Since starting her journey as a digital content creator on YouTube to founding her own skincare brand, KraveBeauty, Liah Yoo is a force to behold. With her straightforward and honest approach to skincare, she has amassed a cult following of over 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube. Upholding her ethos, KraveBeauty mirrors the same philosophy with the #PressReset approach. Fast-forward to the launch in 2017, and KraveBeauty has made its mark on the beauty industry, which often overwhelms people with its fast-fashion-esque pace. We speak to Liah Yoo, founder of KraveBeauty, about the brand’s launch in Malaysia, the challenges of running her own brand, her earliest beauty memory, and the upcoming launch of a skincare and makeup hybrid lip product called the Plumptuous Lip Jelly.

Interview with Liah Yoo, Founder of KraveBeauty

Hello Liah Yoo, it’s a pleasure to e-meet you and congratulations on KraveBeauty’s launch in Sephora Malaysia. Reflecting on your journey since founding the brand, how does it feel to have reached this milestone?

Really proud of myself and the team as it did take a lot of work! We really wanted to come to Malaysia sooner rather than later, so we’re excited to be finally available in Malaysia as my in-laws are also based there.

We heard that you worked at AmorePacific before jumping into creating content on YouTube. What motivated you to take such a step? 

During my senior year of college, YouTube was a fun hobby, and my studies were geared towards a career in interior design or architecture. However, the explosion of interest in K-beauty and Korean skincare really piqued my curiosity. This new wave of innovative products and routines fascinated me, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. That’s what sparked my application to AmorePacific, where I got my first taste of the beauty industry firsthand. It was an incredible learning experience that solidified my passion for this exciting and ever-evolving world.

What inspired you to create your own brand after being a YouTuber? How has that initial inspiration evolved over time?

The constant barrage of new products and conflicting information in the skincare industry was a major source of frustration for me, and I knew it wasn’t just me. Through my YouTube channel, I connected with countless people feeling overwhelmed and confused.  That’s where the inspiration for KraveBeauty struck.

My personal skincare philosophy has always been ‘less is more’ and prioritising gentle products that support your skin’s natural function. KraveBeauty entirely reflects this. We reject the “fast-fashion” model of skincare and focus on core essentials that form a streamlined “skincare wardrobe.” Our ingredients are like superfoods for your skin, promoting balance and restoring its ability to thrive on its own. We empower people to listen to their skin’s needs, not chase the latest trends.

What’s your earliest beauty memory?

NIVEA tinted lip balm!!! In cherry! Korean schools were pretty strict where they wouldn’t allow a single trace of makeup (apparently it’s a distraction to studying) so the only makeup-like product that me and my friends were always investing in was the NIVEA tinted lip balm that gives a wash of colour but still wasn’t like a lipstick.

What’s the most challenging aspect of running a skincare brand like KraveBeauty, and how do you navigate those challenges? 

Running a brand like KraveBeauty presents a unique challenge: achieving growth without following the industry’s constant launch model. Over 6.5 years, we’ve offered just six core products, navigating a market obsessed with novelty. We redefine “relevance” by prioritising innovation over saturation. We meticulously develop high-impact products and cultivate customer loyalty through quality and transparency. By empowering our audience with skincare education, we believe KraveBeauty can achieve sustainable growth on our own terms.

The brand is known for its revolutionary philosophy of #PressReset. Could you tell us more about it and what it truly means to you? 

#PressReset is our philosophy that cuts through skincare clutter. We say ditch the overwhelming “should do’s” and listen to your skin. Focus on intentional choices with high-quality products, creating a simplified routine with a capsule wardrobe of skincare essentials.

Speaking of the #PressReset philosophy, how does it influence your beauty and self-care ritual? 

#PressReset: streamlining my routine. The #PressReset philosophy perfectly aligns with my existing approach to beauty and self-care. I’m a big believer in “less is more,” and #PressReset reinforces that by encouraging me to focus on intentionality rather than just following trends.

Intentional skincare: In the morning, I cleanse with just water to maintain my skin barrier, then follow up with targeted products like serums and sunscreen. At night, a double cleanse removes makeup and impurities, followed by a serum and a moisturiser. #PressReset reminds me to listen to my skin’s needs and choose products accordingly.

Multitasking self-care: #PressReset isn’t just about minimalism in products, but also about maximising benefits. While removing makeup with a product like Makeup Re-Wined, I might incorporate a facial massage with a gua sha tool. These multi-tasking moments are a perfect example of how I prioritise efficiency and self-care simultaneously.

We know that you love all of the KraveBeauty products, but if you can only select one hero product from the range, what would it be and why?

Makeup Re-Wined! Not only it’s a beautiful, one-of-a-kind jelly oil cleanser, but it is also a product where we kickstarted our sustainable sourcing journey. We included a zero-waste grapeseed oil that was extracted from the byproducts of the wine industry. It also has a beautiful texture that’s in between a cleansing balm and a cleansing oil that makes you look forward to removing your makeup each night! 

If you could time travel back to when you started KraveBeauty, what advice would you give yourself? 

The biggest advice I’d give myself is to wholeheartedly believe in myself as a leader. Imposter syndrome hit me hard, especially when it came to hiring and managing people with more experience. I felt completely out of my depth, leading a team with such expertise.

Looking back, I realise that my passion for KraveBeauty’s mission and my unique perspective were invaluable assets. While I may not have had all the experience in the room, my vision and drive were essential. So, I’d tell myself to embrace my strengths, trust my instincts, and focus on building a team that complements my skill set. Together, we could achieve amazing things!

During the House of Sephora event in Malaysia, we heard about the upcoming launch of a skincare and makeup hybrid lip product called the Plumptuous Lip Jelly (correct us if we’re wrong!). Can you confirm if this is true, and could you share more details for our readers?

It is true! We’re working on a lip jelly that’s not only moisturising the lips but adding a hint of colour to people who want a product that does it all. This will also be made with mostly renewable ingredients including upcycled plum kernel oil. We’re really excited to see how people respond to this product. Please stay tuned. 

What can we anticipate for KraveBeauty? Are there any upcoming releases or developments that people can look forward to?

At KraveBeauty, we’re constantly striving to innovate and improve. While we can’t reveal specific launch dates just yet, there are some exciting developments on the horizon. We’re committed to minimising our environmental impact. This includes exploring new, sustainable ways to source ingredients, potentially utilising byproducts or waste materials.

We understand many crave (pun intended!) an expansion of our product line. We’re carefully developing new products that align with our core values of simplicity and efficacy. Stay tuned! We’re excited to share more details about these developments in the future. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience and continued support.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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