Shihyo, meaning “the wisdom of time,” is L’Oréal Group’s newest K-beauty brand launched out of South Korea, East Asia’s beauty and skincare mecca. The launch takes place nearly a week after L’Oréal’s first North Asia Industry Innovation Summit at the China International Import Expo, where the beauty conglomerate cited it would target the “unique ecosystem of the ‘beauty triangle’ of C-beauty, J-beauty and K-beauty” across East Asia.
The new brand is inspired and informed by East Asian solar terms, otherwise known as the traditional harvest “calendar” consisting of 24 harvest elements including grain, heat, cold dew and other components. The brand’s collection comprises 24 herbal constituents steeped in fermented rice and other Asian innovated processes.
The cosmetics giant debuted the beauty brand via Loshian, its first-ever third-party joint venture created through a partnership with South Korean hospitality chain Shilla Hotel and Korean equity firm Anchor Equity Capital. Shihyo’s new flagship store called “Seoul Garden” will open within The Shilla Seoul, a luxury hotel located in the South Korean capital.
According to Fabrice Megarbane, president of L’Oréal North Asia and CEO of L’Oréal China, who spoke at the group’s Industry Innovation Summit: “There are a lot of cultural relevance and commonalities in the beauty needs in [China, Korea, Japan] while each market brings [its] unique strengths.”
In late October, L’Oréal shared that China’s latest pandemic lockdowns had impacted its performance in the mainland, where its L’Oréal Luxe fragrance division plays a key role. COVID-19 restrictions impacted the group’s overall performance, bringing its growth in the nation down to 0.3 percent. However, the beauty conglomerate still seems to anticipate a rebound given its continued investment in China, Korea and Japan. It has launched innovation centers in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul which focus on beauty tech advancements.
Shihyo’s launch notably takes place nearly a year after the beauty conglomerate first established a “North Asia Zone” to cover five major markets including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea in 2021. These regions made up 30.5 percent of the group’s overall sales in the same year.
Meanwhile, China has become the second-largest global beauty market, following the US. By 2025, the Chinese beauty market will be worth over $78 billion. Local consumers are increasingly opting for Asia-made skincare and cosmetics solutions tailor-made for Asian skin over big name western brands such as Maybelline, which is shuttering 14 of its freestanding shops throughout China — giving way to the rise of homegrown C-beauty brands.
According to L’Oréal, the “beauty-intense” regions of China, Japan and Korea make up more than a third of the world’s current skincare and cosmetics consumers. And it’s become clear to the beauty giant that it needs more products that address these markets’ specific desires and cultures.