C.C.) Korean skin care is picking up in the U.S. and elsewhere because people have tons of respect for Korean beauty culture and the innovations. They want to learn about their skin from that perspective because they have found solutions that work with their skin and make them more radiant, healthy, and confident. I don’t think it’s a trend, but here to stay, especially as we become more conscious of how we care for our bodies overall! Skin is your body’s largest organ, so it stands to reason that we’re paying more attention to it. Korea’s skin-first philosophy has made it a leader in providing solutions for it.
Charlotte Cho is the reigning queen of Korean Beauty; she is the Co-founder of the Korean beauty site Soko Glam, Elle.com beauty contributor and author of The Little Book of Skin Care(Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin). When she is not making her rounds on radio shows around the world(seriously she will be on Poland’s top morning show Dien Dobry TVN next week) and popping up on shows like The Doctors , Charlotte is connecting with industry insiders and sharing everything she knows about Korean Beauty. She is a licensed esthetician and recently took the time to connect on our platform. The insights she shares here are both amazing and inspiring to fellow skin care pros. Read on and get to know Charlotte Cho.
BYM.) Please start by telling us a little about your esthetics journey?
Where did you go to school? Did you have any special interest or pre Soko Glam ambitions while studying?
CC.) I decided to get my esthetician education from Dermalogica Academy because their approach was more skin-focused. Their philosophy was to make sure we would come out of the program as knowledgable skin therapists, not just someone who performs facials and massages. I enjoyed learning about esthetics, ingredients, anatomy and the different treatment options for various skin conditions. The most valuable part of my education was analyzing skin and offering skin care advice. With over 100+ facials and 300 hours of hands on training, I learned so much about different skin types and conditions, and how to help people incorporate different ingredients and products into their routine.
BYM.) How long did you work as an esthetician before bringing SokoGlam to life?
C.C.) After launching Soko Glam, I saw that our customers were not only interested in buying products but they also had respect for Korean beauty culture and the philosophy. They also found that Soko Glam was a great resource for advice for skin care in general. I wanted to help people look and feel their best and offer advice from the esthetician perspective, so I decided to further my education in esthetics.
BYM) Lots of people consider you the expert in Korean Beauty; How do you stay current?
C.C.) Korean skin care is known to be 10 years ahead of Western skin care, with many global companies doing marketing research in Korea to catch up to Korean trends, technology and products. I make sure to visit Korea once every quarter to do research, meet experts and stay on top of the trends.
BYM) Were super excited about your book can you tell all the other estheticians out there why they need to add this book to their collection?
C.C.) My goal was to make skin care accessible, interesting and fun because yes, skin care is a complicated subject! That’s why I share anecdotes about my experience that makes it more accessible and easy to understand. I also wanted readers to learn why Korean women go to great lengths to take care of their skin, because there is a scientific reasoning behind it and understanding the mindset that drives it helps people take the plunge and start a skin care routine. Lastly, I give a peek into Korea’s culture because I hope to create a bit of wanderlust and get readers inspired to visit Korea!
BYM) For estheticians that would like to incorporate some Korean Beauty inspirations to a new or existing treatment what are some practical suggestions or product recommendations you could share?
C.C.) Sheet masks are a staple in any Korean woman’s beauty arsenal. We like to refer to them as mini facials because they really help boost hydration. There are several different types of masks available. Some just for the eyes, some for the lips. They are affordable and fun way to pamper the skin.
BYM) Who would you credit as some of the “Greats” of Korean Beauty?
C.C.) I think the Korean skin-first philosophy is considered one of the “greats” of Korean beauty. It’s about taking care of your skin at an early age (not just when you see wrinkles or after you have a breakout) because it’s an investment in your well-being. They believe prevention is more effective than treatment, and that is something that really resonates with me.
BYM) Can you give our pro audience 1 great Korean Beauty Secret?
C.C.) In their daily and nightly routines, many Koreans focus on hydration to chase away wrinkles and have healthy, glowing skin. Whether it is through facial mists, sheet masks or sleeping packs, this technique works because fine lines are a result of dehydration! Hydrating topically helps smooth out and plump up the skin to reduce visible fine lines.
BYM) Why do you think so many folks are turning to Korea for beauty inspirations?
BYM) What inspired you to write this book? How did you put the right people into place for writing the book and how long was the process?
C.C.) I was approached by a literary agent last year after she read several articles I wrote on Korean beauty. Initially I declined because I was in the middle of esthetician school and running Soko Glam. After my friend encouraged me to, “dream big,” I decided to go for it! I submitted my book proposal and in a matter of weeks I had a book deal with HarperCollins. They knew Korean beauty was a hot topic and was excited to launch this project with me. The book was published the same year, which is an incredible feat considering I am a first-time author!
BYM) Tell our pro-audience some of the steps you took to position yourself as the go to expert in Korean Beauty? How long did it take for you to get to this point what were some of the highs and lows and what inspiring advice can you share with estheticians with regard to staying committed to their goals and ambitions in this field.
C.C.) Interest in skin care is growing rapidly in the U.S so this is definitely an exciting field to be in!
I was fortunate enough to spend 5 years in Seoul learning about Korean skin care and the products before starting Soko Glam. My genuine passion for skin care gave me the courage to seek amazing resources, from the top R&D specialists at the largest cosmetic companies in Korea to the most popular Korean makeup artists that has allowed Soko Glam to be the Korean beauty destination and for me to pass on knowledge and expert tips! Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
BYM) What’s the next chapter in the Charlotte Cho story?
C.C.) I’d like to continue sharing skin care advice and introducing the latest skin care innovations through Soko Glam and THE KLOG. I’m also working on some exciting new collaborations that I can’t reveal just yet. Stay tuned on our blog and sign up for our newsletter to be in the know.
BYM) What is your favorite spa ,spa treatment at the moment?
C.C.) I love Korean body scrubs! By exfoliating the skin, it keeps my skin feeling soft and smooth. I usually get them done in Seoul at Dragon Hill or Spa Lei. Locally I get them done at King Spa in New Jersey.
BYM)Please share your thoughts on why estheticians are important and valuable to fashion, beauty and the consumer.
C.C.) It’s up to estheticians to dispel misconceptions and myths about skin care and the skin, one person at a time. With a better understanding of skin (the largest organ in your body) your clients will see that their skin (and confidence) will change for the better -and that’s very rewarding!
Thank Sarah Hayden formerly of Soko Glam for coordinating this interview. The Little Book of Skin Care is available through Harpers Collins and major retailers.