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 have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!