Meet Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, the Founders of Glow Recipe – one of the most sought-after skincare brands around.
Sarah and Christine fortuitously crossed paths whilst working in marketing at L’Oreal in Korea. (They bonded over their love for skincare and Korean barbecue.) Their paths would cross again in New York – a reconnect which ultimately led to the formation of Glow Recipe.
Glow Recipe began as an educational platform, with a carefully curated edit of skincare brands. The duo then developed their own beauty line, which was almost instantaneously deemed ‘cult-worthy’, and now, four years on, is rapidly expanding.
Glow Recipe pays homage to the duo’s Korean heritage. Sarah grew up watching her mother dutifully patting (rather than rubbing) product into her skin: “I now realise that was her self-care ritual. Watching that was inspiring at a young age, and I swear by her routine to this day.” The importance of self-care was also integral to Christine’s childhood: “When we moved to Korea from Louisiana, we were suddenly whisked off to the bathhouse. Surrounded by friends and family, there was a real sense of community [there].”
Indeed, many of these childhood memories inspired Glow Recipe’s formulations, which combine fruit antioxidants with active ingredients for incredibly efficacious products. Sarah adds, “Our OG product – the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask – is very special to us as we both grew up with our grandmothers rubbing watermelon rind on our skin when we had heat rash. It was such a natural remedy which actually healed, hydrated, and soothed our skin. [We] bottled up those memories and combined [them] with active ingredients to create our signature products.”
Equipped with their skincare wardrobes, and more than a few beauty hacks up their sleeves, we delve into Sarah and Christine’s on the go beauty regimes.
What are your must-do beauty rituals/treatments before you travel?
Sarah: I think about what my skin will need. For me, the most important thing is making sure my skin is extra nourished by layering lots of hydrating products; I apply two layers of Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum. When travelling you experience dehydration, so it’s important to have a strong foundation before you set off.
Christine: Keeping the skin barrier in tact is so important when you travel: a change in climate and air con can compromise skin, so I combat this by using our Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum. I give myself a mini facial with it using my gua sha. This helps to soothe skin, tone, and create a good base for healthy skin.
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How do you adapt your beauty regime when you travel?
S: I don’t change it a huge amount: I have quite a simple routine, which I stick to. I focus on hydration, which is always important. I also always pack my Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask: it’s a must-have for me and helps to fight the dark circles which can accumulate from travelling.
C: I keep it basic and consistent. I have a very good cleanser, and ensure I cleanse for a full minute. I follow this with a hard-working serum and a good layer of moisturiser. Where it becomes less prescriptive is with my serums. If I’m really dried out from the plane, I will use our Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum. If my skin feels irritated, I will use the Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum. I like to have my full serum wardrobe on hand to pick and choose as needed.
Do you prefer to pack travel minis or full-size beauty staples? And why?
C: We like to pack both. We have our Fruit Babies range, which are miniatures of some of our best-selling products.
Do you have a regular plane beauty routine?
S: I use my Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist in-flight; it’s always in my purse and leaves me feeling so refreshed. I politely ask whoever’s sitting next to me if they don’t mind me spritzing, and often my seatmate wants to try it themselves! This leads to very fun conversations.
C: Recently – with the wearing of face masks – I’ve found myself applying an additional layer of the Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner before I board the plane. Not only has this helped with hydration, but the balance of ingredients has helped to prevent mask-related breakouts too.
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What’s been your favourite vacation spa so far?
S: The Spa at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul: there are private rooms where they scrub your whole body with beautiful essential oils. It’s like a Korean bathhouse, but elevated and modernised. If you haven’t experienced a traditional bathhouse, it’s a great way to ease yourself into it. It’s super pampering, and leaves your skin feeling baby soft.
C: The Korean bathhouse. Sometimes I will go straight from the plane – it’s great for unwinding when you have jet lag. There are so many different ingredient-infused tubs to soak in. There’s also another spa in Korea that has enzyme baths to help skin-cell turnover and help to release toxins. That was an inspiration for us to use enzymes in our skincare products too.
How do you unwind when travelling?
S: If there’s a nice bathtub, I will definitely make use of that; loaded with Epsom salts to relax my muscles. If I’m somewhere where they have very good massages, I will definitely take advantage of that as well.
C: I have a meditation app which I use on the go and will play as I unwind for the night. My daughter is very into it too, and we will do it as a family.
What’s your favourite country to shop for home-grown beauty products?
S: The world of beauty there is so vast and the spectrum of beauty products is so broad. You can find products with the most pure, organic ingredients through to those which are are the most clinically advanced.
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How do you overcome jet-lagged skin/eyes when you land?
S: When I reach my destination I make sure I exfoliate. I will use the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask at night, or our Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial – which takes just five minutes. It totally resets the skin and draws out impurities in a very gentle way. I try to keep myself busy to distract from the telltale headaches or tiredness associated with jet lag. I get puffy eyes and skin, so will put some of my products in the fridge for 30 minutes so they are extra cooling and aid lymphatic drainage.
C: Sleep is key, it’s a challenge when on the go, but I always try and sleep a little bit more to ensure I get sufficient rest. I will travel with an eye mask so I am ready to hit the pillow.
What are your top beauty tips when travelling?
S: Double cleansing is so important. I always carry an oil-based and water-based cleanser, no matter where I am travelling to. Travel means additional product build up (from wearing more SPF), so an oil-based cleanser is crucial. Getting the cleansing right will ensure the rest of your skincare regime works as effectively as possible.
C: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Cleanse pre-flight, make sure you have concoction of key ingredients like hyaluronic acid, and an emollient rich moisturiser to protect your skin.
The Packing Edit
THE PACKING LOWDOWN
Travel light or over-packer?
Spa facial or massage?
Vacation air-dry or blow-dry?
Faux tan or au naturel?
Both: Au naturel.