10 Korean Inventions - Products Made in South Korea

Today, South Korea is all about K-pop, K-drama, fast delivery and being tech savvy. But, do you know that this country also produces some cool inventions too?

Some of these inventions have made a big influence on our social, business, and cultural life. Whereas for others, they might not have been impactful, but we still can't deny that those inventions are quite wonderful to have.

In this article, we will informing some Korean inventions. Do you know if these items originated from South Korea? Read on to find out!

1. Korean Cushion Compact Foundation


K-beauty is starting to dominate the world. And one of the essential korean cosmetics item that you cannot miss out on is the Korean BB cream cushion compact foundation.

What is the Korean Cushion Compact Foundation?
"Think of a cushion compact like your favorite liquid foundation in a sponge—it’s conveniently encased in a compact to prevent makeup spills and can be applied with an applicator or your fingers. Basically, it’s the holy grail for the person on the go." -byrdie.com

For those who are not aware, makeup before the cushion compact meant getting your hands dirty with a liquid foundation. That usually doesn't contain SPF protection and does not provide a matte finishing.

In essence, makeup then was a more tedious effort which requires several more layers and also getting your hands dirty.

With the invention of the Korean cushion compact, it changed the world of not only beauty enthusiasts but literally everyone.


Who Invented the Korean Cushion Compact?

iope air cushion styleupk

On March of 2008, Korean cosmetic brand Amorepacific C-lab invented the cushion foundation. And its brand IOPE was the first ever brand to sell the product as IOPE Air Cushion. IOPE is a famous K-beauty brand, and as soon as they launched this product, it got extremely popular.


The Effect of the Cushion Compact


This cushion foundation has become a convenient make-up product, especially for busy people. You can carry this cushion foundation with you anywhere you go.

Since the cushion netting part is soaked in BB cream and not in liquid form, you need not even worry that it would spill inside your bag!

What's more, the sponge that comes with each cushion pact ensures an even layering of the korean cosmetic on your face, leaving a dewy effect.

You can also count on this little guy to take care of any smudges and helps you get a quick touch up before important meetings. Most Korean women always carry a cushion foundation with them in their bags. 

No wonder AmorePacific sold 33 million cushion compacts in 2015, which means at least one every second!

2. Internet Cafes


Known also as pc bang or LAN shop, the internet cafes are aplenty in South Korea. And as you might have guessed it, it originated from this tech savvy nation!



When did Internet Cafes Start?


PC cafes were first invented in the 1990s in Korea. During this period, computers were very expensive and unaffordable.

Even when the internet became available later, PC bangs still remained popular as the internet was not easy to install. And do you also remember that dial-up lines were needed to connect to the Internet?

It became a cheaper alternative for people to do some work or play computer games instead of buying a computer.



Why do Koreans go to PC bangs?


Even though almost everyone has a PC and home internet services these days, PC bangs still remain popular. It is because they provide users with the fastest internet and great graphics card.

Most of them are also clean and spacious, operate 24hours and sell snacks and drinks.

That is why gamers love to visit internet cafes. You will see it filled with students too, especially during the evenings, on weekends and during school vacation.

 

3. Instant Coffee Mix



In the food world, instant coffee has made a big revolution. Before instant coffee mix was introduced to everyone, coffee was considered a luxury.


However, in 1976, Dongseo Foods invented instant coffee mix, making it a necessity for people all over the world. In fact, they remain still the biggest vendor in Asian countries.

maxim coffee kdrama

Maxim Instant Coffee in Kdrama The Secret Life of My Secretary

The instant coffee mix is made by freeze-drying the espresso mixture. After it transforms into powder form, the end consumers can then use water or milk to rehydrate the blend. When it's rehydrated, the taste and consistency are similar to the espresso.


It is a staple drink in Asian offices, and in households. It has really changed the game for people who are always in a hurry. The land of instant ramen has over the years produced many ready-to-eat meals and beverages. Instant coffee is by far the most commonly used instant product. Whenever you need quick caffeine fix, a stick of instant coffee will set you good. 

4. Eco-Friendly Regen Fabric

pleatsmama knit bag

Pleatsmama Knit Bag made with recycled PET bottles

Plastic was once considered one of the world's greatest invention but it has led to much environmental pollution. These days, companies and even countries are seeking new ways to reduce the use of plastic.



Fun Fact: Do you know that cafes in Korea are not allowed to use takeaway cups for dine in since 2018?



It was an effort by the Korea Ministry of Environment to reduce the use of plastic. Since then, major cafe players like Starbucks have also started to use paper straws !

To tackle this major environmental problem, Hyosung TNC created the regen fabric. It is a material recycled from used PET bottles.

How is recycled polyester made?

recycled fabric

Process of making fabric from PET bottles. Image credit: tscudo


The used PET plastic bottles are collected and then recycled to make polyester yarn. This makes it much more eco friendly than extracting polyester from petroleum.

This polyester yarn can then be transformed into a fabric material to use on fashion items like bags and clothing.

 

Eco-Friendly Korean Fashion Brands - Pleatsmama and Marhen J 

pleatsmama knit bag
Korean fashion brand Pleatsmama is one of the early adopters of this eco friendly fabric. Their knit bags are all made with recycled material!

In addition, vegan leather bag brand Marhen J has also used the eco friendly regen fabric in their Earth Edition Ricky Backpack. They will also be using it in their new series of Marhen J rico antibacterial bags!

 

Adidas leads the recycling game with 100% recyclable shoes

adidas futureloop sneakers
Even big apparel brands like Adidas have jumped on the environmental friendly bandwagon. Their FUTURECRAFT.LOOP shoes, which will be released this year, will be made with 100% recycled material.

adidas futureloop sneakers
adidas futureloop sneakers

adidas futureloop sneakers

The sportswear partnered with Parley for the Ocean since 2015 for this earth saving movement. Their purpose? To reduce waste. This is because there is a low recycling rate as most items are made with a combination of recyclable and non recyclable items.

Their solution? The Adidas FUTURECRAFT.LOOP - 100% recyclable shoes will be made with only one material. It can also be wholly recycled after its lifespan to create a new pair of shoes.

This giant streetwear brand has plans to make all their shoes recyclable by 2024.

Thanks to these brands, eco friendly apparel has changed from tacky items into trend setting products. Hopefully it will lead to a butterfly effect onto other apparel brands!

 

5. Milk Carton Gable Top Opening


milk carton gable top

Korean Milk Cartons. Image credit: @Gail Anderson

Who hasn't come across milk cartons before? We all use and buy these at the convenience stores. In 1930, milk cartons were first invented in the America. However, the famous Gable top opening of these cartons was created in 1953 by Dr. Shin.

This design made the opening of milk cartons and pouring of liquid easier. It can be seen all over the convenience stores in Korea and also many other countries across the globe, and have become a daily convenience.

 

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