When Indonesian local beauty brand House of Hur launched its first product line in November 2020, its two co-founders had low expectations. “We didn’t know what to expect. We were just in awe that that many people were interested,” said Chris Okano, co-founder and the brand’s business director.

Crucially, the new product—a multi-purpose skincare-infused makeup meant to be used on the eyes, cheeks, and lips—came in six different shades meant to complement Indonesian skin tones. This was a concept central to the brand’s identity, which also functioned as a bridge between the Indonesian beauty industry and the wildly popular Korean one.

House of Hur itself came about based on the feedback that Sunny Dahye, the co-founder and creative director, received from her YouTube channel’s subscribers. Most of them had similar things to say—that many Korean beauty products didn’t suit their skin types or skin tones. Dahye has nearly 2.5 million subscribers on her channel, SunnydahyeIn, where she regularly talks about beauty, makeup, and skincare in Indonesian.

The launch performed so well that Indonesian beauty e-commerce platform Sociolla, its exclusive partner, awarded it ‘Best Exclusive Launch’. The award was driven by a combination of most amount of sales, reviews, and for it being the first product launch with a pre-order system, said Okano. He was unable to disclose sales figures but Sociolla confirmed that the brand was well-received during its launch campaign.

“A lot of Korean brands, I think, just don’t recreate their products for the Indonesian audience. They just take their Korean products and then just [say], ‘Let’s sell them to Indonesians,’” Okano added.

That’s where many local Indonesian brands like House of Hur come in. They ride on K-beauty trends—taking on the product, the technology, as well as the look of Korean beauty brands—but refashion them for the Indonesian market. To the point that some are indistinguishable from their Korean counterparts.

For instance, Indonesian brand Mireya’s was mistaken mistaken Liputan6.com This local cosmetic brand is mistakenly thought to be from Korea following launch Read more for a Korean brand for the way its new product, a cushion compact, looks. That cushion compacts cushion compacts Cushion compacts Cushion compacts are liquid foundation in a sponge, designed for easy, on-the-go application. are also one of the K-beauty trends being increasingly adopted in the Indonesian market helped that perception.

It’s not just makeup, either. The ingredients used in Korean skincare are also fair game. Local brand Somethinc claims that its retinol retinol Retinol Retinol is a beauty product known for its anti-aging properties. product uses a Korean encapsulating technology called Gentinol-200.


Yunindita Prasidya

Based in Bali, Dita writes about Indonesia’s growing digital economy, including how technology is shaping the lives of young Indonesians and impacting traditional industries. She was previously a reporter at The Jakarta Post.

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