Korean Sheet-Mask Giant Leaders Heads to U.S.
By Julie Naughton
One of Korea's biggest cosmeceutical companies, Leaders Cosmetics Inc., is coming to the U.S. later this month.
Beginning Aug. 23, Leaders, which currently sells more than 250 million sheet masks quarterly, will launch two sheet-mask collections - Daily Wonders and 7 Wonders, both a part of the company's Insolutions premium line - in the U.S., exclusively at ULTA and its own e-commerce site.
"In the same way that we saw [beauty balm] creams come from Asia and create a movement seemingly overnight, we see masks as the wave of the future," said Dr. Daniel Park, chief executive officer of Leaders. "I believe that we have this opportunitiy to steer the conversation and educate a new consumer on the benefits of using sheet masks over any other mask, serum or lotion for the purest results."
The 7 Wonders line consist of pure coconut biocellulose sheet masks created by fermenting concentrated coconut gel and cutting into facial-mask sheets. "Coconut is hydrophilic and contains 10 times more fluid (serums) than traditional nonwoven fabric masks," noted Park. He added that this 100 percent natural hypoallergenic material is nonirritating, free of parabens, alcohol, artificial coloring and mineral oils. Available sheet masks in this range, each $6 are Himalayan Camellia Pore Minimizing Mask, Caribbean Coconut Calming Mask, Mediterranean Olive Brightening mask, Amazonian Açaí Anti-Pollution Mask, Kalahari Melon Moisturizing Mask and Tundra Cranberry Anti-Aging Mask.
"To create the 7 Wonders pure coconut biocellulose sheets, we tapped our factory in Vietnam, a repurposed coconut juice factory, which now harvests the coconut and extracts the gel specifically for Leaders - ensuring no corners are cut in the developmental process," said Park. "What's more, we are the only wide-scale manufacturers using coconut gel technology here in the U.S., and that is because we understand the product and how to make it effective. Our coconut masks allow for 10 times more serum penetration to the skin than that of a typical cotton mask."
The Daily Wonders line offers natural cellulose cotton masks produced entirely from the short fibers of the cotton ball. "This nonwoven fabric and highly absorbent composition allows more serum application, and is hypoallergenic and biodegradable," said Park. Available sheet masks in this line, each $4, are Bye Bye to Dry, Stop the Clock, Pore Gone for Good and What Happened Last Night?
Park is eager to make inroads into the U.S. skin-care market.
"At Leaders we are looking to shift the cultural perspective as to what makes at-home skin-care treatments truly effective," said Park. "In the United States, there is a belief that layering serums, lotions and potions on the skin with your hands is the key to getting the best looking skin. It is our goal to give consumers a new perspective on skin care, and to make them realize that sheet masks can provide these benefits much more effectively."
Leaders was originally founded as a post-plastic-surgery line and is available including China, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Switzerland and now the U.S. and Canada. "We started as a medical spa clinic in South Korea, and grew to become a global cosmeceutical brand," Park continued. "These patients needed quality post-surgical treatments to deal with the effects of in-office procedures. It was because of this clinical background that we understood the need for truly efficacious products that provided results, fast. We now have multiple medi-spas all across the world, with the main Leaders clinic in Seoul now servicing over 800,000 patients alone. This background in procedures further pushed us to own the process - sourcing ingredients, researching and developing formulas, delivery systems, testing and applying data, along with refining compounds, and controlling the cleanliness of manufacturing and packaging direct to distributors."
And Park made it clear that he's not stopping with ULTA. "We are growing and growing fast, with plans to manufacture one billion masks per month by the end of 2015," he said. "A great part of this expansion will come within the United States. We started with ULTA because it is how we started in Korea, with the concept of bringing highly efficacious, luxury treatments home in an affordable setting. As we move our business forward in the U.S., we look forward to bringing additional masks to mass and drugstore retailers."
The firm will also be selling a full assortment through its e-commerce site, leaderscosmeticsusa.com.