We are always being told about the latest hot new trend in skincare and whether it’s the 18 step regime or snail goo it sometimes seems like all great new things in skin care must come from South Korea.
Whisper quietly the latest Korean trend then which apparently is all about hisn’her matching skincare.
A correspondent friend of mine (as in a writing one, not someone cited in a divorce case) tells me what we probably all know since those far off days when Sun Myung Moon conducted mass weddings in stadiums—that Koreans do relationships to the rest of the world. For South Koreans, being in a relationship isn’t situational. It’s all-consuming. Couples’ lives completely revolve around each other.
There are 12 special milestones that must be celebrated, from the first 100 days of one’s relationship, Valentine’s Day (where the girl gives the guy gifts), White Day (where the guy gives the girl the gift), photo day, and wine day as well as secret two-way messaging apps for couples only.
Korean couples intertwine their lives completely which means that husband and wife girlfriend/boyfriend matching woolie-pullies are not a a thing of ridicule but an outward symbol of a much-to-be-admired loving relationship.
So taking this through to the next step is an entirely logical development and it is a trend that has been going on for decades. The idea is simple enough: To feel more connected to your lover, you wear out clothing that is matchy-matchy, from shoes, socks to your shirt and trousers.
So the latest Korean trend is purchasing makeup and skincare that works for both partners. It shows you care but it also has a practical element to it, warding off any potential rivals who will get the hint that the girl or guy you’re standing next to is definitely taken.
In a country where men are completely obsessed with skincare and appearance, where over 70% of military men have a sophisticated grooming regimen, and where most men have over 13 beauty products they use monthly, the trend shouls come as no surprise. Applying sunscreen, mists and hydrating tinted moisturizers is just part of being hygienic; Korean men don’t see self care or beauty products as necessarily a masculine or a feminine practice.
Powered by commercial interests it all reached fever pitch during White Day this past March 14, where brands were touting “self-gifting.” The premise is simple: Buy a gift for your girlfriend, and be able to use the products for yourself!
Brands like The Body Shop launched in-store campaigns to sell their “No-Filter cushion” compacts. “The No-Filter Cushion is a product that’s great for using as a couple,” the signage reads. For only 29,000 Won (~$22 USD), getting that matching glow like the girl or guy you’re infatuated with, seems like a steal.
Others have been more innovative. April Skin introduced products that promote sensuality as their couple’s “Lip Treatments” come in a set of two, one is strawberry flavored and the other, milk. While the flavors stand on their own, consumers can only really get the full flavor, strawberry milk, when they mix it together. So you’ll need to taste someone’s lips to get the real strawberry milk taste. “You can get a more romantic experience with your significant other by wanting to kiss each other’s lips even more,” the brand touts.
Then, there are unisex skincare brands that have bubbled up in the past few years to cater to this couple’s trend. Brands like +Dr C are touting their brands for men and women to use in their own bathrooms. The brand believes that skincare is completely sensual, especially when you’re using the same product together. The skincare brand says that the brand not only is paraben and silicone-free, but includes ingredients that are great for any skin type.
Whether it’s makeup, skin care, or something gimmicky, couple’s skincare actually makes sense. Skincare is a very intimate experience. And applying skincare to another person, means you’re not only bonding with one another, but doing so in a sensual manner. Think baby oil, one of the few skincare products which seems to be bought by western men.
Will the trend catch on in the west? Well anything is possible…