By Jane Han
With the new season comes new make-up, and local cosmetic brands have been finger-pointed again for copycatting foreign brands.
Some such items widely noticed by consumers are Skin Food Black Sugar Mask, which resembles the look and name of Fresh Face Sugar Mask. The same goes for Face Shop Gel Eyeliner, which is similar to Bobby Brown Gel Eyeliner, and Etude Mascara Fixer that looks and sounds like Clarins Fix Mascara.
``It's common for local make-up brands to have similar names and containers as leading foreign makers because domestic companies constantly look for and learn from top overseas quality products,'' said cosmetics expert Kim Sun-hee. ``I don't think it's necessarily copying though because if an eyeliner is of the gel-type, you really don't have many options to name it other than Gel Eyeliner, and you can't say that's copying.''
Consumers welcome the resemblance local brands are offering because it opens more options for frugal shoppers reluctant to spend too much on cosmetic products.
``I know that local and foreign make-up quality can't be the same, but I think to some extent they are similar so I'm not complaining about the cheaper items offered in local stores,'' said Suh Hae-min, a 23-year-old office worker in Seoul.
Price differences vary from 10,000 won to as much as 30,000 won.
``I often buy Korean brands because they're less costly and when I have some extra cash, I invest in foundations and mascara made in Europe,'' said Kim Yoo-mi, a 26-year-old business consultant.
Although benefits are given to shoppers and cosmetics companies that reap sales, legal experts advise that some resemblance can be dangerous because of copyright issues.