I f you set yourself a 45-day task, what would you hope to achieve? Killer abs? A new website? A business model? My most recent six-week goal was the road to better skin, something I’ve struggled with my entire life.
I’ve found it difficult over my near-30 years to stick to a skincare routine because of habitual and pretty devastating breakouts. I’ve suffered scars, endured overly-oily periods and dealt with extremely dry patches, resulting in a lot of time spent vacillating between tons of different cleansers and moisturizer combinations that simply never worked.
After being introduced to Saranghae a few months ago, and speaking with one of their in-house consultants, I thought I’d dedicate myself to creating a routine, and building a relationship between my skin and the products. If, in 45 days my entire business can go from brains to production to profitability, my skin should be able to transform itself with the aid of a few key ingredients and expert formulas, right?
One of the most rewarding things about using the same skincare over a considerable amount of time is you become more knowledgeable of the makeup and formulas behind the product. As a former scientist, this especially fascinates me as I’ve consistently strayed from product lines that either: A. aren’t upfront about what ingredients they’re putting in the bottle or B. put so many chemicals inside that I’m terrified to try it. Hence, when I discovered Saranghae and their natural 5-step skincare routine, I knew this could be a game changer. Korean beauty is booming in the US and very scientifically driven, so I was naturally intrigued, especially given the brand is both vegan and cruelty free. When I say nothing has ever worked for me, I mean nothing, and now that I am under more stress building and growing a startup, my skin had gotten worse. Below, I chat about the transformation my skin has undergone over the 45 days, and how sticking to a strict skincare regimen even helped me organize other areas of my life.
The 5-step routine behind Saranghae’s genius is anti-aging first and foremost, but for me, it was more about cleansing and achieving healthier skin (buying anti-aging formulas in your twenties acts as preventative skincare, so the younger you
begin using them, the better you’ll look when you’re older). I began with using just the eye cream and the oil + foam cleanser for a week, to allow my skin a period of adjustment from the products I was last using. After the first week, I added the essence + serum into my nightly routine. This product for me was the hero. In traditional Korean beauty, this is broken down into two separate formulas that primarily aim to stop inflammation and breakouts. Saranghae managed to meld them into one bottle, and after only a few weeks I was noticing a major reduction in breakouts around my problem areas (notably my chin and my t-zone). In my second week, I also used the elemental mask for the first time, accompanied by Netflix and a salt bath after a long day (this moment was truly the highlight of my week). Aside from the soothing properties of the entire evening, my skin was instantly brighter and I decided to wear no makeup the next day, which is extremely rare for me. And finally, I began applying the regeneration cream at the beginning of the third week, which helps repair damage skin cells. This was the most luxurious of the products for me and something I’ve become obsessed with applying right before bed. Each step in the routine has been thoughtfully formulated and works harmoniously together.
Something that’s extremely important to remember when starting a new skincare routine, is that you’re likely going to have breakouts. As your skin becomes accustomed to new products and new vitamins, acids and minerals, it will react and this is only natural. Sure, you might be the exception, but know that if you do suffer a breakout, it’s only because it’s your skin's way of repairing. Look at your new routine as you would a new boyfriend: things are going to be a little rickety in the beginning, but you’ll get into a good routine and work out the kinks. For
me, the first few weeks saw my skin go through periodic breakouts, while simultaneously reducing the appearance of old acne scarring on my face. This has been a source of real contention over the years and something I’m quite insecure about, so when I saw the scars beginning to even out, I really began believing in the formulas and routine.
No skincare routine is going to change your appearance in a week, but a good skincare routine will change your skin in 30-45 days (if you truly make a commitment and stay consistent). Sticking with this 5-step routine has drastically changed my complexion. Aside from reducing scarring on both my cheeks and jawline (something I had been considering laser therapy for, not anymore), it has reduced my breakouts to only once every couple of weeks. Before, I would habitually suffer breakouts two to three times a week, so this has been such a reward. I’m much more confident wearing less makeup (especially in this summer heat wave), and have taken to giving my skin two days a week to breathe without any foundation or concealer (my email-heavy days, we all have them ladies).
What I’ve learned is, with my skin (and everything in life), all good things come with time and perseverance. The longest I’ve stayed with a skincare routine before was the guts of two weeks. Taking this 45-day challenge made me really focus on my problem areas; what was working and what wasn’t.
My top tips:
- If experiencing an oily t-zone, use the essence serum once a day only
- When applying any of the products, work through with the tips of two fingers rather than a whole hand, this makes sure your face absorbs all the product rather than the palm of your hand
- Combine your sheet mask evening with a salt bath and some scented candles, and ditch the cell phone. You’ll thank yourself later
Think you might be ready for a 45-day skincare challenge? Perfect timing. Saranghae is challenging you to use the Complete 5 Step Routine for 45 Days and to share your own Love Story for a chance to be rewarded with more than just great skin. Read more about the Challenge here. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"
I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.
In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.
Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.
For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.
Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.
The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.
It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.
While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.
What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.
While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.