consumers are seeking realistic skincare that embraces natural skin tones. A darker skin tone is now considered a sign of an active lifestyle, and skin conditions such as rosacea and freckles are being accepted for the first time.

Brands can recognize diversity by offering various sun-care products with imagery featuring models with different skin tones. They can provide lightweight skincare with UV protection that offers sheer coverage while showcasing natural tones.

As more consumers embrace sun-kissed aesthetics, products that imitate a healthy glow, such as tinted moisturizers, bronzers, and sheer foundations, are popular, especially among those who do not have access to the outdoors. Tanning oils with SPF protection are also making waves in the industry.

The outdoor essentials

– Brands should understand consumers’ outdoor needs and offer innovative solutions such as waterproof, sweatproof, and lightweight formulations that protect the skin from external aggressors. 

– Prioritize cooling products that provide immediate relief, as many consumers will seek such items, particularly during the summer. Ensure that clinical studies back up any claims made by the product.

– Many consumers are committed to the environment, so brands that comply with sustainable standards will see long-term success. Waste reduction should be a priority for brands.

– Pre- and post-sun care products will become more popular. Ensure that they are suitable for all skin types and skin tones.

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