Years after North America clued into the wonders of BB cream, the trendiness of “K-beauty” (Korean beauty) is still going strong, with Asian inventions like sheet masks, watery essences and cushion compacts all winding their way here. Now, skincare from Seoul’s Laneige is finally arriving in Canada, with 22 SKUs landing at 55 Sephora stores. Here, five things you may not know about the company:
1 — The brand belongs to a vast beauty empire: Laneige is just one of 30 brands made by AmorePacific, South Korea’s largest cosmetics company. “Our share of the market in Korea is 40 percent of all beauty—mass, class, any channel,” says Bradley Horowitz, president and CEO of AmorePacific U.S., noting that Laneige targets women in their 20s and 30s.
2 — This line is all about deep hydration: the name (“La neige”) alludes to Himalayan snowmelt. “The water looks milky because it collects so many minerals from the rocks,” says Horowitz. Mineral water complexes—now re-engineered by R&D, rather than imported from mountain peaks—are its key ingredient.
3 — While North Americans tend to consider basic hydration a matter of skin comfort (averting flakiness and tightness), Asian beauty culture understands that moisturizing equals anti-aging. “Even if a product contains highly effective anti-aging components, if skin is deficient in hydration, it doesn’t work,” says Matthew Oh, principal scientist at AmorePacific’s R&D Center, explaining that water normalizes the function of skin cells.
4 — Laneige’s perennial top-seller is the Water Sleeping Mask, $30, a gel-based overnight skin reviver featuring its signature H2O, ceramides and aromatherapeutic scent.
5 — Parent company AmorePacific invented the very first cushion compact back in 2008, so Laneige tapped into the same proprietary packaging for its own BB Cushion (shown in slideshow below). The case holds a polyurethane sponge soaked with liquid makeup; press the sponge with the puff applicator to pick up just enough product, then press it onto skin (imagine stamping ink). The coverage is light enough to convert even foundation-haters.