First it was Korean pop, then Korean soaps, now it’s K-beauty – Korean cosmetic products and regimes – that are going global.

The global fascination – especially in the West – with Korean cosmetics has really taken hold in the last 18 months or so, driven primarily by product innovation, the BBC reports.

Korean celebs, especially the phenomenon that is the boy band BTS, are also partly responsible for the surge in interest.

Marie Claire's digital beauty editor Katie Thomas says South Korea’s beauty industry –  worth an estimated £10 billion in 2017 –  is typically 10 to 12 years ahead of the rest of the world.

"It's not that there's been a big boom; we're just catching up with them essentially, [helped by] the expansion of Instagram and beauty blogging," she says.

It is Korean skincare products that are really creating the biggest stir.

“It's sort of ingrained in Korean culture from a very young age to look after your skin," Ms Thomas says.  She explains that the Korean ethos is to ensure that you have good skin, rather than needing foundation and other products to cover up unsightly blemishes.

Much more research is carried out into new products in South Korea than in other countries, she says, because there are so many competing brands, each trying to be the best.

In the US, 13% of 10 to 17-year-old girls say they are interested in trying K-beauty products; and 18% of 18 to 22-year-old women have already tried them, according to Mintel.

Global beauty analyst at Mintel Andrew McDougall says, "clever digital marketing strategies" on social media have driven the K-beauty phenomenon by capturing the interest of blogger influencers and journalists in the West.

Consumers’ attention is won via colourful packaging, as well as the reviews and demos on social media, he explains.

"It's consumers who are more informed and do their own research, and it's influencers who put them on the K-beauty path in the first place," McDougall says.

Some Korean beauty brands can be found in Topshop and TKMaxx, but other than that, so far, most British consumers can only buy these products online. is one company that sees big potential in sales of Korean skincare products. Based in Hong Kong, the online firm stocks over 150 Korean brands.

Founder Joshua Lau says the company’s success is down to reviews from verified buyers; these give potential buyers in the West the confidence to try something new.

Sourced from the BBC; additional content by WARC staff