Forgotten fruit: Korea’s Deardot enters sustainable skin care space with rare hero ingredient

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Deardot’s signature product, Dangyuja Face Cleanser Sheet, is individually packed in a water-soluble sachet. ©Deardot
Deardot’s signature product, Dangyuja Face Cleanser Sheet, is individually packed in a water-soluble sachet. ©Deardot

Related tags Korea K-Beauty Sustainability Sustainable packaging

Korean skincare brand Deardot is seeking to branch out overseas with products containing a ‘forgotten fruit’ that can only be found on Jeju Island.

A key ingredient of Deardot’s products is fermented extract of Dangyuja​, an endangered citrus species found only on Jeju Island, South Korea.

Although Dangyuja ​was widely used for health and beauty purposes in folk remedies during the Joseon Dynasty, the number of farms growing traditional tangerines, including Dangyuja​, dropped as other species with high sugar content gained popularity over time.

The ‘forgotten fruit’ and its benefits were rediscovered by Deardot’s founder Hoisook Kim in 2020. After two years of product development and testing, the brand’s first products, which have been certified by The Vegan Society through the Cruelty-Free Pledge, were launched this year.

“Dangyuja is a natural antioxidant that contains twice the amount of organic acids and four times the vitamin C in lemon. We found it to be very effective for moisturising, skin brightening and rejuvenation, as well as for reducing wrinkles and acne, and we wanted to showcase it to the world,”​ Kim told Cosmetics-DesignAsia​ at Cosmoprof Asia 2022.

Water-soluble cleanser sheet

Deardot’s signature product, Dangyuja Face Cleanser Sheet, is made from a waterless formulation and comes in a sheet form. Each sheet is individually packed in a water-soluble sachet.

“All you need to do is to place the cleanser sheet on your palm, wet it with a few drops of water, then rub both hands to create a lather. Wash your face with the foam, rinse thoroughly with water, and you are done! The sachet is also 100% dissolvable in water, so it doesn’t leave any residue,”​ said Kim.

The eco-friendly packaging design has been recognised at iF Product Design Award 2021 and Cosmetic 360 Awards 2022.

Catering to modern consumers’ lifestyles, the cleanser sheets are lightweight, easily packed in bags, and especially convenient for workout sessions and travels.

“The product doesn’t take up much space, hence commission fees in retail stores would be lower too,”​ she added.

Stocked only in Japan and on its website at the moment, Deardot is aiming to establish a footprint in the European, United States and Asia-Pacific markets in the near future.

Saving the seed
Currently, there are only four farms growing Dangyuja ​trees in Jeju, which inspired Deardot’s first conservation project named ‘Save the Seed’.
In March 2020, Deardot donated Dangyuja​ seeds to the Baekdudaegan National Arboretum Seed Vault in Bonghwa County, South Korea, one of only two such facilities in the world. The Seed Vault was developed to store and safeguard precious genetic material of crops, particularly against natural disasters and wars.

Apart from preserving the endangered plant, the company is also making efforts to promote the potential and benefits of Dangyuja​ to generate demand and consumption.

“When its value is seen, demand will increase, and naturally, more seeds will be sown. This creates a ‘virtuous cycle’ that is beneficial for both nature and consumers,”​ Kim said.

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