Ever wondered about the effects of the rising popularity of K-beauty in India and how it all came about?
What makes K-Beauty so much more attractive to all us desi K-Poppers and K-lovers?
To seek out the answers to all your questions, Team KHIGH sat down with a veteran specialist in the beauty field, Director Suna Choi, who has bridged the gap between South Korea and India by opening the First ever Korean Unisex Salon in India!
*All images sourced from Seoul Salon’s official Facebook page.*
Check out the interview below as Ms. Suna Choi of Seoul Salon narrates her ceaseless beauty quest from South Korea to India!
KHIGH: Working with a lot of professionals from Korea in your 15 yrs+ career in the Beauty Industry, what motivated you to consider crossing borders and establishing a centre for enhancing points of Indian beauty? What was it about India that caught your attention?
Suna Choi: In this global age, I discovered that India has a lot of potential for the development of the beauty industry. While India is still highly dependent on European beauty brands, the scope of existing beauty technology is quite limited in India. Every country pursuing the colour and variety of beauty is different, but India has limited beauty products and technology in terms of being a country with a variety of different cultures, races, and areas.
So, due to these limitations, questions always arose in my mind. Since Korea is an Asian country like India, wouldn’t India be more absorbing of this beauty culture that can be grafted closer to the Indians than the other European countries? Hence, I decided to enter the Indian beauty market to deepen the colour of this beautiful country full of diversity.
Another reason is that, when I was researching for the overseas markets, my priority was Asia and as I researched, I found that K-Beauty has a lot of potential to influence another country as well. So, I wanted to promote K-Beauty in India for all those who have inadequate knowledge of K-Beauty.
KHIGH: How has your experience been since coming to India? Did you have the chance to work with any famous Indian personalities since you came here?
Suna Choi: When I first thought of India, what came to mind was that it was a country of diverse races, cultures, and religions but the more time I spent in India, the more I come to know about the nation.
Even though I still don’t know many things about India and uncertainties are still there, but when situations are unfavourable, it gets my attention and I become even more curious and look forward positively 🙂
I felt the situation in India is much harder than in Korea as there are cultural differences here yet I can safely say that I have already started to adapt to India!
I had worked with a Bollywood Actress once and haven’t yet got the chance to work with any other Indian celebrities, However, if I ever get such a chance, I would welcome it. Maybe a reason is that I am not residing in bigger metropolitan cities so I am unable to get those chances.
KHIGH: What do you think are the main points of differences between the Korean beauty market and the Indian beauty market in terms of beauty trends, products, the interest of customers, etc.?
Suna Choi: It is easy to say that Indian and Korean cultures are quite the opposite. Of course, there will be similar parts that overlap when divided by region, but in a big way, India is very different.
In Korea, the culture changes quickly, so the trends change quickly as well. So, for beauty and fashion related personnels like us, studying trends is always a big part of our homework, while in India, the trends are centred around celebrities and public figures that serve as the main subjects. The duration of these trends is also longer in India than in Korea.
Since Indian ladies usually have sleek strong long hair and there are also relatively more religious reasons, the frequency of visits to hair salons also seem to be less than that of ladies in Korea.
“Indian and Korean cultures are quite the opposite.”
KHIGH: Do you think Korean products are also suitable for the diverse skin complexions and beauty needs of a secular country like India?
Suna Choi: Korea is already the 4th-largest country in skincare and beauty, in the world, having been at the top of the Asian beauty market for a long time. The country is small but has four distinct seasons and so, many products have been prepared through rigorous studies to suit these different seasons as well as various skins’ of people. The incredulous reality of Korea is that countless products are pouring out even at the times when we are sleeping!
KHIGH: Do you think the job of accentuating beauty through makeovers has changed or positively affected the lives of your customers in any way? Is there any interesting incident that comes to your mind when you think of this?
Suna Choi: There were many such cases and some customers used to visit our salon even travelling from other states in India to our salon, just to get their hair done!
As I remember there was a grandma who used to visit Seoul Salon to get the hair done. She used to come along with her middle-aged daughter at the time and they use to come all the way from Hyderabad to Odisha! She was really a courteous and well-mannered lady too.
Watch her in action here:
Nothing destroys hair like summer heat and humidity, it causes damage on hair and skin due exposure to high levels to heat and dryness. To recover from direct sun, heat, salty water and chlorine we have specialized products and Korean techniques to repair hair and improve skin health.
Posted by Seoul Salon on Wednesday, August 8, 2018
KHIGH: The prevalent mindset of many Indians regarding skincare and makeup is that it is for females only and not males; can you share your thoughts on this? Do you think that by introducing the Korean Style of skincare routines and massages for men also, you have brought with you a chance to change this thinking a little?
Suna Choi: There is an interesting and quite funny part to this answer. We have actually found that men are as much interested in skincare as women are!
This fact is not yet revealed and acknowledged by the public but I am sure that men also equally adore their skin!
In Seoul Salon, 70% of men customers come for basic skincare services. As most Indian men grow a beard, many of them desire to get their skin pampered too. Men’s skincare routine is not too different from Women’s skincare routine but their home-care routine is much easier, simpler, and even better than women’s.
KHIGH: In India, the bridal makeup is usually fuller-coverage and more intense which is almost a complete opposite of the Korean style which accentuates the natural beauty of the bride following a ‘less is more’ mindset. So, can you tell us any memorable experience where an Indian Bride asked for a Korean Bridal makeup? Maybe an experience where a Korean-Indian couple came to you for a makeover for their wedding?
Suna Choi: Unfortunately, none of my customers have asked for a Korean style bridal makeup as yet. So far, most of them wanted traditional Indian-style bridal makeup only. However, I remember there was an Indian customer from the U.S. who wanted a light and glossy skin expression like the Korean style, and point makeup also wanted a light colour. So, I did a Fusion Makeup in Korean-style for her!
KHIGH: What are your future plans for India? Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
Suna Choi: I want to give dreams and hopes to many Indian hairdressers and give them a lifetime job by establishing a global beauty education program that is systematically carried out with the franchise business. I have also been engaged in a volunteering project in which we cut the hair of the poor and needy people and I want to continue doing it!
KHIGH: What is your own holy grail beauty product that you would like to recommend to our readers as well? Any Indian skincare products that have impressed you and that you have incorporated in your beauty routine?
Suna Choi: India has a warmer climate as compared to Korea, so I use Aloe Gel a lot to moisturise after taking a shower.
Tip: In Summers, when it is too hot, I keep the Aloe Gel in the refrigerator. Aloe gel uses only 100% of the product and you can go with any brand, but Indian Aloe gel has a lot of fragrance which means many times it might not be 100% pure. So please check the fragrance and ingredient when you buy it.
KHIGH: Lastly, can you share some beauty tips or hacks with our readers related to haircare and skincare?
Suna Choi: I can give you some tips on solving problems faced usually in India:
- If you are worried about hair loss, wash and properly dry your hair, and then only go to bed. Don’t leave your hair wet as your scalp becomes weak when you encounter sunlight while your scalp and hair are still wet.
- When you wash your hair, apply shampoo to your scalp, not to your hair. The shampoo is for washing and cleansing the scalp, not for washing the hair as is presumed by many.
- If you want to use one or two basic skincare products as toner or lotion, use essence or cream. Our skin, if is not supplied with anything, will pump out more oil for self-preservation, and it will lead to skin problems like acne, etc.