K-Beauty Trends from GLOWPICK 2019 Consumer Beauty Awards

The YesStyle Beauty Lab

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Although 2020 is well underway, it doesn’t hurt to learn from 2019! If you’re into Korean beauty, you’ve probably heard of GLOWPICK – just like @cosme from Japan, it’s a Korean beauty review site where local consumers rate beauty products. The results of GLOWPICK’s 2019 Consumer Beauty Awards are out, and I’d like to share some of the major trends and awards with you.

For the full list, please visit GLOWPICK’s website (Korean only).


“Trends by GLOWPICK” features the top ten trends of the year selected by GLOWPICK based on the site’s best-rated products. Plump, glossy lips and glittery makeup were in trend, be it in Korea or globally. In terms of skin care, rising concerns over the effects of pollution on skin prompted a move towards soothing ingredients. Products containing houttuynia cordata, mugwort, centella and panthenol, as well as weakly acidic and hypoallergenic products, were well-received. Concentrated products such as ampoules and capsule essences that can be used in small amounts were also popular, especially those starring hyaluronic acid.

1. Plump Lips

Botox? Well, volumizing your lips can be much easier and less pricy. Lip products claiming to plump up lips grew in popularity. Volufiline, for one, is an ingredient often used for instant lip-plumping effect.

Best: Dior Addict – Lacquer Plump

2. Glitter

From eye, face and body glitter to shimmery mists, there’s no doubt that glitter was one of the biggest crazes in 2019. Glittery eyes are best matched with glossy, full lips for an all-out seductive look.

Best: 3 CONCEPT EYES – Eye Switch | Rookie: innisfree – Twinkle Glitter (Hologram)

3. Capsule Essence

Single-dose capsules give you just the right amount of product so you won’t apply too much in one go. Petite packaging is not only cute and travel-friendly but also helps to keep the product potent and hygienic.

Best: WELLAGE – Real Hyaluronic Bio Capsule & Blue Solution

4. Ampoule

Ampoule is an essential step in the ten-step Korean skin care routine. Ampoules targeting different concerns are constantly being developed, and GLOWPICK chose COSRX’s Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule as 2019’s representative.

Best: COSRX – Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule | Rookie: celimax – The Real Noni Energy Ampule

5. Houttuynia Cordata

Probably lesser known than centella, houttuynia cordata is a traditional Korean medicinal herb boasting detox, astringent, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Best: all NATURAL – Organic Mask Sheet (Houttuynia Cordata) | Rookie: Goodal – Houttuynia Cordata Calming Essence

6. Mugwort

Also known as wormwood or artemisia, mugwort was definitely a beauty buzzword for 2019. Acknowledged for its soothing effect, the traditional Korean herb appeared in everything from cleansers and toners to essences, mask packs and creams.

Best: HANYUL – Pure Artemisia Fresh Calming Water | Rookie: BRING GREEN – Artemisia Calming Repair Cream

7. Panthenol

Still rising in popularity, panthenol helps to soothe and repair acne-prone skin. It also boasts anti-aging properties by plumping skin with moisture, improving elasticity and smoothing fine lines.

Best: boH – Derma Intensive Panthenol Cream

8. Hyaluronic Acid

Need I say more? When it comes to an instant boost of moisture, nothing beats hyaluronic acid, which can draw and hold 1,000 times its weight in water from the deeper layers of skin to the surface.

Best: blanc doux – Oligo Hyaluronic Acid 5000 Toner | Rookie: Isntree – Hyaluronic Acid Toner

9. Cica

Just like mugwort, cica (a.k.a. centella asiatica) is a K-Beauty super herb known for its soothing benefits. It got its nickname “tiger grass” from tigers that would roll in the plant to soothe their battle wounds.

Best: Dr.Jart+ – Cicapair Calming Mask | Rookie: Belif – Stress Shooter Cica Bomb Cream

10. Mildly Acidic / Low Irritation

Formulas of pH 5.5 have the highest affinity to skin’s acid mantle, making them less likely to irritate skin and easier to absorb.

Best: LAGOM – Cellup Micro Foam Cleanser | Rookie: BRING GREEN – Artemisia pH Balance Cleansing Foam


Skin Care

The most prominent keyword in skin care for 2019 was “soothing”! Products infused with bamboo, cica and mugwort help soothe sensitive skin and protect from environmental stressors like fine dust and smoke. Customers also looked for hypoallergenic cleansers for the same reason. Nourishing and energizing ingredients such as honey and vitamins took the lead for mask packs, and target-oriented mask packs seemed to attract more Korean consumers than daily sheet masks despite being pricier. For sun care, sun cream was still more popular than sun cushion or sun stick. Sun creams fortified with soothing ingredients like aloe, cica and hyaluronic acid were the most sought after.

1. Makeup Cleanser: BIOTURM Cleansing Milk
2. Facial Cleanser: Isntree – Spot Saver Mugwort Powder Wash
3. Toner: COSRX – Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner
4. Lotion/ Emulsion: Aestura – AtoBarrier 365 Lotion
5. Essence/ Serum: Logically, Skin – Aquatide Resurface Serum
6. Cream: IOPE – Super Vital Cream Rich
7. Mist: LANEIGE – Cream Skin Refiner Mist
8. Sheet Mask: STEAMBASE – Manuka Honey Propolis Perfect Shield Mask
9. Mask Pack: HANYUL – Moonlight Yuja Sleeping Mask
10. Sunscreen: Dear, Klairs – Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+ PA++++
11. Lip Care: YNM – Rainbow Honey Lip Balm
12. Body Lotion/ Cream: Derma: B – Daily Moisture Body Lotion


With the rise of nude makeup, products with an air-brushed, translucent finish were more coveted than ever. Consumers looked for base products that could make their skin glow and concealers that could provide flawless coverage. Matte lips were loved for the first half of the year before glossy lips took over. Tinted lip balms that enhance natural lip color while providing nourishment were also in vogue. Another trend for makeup was glittery eyes. Available in liquid, cream, stick and powder forms, glittery shadows won in almost all subcategories of eye shadow.

1. Base / Primer: Etude House – Glow On Oil Volume Base
2. Foundation: Estee Lauder – Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
3. Concealer: Benefit – Boi-ing Brightening Concealer
4. Finishing Powder: MAKE UP FOR EVER – Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder
5. Eyeliner: CLIO – Sharp, So Simple Waterproof Pencil Liner
6. Eyebrow: CLIO – Kill Brow Auto Hard Brow Pencil
7. Eyeshadow: colorgram:TOK – Milk Bling Shadow
8. Mascara: CLIO – Kill Lash Superproof Mascara Volume Curling
9. Blusher: 3 CONCEPT EYES – Mood Recipe Face Blush
10. Lipstick: hince – Mood Enhancer Matte
11. Lip Tint/ Lacquer: BLACK ROUGE – Air Fit Velvet Tint SEASON 2
12. Sponge/ Puff: eSpoir – Skinny Fix Blender

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