Retailers in the UAE are experiencing a significant surge in the sales of Korean beauty products lately. This trend coincides with the widespread popularity of South Korean dramas, films, and music, which has also elevated the status of the country's skincare products to cult-like levels.

"We've noticed a substantial rise in the demand for Korean beauty products, both internationally and within the UAE," stated Shiraz Khan, Chief Operating Officer of Aster Retail GCC. "Through our myAster app, we've recorded a remarkable 60 percent growth in sales of Korean beauty products quarter-on-quarter. Skin care and sun protection products are the most popular, accounting for 61 percent and 38 percent of our sales, respectively."

Other retailers have also reported a significant increase in demand. "Korean skincare has become a must-have in the global beauty industry, and the Middle East is no exception," commented Jonathan Watts, General Manager of AS Watsons. "At Watsons, we've seen a dramatic increase in sales this year, with double the revenue compared to 2023."

E-commerce platform Noon has taken various measures to meet this growing demand. "K-Beauty is seeing immense customer interest at Noon, especially in skincare and makeup," noted Ritika Jain, Head of Beauty at Noon. "To cater to this interest, Noon has collaborated with both local and Korean sellers to provide authentic K-Beauty products at highly competitive prices, with fast delivery."

Experts attribute the rising popularity of Korean beauty products to several factors. "Consumers appreciate the emphasis on skincare in Korean beauty, along with the unique and effective ingredients used in their products," explained Jonathan Watts. "Ingredients like heartleaf, rice, and snail essence, though unconventional, are both effective and gentle on the skin."

He also highlighted other factors contributing to the popularity of Korean skincare among younger generations. "Most K-Beauty brands are cruelty-free, aligning with the increasing consumer preference for ethically sourced products," he said. "The influence of TikTok trends and the surge in Korean pop culture are also major contributors to the K-Beauty phenomenon."

Shiraz Khan pointed out that the unique formulations of the products also drive their popularity. "The innovative formulations, high efficacy, and the cultural wave driven by K-beauty trends through social media and influencers are all factors," he said. "Korean beauty products are known for their advanced skincare technologies and natural ingredients, appealing to a broad demographic seeking effective and gentle skincare solutions."

The 'glass skin' trend among Koreans is one of the most sought-after, according to Jonathan. "It involves a meticulous skincare routine focused on hydration, exfoliation, and nourishment—areas where Korean beauty brands excel," he said. "Products like serums, sheet masks, and eye masks with hydrating ingredients are crucial for achieving the glass skin look."

Other popular Korean trends include double cleansing and the 'skinification' of makeup. "Double cleansing involves using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser for deeply clean skin," explained Ritika Jain. "The 'dewy' look is currently one of the hottest trends, emphasizing glossy lips that appear fuller and plumper."

The demand for Korean beauty products is expected to remain strong in the near future. "We foresee this trend continuing as consumers become more aware of the benefits of Korean beauty products," said Shiraz. "Their popularity is a testament to their quality and effectiveness in addressing various skincare needs."

Jonathan concurred, stating, "K-beauty is here to stay and will likely become an integral part of everyone's beauty routine in the future. Watsons currently carries over 30 Korean beauty brands and plans to introduce another 10 this year."