Hand cream for the Korean market....What do they expect?

GraillotionGraillotion Member
edited April 28 in Formulating
I have been asked by prospective vendors to produce a hand cream for the Korean (Asian) market, to round out a portfolio of hand/body lotion, and day and night face creams.  The vendors are marketers....not skin care professionals, so they have given no input for the product, other than volume and packaging.

As someone who did not use any of these products a year or two ago...when someone says hand cream....I don't even really know what that means.  I can formulate creams, so I know the bones.

The premise of the brand is... Made in Hawaii, with a propensity towards natural ingredients.  Meaning it will have some natural oils...and possibly natural butters.

So is a hand cream.... low barrier...high barrier?

Above average, average, or below average humectants?

I assume a hand cream does not leave a residual oily feeling, as one would not want to leave residue on paperwork....car steering wheel...etc.

Therefore super lite oils at a low level?  Guessing lack of oils is accommodated with strong barrier and humectants?

Fragrance a little higher than face creams?

Any input will be helpful.  The product will sell the first time, based on novelty and origin...however I am a perfectionist, and never create anything to a minimum standard.  They will buy it a second time...because they loved it.


Comments

  • RedCoastRedCoast Member
    edited April 28
    Koreans are hugely concerned about these 3 things:
    1. Pollution
    2. UV-induced aging and hyperpigmentation
    3. Irritated, dry, sensitive skin
    They really like multipurpose formulations... SPF + anti-irritant + brightening products. But they also can't stay away from exfoliation. They will use physical scrubs everywhere... yes, even on their hands! (Usually 1-2 times a week, though.) They will also consistently use chemical exfoliants... is it any wonder they complain about sensitive skin? ;)
    "Cica creams" (Centella Asiatica Extract or the highly-purified Madecassoside) are hugely popular, but they also like licorice root extract (and purified derivatives) and allantoin. Niacinamide and ceramides are often found in those cica/anti-irritant/"recovery" creams as well. 
    To Koreans, skin types are a huge deal... yes, even for hands. So, expect to formulate at least two hand creams... a heavier hand cream for the winter and a lighter one for summer. They also like hand masks!
    Your assumption is right for natural ingredients... they gravitate towards "natural" like bees to honey... and they don't like parabens.
    I think they'd tolerate a heavier, greasier hand cream, especially if they lived in the colder/mountainous regions of South Korea... I was surprised to learn their winters are just as cold where I live! But it's a great idea to formulate it (if possible) without an oily residue.
    They do like fragrance and essential oils... I've seen geranium essential oil in their products, but not necessarily in hand creams.
    Are you going to use oils or butters sourced from Hawaii?
    BTW, a good hand cream is something that's moisturizing (that lasts through handwashing), but doesn't leave a greasy or sticky feeling. Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream is a fantastic example... and it's hugely popular among cashiers, janitors, and nurses aides, etc. who constantly use their hands and clean a lot.
    Also... almost forgot to add...Koreans like novel and interesting textures/emollients. I see it mostly in facial cleansers, but this gives you some leeway with hand creams.
    Be aware the Korean market is fiercely competitive... it would be a good idea to have great packaging, if you can. It's good that you are a perfectionist, because this will be a time-consuming project.
    Good luck! If you have any more questions for me, I'm all ears!
  • Thank you @RedCoast ;
    I think I can hit the first 3 bullets...with just my standard protocols...hehehe...#2 will be a bit of a stretch...but I have raspberry seed oil in my arsenal :)
    Yeah....weather is just like the Midwest....oddly I grew up in Korea...then moved to Kansas....both on the 38th parallel.
    My Korean wife has many premium geranium scented products....which is not really a favorite of mine...tolerable...yes....awesome....hmmmn.

    In my lotion...I use both Kukui and especially Mac nut.  Mac Nut is my lead oil in lotions (I get an amazing version of it from FloraTech.)  I love what that lotion does for my hands....but it does take a couple of minutes to fully absorb...so I think I will have to reduce it and any other Omega 9's to make this a quick absorber like my face creams.  Maybe just claim levels.

    I absolutely just love what the Danish refined Illipe butter does with hands.  Never felt anything like it....so I know that will be in there.

    I also keep tamanu up my sleeve...but only use that in medicinal formulas.

    So typically my go to oils are rosehip, raspberry, babassu, meadowfoam and black currant (for the GLA's)....and in this case...I think camellia and daikon will probably be a plus.

    As far as the Korean Market....I have not chased that....it chases me!  Something about the wife being a world famous Korean artist...I think. :)  We have sent a few samples to her friends, which of course are influencers....and the rest is history.  I have been very reluctant to enter that arena...but they are incredibly persistent. 

    The funny thing is.....those creams resulted from her buying $250-350 creams....and me looking at the labels...and feeling the textures....and saying.... I can do better than this. :)  So I have used Guerlain and La Mer as my benchmarks from the beginning.  Like I said....I did not use these products...so I just thought those were good starting points.  :) 
  • Personally for my hand cream  I use the following ingredients...

    Olivoil Avenate
    Heliogel
    Cetyl Alcohol
    Hyaulonic Acid powder
    Urea
    Panthenol
    Cupuacu Butter
    Avocado oil
    Buritti oil
    Sunflower seed oil
    StJohns Wort oil
    Calendula oil
    Gosulin IL
    Spectrastat
    Glycerine
    Oat Mother extract
    Chamomille extract glycolic
    Chamomille extract ethanolic
    Chamollile fragrance

    And a couple highend glycolic extracts

    I formulate with expensive ingredients only as I look for fast results and do not take into account the final cost of the formula as my product is second to none regarding aspect texture skin feel hydration and result of usage.

    It deeply hydrates the skin, restoring the skin barrier and reinforcing it making the skin more elastic, moreover it is not sticky at all, sure it will wear off if the user washes the hands however with daily application twice the hands are in optimal shape within 2-3 days of use. Currently I produce it in batches of 2kg per batch and it sells for $7/50ml.  It can also be used as a face moisturiser (without the perfume). It also has been used as a skin rush medication on diaper change on babies with optimal results since 1st application despite the fact it does not include any zinc oxide at all. 

  • For benchmark testing, mainly skin feel I have used the hand cream of Shiseido that sells for around $75/75ml. 
  • RedCoastRedCoast Member
    edited April 28
    Geranium EO is rarely used by itself, or at least the predominant note... it's often combined with other rose EOs or other citruses, mints, or woods. It's a common "blender" EO, much like how jasmine EO is. I often see geranium + lemon EO in Korean beauty products!
    Do you think you'll add 1-5% silicones, especially cyclomethicone? You might want to try ethyl macadamiate... it would work with a "macadamia oil" theme.
    Can you get jojoba esters yet? You can find jojoba esters 15, 30 and 60 in more repackers now. I was surprised how much I liked jojoba esters 60--it didn't feel oily. The Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream does have jojoba esters in it, and the olive oil Innisfree hand cream has it, too.
    I think it's a good idea to have the Gold Bond hand cream I just mentioned as another good reference product... it's on the "drier" side, and it will give you more ideas how some people like their hand creams.
    Are you considering adding hydroxyethyl urea? Or are you going to use glycerin or a plant-based glycol?
    Uh-oh... you nail down this formulation, you'll have customers trying to barge through your door... are you sure you'll be ready for that? ;)
  • PattsiPattsi Member
    Ask your vendors who're their targeted consumers and what they like/want, It will save you a lot of time in R&D.

    Maybe let's go for Anti-aging hand cream for 아줌마.
    The youngers tend to use what their idols use so it might be harder to keep up with them, or if you can make 4 different scents/functions that will do.

    for some ref.



  • RedCoast said:
    Geranium EO is rarely used by itself, or at least the predominant note... it's often combined with other rose EOs or other citruses, mints, or woods. It's a common "blender" EO, much like how jasmine EO is. I often see geranium + lemon EO in Korean beauty products!
    Do you think you'll add 1-5% silicones, especially cyclomethicone? You might want to try ethyl macadamiate... it would work with a "macadamia oil" theme.
    Can you get jojoba esters yet? You can find jojoba esters 15, 30 and 60 in more repackers now. I was surprised how much I liked jojoba esters 60--it didn't feel oily. The Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream does have jojoba esters in it, and the olive oil Innisfree hand cream has it, too.
    I think it's a good idea to have the Gold Bond hand cream I just mentioned as another good reference product... it's on the "drier" side, and it will give you more ideas how some people like their hand creams.
    Are you considering adding hydroxyethyl urea? Or are you going to use glycerin or a plant-based glycol?
    Uh-oh... you nail down this formulation, you'll have customers trying to barge through your door... are you sure you'll be ready for that? ;)
    When I smell the Geranium products around the house...I just smell the geranium....but then again...I was not looking for those other notes.  I'll have to play with the collection....before the new group arrives from Canada!

    I have a small bottle of ethyl mac...and wanted to desperately use it.  However, I typically research availability before I work with an ingredient too much....and in Hawaii...sometimes availability means....MUST be able to ship via USPS!!!  FedEx and UPS charge $54 for the first ounce!!!!  So if a vendor only uses those shippers....I can not use them as a vendor.  Noble roots was the only place I had found Ethyl Mac (a FloraTech product), and they were phasing out small pak....so I stopped making test formulas with it....but yes...I would have loved it for the theme.
    Usually I use a small amount of dimethicone, half percent or less...and about 1% of cyclomethicone.  Somehow Polymethylsilsesquioxane always wanders into my creams as well.  This of course is supplemented with about 10% blend of my super emollients....in the back of my mind... I will pair EHP with IL for an hand cream....as I feel like EHP has some softening aspects.  Typically I would start this type formula with 60% IL and 40% EHP as a ratio...and finish it with lauryl laurate.
    As far as Jojoba esters...you have heard me mentions FloraTech...so yes...I use lots of K-20W....I call it my secret weapon....it is in everything I make.  I have not tried their other J. esters (other than the mac)...was wondering if they would really add anything since I was already using large amounts of K-20W?  It also gives me some wash-off protection.
    My humectant protocol is pretty set...a little glycerin...natural betaine, propanediol + a glycol brew oriented more towards hurdles.  I really like the feel that pentylene G gives....it really accentuates the fast break 'whoosh' I love to put into my products.
  • NOT a fan of extracts....but if I was looking for a 'Top 5' list popular in Asia....what would they be?

    I know a couple have been mentioned....what else?

    Just thinking 'claim' amount.

    Put a little '*' next to the one's on your list....that you think might have the remotest amount of functional value. :)  (Said tongue in cheek!)

  • RedCoastRedCoast Member
    edited April 28
    @Graillotion Geranium is a very green, fresh rose! Some geranium EOs, depending on where they're sourced, smell more like lemon or mint! It's actually a very flexible EO, and you can play up certain notes if you want!
    Uuuugh... the shipping is so brutal for you! Maybe you should come back to the mainland! ;)
    Jojoba esters are supposed to be silicone and petroleum alternatives... I think the emolliency works well enough, but WOW are they expensive. Depending on your target market (some Koreans can be picky on "natural" emollients), the cost could be worth it. It wouldn't hurt to compare/contrast with an jojoba ester-based hand cream versus your go-to blend. That is, of course, assuming you can get it via USPS.
    Hmm... top 5 in Asia...
    Koreans really adore their extracts, and some are more prevalent in certain products than others. Interestingly, hand creams are more varied with their extracts... it's more of a focus on "natural oils". But if I had to pick 5 (not quite in this order, though), it would be this:
    1. Birch oil/leaf/juice (this is essentially their version of witch hazel!)
    2. Licorice root extracts/derivatives*
    3. Centella Asiatica extracts*
    4. Fermented oils and extracts... from what I see, they're not that picky what it is as long as it's fermented
    5. Propolis
    Other ingredients that often appear: extracts from flowers (orchid, Jeju blossom, etc), camellia, green tea, ginseng, mushrooms, especially shiunko.
    I don't like extracts, either! It's because of multiple reasons... one of them being I'm allergic to a few of them, and I don't even have "sensitive" skin! 
    P.S. I love betaine! I wish it was more common in repackers... sometimes, I don't like having a zillion different suppliers. :p
  • RedCoast said:

    P.S. I love betaine! I wish it was more common in repackers... sometimes, I don't like having a zillion different suppliers. :p
    I finally talked FSS to carry it.... They have it.... If you can .... support them/it....so it doesn't go away.

    Thank you for your input.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    RedCoast said:
    ...I think it's a good idea to have the Gold Bond hand cream I just mentioned as another good reference product... it's on the "drier" side, and it will give you more ideas how some people like their hand creams...
    This one contains cationic surfactants which are said to be drier than anionics and non-ionics. If you're looking for some diversity of benchmarks, such a product would greatly enlarge your basis and give you new ideas and inputs.
  • RedCoastRedCoast Member
    edited April 29

    Pharma said:
    RedCoast said:
    ...I think it's a good idea to have the Gold Bond hand cream I just mentioned as another good reference product... it's on the "drier" side, and it will give you more ideas how some people like their hand creams...
    This one contains cationic surfactants which are said to be drier than anionics and non-ionics. If you're looking for some diversity of benchmarks, such a product would greatly enlarge your basis and give you new ideas and inputs.
    Yes, I've also heard that cationic surfactants create drier-feeling lotions... and I agree. Every single commercial lotion I've used that had cationic surfactants felt much drier, even if it had petrolatum in it, which the Gold Bond hand cream (and a few of their other products) does.
    I've had that hand cream (and several of their other products) as references for a while now. I highly recommend that @Graillotion does the same. :)
  • RedCoast said:

    P.S. I love betaine! I wish it was more common in repackers... sometimes, I don't like having a zillion different suppliers. :p
    I finally talked FSS to carry it.... They have it.... If you can .... support them/it....so it doesn't go away.

    Thank you for your input.
    Yes, this is my intention! I'll also try talking them into carrying some of the other "special" ingredients that Drunk Elephant uses... several people I know have been looking for DE dupes!
  • RedCoast said:
    RedCoast said:

    P.S. I love betaine! I wish it was more common in repackers... sometimes, I don't like having a zillion different suppliers. :p
    I finally talked FSS to carry it.... They have it.... If you can .... support them/it....so it doesn't go away.

    Thank you for your input.
    Yes, this is my intention! I'll also try talking them into carrying some of the other "special" ingredients that Drunk Elephant uses... several people I know have been looking for DE dupes!
    Hehehe....what 'special' ingredients?  I sent them some of my cream...and they were impressed...and now even reach out to me...asking what they need to carry.  As long as it is not totally synthetic....they listen well, totally struck out...when I asked for Isononyl Isononanoate.

    I have Centella Asiatica extract on order per yours and Pharma's recomendation...and he also had the brilliant idea (but aren't they all) of adding Hawaii Noni (fermented) to the mix.... Talk about killing all the (claim) birds with one stone.

    I made a very nice prototype yesterday...but forgot to add the candelilla....so guess I have tomorrows work cut out.
  • Is it legal to use the words 'elegant' and 'wax' in the same sentence?

    Since I don't formulate with petrol products... I have been using candelilla and some other tricks to create barrier.

    I saw in another thread....someone mention: rice bran wax or myrica fruit wax.  Can anyone compare elegance, and slip....between these 3...and why one might offer an enhanced texture...while still providing a bump in barrier.

    I tend to use wax at a rate of .5 to .75%....depending on a lot of other factors, and testing.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Myrica fruit wax is not a wax, it's a fat which is called wax ;) . Not too much barrier there, it's also quite soft for a 'wax' and rather equals butters (because, chemically, it is a butter) though it's harder than most fats/butters. Use it instead of hydrogenated oils and not as a wax replacement.
    Rice bran wax: I've got some not too long ago and it seems nice, certainly something I'll keep in stock.
    Candelilla might still be the best because of the highest % in hydrocarbons = closest to petrolatum = least permeable for water vapour = theoretically, best TEWL reduction.
    Chemically, carnauba is very interesting but quite high melting and not necessarily the best & easiest in creams.
    As far as I know, other commercially available waxes which may be useful are bees wax and sunflower wax. Most other 'waxes' aren't truly waxes but fats/butters and/or don't offer anything special. Even sunflower wax is just an ordinary wax...
  • Hehehe....what 'special' ingredients?  I sent them some of my cream...and they were impressed...and now even reach out to me...asking what they need to carry.  As long as it is not totally synthetic....they listen well, totally struck out...when I asked for Isononyl Isononanoate.

    I have Centella Asiatica extract on order per yours and Pharma's recomendation...and he also had the brilliant idea (but aren't they all) of adding Hawaii Noni (fermented) to the mix.... Talk about killing all the (claim) birds with one stone.

    I made a very nice prototype yesterday...but forgot to add the candelilla....so guess I have tomorrows work cut out.

    Drunk Elephant has coconut alkanes in some of their products that I want to try. They have some emulsifiers that I can only get from UK repackers. I've been eyeing some of DE's claims ingredients as well, that I can only get from the UK. I think FSS should at least carry the coconut alkanes.
    Good idea with the fermented noni in there! I'm not sure if you are aware of the "Fermentoil" series, but I think it's worth checking it out. I haven't had any chance to formulate with it yet, because I only recently became aware of its existence. It would be worth checking it out, if only to give you more ideas. :)
    For rice bran wax vs candellia wax... I haven't done extensive experimentation yet, but rice bran wax has a slightly better skin feel, IMO. Of course, the emolliency would change upon the purification, supplier and growing location... some would have lower amounts of phospholipids than others, for example.
    Accidentally leaving out the candellia would benefit you, so you can compare/contrast the texture and emolliency. I've done it before and it worked well. :)
  • RedCoast said:

    Good idea with the fermented noni in there! I'm not sure if you are aware of the "Fermentoil" series, but I think it's worth checking it out. I haven't had any chance to formulate with it yet, because I only recently became aware of its existence. It would be worth checking it out, if only to give you more ideas. :)


    Accidentally leaving out the candellia would benefit you, so you can compare/contrast the texture and emolliency. I've done it before and it worked well. :)
    A cursory search...did not disclose a repacker for those Fermentoil products....do you know of any?

    More and more...Pharma is making me brew my own concoctions...so already have two formulas to create with Locally sourced Hawaiian Noni juice, as reductions.

    Well... if only I was so disciplined to only add back just the candellia.  I have way too many combos spinning in my head at the moment....so will add in the candellia...and tweak some alcohols....I may try and slip a little Softisan in there as well.  May even play with some 165.... in the emulsifier mix.

    I have had a running problem with the Montanov's not wanting to emulsify at combination temps.... they often will not emulsify until half way through cooling and stirring.  They like to emulsify....in the 40-50 C range????
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