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Snake, Snail, Horse Fat Dominate Asia’s Beauty & Much More


You want to know what’s hot in Asia Beauty and the best way to check out the market? Read on!

  • Animal Byproducts are still popular! You can find snake venom, snail secretion and horse fat in personal care products boasting for anti-aging,moisturization and the wonder healing properties. The horse fat in particular is hot in both Taiwan and Japan where I visited. It’s touted as the best oil for face, hair and body to practically do anything you want it to do as the amino acids content in horse fat is similar to human’s.  Since last year was the year of the horse, I suspect that there could be a Chinese zodiac trend going on for the future so you start seeing ingredients from Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, Pigs and so on provided none of them are non-disease carrier.   In the event of dog, marketers can easily promote Dog Rose  Extract just for the name- sake to celebrate the year of the Dog just as there are dragon blood extracts for the year of the Dragon. If Argan oil, Marula oil are considered the hottest oils in the states, Horse oil definitely gets the crown in Asia.
  • Beauty massage tools- there are virtually a specific massager for your entire body from head to toe! Asian people believe in massages as it promote circulation and also relive tension as the work hours in Asia tend to be a lot longer. Starting from massaging hair brushes, to neck roller, face roller, and nose roller (yes, there are rollers claim to make your nose look smaller), to the whole body roller, finger roller, leg roller and toe rollers, all to promote better circulation leading to health and beauty.
  • What I did not find, surprisingly, was face slimming mask! Apparently it’s only a trend in Korea and have not being caught up in the neighboring countries. I have used a few face slimmers and do find them effective. That’s an area worth investigating as when people get older, the face get rounder.
  • Do not bother to go to department stores to find beauty trends. The best beauty secrets are in the smaller medicinal boutiques. When you go to department stores, you see the same brands you can see in USA. Do your treasure hunts at Watsons, Sasa or the local beauty pharmacies.
  • Washnets are popular and often enclosed when you buy a beauty soap. Most of the people in the states have been using shower gels in stead of soap as it foams better. In Asia, where soap is still popular, they put a special washnet over the soap to promote creamy and dense foam. Some beauty soaps come with the washnet as a gift with purchase to enhance the user experience.
  • Eye-focused beauty- Since Asian eyes tend to be smaller and single lids, the amount of products of eye-lid glues, eye-lid tapes, false-eyelashes are just flourishing in the market. One trend in particular is creation of the “Tear Bag”. In the states, everyone wants to get rid of that under eye bags but in Asia, it’s considered a sign of “innocence”. thus products illuminating the lid area just under the pupils are very popular. There are even tools to press out the shape of tear bag which I found quite drastic.
  • The best salesmanship are found in Taiwan markets!  If you have never checked out a day or night market in Taiwan, I highly suggest you do. The way they sell is as if they graduated from the top salesmanship classes. Every day I said to myself, I will just “check it out” and not buying but ending up with loads of goods. They perfected the pitches by demonstrating and pushing your hot buttons and well-thought out phrases to counter your potential rejections. Seriously, if these people are ever selling on direct selling channels in USA, they are millionaires! If they are ever on Shark Tank, they WILL get the deals!
  • The shops in Japan believe in return customers. Virtually every shops I visited, they always give me a coupon for the next visit. In USA, the stores practice this the best is Bath & Body Works. Everytime you buy, you get a coupon for the next time. Yes, repeat customer worths a lot more than one-time customers. Grab them!
  • Innovation is everywhere. I have seen patented toothpick, toilet/sink combo for limited space and massager/pen, massager/scratcher combo everywhere. Asia tends to be crowded so any space-saving, time-saving devices are popular and can be found. While we in the states have a mantra of Made In USA, why not learn how others innovate?

What works in Asia beauty market may not necessary work in USA but due to the recent invasion of Asia beauty trend of alphabet creams, there are brands just jump on everything Asia. It is important to consider the target market and culture differences and play on the marketing angles. Hope this article enlightened your beauty scope especially in product development. There is a market for everything. Products don’t sell. Salespeople do. Undereye bags is a sign of beauty. Beat that! Hope you enjoy my 2015 Asia Trip recap. If you’d like to create beauty products or need  anything beauty related, feel free to reach out ginger@gracekingdombeauty.com

Creating Beauty From Concept To Counter


Novel Cosmetic Technologies for 2013 and Beyond

All cosmetic product developers and marketers constantly ask: What’ new? The interesting thing is when a new technology is presented, marketers often scratch their head- it’s cool, but how do I position it, how do I sell it?  Then, it is the product developers job to help linking the consumer use benefits to the product so the new technology indeed adds value to the daily beauty routine, not just a novelty.  It is no different than using your smart phone to text, email, face-booking, tweeting and taking photos/videos besides its primary intended use- to call!

Below is a list of some new technologies available and if you are interested to find out the details to use these for your brand, let’s talk!

1) DreamHair Powder Technology: This is a novel hair powder with natural colorants from clay. It does not absorb moisture overtime and will not bleed. It attaches to hair, not to the skin so there’s no mess. The material is made in USA with seven different shades. It gives very natural hair coverage for bald spots. It also adds a natural fill to your eye brows in addition to lengthening and volumizing your lashes.

2) Raspberry Ketone Glucoside: This ingredient has received buzzes in the world of dieting thanks to Dr. Oz. In beauty, this material actually is 3 x better than Arbutin and also works as an anti-inflammatory and moisturization agent. For brands focusing in skin whiting, this is a new kid on the block! Best yet, it is China approved!

3) Powder to Cream Technology:  This is a patented delivery technology where you can incorporate any actives you like for claims. It is a powder but upon application, it turns into a cream. It is superb in skin, color, hair, fragrance application. The most awesome prototype I have seen is actually a lip powder where it’s like the Jello Powder which turns buttery upon application.

4) Clear Stick Technology: Yes, there are clear sticks on the market but there are not too many clear systems that can withstand heat/sweating issues. This clear stick can also be used for inner core two phase system to deliver dual skin benefits or in color, can be used for ombre look in lip/face application.

5) Natural Shine Technology: In science, refractive index is a measure of shine. Recent advances and discoveries actually found natural ingredients have higher refractive index higher than silicone. This opens up a new dimension for hair and body care for the glow that’s natural and healthy.

6) Steam Cream Technology: This is an emulsifiers free emulsion made with a shot of steam and proprietary process to make it stable so the active ingredients are intact in the system without any potential degradation. Just like there are baked color cosmetics, the Steam Skin care products are coming to play.

7) Texture Mapping: All marketers know product “texture” is the key to grab consumers attention. How the product look and feel dictate on whether you will get the consumers “addicted” to use daily, sometimes twice daily. In the past, cosmetic chemists try to reverse engineer a benchmark by using the same set of ingredient lists but with the new advances in sensory science, it is now possible to achieve similar texture with a different technology for some differentiation.  This also allows some creativity for chemists to perhaps enhance the already best-selling product texture.

Working in beauty is full of excitement because there are so many cool things to play. Often times marketers are troubled by “finding the hole” on the calendar when they find a new technology. The truth is for risk-takers, the first to market ones are often the ones who succeed as people remember that you are the pioneer in technological advances.

Ginger King is a cosmetic chemist and a consultant in product development and marketing. Ginger has developed over 1000+ products during her close to 20 years of industry experience. For further information, you can contact her at ginger@gracekingdombeauty.com 

Game-Changing Beauty Products

I had an honor to be an on-air guest for New Beauty magazine’s weekly tea-time chat recently. Perhaps it’s my computer’s resolution, my image was quite fussy on screen. For those who missed it, Here’s what I think the game-changing beauty products are, from a cosmetic chemist and a beauty consumer’s point of view:

1) Olay Daily Facial- Granted there are many facial cleansers on the market that are efficient in removing make up and cleansing, I found Olay Daily Facial superb for the following reasons:

  • Easy on the go- I pack 3 sheets of Olay Daily Facial when I have an overnight stay. I use one sheet to clean off my make up and the other to clean off my face. The third sheet is saved for the morning face wash which there is no make up to remove. 
  • Lathers nicely- Yes, lather does not mean clean but I still love it can lather up just like any facial cleansers. None of the wet-towelettes do as a nice cleansing job as Olay’s daily facial.
  • Moisturizing– Olay infused skin caring moisturizer in the sheets so the skin does not feel uncomfortably tight.

2) GrandCentralBeauty S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting Polisher– This is the first 30 seconds natural fruit acids infused skin exfoliator, toner and peel in one. It also contains soft caviar like beads to get rid of the dead skin cell. The best part is it is rinse-optional. How many times have we tried peels or exfoliators in the store and have the urge to ‘rinse-it-off” because it does not feel comfortable? With this one, not only you see results in 30 seconds for immediate skin brightening and smoothness, you do not have to rinse. It’s housed in an 1 oz package so, another easy on the go peel which you can refresh your skin any time you want! So the three points why I love this one are as follows:

  • Easy On The Go- people are busy! If I have any dry patches on skin or just want to gently exfoliate away my skin prior to expensive moisturizers or for an even application of make up, this 1 fl oz Skin Perfecting Polisher comes really handy.
  • S.M.A.R.T.- GrandCentralBeauty’s product development philosophy is to deliver Smooth, Moisturizing, Anti-aging, Redness-Reducing and Toning benefits. I definitely get all these results.
  • Gentle yet immediate results- Unlike regular polishing peels on the market, this product can be used even on sensitive skin. The best part is, I do see a huge difference in 30 seconds for smoother and brighter skin without gimmicks, beat that!

3)  Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector From multi-functional products to problem-targeted solutions, there is room for everyone in the cosmetic business. As people get older, age spots are likely to surface. Why use an all over skin brightener while you can target the issues with precise formulation? Clinique created this specialized products about 2 years ago and there are many brands try to copy it. As we know imitation is a form of flattery. This is one effective product that I do see results within a few weeks. I no longer need to use a concealer for my slight dark spots because of this special treatment! Here are my three points about this product:

  • Easy On The Go- as you can see by now, I love products that fit into busy schedules. This is housed in a slim 1 fl. oz package for easy carry-on.
  • Superb formulation- The formula aesthetic is a light serum form that absorbs quickly and skin just feel smoothed. It does not interfere with make up.
  • Efficacy- There are many products claiming it contains vitamin C. This formula not only has vitamin C but also mulberry extract to boost skin brightening.

4) Almay Smart Shade Antiaging Make Up SPF 20– I have already ditched all my foundations because of this product and I have been the most loyal foundation user for the past two decades! This is really one smart product which is under-appreciated. To me, it is the precursor to the new fad of BB’s and CC’s. Why I love it? 

  • It’s a BB cream before you know it! This product gives a flawless skin complexion with SPF protection.
  • It’s a white product once you press onto your skin, it matches your skin tone. Natural!
  • It’s a magic because if you press your skin lighter, you can use it as a highlighter. If you press your skin heavier, you can use it as a contour. The best part is it NEVER mess up your cell phone screens especially on a hot summer day after hours of chatting.

So, I have said bye to conventional facial cleansers and changed to Olay daily facial. I have  been addicted to the multi-functional GrandCentralBeauty Skin Perfecting polisher whenever I need that extra boost of revitalization/smoothing of my face. I no longer need a concealer to cover up my age-showing spots and I do not need to carry tons of make up to highlight/contour my face or to make my cellphone screen a big mess after chatting.

Don’t you think these are the game-changing beauty products? Have you tried any of them?

Non-Invasive Cosmetic Procedures vs Cosmetic Products

When I read Asian magazines, besides skin brightening and moisture replenish, the most focused products are for V shape faces lead by Clarins products.

V shape face is the symbol of youth just as a bright skin complexion is the symbol of wealth. Facial Contouring is very popular in Asians as we tend to have a more flat face as opposed to a 3D face. I recently had a free cosmetic laser Refirm treatment to contour my jowl lines. Honestly, after the treatment, I have not seen a difference. I was told it takes about 3 treatments to see results. This makes me APPRECIATE cosmetic products MUCH MORE. Why? As most of the cosmetic products on market now focuses on INSTANT and LONG TERM RESULTS, who has the time and money for 3 treatments to see results if any? The treatments are typically $600-1000 each, I could have bought at least 10 jars of cosmetic products to use daily!

Most of the formulations for the V shape face are not that different than a cellulite cream. Many contains Caffeine to speed up lipolysis. Of course, there are ingredients out there 8 times stronger than Caffeine for lipolysis as well as increase microcirculation to flush out the fat.  Most of the cosmetic products requires massaging for 3-5 minutes if it involves slimming. So, my take is unless you have serious issues with your skin firmness, I opt for using skin care products than other non-invasive treatments. There are still risks associated with Laser burns and bruises.  You are in absolutely good hands with your very own skin care products if you choose brands with clinically tested products.

Start a new year with a new face. You don’t have to spend tons of money but choosing skin care products wisely can get you there! A personal tip- after you apply your favorite products, put a steamy hot towel over for a few minutes- it will increase microcirculation and see product efficacy faster. Happy 2013!

Three Parts Skin Care for Ageless Look & Good Fortune!

How do you usually take care of your skin? One jar of cream or one bottle of lotion ? The most is adding an eye cream? Do you know Asian people like to use  at least 15 products on their face for the optimal care? I’d like to share with you a Three Parts Skin Care approach to create the ageless look that is not only youthful but on trend with Asian CHI to bring you good fortune! The three parts are forehead, nose/cheek and lip/chin care.

1) Forehead- In Asia, people look at your forehead for CHI. If you have a dark forehead, it’s an indication of bad fortune or illness will come upon you. I have seen many people who have a pretty face but forgetting to put foundation on the forehead; thus created a pretty interesting contrast. It is like reverse Panda look. Even if your bangs may cover forehead, the darkness can still show through. Therefore, don’t forget to exfoliate your forehead, hydrate it (as that’s the second place of lines after your crows feet), and BRIGHTEN it. There are many great skin brighteners available for dark spots treatment, why not put all over your forehead? One caveat is your forehead is thinner than the rest of face, so do not overload it. Choose oil-free, hydrating, brightening products for forehead care.

2) Nose/Cheek care: In this area, pore reduction and rosy radiance are crucial in defining beauty. Besides lines and wrinkles, pores are the first thing people look at on your face. There are many pore refining products out there, some of them even have clinical proof to show 20% pore reductions. Rosy radiance is a sign of good fortune, not to be confused with rosacea which is a skin issue. To achieve so, enhancing skin circulation and massages are important. Thus, in  this category, you can find boosters, massage creams and pore reduction serums to help. Novel advances now also targets the “triangle of beauty”.  As people are getting older, you will observe the reverse of triangle- your chin get broader and the folds around nose get more noticed and looking more like a triangle. There are technologies to treat this specific area as well.

3) Lip/Chin area-There are already many companies coming out with lip scrubs, lip plumpers, lip gloss as when people get older, lips get thinner. Lips are definitely a strong category for anti-aging concerns. The chin area- not as often addressed but should as in Chinese medicine, if you have acne around the chins, you may have stomach issues. A clear and clean (yes, trim those fine hair) around the chin is a good indication of health.

Did you notice I did not talk about eye area care? That’s an whole new discussion as there are too many things to address- lines, dark circles, creepy eye lids, baggy eyes, pumps around the eyes, use scotch tapes to create double eyelids to look more awake….etc. Until next time!  Address the Three Parts Skin Care now to welcome your 2014 for GOOD FORTUNE!!!

What’s in My Beauty Vanity

I am sure most of the cosmetic chemists have been asked at least once, if not million times- WHAT DO YOU USE? The politically correct way we are trained to say is “Whatever we are developing!”. Of course, for continuous improvement, whatever product the cosmetic chemists are doing SHOULD be the best.

Cosmetic chemists also are constantly testing out new products on the market for competitive reviews. Being a cosmetic chemist does not guarantee you have the most beautiful skin just like a manicurist can not wear nail polishes or perfumers can not wear perfume to work. It is hard to say in general what line of product is the best as you do not know if every product in the line are created equal.

Another question  often asked is “does price matter? ” For me, if I would have to buy a mass brand product, I definitely go for the big known brands like P&G, L’Oreal or Avon. For a masstige or prestige or niche products, there are more room to try different brands as most of the smaller brands may not have the money backed up by R&D but they are willing to use the best ingredients at the most proper concentration.

SO- what do I use? Here’s my FAVORITE list but not an exclusive list since I have mountains of products from my own development, from clients, from actual purchases, and from sampling programs like BeautyArmy and New Beauty. It is not really fair to say these are the IT list but surely My PICK only.

For Hair: Mass- Pantene is the way to go. Their conditioners is so buttery you can feel down to your toe when you rinse.  Prestige– Joico K Pak has enjoyed decades of fame and still great. They have a new hair mask totally rocking.

For Skin: Mass- Olay or Neutrogena are decent for the creams/lotions. For Prestige, Lauder or Dr. Denese   products are awesome. I am in particular favor of Dr. D’s skin firming pads, hydroshield serum and eye cream.  I also religiously use GrandCentralBeauty SMART Skin Perfecting mask weekly.

For Color: Mass- Maybelline has done a fabulous job in mascaras/blush/eyesahdow. Avon color also has great offerings. For Prestige, Paula Dorf, Fusion brands, MAC are my favorites.

For Fragrance: For mass market, Bath & Body Works or Victoria’s Secret fragrances are very affordable. For prestige,  I like Marc Jacob Daisy, Prada Candy, Ralph Lauren Blue, D&G Light Blue.

So- these are the just “some” of the products that you will find in my “rooms” of beauty products 🙂