Alicia Yoon is old enough to remember when “Korean skincare” was a foreign concept in the United States. As in—just a few years ago. Circa 2012, Yoon faced her fair share of raised eyebrows and perplexed looks when she’d bring up the subject. At the time, Yoon told Girlboss, the comments ranged from, “Is it only for Korean people?” to “This is a little bit niche.”
Of course—it’s proven to be anything but niche. The face mask craze you kept seeing on Instagram? Consider that a byproduct of the surge in interest on all things Korean beauty. Even Sephora has a breakout section dedicated to “K-beauty.”
“I don’t think it’s a trend, I think it’s an evolving conversation,” Yoon, the founder of the beauty e-retailer Peach & Lily, said. For instance, beauty editors who used to ask “What is Korean beauty?” are now asking about specific ingredients in a Korean skincare product.
Yoon said she always felt there was something special about Korean skincare products. For years, Yoon had been in a quest to control her eczema and develop better skin. So, she began using herself as a “guinea pig” for any and every product test– and because of this she had an extensive knowledge of skincare. But, it wasn’t until a cosmetic chemist in the United States asked her about her heritage that something clicked. While the chemist remarked on the potent ingredients found in the Korean beauty market, Yoon realized there was an opportunity to bring Korean beauty products to the U.S.
She quit her job at the consulting company that same day by announcing to the head of HR that she had an idea for a company. “It was almost like I was sharing good news,” Yoon said. The company was very supportive, she added, and the feeling was, “We can see that you’re so passionate about this.”
Fast-forward a few years and the Peach & Lily skincare collection is now available for sale. Certain products have sold out within minutes. In this week’s Shortlisted, Yoon, dives into her must-have Korean skincare products and her beauty routine, along with her favorite self-care tricks, and things she loves right now.
The three skincare essentials I can’t live without
“The Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum as it’s like a super juice for skin. It brightens, firms, hydrates, delivers antioxidants and it leaves skin looking like glass– poreless, illuminated, and translucent.”
“I’ve been using the Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Toner for the last six years. It’s soothing and super hydrating thanks to royal jelly and bevy of botanical extracts. Tip! You can apply five to even ten layers and this will keep your skin bouncy and it’s like a mini serum.”
“The Shangpree Crystal BB Cream leaves skin with a flawless, very natural finish and titanium dioxide and zinc oxide help protect skin from the sun (though I always wear a separate spf also!).”
My daily beauty regimen consists of…
“Double cleanse always. The Shangpree S-Energy Cleansing Gel gets everything off without any residue followed by The Shangpree S-Energy Facial Mousse Cleanser as it’s so gentle while bring hydrating and brightening.”
“The combination allows skin to be cleansed thoroughly down to pores without disrupting the skin barrier. Next comes the Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Toner to adjust skin’s pH and kickstart hydration.”
“Then an essence which I find to be a game-changer for so many people. Dull skin quickly becomes radiant skin. The Peach & Lily Wild Dew Treatment Essence is brightening, super hydrating, packed with nourishing ingredients and is the super-fast lane to radiance.”
“Then the Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum, paired with the Peach & Lily Pure Beam Luxe Oil, which will replenish and fortify the skin barrier while also giving skin a huge boost of antioxidants and fatty acids. I love that it’s not greasy and fast-absorbing.”
“Then comes my Eco Your Skin Eye Essence, which helps to keep the area firmed up, bright and hydrated. It also has volufiline and polylactic acid which fills in fine lines and wrinkles so skin is plumped up and makeup application is creaseless and super smooth.”
“I seal it all in with the Peach & Lily Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream, which is key because it creates an invisible and weightless antioxidant shield on skin, helping to combat free radicals. Matcha is one of the richest sources of antioxidants so this cream is a must for me. Plus, it’s a pretty flawless finish so I often go foundation-free with this cream in the morning, then SPF always! And sometimes I’ll use a BB cream or a cushion compact.”
When my skin really need to an extra boost…
“I use the Reset Button sheet mask a lot as I test so many products and this mask is soothing so helps me keep my skin smooth-sailing through all the testing. I also have eczema, so I have to ensure my skin is kept hydrated and calmed. I always like to encourage others with skincare because you can have radiant skin even if you don’t have good skin genes. I used to have really extreme rashes but as I started to go to skin school and studied to become an esthetician, I saw that the right approach and products could transform my skin, so I always share this so others can be encouraged that skin can be improved.”
But this mask is my favorite exfoliator
“And once every week or two, I’ll use a deep-dive exfoliator. I’ve been using the Peach & Lily Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask for a while now because it just works… I also do facial exercises each day – just a quick a e i o u that I mouth in an exaggerated way, five times a day. Been doing this for 20 years and it helps keep the facial muscles toned.
Here’s a few of my other favorite things right now
Currently I’m reading + listening to…
Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.
I’m listening to a medley of Otis Redding songs.
Go-to pair of shoes
Chloe espadrilles, lately. Gives me height but they’re super comfy.
Bonus: Productivity hack for getting things done
I don’t look at my phone until I’ve sat down with a pen to paper and wrote down the things I have to do that day. This way, I’m more proactive about my priorities that day, and less reactive to whatever pops up in emails. I do this at home before I go to work in a quiet room with a cup of green tea. It sets a calm tone for the day, and helps keep the day purposeful.