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 an independent 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 the average person loses collagen & elastin 1% every year at the age of 18, but by the time you reach 40, the loss of collagen & elastin doubles. And it gets worse as you enter your 50s and 60s.
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
Dressed immaculately in a custom Tom Ford suit, Patrice Mercier exudes the confident maturity of a man in his late 50s but looks like a man who could pass for 30. Patrice 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, nothing is better than prevention. The earlier you understand how to treat your skin the better and there is no set age to start incorporating an effective daily anti-aging routine. 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 the that 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. Forbes Magazine 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. The company Min Jun Lee founded almost 20 years ago 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 a struggling immigrant student trying to find her way while studying Natural Sciences at UCLA 17 years ago.
These days she balances the demands of motherhood and running a growing skin care company with her brother Peter. She is the founder of Saranghae, the award winning Korean skin care brand and Min believes that the desire for more natural ingredients was just a matter of time.
“When I started school in California (UCLA, Natural Sciences), I was blown away by what the girls in my dorm were putting on their skin. Quite honestly I found the products to be low quality, ineffective and many of the products even from reputable skincare brands contained dangerous concentrations of harmful chemicals. The girls just didn’t know any better because they didn’t have much a choice back then." - says Min
"So I insisted on having my mother send me products from back home."
"I knew I had stumbled on to something when my friends started asking for my skin care products. By my senior year I was getting hundreds of requests a day just from word of mouth. Korean skin care was unheard of in the US back then that’s no longer the case now and the popularity is only going to grow" - declares Min.
Min focused her entrepreneurial spirit and founded Saranghae after graudation which just recently won a number of prestigious awards in Korea. The foundation behind her brand is built upon an old family secret that dates back over 600 years.
“I grew up on a gorgeous little island near the southern tip of Korea called Jeju. It’s Korea’s Hawaii and just like Hawaii we have an active volcano on the island. Most people are not familiar with this but the richest soil in the world come from volcanic soil. It’s rich in nutrients and it produces flowers and plants that contain the highest concentration of anti-oxidants found anywhere in the world. Historical documents indicate that as far back as 600 years ago people from all over the continent were travelling to this very location to apply the essence of these botanicals to maintain their youthful glow."
“Saranghae was born in that UCLA dorm room but my mother was the true inspiration. It’s essentially the same formula that’s been in our family for generations. We took the most effective and highest quality botanical ingredients, developed a system around them and introduced it to North America. The response has been overwhelming.” Says 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 fully appreciate how Saranghae heals, regenerates and protects your skin, we first need to understand how the aging process works.
Most cosmetics companies will have us believe that if we simply slather creams with synthetic collagen, elastin, some retinol and vitamins it will cure us of our wrinkles. It doesn’t work that way. Human aging is a complex dance of multiple factors that combine together to produce those dreaded wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin.
There are 3 primary mechanisms that drive the aging process. First is the formation of free radicals leading to oxidative stress. Second is the breakdown of the elastin + collagen matrix from the enzyme Elastase. The third is the loss of Hyaluronic Acid caused by the enzyme Hyaluronidase.
1) Free Radicals leading to Oxidative Stress
The most destructive cause of skin aging is the direct result of free radicals (oxidative stress caused by unbound oxygen molecules). It is caused by external environmental factors such as ultraviolet rays or pollution in the air. Free radicals are similar to toxic waste and it proliferates by consuming cell membranes, using our skin cells as it’s food source. The end result is inflammation of the skin. Inflamed tissue destroys protein, collagen and elastin in the skin, resulting in skin aging and deterioration. The human eye sees this deterioration over time as fine lines and wrinkles. 90% of the skin creams out in the marketplace try to solve this by simply adding more elastin and collagen in their creams. Predictably, this method does not work. It may provide temporary feeling of softness because these creams coat the out layer of your skin, but the underlying damage is free to run amok.
2) Breakdown of Elastin + Collagen matrix from the enzyme Elastase
An elastic fiber forms a cross link with collagen fiber just below your outer skin layer called the epidermis. A healthy elastin + collagen cross link is what gives our skin that smooth look and supple feel. Sagging and hardening of the skin occurs with age because an enzyme called “elastase” destroys that elastin-collagen crosslink. Elastase is secreted from your body from continuous and long term exposure to ultraviolet light and inflammation of the skin. The unfortunate side effect is that this enzyme Elastase eats away at the elastin and collagen matrix.
3) Loss of Hyaluronic Acid by enzyme Hyaluronidase
The polymer Hyaluronic Acid (also known as HA) is a natural compound that helps cells retrain moisture. In fact Hyaluronic Acid holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. HA within our connective tissues allows our cells to retain moisture by forming a matrix within this tissue. We start to lose Hyaluronic Acid as early as 18, which causes our cells to retain less moisture. In turn, it greatly decreases cell function and cell life span. The enzyme that triggers this degradation in Hyaluronic Acid is called Hyaluronidase. Providing our connective tissues with more Hyaluronic Acid and inhibiting the secretion of Hyaluronidase will prolong the life and efficiency of our all-important skin cells.
Min walks us through how Saranghae directly addresses these 3 causes of aging using natural botanical ingredients.
“What we want to avoid is covering up the problem areas with oils and fillers which will just lead to more damage over time. We need to consistently cleanse our skin of toxins and free radicals that accelerate skin damage and support the skin natural healing process by supplying the right nutrients and building blocks at the right time and in the right amount. Saranghae’s 5 step system is designed to do exactly that by focusing on these 3 areas:
1) Heal and Repair Damaged Skin:
The Saranghae 5 Step System 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. 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 System stimulates 200% more collagen and elastin production at the cellular level. Collagen & elastin are the proteins that give your skin a youthful, healthy and radiant glow. Saranghae's powerful antioxidants give your skin 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 System 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 barrier 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, Saranghae 5 Step Anti-Aging system delivers healthy, glowing skin that will look 10 to 15 years younger. Saranghae will change the way your skin ages, looks and feels.
“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” - gushes Shu Qi.
A lot of women in the U.S. who are just being introduced to K-beauty are curious but not sure where to start because they often feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices available and aren’t very familiar with the brands.
The award winning Saranghae 5 Step Anti-Aging system is the perfect way to try what industry experts are calling the next great anti-aging 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 system, you will become a customer for life.
Interested in finding more about the award winning Korean Anti Aging brand Saranghae?
Click on the “Click For More Information” button below