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THE INVESTOR
September 20, 2021

Retail & Consumer

Kim Jong-un’s push fails to boost NK cosmetics

  • PUBLISHED :May 26, 2017 - 14:41
  • UPDATED :May 28, 2017 - 10:23
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[THE INVESTOR] North Korean cosmetics still have a long way to catch up with its South Korean peer products despite its leader Kim Jong-un’s interest in the industry, according to a top expert on May 25.


Credit: Rodong Sinmun


The quality and manufacturing capacity in North Korea are still at South Korean levels of the ’70s and ’80s, according to Nam Sung-wook, North Korean studies professor at Korea University in his recent report.

The report, “North Korean Women and Cosmetics” included an eight-month analysis of 64 North Korean cosmetics items by Amorepacific’s institute. 

A total of seven products contained pernicious ingredient including paraben, and a wrinkle cream made by Pyeongyang Cosmetics, a major manufacturer, contained preservatives that are avoided elsewhere, and failed to list the ingredients. 

Despite decent appearance, some products leaked and even did not work properly. For example, perfume bottles could not spray the content and caps and bottles did not shut tight enough, which signifies lagging technology in molding and plastic, according to the analysis.

Since he first took helm in 2012, the North Korean leader has expressed interest in the beauty industry, mentioning international brands such as Lancome and Chanel, pushing the local industry, said the professor. 

However, according to a survey on 167 women who left North Korea, more than 60 percent answered that they only use basic skincare items such as toner, lotion and cream. 

By Hwang You-mee (glamazon@heraldcorp.com)

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