Glow Recipe co-founder Christine Chang on what K-Beauty looks like in 2019
K-Beauty took the world by storm in a similar fashion to the Kardashians. We woke up one day and it was impossible to avoid – and just like the infamous reality TV clan, it wasn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, as even the most diehard of skin care junkies struggled to get through a twelve step routine. But, just how Kylie transformed from troublesome tween to baby-toting billionaire, K-Beauty has evolved too, and it’s about time we took a second look. We spoke to Christine Chang, co-founder of Glow Recipe (aka the coolest Korean skin care brand to hit the scene) to get the lowdown on new ingredients, application secrets, and why you should stop labelling yourself as one singular skin type – welcome to the wonderful new world of K-Beauty.
How did your upbringing in Korea influence your beauty philosophies and the creation of your range?
“Growing up, skin care was always such an enjoyable experience for me, because I learned it that way from my mother and my grandmother”, says Christine. “It was only after coming overseas for my first job that I realised my colleagues didn’t necessarily feel the same way; they were overwhelmed or intimidated and it was arduous and a chore. The mission behind Glow Recipe is about making skin care enjoyable and fun for everybody, and we do that through really sensorial products that work, of course, but that are also amazing to apply, [plus] lots of tutorials and tips to make skin care that much easier for everybody.”
Ingredients such as green tea and ginseng have always been popular in K-Beauty, but Glow Recipe is all about fruity beauty – what made you want to create a fruit-powered skin care line within the K-Beauty space?
“Firstly, fruit is familiar and approachable to everybody, and we wanted our skin care to be just fun and easy for everyone to access”, says Christine. “We always pair every fruit hero ingredient such as watermelon or avocado with a time-tested, proven clinical active like AHAs or PHAs (a next generation acid that really helps to retexturise the skin), and this combination keeps the formula very gentle but still effective”, she says.“[More specifically], the inspiration behind our first product, the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($69, mecca.com.au), was actually our grandmothers. [Glow Recipe co-founder] Sarah and I both grew up in Korea, and in the hot summer months our grandmothers would rub watermelon rind on our skin to soothe heat rash and irritation and it would work like magic, so we wanted to harness that same experience and put it into one jar”, Christine explains.
K-Beauty is all about seeing skin care as self-care rather than a hassle –what are your tips for enjoying the experience?
“I think the best way to approach your self-care routine is to not stress about it. One misnomer about K-Beauty was that it had to be ten to fifteen steps, and nothing could actually be further from the truth, because women in Korea are not thinking ‘I need to do ten different products today to achieve some certain ideal’; it’s more about listening to your skin” explains Christine. “So I’m sitting at my vanity with my skin care wardrobe of products, and I’m thinking, my skin feels a little bit dehydrated or dull today, so I’ll pick this vitamin C serum and the cream that’s a little bit more emollient, and I’m happy with that decision and at peace with it. I don’t think you have to stress out about skin care – it should be the best part of your day where you’re really just pampering yourself and taking a few moments for yourself”, she says.
As a K-Beauty expert, how would you recommend people go about prescribing their skin care regimes?
“I would say my top tip is that you are more than a skin type. We’re told at a really young age; you’re acne-prone, you’re oily, you’re combination, and then we stick with that our whole lives, but skin is skin, it’s different every single day”, Christine tells us. “[It’s] kind of like how your body feels different when you’re more dehydrated or you’re more tired, and you should treat your skin the same way. It's about having a dialogue with your skin, so that you know when it feels a little bit rougher than usual that you do an exfoliation, or when it feels a little bit more dehydrated then you pamper it with more nourishing products. Having that close relationship with your skin, I guarantee you, will pay off in the long term”, she says.
When it comes to application, what are your tips for getting the most out of skin care formulas?
“[A friend joked with me recently that] my memoir would be called ‘pat, don’t rub’, because I am a fanatic about patting. Patting really helps to drive any product that you apply into the skin, and this way you don’t have to wait between skin care steps for [products] to dry”, she tells us. “By patting, I also mean a very brisk pat – my husband can actually hear me when I’m doing this in the bathroom, and he’ll be like “are you doing your skin care?’”, she says. “I actually start this from the cleansing step; I haven’t used a towel in over a decade. After cleansing, what I do instead, and I urge you guys to try ditching the towel as well, is just pat in the moisture and get your skin to a place where it’s not dripping wet, but just damp. You’ll find that your skin is more plumped up with hydration, but additionally you’re not getting any potential bacterial transfer from your towel, that many times hangs near your toilet in your bathroom”, Christine explains. Consider us convinced (and a little grossed out) – patting it is.
K-Beauty products often come with a cult following, and your Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is no exception; in fact, it once had an 8000 person waitlist and currently, 1 mask sells every 3 minutes. What do you think people love so much about it?
“The Watermelon Mask was our first product and we designed it with someone in mind who may not necessarily be an advanced skin care junkie, so we wanted to make it easy as possible for everybody”, says Christine. “We call it post-facial results in one jar, and we were inspired by a K-Beauty facial where you get both hydration and exfoliation all in one and you wake up to glowing skin. Additionally, the sleeping mask format makes it really easy to just slather it on right after cleansing, and then wake up to glowing skin. I think our customers are raving about the fact that it’s versatile enough to be used as a wash-off mask in the morning, which is my personal tip. I slather it on the face first thing, as soon as I wake up, and it helps to smooth the skin for perfect makeup prep, and I think all of these versatile combination aspects really help make it that go-to product for a lot of customers”.
Main image credit: @glowrecipe
What’s your favourite K-Beauty brand? Do you pat or rub your skin care in?