K-Beauty Trends from 2020 GLOWPICK Awards

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Renowned Korean beauty review site GLOWPICK just announced its consumer beauty awards for 2020. This year’s awards honored 510 products across 170 categories, including 50 products in the rookie category. Results were based on 608,267 reviews on 114,050 products, written by 40,708 registered GLOWPICK users from November 16, 2019, to November 15, 2020.

During the selection, GLOWPICK underwent a four-step screening process which involved removing spam, advertisements, and inappropriate and sponsored reviews. The site also conducted evaluations internally to ensure the results are fair and unbiased. GLOWPICK released ten trends of the year based on its findings. Let’s see what the report revealed!

For the full list of winners for 2020, please visit GLOWPICK’s website (Korean only).


Trends by GLOWPICK

One of our biggest concerns this year is maskne – acne caused by wearing face masks for a long period of time. As a result, beauty brands launched a large number of topical treatments targeting the chin area as well as soothing skin care products. Consumers gravitated towards clean beauty, a term to describe products focused on minimal, non-harmful formulations. They also turned to beauty supplements to boost skin health from within. Meanwhile, there’s an increasing demand for CC and tone-up creams to achieve a no-makeup look. Smudge-proof makeup products that stay put under the mask, as well as luxurious beauty goods that help spice up life during lockdown, have also gained popularity.

1. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented black tea commonly consumed in Korea for its health benefits. Like green tea, it boasts detox, anti-aging, hydrating and brightening properties. The fermentation process increases its nutritional value and makes it easier to be absorbed by skin. Kombucha skin care products usually contain both the yeast and the ferment.

Best: T’else – Kombucha Teatox Essence

2. Retinol

Retinol is the best remedy for bumpy and aging skin. As a source of Vitamin A (another is beta-carotene which can be found in carrot oil), this powerful ingredient helps improve fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen production. It also prevents the formation of acne and blackheads, tightens pores, smooths skin and evens out discoloration by unclogging pores and speeding up cell turnover. Like Vitamin C, it increases skin’s photosensitivity and has to be used with sunscreen.

Best: IOPE – Retinol Expert 0.1%

3. Biome

Biome refers to the ecosystem of microorganisms co-existing on the skin. The biome skin care approach suggests that not all germs are bad. Biome skin care products maintain skin’s biome and hence strengthen its defense against external aggressors by keeping the bad bacteria in check and protecting the good bacteria. These products usually contain a combination of probiotics.

Best: Dr. Jart+ – Vital Hydra Solution Biome Essence

4. Probiotics

Probiotics are a mix of good bacteria and yeast that keep you healthy. Common probiotics found in beauty products include bifida ferment lysate in Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair and MISSHA’s Time Revolution Night Repair Probio Ampoule to promote skin’s self-repair capabilities, galactomyces ferment filtrate in SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence and Secret Key’s Starting Treatment Essence to clarify skin, and lactobacillus in NEOGEN’s Probiotics line to lift skin.

Best: ILLIYOON – Probiotics Skin Barrier Essence Drop

5. Trouble Care

To tackle maskne, we turn to topical treatments such as centella, hydrocolloid spot patches, retinol, tea tree oil, salicylic acid and calamine. A rising trend is microneedle patches which inject ingredients into skin via soluble microneedles.

Best: Papa Recipe – Madecare Ointment



6. Soothing Care

Propolis, centella, heartleaf, mugwort, azulene and noni are just some of the naturally derived soothing ingredients that have become even more popular because of maskne. People also prefer gentle formulations with a slightly acidic pH similar to that of skin. Bonus points if anti-dust and anti-pollution benefits are included!

Best: BOTANIC HEAL boH – Derma Intensive Cica Panthenol Blemish Cream

7. Mask-Proof

“Mask-proof” emerged as a new term to describe makeup that withstands rubbing against face masks as well as the moisture and sebum trapped in them. Primers, powders and fixers that help prolong makeup are in high demand. Eye makeup takes center stage, complemented by long-wearing cream blushes and watery lip tints.

Best: Make Up For Ever – Matte Velvet Skin Blurring Powder Foundation

8. Foundation-Free

Full makeup may not be necessary for Zoom meetings, but we still want to look proper and healthy. BB, CC, tone-up and color-correcting creams are the laziest ways to improve complexion without having to put on foundation.

Best: BANILA CO – It Radiant CC Cover Cream SPF30 PA++



9. Small Luxury

Consumers have used part of their vacation budget for hygiene products from drugstores and small luxury goods from high-end brands. Whether as gifts or for self-use, these tiny delights provide a little comfort in times of adversity.

Best: Dior – Miss Dior Hair Mist


10. Clean Beauty

Clean beauty prioritizes safety. As consumers are getting more and more conscious of the potential hazards of unknown ingredients, transparency in formulations, manufacturing processes and use of safe and minimal ingredients become key factors in choosing beauty products.

Best: ONE THING – Houttuynia Cordata Extract


And The Awards Go To…

Cleansing & Exfoliating

1. Cleansing Oil: Manyo – Pure Cleansing Oil
2. Cleansing Balm: BANILA CO – Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original
3. Cleansing Foam: make p:rem – Safe Me. Relief Moisture Cleansing Foam
4. Powder Wash: Isntree – Spot Saver Mugwort Powder Wash
5. Cleansing Gel: HYGGEE – pH Hyaluron Gel Cleanser
6. Scrub: SKINFOOD – Black Sugar Perfect Essential Scrub 2X
7. Peeling Pad: celimax – JIWOOGAE Heartleaf BHA Peeling Pad

Skin Care

1. Toner: COSRX – Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner
2. Toner Pad: DERMATORY – Hypoallergenic Cica Rescue Gauze Pad
3. Essence / Serum: Torriden – DIVE-IN Low Molecule Hyaluronic Acid Serum
4. Cream: MISSHA – Super Aqua Ultra Hyalron Cream
5. Face Oil: TIRTIR – Organic Jojoba Oil
6. Sheet Mask: Mediheal – Tea Tree Care Solution Essential Mask EX
7. Sleeping Mask: HANYUL – Yuja Sleeping Mask
8. Nose Pack: CNP Laboratory – Anti-Pore Black Head Clear Kit

Face Makeup

1. Base / Primer: Etude House – Glow On Oil Volume Base
2. Cushion Foundation: HERA – Black Cushion SPF34 PA++
3. BB Cream: MISSHA – M Perfect Blanc BB
4. Concealer: WAKEMAKE – Defining Cover Concealer
5. Finishing Powder: innisfree – No Sebum Mineral Powder
6. Shading: too cool for school – Art Class By Rodin Shading
7. Highlighter: CLIO – Prism Air Highlighter
8. Sponge / Puff: MISSHA – Tension Pact Puff Fitting Type

Brow & Eye Makeup

1. Brow Pencil: CLIO – Kill Brow Auto Hard Brow Pencil
2. Brow Powder: ARITAUM – Idol Brow Powder Cake
3. Browcara: ISEHAN – Kiss Me Heavy Rotation Coloring Eyebrow
4. Eye Primer: MISSHA – Color Fix Eye Primer
5. Eye Palette: romand – Better Than Eyes
6. Gel Eyeliner: lilybyred – Starry Eyes Am9 To Pm9 Gel Eye Liner
7. Pencil Eyeliner: CLIO – Sharp, So Simple Waterproof Pencil Liner
8. Liquid Eyeliner: ISEHAN – Kiss Me Heroine Make Smooth Liquid Eyeliner
9. Mascara: CLIO – Kill Lash Superproof Mascara #01 Long Curling
10. Lash Curler: Shiseido – Eyelash Curler

Lip Makeup

1. Lip Care: LANEIGE – Lip Sleeping Mask
2. Lipstick: MAC – Lipstick
3. Lip Tint / Lacquer: romand – Juicy Lasting Tint
4. Lip Crayon: Mamonde – Creamy Tint Color Balm Intense
5. Lip Gloss: romand – Glasting Water Gloss

Sun Care

1. Sunscreen: A.H.C – Natural Perfection Pro Shield Sun Perfector SPF50+ PA++++
2. Sun Stick: BRINGGREEN – Vitamin Silky Sun Stick SPF50+ PA++++
3. Sun Base: HOLIKA HOLIKA – Make Up Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++
4. After Sun Care: AROMATICA – Organic Aloe Vera Gel

Bath & Body Care

1. Body Wash: BEYOND – Total Recovery Shower Cream
2. Body Lotion / Cream: ILLIYOON – Ceramide Ato Lotion
3. Body Balm: Vaseline – Petroleum Jelly Original
4. Body Mist: BODY HOLIC – Hair & Body Mist (White Potion)
5. Hand Wash: LION – Kireikirei Foam Hand Soap

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