SEOUL, Korea, Dec 10 (Korea Bizwire) – It’s an old story that more and more people are spending their money on fashion and accessories. The so-called “stuff-carers” not only invest in themselves directly by taking in fashion items and cosmetics but also they do so by audaciously opening up their purses and wallets to buy products that suppusedly maintain those items that they already purchased to keep up their looks.
The cosmetic coolers and clothes stylers are the examples of such products popular among the stuff-carers. They are continuing to be doing well in sales despite the prolonged recession. When they were first released, many consumers gave these products cold shoulders due to their unfamiliarity and steep prices, but the word of mouth finally won over. The distribution industry is already steaming with competition under expectation that these products may become the next “kimchi-refrigerator”, of which mass appeal was The retail industry in question when it was first released, but eventually it took up spaces in homes of 81% of the entire households in Korea as of 2010.
In November this year, a market research firm, GfK, estimated the domestic market for ‘clothes sterilizing appliances’ including steam cleaners and steam irons to be 395 billion KRW in values. A clothes styler is an electronic appliance that resembles a closet. It helps eliminate different kinds of odors from clothes and even sterilizes them. Mothballs play similar roles but they contain carcinogens and have strong smell which may infect the clothes.
The domestic-industry leader of clothes sterilizing appliances is “TROMM Styler” by LG Electronics. It is known for its function of eliminating wrinkles, odors and even germs. It was first released in February of 2011. Its sales were slow at first, but this spring its cumulative sales have reportedly increased by 35% compared to last year.
A TROMM Styler, once it’s on the “wrinkle-free mode”, sprays minuscule steam particles that are 1/1600 in size of a water particle onto the clothes and cradle them left and right up to 220 times so that all the wrinkles and fine dust on them are gone. A new TROMM Styler was released at the end of last year with a pants-only wrinkle remover installed on the existing machine to protect the pants creases from disappearing. The odor-removing function utilizes special filters made of activated charcoal to get rid of odors and it can even add scents to the clothes if desired.
The sterilizing function supposedly helps get rid of 99.9% of the bacteria in the clothes with the help of high-temperature steam particles which smear into the clothes. Particularly, LG claims, this function can help eliminate allergy-causing elements such as house dust and mites so that a user can prevent getting dermatitis including an atopic disease. This machine has been tested by the global certification authority, British Allergy Foundation (BAF), and Korea Apparel Testing and Research Institute so it can be safely used for children’s clothes as well. Its drying function, which applies a low-temperature heat-pump technology in which the water remaining in the clothes is sucked in to the machine rather than dried by hot air, prevents shrinkage and straining of clothes. It also helps maintain the clothes neat and dry, making it useful for keeping luxury clothes and functional wear which is difficult to wash and is too delicate to heat. At last, on its exterior lay the design patterns by Karim Rashid, one of the world’s top 3 industrial designers, adding the decoration function to the many functions it already has.
With the increasing number of the stuff-carers, just as hot is the cosmetics cooler designed to keep cosmetics at their optimal conditions. It was the year 2001 when the cosmetics coolers were first introduced in Korea. Usually the temperature inside the cooler is 12 to 15℃ throughout the year so it helps maintain the cosmetics fresh until their expiration dates. The coolness of the cosmetics when applied on the skin helps make the skin healthier by minimizing the pores and calming the skin down. According to ‘Let’s Think the Cosmetics” published by National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, general consumers might easily think that it is safe to store their cosmetics in the fridges, and however, the cosmetics usually do not go sour unless they are exposed to extreme cold or hot surroundings. But many women are storing their cosmetics in the refrigerators because of the cooling effect, especially the basic skin care products and mask packs. National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation advises that if you have already started keeping your cosmetics under refrigeration, it is better to continue to do so that the cosmetics do not go bad due to frequent changes in temperature.
In contrast to the clothes styler market where a few big electronic makers are present, the cosmetics cooler market is fought by many smaller companies. LG Care, known for its famous cosmetics product “Prostine”, released “Icemetic Cellar” which maintains its temperature inside as 5-8℃, ideally low for Prostine. Users can avoid the typical odor of the refrigerators and keep their products neat and clean. It is also low in noise and vibration so one can simply place it on a dressing table.
Another cosmetic cooler manufacturer, Amex, is currently selling “Michelle”, a noiseless, vibrationless cosmetics cooler. Its 25L Premium model is gradually gaining popularity showing steady incline in sales. This model comes in white and wine colors and recently changed its front design. Its cooling system has also been recently upgraded so now its temperature control function is more stabilized and its energy efficiency has gone up. Through this upgrade, Amex also successfully degenerated the frost that used to be formed inside, reduced heat generated and brought down the mass of the product. Amex also reported that, based on an analysis of this May’s open market buyers and online shopping mall buyers, male buyers took up 40% of its buyers. It is apparent that cosmetics coolers are also sought after by the male stuff-carers.
According to Amex, it is more important to pay attention to your cosmetics, especially ones that have been already opened, in the winter time since the room temperature is usually high and more frequently changing. It is easy for cosmetics to spoil by being in contact with strong light, heat and air, and if you use spoiled cosmetics, they might cause many skin troubles.
It is always safe to store them in a shaded, cool place like the top of a dressing table or inside a drawer, away from a heated floor. It’s not such a good idea to store them in the bathroom either since the moisture causes microbe to propagate. Especially, it might be a good idea to keep those expensive natural or organic cosmetics inside the coolers, not to mention those of which shelf lives are short. There are also the high function cosmetics with very sensitive elements such as vitamin and retinol, and they must be under refrigeration for best results. And yet, it is not advised to keep them in refrigerators because the temperature inside a refrigerator is too-low 3℃, and this might lead to freezing or oil-water separation of the cosmetics. There is also always the food odor issue and there has been a news report that the amount of bacteria living inside a fridge is 10 times that of bacteria residing on a bathroom toilet.