When it comes to Korean skincare, ritual-and patience- is the holy grail. Beauty brand Saranghae, which is inspired by Southern Korean beauty treatments (these can include upwards of 20 steps!), is looking to bring the classic beautification routine to modern times with a simple, effective line of skin-changing products.
And, it's catching on. In the past few months, Saranghae- a brand born in a small Korean town - has popped up in the beauty influencers' social feeds, in editor's must-try lists, and is discovering a cult following all its own.
Melding a highly scientific approach with 600-year-old beauty secrets and ingredients, Saranghae, or “I Love You" in Korean, is all about the love, literally. Utilizing thoughtful formulations that feature precious ingredients like truffle extract, gold and an extremely rare mushroom with cancer-reversing abilities, the family-owned brand is a noble one. At the heart of the Saranghae universe is a focus on results rather than promises, a dedication to showing real women rather than models, and a commitment to offering classic skin care rather than trend-based formulas.
Packaged in simple but chic royal blue vessels, the Saranghae collection crossed our desk, like many have, but there was just something about this one. The straightforward, scientific nature of the brand, married with centuries of tradition and culture even caught the eye of our Founder, Iman Oubou, a beauty queen and scientist, who knows a thing or two about skincare. “As a scientist, I am a total geek when it comes to ingredients and technology in my skincare formulas," she says. “Intrigued by the unusual extracts in the line, as well as a no-nonsense brand ethos that I related to, I started using Saranghae products a few months ago, and immediately started noticing an improvement in my skin texture. I also love the reminder to stop what I'm doing each day and take some time for myself, which as a female founder I often forget to do."
As a brand, Saranghae is built on the belief that it is important to take time out for yourself, and to do things which make you feel empowered and confident. With their trending hashtag #OurLoveStoryStartsNow, they hope to inspire women across North America and beyond, to be comfortable in the skin that they are in.
“Our mission is to make everyone across North America feel beautiful," says Sandra Starr, Saranghae's Customer Care Manager. “We are passionate about sharing the best in Korean skin care, and staying true to our genuine love for our customers. We want to be your personal skin care gurus."
Rooted in history and modern science, Saranghae offers women a classic 5-step routine with power-packed formulas that feature innovative high-tech ingredients along with ancient Korean botanicals, including a unique mushroom found in a remote part of Southern Korea. Although there have been recent trends in the US towards minimalistic one-size-fits-all products that can act as your toner, serum, and moisturizer in one, the ritual-minded team at Saranghae is looking to provide American women with a complete solution to skincare.
“I'm not into complicated fussy products, but I do like to take my time at night with a beauty routine that I've been doing for over ten years," says Oubou. “At the root of good skincare is routine, and of course, products that have all the right ingredients."
The brand has a marked focus on transparency, revealing each of the ingredients used in each product, as well as sharing images of the results on real people. To wit, they routinely work with influencers across the US and share their personal experience with Saranghae. This includes their authentic, genuine opinion, as well as their photos. Saranghae also features their customer photos and testimonials across their platforms-- you could be next.
What's perhaps the most marked difference between Saranghae and other skincare players today is that they're not promising an incredible overnight transformation. In fact, the brand's three-phase program focuses on a process of longevity and self-care, allowing your skin to rejuvenate and regenerate overtime, the first of which focuses on healing. The dermis layer is repaired with a view to the next step: regeneration. The formula now begins to enrich the deepest layers of your skin with antioxidants and amino acids, smoothing wrinkles and lines to create a more youthful appearance. Finally, Saranghae forms a protective layer that penetrates right through to the cellular level. It's at this stage you will notice results, notably an effervescent glow.
What's in a Mushroom?
At the heart of all Saranghae formulations are ancient ingredients that are proven efficacious, including the Phellinus Linteus Mushroom (Sang Hwang in Korean), which has been used for hundreds of years in Korea to treat everything from obesity to cancer to depression. Fast forward to modern day, Saranghae is the only skincare brand to use this particular mushroom in beauty product formulations, which it also combines with ginseng (not to mention 20 additional botanical ingredients) to support healthy cellular function, and of course, glowing skin.
Rich in phytonutrients that stimulate the skin's metabolic processes, ginseng also contains active compounds that can increase the production of collagen and elastin and neutralize free radicals. Makes sense that the average ginseng-loving Korea lives 8 years longer than the average American!
The 5 Steps
“The 10, 12, 14 step Korean skin care routines are a myth," says Peter Lee, CEO of Saranghae. “In Korea, there is no set 10 or 14 step routine. Every Korean woman has their own routine and it can get as much as 10 to 14 steps. It's because Korean women enjoy the ritual, it is a pleasurable experience."
"Our data tells us that the majority of American customers feel overwhelmed with even a 5 step routine and most American customers do not have time for a daily 10 step routine. We've learned that it was imperative to listen to our customers and fit the routine into the average North American lifestyle, which is different from Korea," he continues.
When it comes to her own beauty ritual, Iman lives by the belief that slow and steady wins the race. While many people might be looking for immediate signs of changes, healing from the inside out as Saranghae does will deliver lasting results.
Despite the fact that we might not have the time in today's fast-paced digital-first world to devote as much time as we'd like to beautification, the Saranghae team has specially formulated the line to fit the lifestyle of the busy North American woman, while still delivering the results from traditional Korean routines. Below, you'll find the step-by-step process:
Long-Lasting Beauty in A Few Steps
First up is the Saranghae Nourishing & Moisturizing Oil + Foam Cleanser, which stars truffle Extract, gold, and 20 Korean essential oils. Combining the skin-healing benefits of an oil cleanser with the makeup-removal power of foam, this power-packed formula will make your skin squeaky clean, not to mention nourished, in no time. Next, you'll reach for your Saranghae Deep Radiance Essence + Serum, which is designed to penetrate skin and deliver antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins directly to your living cells to help increase blood circulation. Step three is the Saranghae Firm & Lift Cellular Regeneration Cream, which is said to reduce damage due to oxidative stress by up to 220 percent, promises fewer dark spots and redness, leaving behind a smooth, soft canvas for your next step.
The eyes have it in step number four, which stars the brand's magical Saranghae Focus Renewal Eye Cream. Packed with ingredients like vitamin B3, elastin and collagen, this light cream will visibly lift and firm and brighten the appearance of dark circles around the eyes. And finally, for days you need an extra dose of radiance, use the Elemental Essence Mask, which is said to actually enhance the natural contours of your face with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, making your need for complicated makeup steps a thing of the past.
“Every single sheet mask on the market is different. What they all have in common? It all began in South Korea," says Andrea McDonald, the brand's Marketing Manager. “This trend along with many others, originated in South Korea. The Saranghae Elemental Essence Sheet Mask is formulated with Hyaluronic Acid. The unique and intense formula delivers radiant results instantly after use. It's definitely a customer favorite."
Although it may seem complex, various beauty experts report that multi-step regimens are on the rise, as is an interest in holistic wellness, crystal, and essential oil therapies, and ancient beauty hacks, like jade rollers; it's clear that consumers are learning that not every trend is worth chasing.
“If Paris is the capital of Fashion, South Korea is the capital of Skin Care," says McDonald. “Innovative ingredients, advanced product development, harmonized routines and so much more. Saranghae is passionate, excited and thrilled to bring attainable, yet luxury Korean Skin Care to everyone's bathroom counter."
Because when everyone goes for 1, why not go for 5?
Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.
When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.
2016: What rules?
Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.
Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.
And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.
And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?
Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.
Digital policies for 2020 and beyond
While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.
Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy
Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:
- If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
- While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
- If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
- Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
- Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?
Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.
Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply
The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:
- Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
- Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
- Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
- Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
- Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
- Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
- Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
- Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.
Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles
Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.