The soaring popularity of historical TV dramas like "Hwang Jin-yi" and "Jumong" has led to a rise in sales of cosmetics made of oriental herbs using the makeup know-how of the women depicted in the dramas. In "Hwang Jin-yi," the protagonist uses a skin toner called "miansu" which was made with juice from the sponge gourd.
A scene where Hwang Jin-yi takes a bath in water scented with white sandalwood powder has stimulated interest in traditional Korean perfume. Men are big fans of the drama "Jumong," and the fine skin of actor Song Il-gook also induces them buy oriental herbal cosmetics. Sales of Sulwhasoo, Amore Pacific's oriental cosmetics brand, are expected to jump to W450 billion (US$1=W953) this year from W400 billion last year.
TheFaceShop recently released new products containing powdered gold which became an instant bestseller. The company said it was unusual for new products to become bestsellers in such a short period, attributing it to the popularity of historical dramas.
Sales of herbal cosmetics have soared this year. In 2002, Oriental herbal cosmetics accounted for W380 billion of the entire W5.7 trillion cosmetics market. The volume of the cosmetics market overall is shrinking and is estimated at W5.62 trillion this year. But that of oriental herbal cosmetics market is expected to grow 2.4 times from four years ago to W900 billion.