During my visits to Seoul, I have a chance to talk to our partners and experts in the k-beauty industry. I find it extremely important to learn as much as possible to start new co-operation in Korea which will result in bringing the best and most innovative products and beauty trends to Europe and provide you with as good advice as possible. This prompt me to give you the opportunity to learn more from all those amazing people and shed some light on the products you are interested in. Today we reveal our conversation with, Sanghyun Kim, the CEO of ABIB cosmetics.
How long has it been since you started the company and launched the brand?
Sanghyun Kim: In January 2016, I founded Four company and in that same here launched Abib.
What were your reasons for, approach to, and philosophy on launching the cosmetics?
Sanghyun Kim: In 2015, with the lead of a few start-up companies, the beauty product market in Korea focused on dramatic Before & After videos on SNS channels to exaggerate the effects of product to increase sales. Abib was founded to create a product that not only functions well but that is actually beneficial to the skin and to correct this undesirable trend in beauty market through communities.
What is the most important feature of ABIB cosmetics?
Sanghyun Kim: The products are developed to fulfill their key functions.
Skin care products such as moisturizing cream, serum, mask packs etc. focus on penetrating the active ingredients of the products deep into the skin. Cleansing products were developed through a lot of trial and error to eliminate the elements that cause irritation to the skin while maximizing the cleansing potential. Many people compliment Abib’s package design, but our focus when designing the package is on choosing a simple design that would maximize the functionality of the product. Abib’s slogan is “in its integrity”. Our focus is on each individual’s natural beauty.
How does your brand differ from Western brands?
Sanghyun Kim: Asian, especially Korean, has a skin that ages slow, has less odor, and that is resilient. Coupled with these characteristics, I believe the natural ingredients that can be found in Korea also helps in delaying the skin aging process. Taking this into account, we only use ingredients from regions of Korea with no pollution that has cleaner water.
What is/ are the biggest skin concern/ s nowadays (e.g. pollution, premature aging, adult acne)?
Sanghyun Kim: There are many problems but the most severe problem is the increasing exposure of skin to the pollution, and therefore damage to the skin layer, due to the increasing environmental pollution. The skin has the natural capability to recover, but strong ultraviolet rays, fine dust, harmful gas in the air etc. irritates the skin immediately. This not only damages the healthy skin but also makes the skin more sensitive.
How do your ABIB cosmetics tackle this/ these issue/s?
Sanghyun Kim: To resolve the problems mentioned above, Abib has an anti-pollution product(Abib Cushion ) that can primarily protect your skin from the surrounding pollution. Furthermore, we are continuing to research/develop methods to eliminate the unnecessary ingredients and minimize irritation to the skin in order to restore the healthy skin and bring out its natural beauty.
In which direction is the company/ brand going? What are your plans for the next 3-5 years?
Sanghyun Kim: Due to the development of mobile, communication and semiconductors, we live in a so-called age of information overload.
But these data are tainted with errors through unrefined channels of SNS and media. The society with a lot of data but no literacy. That’s where our society currently stands. Speaking for the cosmetic market, one cannot define a cosmetic product with just its raw ingredients. The mix ratio, medium used to deliver the material, user’s skin type, a method of use, etc. all come into play to define what is “good” as a beauty product. However, there’s a trend to define a product with just its data(the ingredients) without understanding the key elements of a product that truly makes it a good product. Cosmetic companies exploit this as a marketing strategy. They mislead consumers by only using ingredients that are helpful to marketing but in reality reducing the functionality of the product. There is a lot of data, but there is a lack of decision making.
There are a lot more products on the market, but the skin health of consumers are not improving. Competition has become fierce, but the competition is on more aggressive marketing, not on the efforts to increase production cost. Abib refuses the “Simple definition of a good cosmetic product”. We do not wrap our products under the marketing scheme that distorts the definition of a “good” product.
…in this case, what do you do differently?
Sanghyun Kim: For each line of product, we research The habits of the consumers, If the use of an ingredient is truly appropriate for the product’s purpose, If our focus should really be in absorption, To become a “Company that makes truly good beauty products.” Our sole goal is to protect and improve the skin health of our consumers by focusing all of our efforts into developing products that are truly “good” in every aspect.
What are the new products we can expect? What will be their purpose?
Sanghyun Kim: We are expecting to launch a facial care product to protect yourself from ultraviolet, blue light, fine dust, etc. or a product that can give specialized care to blackhead, whitehead, pore, etc. that has an immediate visual effect. We’re also planning on products with hypoallergic products that can be safely used on sensitive skins.
How do you want customers to remember your brand, ABIB cosmetics?
Sanghyun Kim: We hope to be remembered as a brand that tirelessly puts efforts into research and development.
Abib Hypoderma SP1-2GF Serum
What is it about Asian skincare in general that makes it so effective?
Sanghyun Kim: The biggest difference is the characteristics of the skin. But, the difference is significant for each individual among Asians as well.
(Asians have thicker skin and a lot more melanic pigment. So people have more interest in care products for wrinkles and skin-whitening than freckles.)
Asians tend to put more care in cleaning and protection against ultraviolet ray. (the Cleansing procedure is more complex and systematic )
How do a Korean skincare regime and the products differ from a Western skincare regime?
Sanghyun Kim: UV protection, meticulous cleansing habits, whitening, hypoallergic products are preferred more.
If you were asked to give one advice on skincare, what would it be?
Don’t use too many products. Instead do a thorough cleansing, keep a detailed UV protection and use some special care products, like sheet masks, regularly.
What are the biggest upcoming Korean skincare and beauty trends?
Sanghyun Kim: Block fine dust, block blue light, hypoallergic & sensitive skin care
Cosmetic diet according to the needs above(Prefers one product with multi-function. Put a lot of weight on cost-effectiveness and safety of the product)
Increase in the number of products that allows self-care at home instead of expensive skin care and surgery.
Increasing needs for skin care, not only facial but also body and scalp. (balding etc.)