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AmorePacific pushes for tailored cushion tech

South Korea’s largest cosmetics maker AmorePacific, which has upped its presence in the skin care arena with its patented cushion technology, is ramping up R&D efforts with tailored products to target overseas markets. 

Cushion technology-applied compact products from AmorePacific’s in-house brands including, Laneige, Sulwhasoo and Mamonde (AmorePacific)
Cushion technology-applied compact products from AmorePacific’s in-house brands including, Laneige, Sulwhasoo and Mamonde (AmorePacific)

“AmorePacific created the world’s first multifunctional cushion-type cosmetics. It has been strengthening the quality and function of the technology for the past eight years to meet customer demands for a more diversified range,” Choi Kyung-ho, senior vice president of Cushion Laboratory, AmorePacific R&D Center told The Korea Herald.

Choi first invented the firm’s most successful innovation “Cushion” in 2008. It combines antiaging moisturizer, sunblock, and foundation inside a portable compact with an applicator.

“We established Asian Beauty Laboratory within the R&D Center to focus on extensive research into different skin types and colors of customers throughout the Asia-Pacific region to reflect it in our products,” he said.

For China, the Gyeonggi Province-based lab broke down the country into four regions to study consumer needs in a bid to succeed in the fast-growing market. The researchers also analyzed climate and environment -- based on the annual range of temperature and precipitation –- in 15 major Asian cities.

Thanks to the extensive R&D efforts, AmorePacific sold more than 26 million units of cushion-type products in 2014, accounting for more than 10 percent of the cosmetic maker’s total sales.

Following growing demand from Korean consumers for a more convenient way to apply sunblock at daytime, Choi started research on an easy-to-use portable compact in mid-2000. 

Choi Kyung-ho, senior vice president of Cushion Laboratory, AmorePacific R&D Center
Choi Kyung-ho, senior vice president of Cushion Laboratory, AmorePacific R&D Center

“I was inspired by the stamp pad used at parking lots. The sponge is saturated yet the ink doesn’t leak and the stamp is evenly printed on tickets,” he said.

After going through thousands of trial and errors, his team found that urethane foam with more than 800,000 pores was the most suitable material to stabilize cosmetic ingredients.

Now, the cosmetic maker’s 13 in-house brands sell makeup compacts, which applied the cushion technology with different ingredients and benefits such as Laneige BB Cushion and Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion.

After the cushion-type product become a runaway hit, other makeup brands started to churn out copycat items.

“Since IOPE Air Cushion compact was unveiled in 2008, other firms launched similar products but our viscosity of content, coverage and the sponge’s material gives us a competitive edge,” he said, adding that the IOPE compact alone recorded accumulated sales of more than 200 million units as of January this year.

AmorePacific has applied for 143 cushion-tech related patents and currently holds 14 patents registered both at home and abroad.

In June, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Christian Dior to transfer its technology to the cosmetics line of the French fashion house.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)

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