KraveBeauty Founder Liah Yoo on Launching in Sephora, Her Ingredients Selection Process, and More

The skincare entrepreneur also talks about balancing time between being an entrepreneur and a content creator.
Published: April 19, 2024
KraveBeauty Founder Liah Yoo on the Brand, Sephora Launch, Content Creation, and More
Photo: KraveBeauty

Liah Yoo has come a long way since her days working at one of the world's largest cosmetic companies in the world. Her time at AmorePacific as the e-commerce lead equipped the KraveBeauty founder with an expansive knowledge on skincare, which she shared on her YouTube account. Alongside content creators like Hyram Yarbro and James Welsh, Yoo was front and centre of the skincare wave that took over social media. She demystified hard-to-pronounce skincare ingredients through educational yet engaging content. With her less is more approach to skincare, the beauty content creator amassed a following of more than a million subscribers on YouTube, over 90 million views across all her videos, and over 200 thousand followers on Instagram.

Related article: Sulwhasoo Shows How Ginseng Can Combat Signs of Skin Ageing

Inspired by her own skincare journey of looking for miracle products that'll help combat acne, Yoo wanted to create a brand that would cut through the noise of the skincare industry—including excessive skincare routines, and trends. And just like that, KraveBeauty was born. Providing simple and gentle yet effective skincare that works with your skin, the brand has remained true to its philosophy of slowdown skincare by being sustainable, eco-conscious, and intentional with the production of its products and packaging. This year, Yoo hits a new milestone as KraveBeauty makes its debut at Sephora in stores across Asia.

Ahead of KraveBeauty's Sephora launch, the skincare maven sat down with ELLE Singapore to talk about her brand, what goes into her skincare selection process, and what you could do to hit the reset button on your skincare routine.

Related article: Pat McGrath on Beauty Trends, Her Viral Maison Margiela Runway Makeup, and More

Firstly, congratulations on Krave Beauty’s launch in Sephora! How do you feel? 

At KraveBeauty, we’re super excited for our very first brick-and-mortar launch, especially starting in Singapore and other Asian countries. We’ve always known that there was high demand from these regions so I’m personally excited to meet some of our brand community and fans. It's also a good excuse to visit one of my favourite countries!

What got you started on your own skincare journey?

In my 20s, I desperately searched for an instant fix and bombarded my skin with countless trendy products.  Following a 14-step routine back then sounds crazy now, but that's how committed I was—and how misled! Unfortunately, all those products backfired; over-exfoliating and sensitising my skin even more.

That's when I hit the brakes and started my skincare reset.  I stripped everything back to the essentials—cleanse, moisturise, and protect with sunscreen.  It felt almost like a skincare fast, but that's when the magic happened. My skin finally had a chance to breathe and it became healthier and calmer. This is what sparked my journey into minimalist skincare.

Now, I focus on gentle, effective products that work with my skin, not against it.  Less is more!  This philosophy is at the core of KraveBeauty, and it's all thanks to those early struggles with over-complicated routines.

What inspired you to start Krave Beauty, and how does the brand reflect your skincare philosophy?

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 women 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. The KraveBeauty brand entirely reflects this. We reject the fast-fashion model of skincare and focus on core essentials instead 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. KraveBeauty empowers people to listen to their skin's needs, not chase the latest trends.

How do you select the ingredients for your products?

By combining familiar, powerful ingredients with a focus on sustainability and innovation, we strive to create skincare that's both effective and kind to your skin and the planet.

We heavily utilise superfood or plant-powered ingredients. These are familiar to many people and often boast impressive antioxidant properties. Since we avoid harsh actives, these natural ingredients play a key role in protecting and nourishing the skin.

We're constantly pushing the boundaries and exploring innovative options. Currently, we're researching how to use agricultural or industrial byproducts as hero ingredients. This approach minimises waste and aligns with our commitment to sustainability.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in building KraveBeauty?

One of the biggest challenges initially was being taken seriously in the industry. Starting as a beauty influencer, some people dismissed me as a young entrepreneur just looking for a quick buck. That was frustrating, but I used it as motivation to dive deeper into product development, learn how to negotiate with vendors, and project a more professional image.

Another hurdle we faced was a major production snafu during the pandemic. COVID disruptions were impacting the global supply chain, and we weren't immune. We placed a large order for our Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, fearing delays, but that batch failed—the texture was completely off!  We were stuck with a massive batch of unusable cleanser. Instead of giving up, we got creative. That's how our 'Waste Me Not' initiative was born! We reformulated the cleanser into a limited-edition body wash. Not only did it sell out quickly, but it also showcased our commitment to sustainability and resourcefulness. These challenges were tough, but they pushed us to think outside the box and ultimately made KraveBeauty a stronger, more innovative brand.

How do you balance time between being a content creator and an entrepreneur?

It's a juggling act, but I've found a system that works for me! Right now, my primary focus is on growing and scaling up KraveBeauty. Building brand awareness and reaching new audiences, like we are here in Singapore, is crucial.

To achieve that, I dedicate most of my time, Monday through Friday, to running the business. However, I understand the power of content creation and staying connected with the community. So, I carve out some time, occasionally taking mornings off, to film content or engage with viewers.

Can you share any upcoming product launches we can expect from Krave Beauty?

While I can't disclose specific launch dates, I can share some exciting hints about what's to come for KraveBeauty!

Many of you have been asking about KraveBeauty’s amazing Beet The Sun sunscreen. We hear you, and we're thrilled to announce we're working on a globally compliant version specifically formulated for the Asian market. This means you can expect even better sun protection coming soon.

Get ready to see a whole new side of KraveBeauty in 2025! We're expanding into the skincare-infused colour category. We can't wait to share more details about these innovations with you soon.

What advice would you give to those looking to press reset on their skincare routines?

Less is more: Ditch the overwhelming 10-step routines. Focus on a curated selection of essential products that target your specific skin concerns. Think skincare wardrobe with core, multi-tasking heroes. Don't just follow trends. Pay attention to how your skin reacts to different ingredients. Focus on gentle formulas and superfood ingredients that nourish and balance.

KraveBeauty is now available in-stores islandwide and on the Sephora website.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Stay ahead of the latest news, hottest trends, and dopest drops.
Subscription Form