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Thursday, June 13, 2024

LA Koreatown becomes teenagers’ chosen beauty and cosmetics hot spot

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Cosmetics stores in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, also known as K-beauty shops, are bustling with teenage customers.

Korean-American mother, Jennifer Kim often goes shopping with her high school daughter at a cosmetics store in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. They shop for Korean beauty products that are popular on social media. “Most of the Korean cosmetics brands my daughter finds are unfamiliar to me, but the products look trendy and affordable.” Kim has also switched to K-brands recommended by her daughter.

Korean cometic products promoted by beauty influencers [Image captured from Round Lab website]

Haena Jung often takes her high school daughter and her friends to Sephora. They buy cosmetics promoted by influencers on social media. They try out samples and get beauty advice. “My daughter used to spend most of her allowance on clothes, but she has been spending more on cosmetics recently.”

As beauty influencers and beauty companies on social media aim to attract Gen Z customers, teenagers have emerged as a major customer base for the beauty industry. The Korean-American cosmetics industry is no exception.

“Korean beauty products and their cost-effectiveness are becoming a hot topic online through social media,” said an employee of a Los Angeles Koreatown beauty shop. “Los Angeles Koreatown has become a K-beauty hot spot after Seoul.”

Some of the leading cosmetics stores in Koreatown that have emerged as K-beauty hotspots include Aritaum and Donginbi in the California Market building, Cosmetic World in Madang Mall, Palace Beauty Galleria, and Hot Deal online shopping mall.

According to the industry, cosmetics sought by teenage customers are those talked about by beauty influencers on social media.

The most popular Korean skincare brands include Round Lab’s Dokdo line and Birch Juice line, Innisfree, Beauty of Joseon, Aestura, Hero Cosmetics, Skin1004, Somebymi, VT Cosmetics, and Illiyoon. In particular, Beauty of Joseon’s Rice + Probiotics sunscreen, Hero Cosmetics’ Mighty Patch, and Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask have become beauty essentials for many teenagers interested in Korean skincare.

“The most popular brands among teens are Innisfree and Laneige, especially Innisfree’s Green Tea line,” said a representative from Aritaum. “The green tea soothes teenage skin, which is often prone to acne and other skin concerns.”

Makeup products are also popular for their exquisite colors and stylish packaging. Popular products include Peripera’s Ink Tint, Rom&nd’s blush, Hince’s lipstick, The Saem’s concealer, Misha’s BB cream, Clio’s pencil eyeliner, and Muzigae Mansion’s tint.

“Rom&nd’s tint and blush are the most sought-after color cosmetics among teens,” said a Donginbi representative. “They visit stores to try them before buying them.”

Testing sample products in stores and uploading the process to social media has become a trend among teens. Even in the age of online shopping, teens still prefer to visit cosmetics stores for this reason.

According to investment bank Piper Sandler’s 2024 teenage consumer trends report, Sephora was the most visited cosmetics store, with nearly 4 in 10 teenagers buying cosmetics there. This is followed by Ulta (31%), Target (10%), Amazon (5%), and Walmart (5%).

Favorite shade brands include E.L.F. (38%), Rare Beauty (9%), Maybelline (6%), Charlotte Tilbury (5%), and Fenty Beauty (4%), while favorite skincare brands include Cerave (38%), Dior (9%), La Roche-Posay (6%), Cetaphil (5%), and Glow Recipe (3%).

BY EUNYOUNG LEE, HOONSIK WOO [lee.eunyoung6@koreadaily.com]