Liah Yoo is a self-described “Entrepreneur by day, YouTuber by night.” She makes super smart, ultra engaging, informative beauty content on YouTube, and has just launched her own skincare line, KraveBeauty. Below, Liah and I talk bad skin, great products, and how good hydration should be the focus of any decent regime.

  1. You have a fantastic beauty channel on YouTube, but prior to becoming a content creator, you worked for the massive Korean beauty brand, Amorepacific. What was your role at the company, and what prompted you to branch out on your own and in such a public way?

So, I was working at AmorePacific Headquarters on their e-commerce team, where I oversaw marketing for their direct to consumer channel. It was such a valuable experience to see how the beauty industry really works, and, more importantly, I got to experience second hand what it takes to run a business.

Photo credit: @kulitkulet_

Even though I was pretty content with the job, I was always longing for more. I wanted to create more, to really find a way to make a difference in the world, and I knew that a corporate environment was going to be limiting. By the time I was ready to take the next step, YouTube was waiting for me to fully lean in. It was very cool, being heard and feeling valued on YouTube. There was an audience just waiting for my content, and that was all I needed to take the leap of faith.

  1. Why skincare? What initially sparked your interest in the industry? You must have had a relatively healthy obsession with beauty, yes? To parlay what could’ve been an escapist pastime into a full-fledged career?

The answer is simple: I had bad skin and I hated it, which led to a super unhealthy relationship with skincare and with myself. I was so desperate to cure my acne that I hoarded products and abused my skin, which only worsened the issue. Eventually I realized that I was doing something fundamentally wrong, and that’s when I started binge-reading medical journals and scientific books about skin. This prompted me to really pay attention to what my skin was signaling. After about 6 months, my acne started clearing up, and I shared my transformation on YouTube. A lot of people experiencing similar struggles found my skincare tips helpful and shared my videos with friends. Growing my audience has been a gradual process, but it’s led me to a new career. And now I think everything is possible, as long as you have the right motivation and purpose.

  1. You recently moved from Seoul to NYC. Was that a business move, a lifestyle choice, or both? What appeals to you about the states, and NY specifically?

It was, both, a personal and professional move. I really loved living in Seoul, but things were becoming too stagnant for me and I felt boxed in – like I couldn’t really stretch and expand. I was lacking inspiration and it was becoming harder for me to engage in conversations with friends I grew up with because we’re all walking different paths now. The move to NYC was about finding like-minded people, and about creating an environment for myself that would be inspirational and also conducive to my growth as an entrepreneur.

  1. What’s the biggest difference between American and Korean approaches to beauty? And do you think the differences are becoming less distinct now that there are millions of people online, from all around the world, swapping skincare and makeup tips?

I see a lot of American consumers wanting instant results and quick fixes with skincare products, so it seems like a lot of American brands are catering to that. Koreans take a ‘prevention over treatment’ approach – skincare is a part of our lifestyle and we don’t really expect more than good hydration. That’s why you’ll find that Korean products are generally more moisturizing than American ones. Korean skincare is based on the belief that deeply hydrating the skin will prevent signs of aging, which is 100% true. Korean brands don’t go crazy on actives, because skincare is viewed more as a marathon, less as a sprint. And I think in the future we’ll see less of a boundary between American and Korean practices, because both territories are starting to influence each other more and more.

Photo credit: @beawuty

5. Lastly, late last year you launched your own skincare line, KraveBeauty. How did this development come about, and how do you see the brand growing, moving forward?

I had two reasons why I wanted to create my own skincare line: one, the industry has complicated things far too much; and two, I saw so many people getting overwhelmed and stressed while trying to find the “right” skincare solution. We end up using so many products that our skin doesn’t crave, which results in sensitivity and inflammation. I’m hoping that our brand, KraveBeauty, can help redefine what “skincare” means to each individual. We’d like to get rid of all of the shoulds in skincare, and focus instead on simply feeling good, inside and out. Our customers seem to find our brand’s messaging very refreshing – they encourage their friends and followers to listen to their own skin’s needs. That’s exactly the kind of conversation/movement I set out to create, and I’m hoping it will impact the beauty industry in a big way.

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