First of all, this is not a product review or comparison. It is more of a presentation – three interesting products from different brands, taken from the same product category. In this case: face cleansing. All three brands are from Korea.
So, let’s dive right in! What we have here is a solid cleanser based on coconut oil and glycerin (Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick), a creamy white foam based on sea water and sea salt granules (Sea Salt Perfect Cleanser 40%) and a cleansing oil whose key ingredient, besides deep sea water, is Epidermal Growth Factor cell activator (Pure Propolis Washable Cleansing Oil).
The three brands are equally different: Su:m37 is from the luxury sector, Innisfree is a mass market brand with a very wide distribution and LaCell is firmly rooted in the niche/online retail channel.
[EDIT: 6/5/2017 – the Belport chain is now called A.G.B. (Art Goût Beauté). The flagship on Garosu-gil has also changed its name to A.G.B. The ground floor of the store still has a Jo Malone shop-in-shop but makeup brands have gone, instead there is what appears to be a MAC shop-in-shop. The spa in the basement is still there; the first floor was unfortunately closed for renovation. I think the brand portfolio might have been adjusted too, so the information in this store profile is probably no longer correct. I’m not sure why Belport reinvented itself; if anyone can shed any light on this I’d be grateful!]
A few days ago I visited Korean perfumery chain Belport’s flagship store in Seoul’s trendy Garosu-gil street. Garosu-gil in Sinsa neighbourhood is known for its designer boutiques, uber-stylish cafés and concept stores.
It is also one of the latest hotspots for beauty in Seoul: over the last five years or so a number of Asian and Western beauty brands have opened stores there, including Melvita from France, Kiehl’s from the US, Lush and Neil’s Yard Remedies from the UK and premium Korean brands Su:m37 and The History of Whoo.
Domestic beauty chains The Face Shop, Banila, VDL, Clio and Skin Food have also opened outlets along Garosu-gil, and there are several drugstore retailers including Olive Young, Watson and LOHBS. And exactly one year ago, Belport opened its very first store on this street.
I arrived in Seoul, the first stop on my Asian tour, a few days ago and my goodness, it’s wonderful to be back! Luckily I don’t get troubled by jetlag when I am flying from Europe to Asia (on the way back it’s a different matter unfortunately) because I arrived on a Wednesday evening and at 10am the very next morning, the 13th International Beauty Expo Korea trade show opened its doors in COEX Convention Center.
It was an interesting show: as far as I could tell, the exhibitors were primarily salon brands and smaller Korean cosmetics labels looking for distributors. There were only a few brand names that I recognized – like Elishacoy and Incoco – but since I like discovering new beauty labels, I found plenty to occupy my attention.
One of my favourite things about trade shows is the chance to discover new beauty labels. I first came across Whamisa at CosmeTokyo 2014 trade show and was immediately struck by the brand: Beautiful packaging, high-quality ingredients, great organic certification (BDIH and Ecocert) and a very attractive 38-sku product range.