Skincare and beauty products from the Eastern Hemisphere are not new… but the concept of importing them has become increasingly mainstream. For decades, many European companies straddled the fence between East and West by releasing ‘Asia Exclusive’ lines in both makeup and skincare. But an increasing number of Asia-based companies are making their way into American households in unexpected ways.
The greatest evidence may lie in the latest offerings from the cosmetics behemoth Sephora, who recently began carrying products from Korean brand Tony Moly. The bright, pop-culture centric pieces are designed to appeal to the young and young at heart. The straightforward nature of every product makes usage a breeze. The price point is attractive too. Most products sit comfortably below the $20 mark, so consumers are less likely to think twice about picking up something cute and functional.
The Korean brand IPKN is decidedly more grown up, with prices closer to well known luxury labels like Chanel and Armani. IPKN (which stands for Independent Professional Knowledgeable New Yorker) focuses more on the serious consumer, who doesn’t mind paying a little more for adult packaging and superior performance. Of note is the Diamond Luxury Lipstick, which delivers superior moisture and color in a single swipe. Application is nearly idiot-proof; you’d have a pretty easy time popping on a quick lip in traffic. Not that we’d recommend anything like that… ever.
If you’re game for an even higher price point, The History Of Whoo offers a selection of makeup products that are better suited to the vanity than the makeup back. The Secret Court BB Ball Cream provides a pearlescent highlight that flatters just about every skin tone. The Secret Court Lip Balm is more treatment than quick fix… the thick texture works best when its patted on, and left to work its magic throughout the night as you sleep. Both come in packaging that has a distinct vintage feel, with gold tones and a floral motif that will send the ultimate girly-girl into celebratory glee.
The Japanese brand Shiseido (which also owns NARS) is no stranger to the US Market. But the new Maquillage line remains an Asia exclusive. The design-centric line features a full cosmetics collection, from base to lipgloss. The most tenacious makeup junkies have found some of the items on Amazon, but the complete line is only available in Hong Kong and surrounding areas. The crown jewels are easily the Dramatic Mood Veil (blush) in both red and pink variations, and the Dramatic Melting Rouge Lipstick in every color.