On Nov. 18, Lee Woong, CEO of Birdview, reported that the cosmetics review app HwaHae has secured an investment totaling 600 million KRW (540,000 USD) from Bon Angels and Japan’s CyberAgent Ventures. HwaHae provides user reviews and ingredient information for various cosmetics products.
Hwahae has digitized public access information provided by Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) regarding ingredients in cosmetics products. The app currently has data available for more than 8,400 commonly-used ingredients.
Users can search for more than twenty-five thousand skincare or makeup products by their names or brand names. This generates a results page that contains detailed information about the product. The results page displays a “safety score” of each product using guidelines from Environmental Working Group (EWG) and provides information on allergies and biologically active ingredients according to MFDS. Hwahae also breaks down beneficial ingredients according to skin type using data provided by the Association of Korean Dermatologists (AKD) and displays whether each product contains any of the twenty harmful chemical substances identified in the book The Secrets of Cosmetics You Must Know, which has become a bible for South Korean cosmetic fanatics.
Hwahae has met considerable success in Korea, where it has accumulated more than 800,000 downloads on Google Play alone after its launch in July 2013. It has gained popular use among careful consumers concerned about the safety of skincare or makeup products.
In August, Korea’s Internet portal Daum integrated results from the cosmetics app into its searches. Hwahae has even gained government approval: Choi Yang Hee, Minister of the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future, cited the app as one of six success stories in Korea’s recent push toward “creative economy,” or economy led by innovation.
Birdview plans to expand HaeHae’s service to a global audience, starting with markets closer to home in Asia. With growing interest in Korean dramas and celebrities, Korean beauty and cosmetics industry currently leads cosmetics trends in Asia. The app therefore seems well positioned to pitch itself to Asian consumers interested in Korean beauty products.
HwaHae is available for download on Google Play and on App Store.
– Inspired by Platum