Back to basics: KraveBeauty aims to undo damage of excessive skin care through conscious product development

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

KraveBeauty has partnered with Sephora to enter South East Asia. ©KraveBeauty
KraveBeauty has partnered with Sephora to enter South East Asia. ©KraveBeauty

Related tags Skin care conscious beauty Sensitive skin skin barrier Sephora

US-based KraveBeauty, which has recently entered South East Asia, seeks to address the needs of the increasing number of sensitive skin sufferers caused by the boom of active ingredients and trends-led products.

The brand, targeting people who have “overdone skin care”, has partnered with Sephora to break into Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand markets in April.

KraveBeauty is founded and led by top beauty influencer Liah Yoo, who has more than 1m subscribers for her YouTube channel.               

We see skin care becoming so trendy to the point where new active ingredients are coming out left and right. People are getting so excited about skin care and trying many different products. We can quite honestly say that the sensitive skin demographic is probably increasing because of that.

“The concept of ‘more is more’ is not only overwhelming people’s skin, but also taking a toll on the environment. Consumers have been told to learn more about ingredients, such as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, but there is less education on the skin barrier or the skin itself. This is why we are offering something that emphasises ‘less is more’,” ​Yoo told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

Citing her personal experience, Yoo said that for those with inflamed and acne-prone skin, instead of applying more products and further aggravating the skin, stripping back to the basics, such as a three-step routine of cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen, is key.

KraveBeauty is committed to having an “intentionally curated” portfolio and taking time to develop each product.

“Our brand is six years old and we brought six products to Singapore, so it definitely shows how long we take to launch anything new.”

Particularly in 2020, the brand initiated a campaign called #SlowdownSkincare whereby there were no new product launches during the following two years.

“We wanted to show that the company can still grow without needing to pump out more products because a lot of beauty brands resort to launching new products, even if they don’t believe in them, just to fill the top line.

“We were able to grow 250% year-over-year in the two years that we didn’t launch any products. It became a case study for other businesses, hopefully, to benchmark and be okay with the concept of not having newness for a while.”

Long-anticipated expansion

Prior to South East Asia, KraveBeauty was mainly sold in South Korea and the US, with the latter making up about 90% of its revenue.

Interest from around the world subsequently led to the brand’s debut on cosmetics e-commerce platform Cult Beauty in the UK and Europe, as well as its entry into Asia.

“As soon as KraveBeauty was launched, we saw high traffic coming from the Asia-Pacific region, including Singapore and Malaysia, but we couldn’t convert them. People were adding things to cart, but shipping costs and all the inconvenience stopped them from trying the brand,” ​Yoo shared.

While the firm has been in discussion with Sephora for a few years, it wasn’t until recently that it was ready for further global expansion.

“Previously, we were focused on building brand awareness in the US, and that alone took so much time and investment. We thought Sephora would be the perfect partner to protect the brand’s integrity and image, and to have a more controlled brand presence on shelves, compared to any other retailers in this region.

“It is our goal to make our products more accessible to consumers in the Asian market, and to become a mainstream brand. We are glad to be finally available here via Sephora because I know that a lot of people who watched my YouTube channel for many years have always wanted to try the brand.”

In addition, Yoo seeks to help as many Asian consumers who are damaging their skin barrier and who need a reset button on their skin care routine as possible.

“People who come to our brand or on whom our products work best are those who have really sensitive skin. In terms of age group, our target consumers are the younger millennials and older Gen Zs between 18 and 34 years.”

Catering to local consumer needs

KraveBeauty’s products are categorised into two series, Core and Supplement, with the former being products that form the backbone of a skin care routine and are sufficient for maintaining healthy skin, and the latter akin to nutritional supplements that complement the basic routine.

According to Yoo, though Great Barrier Relief is its bestseller at the moment, Oil La La is catching up fast, thanks to beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira.

“Oil La La is a watery oil serum that soothes current and prevents future breakouts. Mikayla had some acne issues, so she used this product and had a tremendous before-and-after effect, which was shown on TikTok. It went viral and helped put Oil La La on the map.”

However, as both Great Barrier Relief and Oil La La are “oil-forward” products, Yoo expects to see greater inclination towards more lightweight options like Kale-Lalu-yAHA gentle exfoliator, Matcha Heartleaf Hydrating Cleanser, and Oat So Simple Water Cream moisturiser, given the humidity and climate in the SEA region.

She also revealed that reformulation of KraveBeauty’s Beet The Sun sunscreen into an international version is in the works.

“We are doing all the testing right now, and we hope to bring it to SEA within this year. We are also developing a thicker version of Oat So Simple. The original version is amazing for people here, but for those with dry or eczema skin, they need something that is more protective and inclusive, so that’s something we are working on.”

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