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Alissa Marrapodi

Alissa Marrapodi is the managing editor for inside cosmeceuticals and production editor for Natural Products INSIDER. She has a passion for all things natural, including food, cosmetics and supplements. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University with a bachelor’s in journalism. She loves hiking, photography, red wine and traveling.

Ever Hear of Hangbang Cosmetics?


At PCHi 2011, I was able to sit down and talk shop with Henry E. Choi, sales and marketing director of Advanced Cosmeceutical Technology (ACT), and he introduced me to Hangbang cosmetics. Hangbang cosmetics use therapy from 11 ancient medicinal books such as “DongEuiBoGam" and theories from ancient fold remedies that incorporate oriental herbs. They’re basically cosmetics based on Korean traditional herbal medicine that uses several herbs rather than one. Various extractions methods—traditional fermentation, distillation and boiling—are used to reinforce the function of the herbs.

According to the Korea JoongAng Daily, Hangbang is leaving quite a dent in the cosmetic sales sector. They accounted for 20 percent of total cosmetics sales, according to consensus estimates of industry experts, adding up to approximately $1.1 billion worth of sales in 2007. ACT also noted the rising market of Hangbang cosmetics. In 2002, Hangbang totaled 380 billion KRW; and in 2008, they grew to 1,200 billion KRW. Choi noted some driving factors may be the trend toward natural and consumers’ search for beauty solutions based on oriental philosophy.

There are several Korean brands that use Hangbang, with Sulhwasoo leading the pack, totaling $450 million, according to ACT.

Choi did not the Korean government currently doesn’t regulate “the Hangbang claim," meaning, company A may only use 2 percent of hangbang ingredients in its formulation, while company B may use 25 percent hangbang ingredients in its formulation and their labels read the same. It’s similar to the U.S.’s battle with the “natural claim," except Hangbang is a defined term.

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