- Why did you choose to offer Korean made skincare in Vietnam?
Vietnamese and Korean women are similar in that they prefer to look natural and wear less make-up. Both are very curious, do their own research and demand quality skincare products at a reasonable price.
Koreans and Vietnamese prioritize skincare and makeup second. Bottom line, if you have healthier skin, you will need to apply less make-up.
There’s a personal reason why Vietnam was on my radar. I first travelled to Vietnam from Canada in 2008 and fell in love with the energy and enthusiasm among the people. It reminded me of my childhood, as my family and the local community of migrants were striving for a better life by working hard and smart. When I am in Vietnam, I feel that same pulse of optimism.
Vietnamese people are concerned about their health and being healthy is not just about what we eat and our fitness regimes. It’s also what we apply to our skin. During my research, I learned that 60% of what we apply to our skin is directly absorbed into our bloodstream, be it dangerous chemicals or beneficial natural ingredients. This knowledge and a lack of suitable solutions led me to develop a modern, health-conscious skincare line. The Korean beauty industry is 10 to 12 years advance from the Western beauty industry, therefore it made sense to offer healthy products from Korea.
- As a Korean Canadian, living in NYC why did you choose to make your products in Korea?
In 2014, I decided to go back to my roots. Remembering my grandmother brushing my teeth, washing my face and moisturizing for me as young as early as being 4 years old while in kindergarten.
More recently, I have discovered how advanced Korean manufacturing really is:
- CGMP (Certified Good Manufacturing Practice)
- Highly competitive space since Korean consumer demand for quality at a reasonable price and for Korean manufacturers to compete, they need to deliver.
- They understand that in general, Asian women’s skin is more sensitive and that it’s important to formulate skincare that does not score high in skin allergy and toxicity ratings. Especially since it’s the first layer you apply before you apply makeup, or its often the only layer.
- The last couple of years, climate change has become a great concern to us all. Based on your studies, how does this affect women’s skin condition in general and more specifically Vietnamese women? Do you think we should be more attentive to our skincare than our parents used to be?
Yes, definitely. The three big differences and advantages we have today are: knowledge, healthy options and information.
Vietnamese women now have access to the right information to increase their knowledge about looking after their health and skin. For example, more Vietnamese women now know that sun UVA rays are the number one cause for aging skin. Even on cloudy and rainy days and even sitting indoors with windows, UVA rays will penetrate through the clouds and windows, causing premature aging signs, including spots, fine lines and droopy skin. Many Vietnamese women are applying sunscreen with the broad spectrum for prevention on any given day. Knowledge is also inspiring people to demand healthier products, including skincare with fewer chemicals that rank low in toxicity rating. For example, Soul Story made a health conscious decision to exclude Oxybenzone and other common sunscreen chemicals that are in 80% of the available sunscreens in the current market. Australia and Hawaii announced that they will ban sunscreens that contain oxybenzone since it damages the coral reefs and marine ecosystem. If sunscreen chemicals are damaging our environment, imagine how it affects human health.
There are healthier sunscreen options, including Soul Story’s Sun Warrior Sunscreen with SPF 50+ PA+++ Broad Spectrum protection.
Sun Warrior Sunscreen
Try our light-weight & non-greasy Sun Warrior Sunscreen
Free of harmful chemicals that 80% of other brands use
Soul Story Skincare decided to go oxybenzone-free since it scores very high on skin allergy and toxicity indexes. Oxybenzone is one of the common chemical filters found in 80% of sunscreen products. While its primary function is to absorb UV rays, research has shown that it is also absorbed by the skin and can stay in our bodies for an unknown duration. Skin penetration testing and lab studies have even found traces in breast milk (source: EWG). Oxybenzone is also a hormone disruptor and it can act like estrogen in the body.
- Compared to Korean or Japanese women, Vietnamese women are relatively new to the international cosmetics world. According to you, what are the basics any Vietnamese woman should learn about skincare?
The most important step in skincare is applying sunscreen on a regular basis. Therefore, it’s important to find a sunscreen that is made healthier and has other skin benefits such as antioxidants and anti-aging properties.
Applying sunscreen is a prevention and it’s important not to neglect your ears, neck, chest and hands. Even during extreme weather conditions – humid, heat waves and cold days – use sunscreen.
I wish I could tell my younger self to apply sunscreen on my neck and chest but at that time, I thought sunscreen was an expensive necessity and to save on cost, and I only used it for my face.
If sunscreens you used in the past have felt sticky and clogged your pores, use a light-weight texture that does not clog pores, suitable for even sensitive skin that works well under moisturizer and under makeup.
After using sunscreen without oxybenzone, and in general, it’s important to select skincare products that do not have harsh chemicals including parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). For example, many facial cleansers, body wash and soaps contain parabens and SLS. The concern with parabens is that it mimics hormones, in particular, estragon. It is used widely as it’s a cheap preservative, but safer preservatives can be used and are being used by companies that want to offer healthier products. SLS is a cleaning agent by it being corrosive and a surfactant that creates bubbles, but the problem with this harsh chemical is that it strips our protective lipids from our skin, causing dryness, skin irritation that can lead to acne breakouts, and for some, hair loss. SLS is used in large quantities to wash bathrooms, floors and industrial machines. Would you want to use that same chemical on our skin?
- How do you test your products?
We don’t test on animals – we use real people to test our products, and at Soul Story our philosophy is simple – create pure, authentic and beautifully healthy skincare, crafted without parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxate, Mineral Oil, phenoxyethanol, benzophenone, talc, triethanolamine, petrolatum, synthetic pigments, SLS, SLES or lanolin.
I always test it on myself first since I have sensitive skin. I also have chronic sinus problems with allergies so I am an ideal candidate to test new products.
It’s important for the brand to stick to our principles, using safe and quality ingredients to offer healthy skincare for many skin types and skin complexions.
For example, the Sun Warrior Sunscreen formulation met all our standards: suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, the scent does not cause me and others allergic reactions, and it can be applied under makeup. We wanted to make sure that it was also suitable for all skin complexions. People with darker complexions tend to avoid using sunscreen since it leaves a white cast/chalky finish – making them appear grey. We worked hard to make sure the formula was non-chalky.
We also don’t use animal derived ingredients such as lanolin and animal raw.
- What is your plan in the future?
~ Research & Development: Soul Story has a strong commitment to excellence in healthy skincare research and spends extensive time in the research and development (R&D) phase of all its products. We guarantee the potency and purity of our skincare by controlling every step of the process.
~ Therefore, we aim to continue to bring out healthy and quality products for Vietnamese women.
~ Also add value by being informative with our communication so Vietnamese consumers can make healthy decisions for themselves and for their families.
~ Hopefully, consumers can avoid the trial and error I went through trying to find safe and healthy skincare products that do not trigger allergic reactions and other health related problems.
~ Giving people a peace of mind by being a part of improving the quality of life. Vietnamese women like so many other women around the world are working on growing their careers or businesses, while caring for family and staying connected with friends. There is very little time for themselves.
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