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Vibrating your way to smooth skin

Move aside, kimchi cutters and 360-degree-spinning mops. Home shopping channels have set their sights on the latest trend in beauty products: vibrating foundation that makes makeup routines so much easier, or so its makers promise.

For HAAN Beauty, the company that first launched the concept last May, the vibrating applicator has opened a profitable new market in the saturated beauty product industry. Vibrating foundation is now one of the best-selling beauty products for home shopping channels and online shopping malls.

With the new product estimated to be worth about 60 billion won ($52.1 million), the craze is reminiscent of megahit BB cream’s launch a couple of years ago. Other cosmetic makers have jumped on the bandwagon, too, hoping to cash in by launching their own vibrating foundations with slightly different packaging and functions.

“Our vibrating foundation was only launched last August, making it a relatively new product, but it instantly topped sales upon release,” said Go Chai-eun, a public relations official at cosmetics company IPKN. IPKN said its vibrating foundation has achieved 35 billion won in sales so far.

As the new product catches on, dozens of new varieties are now available from local cosmetics companies like HAAN and IPKN and even the local convenience store chain GS25.

With so many options available, consumers are wondering if vibrating foundation is really worth the hype. To help set the record straight, a Korea JoongAng Daily reporter used the two best-selling vibrating foundations and compared them.


HAAN Digital Foundation

Vibrating foundation from HAAN is about the same size as a bottle of a skin toner. A full package, which costs between 80,000 and 89,000 won, comes with a main applicator, operated with a single AA battery; four bottles of multipurpose foundation, eight grams (0.28 ounces) each; and four oval-shaped puffs.

The main device resembles a small, electric fan and is quite easy to assemble. First, open the bottom cove and insert the battery and a single bottle of foundation. Close the cover and push the button beneath the puff to release a small amount of liquid foundation through a hole in the center of the puff. Turn, press the main switch to start the vibration and move the puff across your face. Vibration is quite strong as if you are pressing your face against an electric massager. Some would certainly find this pounding sensation to be disturbing, but the foundation was applied thinly and evenly. When the main switch is turned on, the oval-shaped puff vibrates up to 5,000 times per minute.

HAAN’s foundation functions as sunscreen and a makeup base and is promoted as an anti-aging and whitening product. The main device is manufactured by HAAN Beauty, but the liquid foundation is made by Hanbul Cosmetics, one of the oldest cosmetics makers in Korea. An eight-gram bottle is enough for about 15 days’ use. Replacement packages of two puffs and two foundation bottles are available for 36,000 won, quite pricey compared to ordinary liquid foundations.


IPKN Artist Finish Vibrating Puff Foundation

The IPKN foundation comes with a foundation compact and a main device that looks like a stamp. All together, it is slightly cheaper than the HAAN product, as it is priced between 70,000 and 80,000 won, and it’s much easier to use. The vibrating applicator doesn’t require any assembly. To get started, dab the compact foundation with the applicator a couple of times and turn on the main switch. The level of vibration is similar to that of a mobile phone, much weaker than that of HAAN’s product. It’s also smaller, which means it’s easier to carry around, but it was hard to apply foundation to curvy areas such as the T-zone. IPKN’s puff vibrates up to 12,000 times per minute and its foundation also functions as sunscreen and makeup base.


Both the HAAN and IPKN products applied foundation evenly and consistently across flat areas of the face, but struggled in challenging areas that have more wrinkles and curves. To adequately cover areas around the eyes and nose, a separate tool is needed, adding more time to the morning routine. Women would be better off sticking to their current foundation than spending money on the vibrating applicators, at least until improvements are made.

A better option would be vibrating cleansers, which are catching on and getting raves from early adopters.

By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr]

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