J Korean Soc Cosmetol > Volume 29(6); 2023 > Article
O: Influence of Sociocultural Backgrounds in the 2010s and 2020s on the Cosmetics Industry and Makeup Trend


This study analyzed the characteristics of each period based on various references and previous studies, and tried to find out the global influence of the beauty style of K-pop idols, the tendency of the cosmetics and makeup consumption market according to the popularity of beauty influencers, and the development of the beauty industry through media data. The scope analyzed the trends that appeared in the makeup field from 2010 to 2023, and divided them into characteristics of the times, characteristics of makeup expression techniques, and global and cultural characteristics. In order to compare the trends of the 2010s and 2020s, the characteristics of each era were reviewed. The characteristics of texture expression, which appeared the most in the 2010s, HD makeup due to the development of cameras, and the influence of K-pop due to the globalization of culture were analyzed. Compared to the 2010s, the 2020s analyzed the changes in texture expression techniques, the influence of beauty influencers at the beginning of the era of single-person media, and vegan beauty due to changes in perceptions of nature and life. In addition, the impact of K-pop idols, which show the greatest influence.

I. Introduction

Makeup, which reflects women’s preferences, lifestyle, and fashion trends and goes along with the mainstream of a particular period, serves as the means of expressing one’s identity for women in today’s world, and another messenger and communicator in their social roles .Makeup design elements, such as popular lip colors, skin texture, eyebrows, eye shadows, and eyeliner shapes and lengths, also keep pace with the trends and contexts of a certain period, and have been shifted and reinvented by the choices of the mainstream culture and influential members of a particular period by reflecting political, economic, social, and cultural backgrounds.
Furthermore, makeup not only serves its functions of highlighting advantages, compensating for disadvantages, and protecting the skin but also works as an integral part of image making and styling as a non-verbal elementof expressing oneself and provides its socio-psychological benefits of improving confidence and achieving positive self-esteem in interpersonal relationships.
Due to the increased economic level, the rapid growth of highly educated professional women, and changes in aesthetics especially after the 2010s, consumers' needs have become more segmented, and consumers pay more attention to themselves by accepting professional trends and information provided by experts and the media.
While many studies have been conducted on the changes and backgrounds of makeup trends after the 2000s, there have been few studies that examined make trends from the 2010s to today and the effect of various factors on makeup trends.By looking into makeup trends based on rapid social development, various social phenomena, and changes in the media, this study demonstrates that makeup not just represents changes in patterns, colors, and textures but serves as an entity that changes along with the background factors of a certain period and subsequent changes among consumers.
The scope of this study is to investigate changing socio-cultural trends from the 2010s to the 2020s, and to identify the effect of socio-cultural backgrounds in Korea and around the world by reviewing the cosmetics industry and makeup trends. As this study’s method, a literature review was conducted on previous studies, professional data, and articles, which were searched and then organized and described.

II. Theoretical Background

1. Socio-Cultural Contexts in Korea and around the World in the 2010s

1) Advances in Information and Communications Technology, and the Spread of Smartphones

Since the mid-to-late 2000s, interest in youth arising from social structural changes was influenced by the digital culture of the ubiquitous, and gave rise to play culture, including ‘selfie’, ‘ulzzang (good-looking)’, and ‘ssaeng-eol (face with no makeup)’. Most notably, mini-homepage offered by Cyworld, which ushered in the era of ‘one person one homepage’ with more than 10 million users in late 2004, resulted in the digital tribalizationof Internet users along with the popularization of digital cameras, and it was accepted as recreationin which expressing oneself through images was accepted as if it were play (Kim, 2005).
Combined with the mass media, it gave rise to a boom in the ‘baby face’, and with a changing social structure due to Korea’s declining birth rate and aging population, a society where newness and youth were praised forced people to recognize the baby faceas a survival strategy.
As the popularization of smartphones fully began in 2011, mobile-based SNS, such as Twitter, Facebook, KakaoTalk, and KakaoStory, which had been popular since 2010, replaced Cyworld, NateOn, and Buddy. The traditional digital market, which survived to some extent until 2010, fell apart completely in 2011 and 2012. Samsung Electronics abandoned its Anycall brand and only focused on its smartphone brand Galaxy as its main product. Major TV networks in Korea stopped broadcasting for analog TV at the end of 2012, and consequently, analog media vanished completely.
The period from 2012 to 2014 was defined as the early days of smartphones. While young people’s communication and cultural sensibilities during this period were regarded as memories of the analog period in the 2020s, the first-generation of smartphone games, such as Anipang, and the first-generation of mobile social networking services (SNS), such as KakaoTalk, Facebook, and Twitter, lost their popular impact to Instagram and TikTok since 2015.
These services were popular until 2014, and they were subsequently replaced by Instagram in 2015 and TikTok in 2020. The advanced Internet environment in Korea, which has ranked first in high-speed internet penetration since the 2000s, facilitated digital camera culture and the sharing of digital photos, and led to the emergence of personal media, such as personal websites and blogs, which combine with cyberspace and allow people to easily and efficiently express themselveswith photos. With the increasing use of the Internet and smart devices, SNS, in which people express themselves and communicate with others, offers more than just ways to communicate and network but also opportunities for users to produce information and act as key players in distributing and consuming information through their human networks (Korea Internet & Security Agency, 2014).

2) Preferences for Young and Handsome Face: Evolution of Baby Face Syndrome

Since the mid-2000s, the so-called ‘baby face’ gained immense popularity across Korea to become a syndrome and had a lasting impact into the 2010s. The baby face refers to a face that has the typical infantile features of a round and wide forehead, small nose, small mouth, small chin, natural eyebrows, clear and round eyes, and chubby cheeks, as if one did not undergo anatomical changes associated with aging. As the baby face’s ratio of upper face to middle face to lower face is 1:1:08, its lower face is shorter (Kim, 2009), and the width to height ratio of the baby face is rounder than the average Korean face ratio of 1:1.3. As the birth rate has gradually declined and the percentage of elderly people has gradually increased since the 2010s, it seems that various efforts to look younger are growing in line with such changes in society, where it is becoming essential to use elderly people’s labor force. In other words, the baby face is not limited to looking younger but deeply related to grooming one’s body to be youthful and healthy overall. The phenomenon of global warmingdue to rising temperatures has garnered attention from many people around the world as a global issue and concern. Socially, pressure on pensions due to the increasing number of retired elderly people and the phenomenon of a declining and aging population due to declining birth rates have been highlighted as a serious issue across the world.

3) Rapidly Growing Cosmetics Market Due to the Rise of K-Pop and the Spread of K-Beauty

After the term ‘K-beauty’ was first coined in the late 2000s as beauty items used by Korean celebrities in ‘K-dramas’ and ‘K-pop’ gained popularity across China and Southeast Asia, its popularity had grown in the Chinese market since 2010. The 2018 Korean Wave Overseas Status Survey conducted online from October 30 to November 13, 2017 showed that the popularity of the Korean Wave, also known as Hallyu, is spreading day by day especially in fashion and beauty or K-pop, which are relatively easy to access in everyday life.

4) Emergence of High Definition (HD) TV

In 2010, broadcasting was digitized and transformed into the era of HD TV, an imaging system developed to meet the needs of new mediato watch something closer to reality on clearer screen, and it had the 16:9 aspect ratio, which increases TV’s scan line and is approximately 25% wider than the 4:3 aspect ratio of traditional color TV analog broadcasting (Lee & Kim, 2010).

5) Emergence of Generations Alpha

The generation born between 2010 and 2019 will have all members of their household born in the 21st century.
Generations born in the 2010s or influenced by the culture of this period since childhood, who are familiar with smartphones and mobile culture, are referred to as Generations Alpha.
These generations born in the 2010s are digital natives, who are accustomed to the digital market like their previous generation in the 2000s, and are completely separated from the analog media and pre-smartphone digital market of the previous period. For the generation born between 2012 and 2019, when smartphones became widely available, smartphone media become an integral part of their daily life or they spend a huge portion of their time with smartphones. That is why those born in the 2010s are sometimes referred to as Generation Alpha, which is distinct from Generation Z.

2. Social and Cultural Backgrounds in the 2020s

1) COVID-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, has greatly changed people’s values and lifestyles (Kwon, 2022; Lee & Hong, 2021; Kim & Kwon, 2021; Chung, 2023). Since the first COVID-19 patient was confirmed in Korea in January 2020, consumption patterns, educational environments and teaching methods, family culture, and various aspects of society and culture have been transformed differently from what they used to be before. The spread of COVID-19 has led to the rapid adoption of non-face-to-face and contactless lifestyles amid confusion.
As health emerged as a major issue with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it changed people’s habit, diet, and lifestyle, and the culture of valuing health and the environment leads to changes in perception even in the manufacture and use of cosmetics.
As consumers meet someone else online increasingly frequently, the online market is more highlighted than the offline market, which has led to a boom in the ‘non-face-to-face’ live commerce market and the emergence of ‘YouTube’ influencer-based marketing. Various channels and show hosts, which have emerged subsequently, are changing to appeal to consumers with the online market’s unique advantages and attractiveness and to offer consumers with fresh and differentiated experiences.
With rapidly changing and unstable international affairs, global warming, population aging, the global spread of ‘COVID-19’, and fatigue-prevalent society requiring extreme competition, people in today’s world are more aware about eco-friendly value consumption and ethical consumption, and spread consumption trends with sustainability in mind as well as good consumption. Consequently, many people are becoming interested in the eco-friendly beauty industry, the spread of ESG business management, clean beauty, antiaging, skincare and procedures, and inner beauty.

2) Era of Digital Transformation

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which became a hot topic around the world since 2016, is dubbed the next industrial revolution mainly driven by the convergence of information and communications technology (ICT) and leads to major changes in human civilization. The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to changes in business, in which it is expected to build a virtual physical system that can automatically and intelligently control things by integrating the real and virtual worlds through robots or artificial intelligence (AI) (Choi, 2021; Kim, 2021).
In recent years, the cosmetics and beauty industries in Korea and the world face increasing needs for providing scientific evidence, making cosmetics more premium, localizing eco-friendly materials and source materials, protecting against COVID-19, environmental pollution, and the skin, introducing digital transformation and personalized cosmetics into basic skin research, offering personalized cosmetics, using eco-friendly and sustainable cosmetic materials and packaging, and combining information technology and digital technology (Park, 2020). More importantly, to the point that the new term beauty techis created, which combines information technology and the beauty industry, the beauty industry stresses its efforts to meet the emotional needs of consumers by combining with information technology.

3) Emergence of : Advances in Internet Media and SNS

Women in millennials and Generation Z as an influential group of players for social consumption consider their looks to be a competitive advantage and do not hesitate to invest in beauty behaviors, including skin care, body shape care, and appearance care. Slow agingis recently popular among women in their 20s, as they recognize the importance of self-care as early as their 20s to prevent aging preemptively at a younger age (Medical Newspaper, Accessed on February 25, 2023). In the post-COVID-19 world, where there is a lot of interest in health, the new term ‘healthy pleasure’, which combines healthy and pleasure, has become popular among millennials and Generation Z, and body profiles, which were once considered to belong to only celebrities and bodybuilders, are also becoming popular among young people (Yang, 2023).
‘Millennials and Generation Z’ are digital nativeswho were born or raised in the digital environment and cannot imagine what it is like to live without the Internet. As such, they are accustomed to obtaining and sharing information, communicating, and empathizing on the Internet and SNS. A survey by the Korea Press Foundation (2022) found that the average SNS usage rate across age groups was 37.3%, with the highest rate among those in their 20s at 72.1%, followed by those in their 30s (58.0%) and those in their 40s (49.9%), and a lower age group had a higher usage frequency. Instagram, Facebook, and Band are popular in this order among those in their 20s and 30s, while 58.0% of those in their 20s use Instagram.

4) Emergence of Beauty Influencers

With a boom in social network services (SNS) due to advances in Internet technology and the growing use of smart devices, people can share various information and communicate with other people on SNS (Shin, 2023). YouTube is the one that has the biggest influence on the global popularity of ‘K-beauty’. In the early days of K-beauty, interest in Korean culture, food, and beauty increased due to avid global viewers for K-drama series, which appeared on Netflix, an over-the-top (OTT) service, in 2016. Along with Korean drama actors, overseas performances by young idol singers gave rise to fans in Korea and abroad, who wanted to copy the makeup and style of Korean celebrities, and triggered interest in Korean beauty and makeup trends. Along with this trend, interest in Korean cosmetics has sharply risen, and SNS, especially YouTube, serves as a steppingstone for creating and distributing memes and K-beauty content (Lee, 2020).
An ‘influencer’ means a person who has a large number of followers on SNS and has a huge influence and ripple effect. They are mainly active on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, blogs, and Facebook (Kim, 2019). As SNS booms as a place for information, empathy, sharing, and communication, influencers with talent, skill, expertise, and influence have emerged across various fields, especially makeup artists (Lee, 2016). Content created by influencers reaches many people in a short period of time through SNS and has a huge influence on consumers' purchase decisions (Song, 2018). A report by ‘McKinsey & Company’, a global consulting firm, estimates that the global marketing market influenced by influencers has grown rapidly to approximately 20.9 trillion won by 2022, while a survey by ‘GlobalWebIndex’, a global consumer market research firm, reports that Gen Z consumers are 23% more likely to spend money impulsively due to the influence of influencers than the other three generations of consumers (Globaleconomic, 2023).

III. Study Description and Method

This study analyzed the characteristics of each period based on a literature review of other references and previous studies, and examined the tendency of the cosmetics and makeup consumption market and the development of the beauty industry due to the global influence of the beauty style of K-pop idols and the popularity of beauty influencers based on media data. The scope of this study was to analyze trends in the makeup industry from 2010 to 2023, and it was divided into the characteristics of different periods, the characteristics of makeup expression techniques, and social and cultural characteristics.
To begin with, to compare the trends of the 2010s and 2020s and discuss the characteristics of each period, this study analyzed the characteristics of the most exemplary skin texture expression in the 2010s, natural and sophisticated makeup due to advances in digital cameras and HDTVs, and the influence of K-pop idols on the cosmetics industry with the globalization of the Internet environment and SNS culture.

IV. Research Results and Discussions

1. Makeup trends in the 2010s

1) Makeup styles emphasizing natural skin textures and tones

The term newtro, a portmanteau of the words newand retro, represents multiple characteristics of makeup trends in the 2010s. During this era, the public paid attention to new makeup techniques that reinterpreted or remixed past makeup trends from a modern perspective while still aligning with contemporary makeup trends.
Following the makeup trends in the 2000s described above, makeup trends in the 2010s are defined by the keyword ‘dong-an(baby face)’. These trends required a sophisticated technique for expressing natural and well-cared skin that looks as if makeup has not been applied or has been lightly applied and as if it is the original skin.
The general characteristics of makeup trends in the 2010s can be summarized as follows. The fever of desire for the baby face style, continuing from the mid- and late 2000s, led to the emergence of neologisms that indicate a state or tone of natural and ‘shining skin’, such as ‘ssaeng-eol (bare face)’, ‘mulgwang (water-like glow)’, and ‘bitgwang (light-like glow)’, and changes in makeup patterns emphasizing skin textures. The spread of this makeup style accompanied the expansion and diversification of the cosmetics market and changes in the trends of cosmetic product launch. For example, new items, such as, blemish balm cream, and lip plumpers, as well as functional ‘anti-aging’ products were developed and introduced. The emphasis of the baby face theme was observed not only in cosmetics purchase trends but also in cosmetics advertisement trends, in which brands highlighted their names, slogans, and advertising phrases related to this theme. With the pursuit of fundamental improvement to obtain perfect and clean skin without any blemish or problem, procedures for bringing baby face effects, ranging from beauty treatment clinic solutions to plastic surgery, were invigorated. Moreover, customized makeup for individuals’ age, race, gender, physical characteristics, preferences as well as time, place, and occasion (TPO), which diverged from the uniformity and standardization of makeup designs on colors, textures, patterns, forms, etc., drew interest from the public.
Accordingly, basic cosmetics for expressing natural, glossy, and moist skin textures and diverse base color cosmetics for adjusting skin tones were developed and launched. Particularly, skin texture expression techniques emerged as a popular topic along with the introduction of neologisms that indicate various skin textures, such as mulgwang, yungwang (glossy glow), peolgwang (pearl-like glow), and dojagigwang (pottery-like glow).

2) Clean and moist skin makeup and eye point makeup

After the late 2000s, both natural makeup and soft smoky eye makeup captured public interest.
At this time, natural skin makeup, which enhances skin problems while maintaining individuals’ original skin tones at the maximum, served as the mainstream style with an emphasis on straight eyebrows that were filled based on surfaces rather than lines to pursue a natural atmosphere. There was also a surge in popularity for smoky eye makeup and lip makeup that expresses creamy and glossy lips based on the use of various colors while maintaining individuals’ original lip lines at the maximum.
As for eyebrows, a slightly thick and ample design with natural filling of empty spaces from the surface-based perspective was preferred to a linear design stressing a line or contour. As for eyeshadow, cream and crayon types for natural texture and gradation expressions and shiny types with glitter contained grew in public appeal. As for lips, there was a rising preference for texture expressions that avoided excessive effects and added senses of moisture, gloss, and oil while maintaining individuals’original lip lines.
Furthermore, with surging interest in the pursuit of healthy life and lifestyles and well-being, a base skin makeup technique that enhances skin imperfections based on the use of a concealer while maintaining individuals’original skin tones at the maximum was prioritized over a point color makeup technique.
Accordingly, base cream, base color foundation, and compact products were widely used to effectively create various skin texture expressions including perfect, smooth, and flawless skin textures suggestive of textures and touches of pottery, a sense of gloss with a hint of moisture, natural and creamy textures, and multi-dimensional glossy facial contour expressions using light reflection and flow.

3) Makeup transformed by the development of HDTVs

The advancement of innovative technologies for HDTVs enabled people to experience advanced multi-dimensional, realistic, and vivid images compared to two-dimensional visual effects. The conversion from existing TVs to digital HDTVs affected makeup styles applied to people who appear on TV programs, including actors and actresses. To prevent the audience from being disturbed by realistic images projected by HDTVs, makeup styles were adjusted to express more detailed and elaborate skin textures, cover pores and blemishes, softly enhance bumps, and hide dark circles.
Color cosmetics manufacturers introduced specialized skin expression products in response to the enhanced broadcasting quality and pixels of HDTVs. These products allow users to apply natural makeup characterized by covering of pores, natural eyebrow designs, multi-dimensional contour expressions, and light feelings rather than heavy feelings beyond simple color makeup.
For instance, techniques of applying eyeshadow or fixing eye makeup in an unnatural or exaggerated way dropped in popularity. Instead, there was a growing demand for makeup techniques that maintain the original skin tones of people who appear on the TV screen at the maximum using natural colors and textures.
In this context, it can be argued that the innovation of HDTVs is closely associated with the advancement of cosmetics technology. Moreover, the diversification of texture expressions has facilitated the visual representation of tactile sensations on the skins of people who appear on the TV screen, like a sense of gloss amplified by glitter shining by lighting.
When celebrities appear on HDTVs, blemishes, pores, and even fine wrinkles on their skins are clearly shown due to a high number of pixels of HDTVs. For this reason, there was a heightening demand for a natural makeup technique that can effectively cover skin problems while minimizing the thickness of makeup applied. In terms of makeup design, novel makeup designs, such as 3D makeup, became popular. These designs facilitate multi-dimensional color makeup beyond simple color makeup, adding a sense of depth to the face. The creation of these makeup designs boosted the development of cosmetic products ranging from base skin expression products focusing on texture expressions to multifunctional color cosmetic products.

4) Rapid growth of the cosmetics market due to the growing popularity of K-pop and the spread of K-beauty

Korean cosmetics brands, namely ‘Sulwhasoo’ from Amorepacific Corporation and The History of ‘Whoo’ from LG Household & Health Care, gained popularity in the luxury cosmetics market by offering products at reasonable price. Moreover, the explosive popularity of Korean dramas in China in the 2010s contributed to the remarkable growth of the Korean cosmetics market, which witnessed the first achievement of 1 billion dollars in exports in 2013, a shift to a trade surplus in 2014, and a twofold increase in export volume in 2015 compared to the previous year. The global cosmetics industry grew by 5.2% in 2017 compared to the previous year. The exports of Korean cosmetics reached 6,524,790,000 dollars in 2019, and the annual average growth rate over the five years from 2019 is expected to show a steep rise at 26.0% (Lee et al., 2020).

2. Makeup trends in the 2020s

1) One point makeup

The Korean government made it mandatory to wear facial masks in daily lives to reduce the spread of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Starting from June 1, 2020, Koreans were required to wear facial masks when using means of public transportation (e.g., subways and buses) and visiting public places (e.g., restaurants, libraries, and schools). Under these circumstances, changes in Korean women’s makeup trends were reported. As more than a half of the face was covered by a mask, the size of area required for makeup application was reduced. Consequently, Korean women showed little interest in lip expressions but expressed great interest in using cushion compacts whose powder rarely stains facial masks. They also paid more attention to eye makeup techniques using eyeliners and mascaras to accentuate eyes that are not covered by facial masks. During this period, the sales of mascaras and eyebrow makeup products in South Korea soared. The application of eyebrow makeup increased by 91% compared to that before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, the application of lip makeup decreased by 82% compared to that before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. These figures suggest the transformation of makeup trends from makeup focusing on the entire face to makeup focusing on eyes due to the use of facial masks to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic (Park & Kim, 2021). The frequent use of facial masks during the COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in humidity, temperature, and skin troubles around lips and cheeks, resulting in the launch of various skin trouble care products as well as products containing beneficial ingredients to soothe sensitive skin.

2) Natural glow makeup

Natural glow makeup begins with base makeup that expresses moist skin. Subsequently, hydrating base makeup products including a primer are used to express moist and glossy skin. Particularly, a liquid foundation or an air cushion compact with high moisturizing power is used to complete natural and glossy skin expression while minimizing its thickness. The capability of obtaining useful information for selecting effective cosmetic products and formulas is as crucial as that of applying makeup techniques. Furthermore, there has been a greater emphasis on thin and natural makeup styles ensuring a sense of smooth adhesion and long-term makeup persistence without the need for adjustment rather than on past makeup styles focusing on high coverage to completely change skin tones. As a result, makeup styles for expressing healthy, sophisticated, and glossy skin with highlights on textures have achieved widespread recognition.
This makeup trend has placed the spotlight on tone-up creams used to naturally brighten skin by one or two tones, leading to the recent launch of tone-up creams providing ultraviolet (UV) blocking functions and different color choices for personal colors. Neutral chic makeup emerged as a trend in response to the wearing of facial masks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This makeup style pursues natural skin tone expression rather than perfect covering power and is featured by natural eye makeup, the use of an eyeliner pencil, and accentuated eyebrows and eyelashes.
As makeup styles highlighting eyes have drawn attention due to the increased time for covering the face with a facial mask, cosmetic products of burnt colors based on toned-down red brown, including lip makeup, eyeshadow, and blusher products, have become popular. In recent years, there is a growing fascination with genderless beauty and fashion styles, spurred by the influence of a boy band BTS. This phenomenon is observed in men’s increasing interest in self-care and their behaviors of carrying a pouch containing BB cream, eyebrow makeup products, cushions used to fix makeup.

3) Acceptance of makeup recommended by beauty influencers

With the rising impact of beauty influencers, enormous information provided by numerous beauty influencers has received considerable attention. Particularly, women in their 20s and 30s establish and alter their images and individuality based on abundant contents provided by beauty influencers, encompassing color development of cosmetics, cosmetic product reviews, tutorials for makeup and hair styling, the introduction of dressing tables and pouches, and more. Thus, the quality of information provided by beauty influencers has great significance (Park, 2020).
Pony is a representative ‘K-beauty creator’ as well as an ‘influential youtuber’ who had approximately 4.62 million subscribers as of November 2018. Furthermore, she has expanded the scope of her activities by launching her own brand. Among numerous video contents she has created, a video titled Taylor Swift Transformation Make Up, which introduces makeup to resemble Taylor Swift, a globally famous singer, and a video titled Glowy Coral Makeup, which describes makeup characterized by clean skin expression and subtle color application, garnered substantial interest from the public, propelling Pony to become a prominent creator. Risabae is also a recognized ‘K-beauty creator’ who accomplished success by concentrating on the transformation concept as the distinctive strength of her video contents. Initially, she upbuilt her fame as a streamer on AfreecaTV, also referred to as BJ, by putting makeup in real time. Then, she has streamed live broadcasts on putting cover makeup to make herself look like popular celebrities based on her outstanding capabilities of quickly reacting to rapidly changing situations, applying makeup, and communicating with other people. Especially, her video on introducing cover makeup to resemble Sunmi, a famous Korean singer, kindled widespread fascination and accelerated her rise to fame (Lee et al., 2020).
It is analyzed that ‘Korean Youtubers’ have gained global acclaim not just for momentary popularity but for their verified skills and expertise. Over an extended period, they have captivated audiences worldwide, expanding their influence based on Korean makeup methods, techniques, and sensibilities. Additionally, users on Youtube tend to imitate Korean Youtubers they subscribe to and identify themselves with these influencers. These processes have ripple effects on the spread of K-beauty contents across different cultural spheres in the world.
As such, the expansion and supply of K-beauty have been facilitated by not only mass media but also diversified media channels, such as social networking services (Lee, 2020).

4) Vegan beauty considering Earth and environment

Today’s consumers have altered their product purchase patterns and lifestyles based on their awareness of responsible consumption.
For example, prior to consuming products or services provided from the cosmetics industry, consumers thoroughly examine matters concerning animal welfare, the use of reusable packaging, the procurement of sustainable raw materials, the use of all natural materials, the clean and safe mixture of raw materials, and measures for effective water use.
The term ‘vegan’, which refers to a strict vegetarian, has evolved beyond its simple association with dietary choices. Embracing the trend of veganism, it has established itself as a lifestyle keyword in the beauty and fashion industries. As such, the range of consumers’ investigation in sustainability is not limited to products but extended to the image and perception of companies involved in product manufacturing. Thus, it is the time for beauty brands to actively showcase their progressive commitment to social responsibility to the public.
In recent days, cosmetics that do not use raw materials obtained from animals and have received a cruelty-free certification, which verifies that the target item, such as a cosmetic product or medicine, was developed without any animal tests, have emerged as a trend across the world. Moreover, the term vegan indicating a vegetarian is not simply related to the act of maintaining health through a vegetarian diet but used as a novel concept leading the popularity of vegan cosmetics. Beautifully decorated packaging for cosmetics is a clear example of excessive packaging, and specific ingredients contained in UV blocking skincare products cause the deformation and bleaching of coral reefs. Under these circumstances, companies in the beauty industry have recognized the urgent need for changes related to responsible consumption. Regarding these changes not as an option but as an imperative, they have released a variety of vegan products, ranging from skin care products to color makeup products.
Consequently, the beauty industry has undergone development based on various keywords including the invigoration of Youtube spurred by beauty creators, the significant contribution of beauty influencers, the online beauty market, online beauty education, beauty devices, eating collagen, inner beauty, detox, clean beauty, and growing popularity of cosmetics for men.

3. Influence of Korean idol bands serving as a messenger of ‘K-beauty’ on the cosmetics industry

Market Kurly launched its vertical commerce brand focusing on cosmetics, Beauty Kurly, in November 2022 and selected Jennie as a model for its new brand. Gaining popularity as Jennie’s cosmetics platform, ‘Beauty Kurly’ witnessed the cumulative number of buyers surpassing 3 million and the number of orders made exceeding 4 million only nine months after its opening.
The brand awareness of Kurly saw a rapid surge after Jennie, an iconic star, became the representative model for Beauty Kurly. In early December 2023, Kurly unveiled photos of Jennie, a member of Blankpink and its official model, for the F/W season. These photos feature Jennie wearing a white shirt and holding a box in purple, which is the representative color of Beauty Kurly. Her luxurious and sophisticated style along with calm and natural nude beige makeup showcased in these photos captured the attention of female consumers. It is expected that Kurly will derive considerable profit margins by integrating cosmetics into its existing fresh food distribution system, including its midnight delivery service.
Rom&nd, a Korean brand for color cosmetics, has generated significant profits by gaining widespread acclaim for its lip stain products in Japan. The Juicy Lasting Tint series from Rom&nd has received praise from Japanese cosmetic enthusiasts for its diverse color range, clear color development, and eye-catching containers. Rom&nd consistently ranks among the top sellers on Japanese beauty platforms Lips and @cosme each year. In 2022, Rom&nd's total revenue reached 85.3 billion won, with exports contributing to more than 60% of the total sales. The sales of Rom&nd in Japan during the second quarter in 2023 increased by 73% compared to that during the same quarter in the previous year (Seo, 2023).
The popularity of Korean cosmetics soars up around the globe encompassing close countries to South Korea, such as Japan and China, North America, and even Europe. Reasons for the enhanced position and awareness of K-beauty include excellent product effects compared to inexpensive price, increasing recognition of the Korean Wave and K-pop, strengthened online marketing based on Youtube and social media. On September 4, 2023, the Korea Customs Service announced that South Korea’s exports of lip makeup products, including lipsticks, from January to July in 2023 reached record-breaking 198 million dollars. The exports of lip makeup products in the US, Japan, and France from January to July in 2023 already exceeded those during the entire periods in the previous year. Since 2018 when the spread of the Korean Wave was extended to the world beyond certain fan groups, Korean cosmetics have been sold in over 100 countries each year. Furthermore, South Korea exported Korean cosmetics to 122 countries in 2022, recording the highest number of export destination countries for Korean cosmetics.
In 2023, it exported Korean cosmetics to 125 countries until July, breaking its record of the previous year. Hera, a Korean beauty brand, witnessed an increase in the sales of its representative Sensual Spicy Nude Balm series by 191% in 2023 compared to those during the same period in the previous year after selecting Jennie, a member of a globally popular K-pop girl group Black Pink, as its official model. With the burgeoning popularity of K-beauty, Korean cosmetic manufacturers have experienced buoyant growth. For instance, Kolmar Korea and COSMAX, South Korea’s leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs), achieved increased sales and profits during the second quarter in 2023. The entire sales and profits of both companies during the second quarter in 2023 surpassed those during the same period in previous years. Particularly, COSMAX’s sales of lipsticks from January to July in 2023 increased by 67% compared to those during the same period in the previous year. Regarding the escalating global popularity of K-beauty, a source from the cosmetics industry stated that “the Korean Wave has the greatest influence” on it, noting that “the awareness of Korean cosmetics has risen alongside growing interest in makeup techniques of Korean celebrities, affected by the rising popularity of K-culture encompassing K-pop, K-drama, and K-movie.” The source also mentioned, “Factors contributing to the increasing popularity of Korean cosmetics include cost-effectiveness, faster product launch compared to that conducted by brands from other countries, and marketing strategies based on Youtube and social media” (Kim & Lee, 2023).

V. Conclusions

The characteristics of social and cultural backgrounds in South Korea and other countries in the 2010s are as follows.
Makeup trends in the 2010s emphasized clean and moist skin textures to achieve young and energetic impressions. These trends were affected by the development of ICT, the supply of smart phones, the spread of K-beauty in South Korea and other countries influenced by the rising popularity of K-drama and K-pop, the development of HDTVs, and the emergence of Generations Z and Alpha. Particularly, natural and light makeup gained prominence as a mainstream makeup style in response to the introduction of HDTVs.
The characteristics of social and cultural backgrounds in South Korea and other countries in the 2020s are as follows.
The influence of beauty influencers on Youtube has surged due to the advent of the contactless era caused by the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the development of online media, and a shift to the era of social media. Under these circumstances, beauty influencers have brought significant impacts on makeup trends and markets related to the sales of cosmetics. Moreover, women of Generation MZ, who are sensitive to makeup trends and serve as the main consumer group, exhibit active cosmetic consumption patterns. Makeup trends in the 2020s are embodied by one point makeup accentuating eyes and eyelines, which was widely spread during the COVID-19 pandemic, and girl group makeup. These makeup trends align with demands for self-expression, communication, and empathy based on makeup for taking profile photos to be uploaded on social media platforms, especially Instagram. They also reflect the emotions of Generation MZ seeking unique differentiation through different experiences from those of others. Furthermore, natural glow makeup, which is similar to makeup trends in the 2010s but still different from them, have grown in popularity.
In 2019, natural skin expression considering colors and textures established itself as a makeup trend. In accordance with this expression, models showcased cleaner and smoother skin tones through makeup during the the S/S collections in 2020. The makeup trends in the 2020s naturally cover or enhance skin problems while attaining sophisticated and thin skin textures. These makeup styles maintain the original lines and tones of the face, ears, eyes, mouth, and nose at the maximum. In this regard, they can be referred to as newtro makeup styles reinterpreting glossy glow and water-like glow makeup styles, which were widely spread after the mid- and late 2000s, from a modern perspective while maintaining their original characteristics to a certain extent.
Furthermore, factors affecting makeup trends and the cosmetics industry include the emergence and development of media, shifts in the perception and consumption preferences of the main consumer group, various cultural phenomena, diseases, and beauty influencers and creators. This study concludes that makeup trends result from the acceptance of the main consumer group in response to rapid social development, various social phenomena, and media changes. However, it acknowledges limitations, such as the inability to comprehensively explore various socio-cultural backgrounds and its nature oriented to literature research rather than empirical data analysis.
Furthermore, follow-up research should be conducted to review changes in the trends of makeup styles and the cosmetics industry based on various socio-cultural backgrounds after 2023 and to empirically analyze consumers’ behaviors related to purchasing cosmetics and putting makeup.

Table 1.
2010s Trend Makeup
Table 2.
2020s Trend Makeup


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