By: Jasmine Lee
“What the HECK is going on?”
That was the thought running through Samantha Morgan’s mind when she stared at herself in the mirror one morning about a years ago.
Samantha always considered herself relatively healthy. She practices yoga regularly, drinks plenty of water, and consumes a balanced diet. Although she never truly bought in to the luxury skin care craze, she has tried a number of products from branks like Olay and Estee Lauder.
But at age 32, she was staring at signs of aging that she had never noticed before: visibly deeper wrinkles, puffy saggy eyes and skin that seemed to look dull and lifeless. What really surprised her was that these signs came quickly almost as if they appeared overnight.
Was it just her imagination or did she just not notice these changes until that day? Why didn’t she see these signs before?
"Look, I understand that getting older is inevitable and I’m not willing to fill my face with botox....yet. I just don't understand why I show 10 years of aging in only the last few weeks? It just doesn't make sense to me." Samantha proclaimed
Samantha didn’t know this at the time, but research paper commissioned by the University of California at Berkley proved 2 aspects of aging (true for both men and women).
1) The aging process accelerates with time. For example starting at the age of 18, the average person loses 1% of collagen & elastin each and every year. By the time we reach mid thirties, the loss rate of collagen & elastin doubles to 2%. By the time we reach our 50s, that rate has doubled again to around 4%.
2) Much like the tip of an iceberg, our body and our skin ages every day but you may not notice these signs until they build up to a point when they suddenly become visible. It’s called the “tipping point”. What Samantha noticed that day was the result of a degradation process that started at the age of 18.
"So then what are my option? Is it too late?" - asked Samantha
Patrice Mercier is the former head of Research & Development at Christian Dior Beauty and now leads the research team at Paris based cosmetics giant Sephora. He’s seen a lot in his 30 years in the beauty industry and says Samantha is asking all the right questions.
"That is the number one question we get at Sephora. Ten years ago, customers would come in asking for miracle products that would solve all of their problems, but by then it’s almost too late. Now our customers don’t want to wait until it’s too late because nothing is better than prevention. The earlier you understand how to treat your skin the better but it's never too late to start incorporating an effective daily anti-aging routine. The good news is that there are effective solutions for all ages. We have customers that start early as 19 and as late as 65." Says Patrice
Does that mean you can grab the cheapest product on store shelves and slather your face with it? Absolutely not! In fact Patrice is adamant that the wrong products can actually make your skin age faster!
"The new and most effective approach is to protect the cells responsible for regeneration, to repair the damaged structures and to maintain the right levels of activity for the self-repairing enzymes.” adds Patrice
Patrice is confident that the days of cheap, all-in-one skin creams found in drug store shelves are over. Made with synthetic petroleum based products and preservatives like formaldehydes, parabens and phthalates, they can actually damage your skin permanently. Why use such chemicals for preservatives? Because they are cheap, readily available and make their products last longer on store shelves. Make no mistake, it’s about profits. As long as their customers buy the products and don’t ask any questions, why spend time and money on better but more expensive ingredients?
But according to Patrice, that trend is now changing
"At Sephora, we find that the most popular and effective skin care products are brands that use natural ingredients to offer a step by step methodology to heal, regenerate and repair the skin to produce natural and long term skin health. It’s not about covering up, it’s about healing. Korean beauty brands have been doing this for decades and now they are our most popular products. Their philosophy is much different compared to North American brands because it's not about promising you a miracle product and more about a step-by-step routine with the goal of long term healing"
"If you browse through one of our retail stores you will notice that 30% of our store shelves are dedicated to Korean Beauty (called K-Beauty). We’re particularly excited about a brand that we’re bringing on board in late 2017 called Saranghae (which means I love you in Korean). Saranghae is essentially a 5 step anti-aging system that heals, regenerates and protects your skin. They already have a strong brand presence online and we love their approach to skincare. Customers are already asking for Saranghae in our retail stores." says Patrice
If you are not currently familiar with the Korean Beauty phenomenon (called K-Beauty) you will be soon. Search “Korean Skin Care” in Google and you will be inundated with articles from Vogue to New York Times extoling the virtues of Korean skin care. New York Times, Forbes and Sephora recently named South Korea as the most innovative country for anti-aging solutions. In 2014 Korea exported $3 Billion USD of anti-aging products to the United States alone. In 2017, that figure will reach $15 Billion.
The rise in popularity of Korean skin care started with younger consumers proficient in social media who wanted a more holistic and natural experience different from what they’re parents have traditionally used, but that popularity is now reaching over to all ages. Leading this social change is Saranghae (Means I Love You in Korean). The company Min Jun Lee founded from a UCLA dorm room is now the fasted growing Korean skin care brand in North America.
If you’ve never heard of Ms. Min Jun Lee that’s perfectly fine with her because that’s exactly how she wants it. But it’s a safe bet that she’s had a tremendous effect on your daily life. Min is a mother, an entrepreneur, and within the beauty industry she’s widely regarded as the activist that irrevocably changed the skin care industry for the better.
Sitting in her office in downtown Los Angeles, Min Jun Lee looks radiant in a bright yellow sundress that seems almost dull in comparison to her glowing smile. Out of the bright lights of the media, Min spent her early years advocating for cosmetic and skin care companies to ditch the chemicals and parabens for more natural and safer ingredients. Over 150 letters to government organizations and 11 (peaceful) protests later, she’s earned the nickname “The Super Woman of Skincare”.
She brushes off the notion that she is a heroine of any kind. She describes herself more as an accidental activist just standing up for what she thought was the right thing to do. She’s come a long way from her student days almost 20 years ago.
“When I was a freshman, I was blown away by what the girls in my dorm were putting on their skin. I found that many of the products from reputable skincare brands contained dangerous concentrations of harmful chemicals like formaldehydes, parabens and phthalates. The products were essentially glorified goop filled with petroleum by-products. The girls just didn’t know any better and to be honest they didn’t have much of a choice back then." - says Min
“My family ran the village apothecary for as far back as I can remember, we’re talking generations. My mother made homemade skin care creams and serums from the plants and herbs that grew in a field by a volcano. It’s an old recipe that’s been in our family for over 600 years. People travelled days to visit our apothecary and purchase the products from my mother. So I insisted on having my mother send me products from back home.”
“I knew I had stumbled onto something when my American friends started asking for my skin care products. By my senior year, I was getting hundreds of requests a day, from people I didn’t even know. I had some many requests my poor mother couldn’t make enough! By my graduating year I think I had over 2,000 people on that list. Korean skin care was unheard of back then, that’s no longer the case now and the popularity is only going to grow.” - says Min.
Min’s story could have ended just there but that would make for a pretty boring story. Min focused her entrepreneurial spirit and founded the brand Saranghae. Saranghae’s patented and award winning formulation is based primarily on natural Asian botanicals, whose recipe dates back 600 years
“What makes us different is the quality of our ingredients. We grow 80% of our botanicals on volcanic soil considered the most nutrient rich soil in the world. For example green tea harvested from our volcanic soil contains almost 300% more antioxidants than normal green tea.”
"Saranghae was born in that UCLA dorm room. It’s essential the same formula that’s been in our family for generations. We took the richest and highest quality anti-aging ingredients, developed a system around them and introduced it to North America. The response has been overwhelming." - adds Min.
Dominique Mandonnaud, the founder of cosmetics giant Sephora sees big things for Saranghae.
“Consumers in Europe and North America will be extremely pleased with Saranghae. Never has there been a brand that has so perfectly extracted the benefits of luxurious and highly effective Asian anti-aging botanicals. There is nothing like it in the world right now. We're working diligently to bring Saranghae to our US customers by next year and we expect Saranghae to be a leader for us in championing a new breed of natural but powerful anti-aging lines. - Dominique Mandonnaud, Founder, Sephora
To understand just why Korean skin care brands like Saranghae are so effective, we need to first understand how our skin's aging process works.
As we age, our skin loses its natural elasticity and skin thickness because the loss in collagen & elastin accelerates. Starting at the age of 18 the average person loses 1% of collagen & elastin every year. At the age of 30 we are losing about 1.5% of collagen & elastin each and every year. By the time you reach 40 that number increases to 2%. This causes your skin to decrease in thickness by 9% every 10 years. This loss in collagen and elastin does not slow down, it only accelerates as we reach our 50s and 60s.
Most cosmetics companies will have us believe that if we simply slather creams with synthetic collagen, elastin, some retinol and vitamins it will take 20 years off our face and make us beautiful. It doesn’t work that way. The vast majority of these other products do not take into account environmental factors such as toxins, pollutants and even gravity, all of which affect the loss of collagen and elastin. So these factors contribute to the inevitable sagging, wrinkling and discoloring of your skin. The goal should be healthy and vibrant skin, not just the illusion of temporarily tighter skin. This is precisely the reason why brands like Saranghae are increasingly winning over consumers because they understand and treat the root causes of aging.
Min walks me through how Saranghae directly address the root causes of aging.
“We first need to stop covering up the problems with chemicals and fillers which just leads to more damage over time. Next, we need to consistently cleanse our skin of toxins and free radicals that accelerate skin damage. Lastly, we support the skin natural healing process by supplying the right nutrients and building blocks at the right time and in the right amounts. Saranghae’s 5 step routine is designed to do exactly that by focusing on three key steps.
1) Heal and Repair Damaged Skin:
The Saranghae 5 Step Anti-Aging Routine supplies the skin cells with essential nutrients. These nutrients boost your skin’s natural waste recycling process called autophagy. It dramatically improves the skin’s internal immune function by increasing cellular mitochondrial activity. Basically, Saranghae helps your skin to heal and repair continuously while you sleep, work or play.
2) Regenerate Healthy Skin:
Internal studies have shown that the Saranghae 5-step Anti-Aging Routine stimulates 200% more collagen and elastin production at the cellular level. Collagen and elastin are the proteins that give your skin a youthful, healthy and radiant glow. Saranghae's powerful antioxidants give your cells the necessary hydration and nutrients to keep producing more collagen and elastin, essentially regenerating new and youthful skin.
3) Protect Your Beautiful Skin:
The final phase is to protect that beautiful skin. The Saranghae 5 Step Anti-Aging Routine is specifically formulated with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients designed to protect against pollution and free radicals in order to reduce skin inflammation. Saranghae creates and maintains a protective wall that fights against the harmful effects of toxins, pollution, UV rays and sagging effects due to gravity. Think of it as a shield created by your own skin using powerful and natural ingredients.
Used consistently, the Saranghae 5 Step Anti-Aging Routine delivers healthy and glowing skin that will look 10 to 15 years younger. Saranghae will fundamentally change the way your skin ages..
“My goal was to create an effective anti-aging system faithful to my mother’s legacy and our 600 year old ancestral recipe. The response from women all over the world has been tremendously positive and we are extremely proud of Saranghae.” – Min Jun Lee, Founder of Saranghae
Saranghae has only recently made its entry in the North American market but it’s been serving the women of Asia for decades. Min and I pored over some of the clinical data collected over the years to highlight the efficacy of the brand.
When compared to 3 other well-known anti-aging brands, Saranghae was the clear and logical choice.
The comparison data showed that:
• 250% more effective than the next brand in reducing fine lines and wrinkles
• 40% more effective in decreasing puffiness and inflammation around the eyes
• Shows 200% greater increase in collagen and elastin production in 45 days
Perhaps the most powerful statement is that 9 out 10 women who have tried Saranghae said they would recommend it to family and friends.
A sample of the data is shown in Figure 1
Although Saranghae doesn't pay for celebrity endorsement, they do have quite the following among Asian movie stars and celebrities. Miss Universe Korea Honey Lee is a fan of Saranghae, as well as International actresses such as Michelle Yeoh (A Bond Girl, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragin) and Zhang Ziyi(Rush Hour, Memoirs of Geisha) among others.
International Movie Star Shu Qi (The Transporter, The Assassin) redefines the nature of what it means to be 40 and she is not shy about sharing her Korean skin care routine.
“The Saranghae 5 Step is all I need. It’s the only thing I make sure to do consistently everyday” - Shu Qi.
A lot of consumers in the U.S. are curious about Korean beauty but not sure where to start because they often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices available and aren’t familiar with the brands.
The award winning Saranghae 5 Step Anti-Aging Routine is the perfect way to try what industry experts are calling the next big beauty revolution. Saranghae's approach to holistic skin care and philosophy of using natural ingredients simply makes sense.
Finally available in North America, Saranghae has purposefully set their introductory pricing well below major brands for a limited time. They firmly believe that once you try the Saranghae 5 Step Anti-Aging Routine, you will become a customer for life.
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