Skincare for the sleep-deprived

Skincare for the sleep-deprived

In South Korean beauty label Laneige's 80sec promotional YouTube clip for its new Water Sleeping Mask ($42), an attractive young woman is seen staying up late through the week.

What keeps her awake? Dramas that make her laugh and weep, work deadlines, long phone calls with friends and clubbing. Still, her face looks dewy, even when she clocks less than six hours of sleep a night.

The message is clear: When you cannot afford beauty sleep, you can make up for it with the right skincare.

The advertisement sums up the brand's understanding of the lifestyle choices and beauty needs of its target consumers - women aged 20 to 34.

"Our target markets are young women with busy lifestyles, and we want to help them care for their skin even with the little sleep they have," says Ms Kayla Jeong, the brand's senior vice-president at the Laneige Global Beauty Camp 2015 that was held in Seoul, in March.

"The product is aligned with their lifestyle."

The commercial was launched at the Beauty Camp, an annual event where Laneige gives the regional press a round-up of its key products for the year.

Laneige is one of the 32 brands in South Korean beauty conglomerate Amorepacific's stable. Other brands include Innisfree, Etude House and Sulwhasoo.

To better understand its consumers and their wants, Amorepacific conducts extensive surveys of its shoppers and target markets. Sometimes, product researchers spend time in the stores to observe buying behaviour and get feedback.

Mr Lee Yun Ha, director of Amorepacific's Singapore Research & Innovation Centre, says the brand's scientists took inspiration from the woes of modern women to create the Water Sleeping Mask.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask 

"It helps busy women, who do not have time for a skincare routine, to improve their skin condition while they sleep," he says.

The gel mask is easy to use, which is an important factor when a woman is dog-tired by the end of the day. All one has to do is to spread the gel all over clean skin in seconds.

There is no need to remove the mask either; it is gentle enough to be left on through the night, without irritating the skin.

If one falls asleep with a sheet mask on, it can do more harm than good to the skin, says Mr Lee.

"Sheet masks dry up and will even suck up moisture from the skin when it is left on for too long."

Meanwhile, cream or clay masks that must be washed off after 10 or 20 minutes - especially when one is already asleep - are a hassle.

Many other brands - such as The Body Shop and Taiwanese brand For Beloved One - offer moisturising sleeping masks.

Laneige launched its Water Sleeping Pack in 2002, and the product has since gone through four revamps.

A sleep-inducing scent (orange flower, rose, ylang ylang and sandalwood oil) was added to the formula in 2009; and since 2012, the mask has been made without parabens.

A pair of skin-firming and brightening versions were created in 2013 and last year respectively.

The Water Sleeping Mask line is a bestseller - Laneige claims that more than 16 million jars have been sold since it was released 13 years ago.

The latest fifth-generation blend contains a Sleep-Tox purification technology that supposedly helps the skin to repair more efficiently while one snoozes, by working on the skin's detoxifying process. Toxins are purged from the skin when one is at rest.

The complex is made up of the hunza apricot extract from the Himalayas, which is rich in antioxidants; as well as the evening primrose root extract that boosts the skin's rejuvenation and healing functions.

The improved formula also contains the moisture wrap technology that cocoons the skin in a porous, hydrating film. Other skincare products, such as serums and creams, can be layered underneath.

 Laneige Water Sleeping Mask with spatula 

Laneige also claims that the Water Sleeping Mask can make one look better with less sleep, compared with a person who sleeps more but has a poorer skincare routine.

A complementary new Lip Sleeping Mask ($27) was also launched recently. It is made ofa concoction of eight antioxidant-rich berries, and promises to melt the dry and flaky skin on the pout while one sleeps.

Amorepacific is South Korea's largest cosmetics manufacturer. Bloomberg recently reported that the conglomerate's net income last year rose by 42 per cent. Bloomberg Intelligence also shed light on how Amorepacific's stock rose 158 per cent in Seoul trading over the past year, making it the best performer in the global beauty and personal-care sector.

According to Amorepacific's 2014 Sustainability Report, the group's sales totalled 4,711.9 billion KRW (S$5.8 billion); up 21 per cent from the previous year.

Laneige is Amorepacific's most successful global brand, and it is available across 13 markets including China, Indonesia, New Zealand and the United States.

In Singapore, Laneige currently has six stand-alone stores and 12 counters. Two years ago, it had four boutiques and 13 counters.

This article was first published on May 8, 2015.
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