In this exclusive interview with Lifestyle.INQ, Saturday Skin CEO Hyobin Song talks female empowerment in the workplace, beauty, and self-care
At the time of our meeting, Hyobin Song is in Los Angeles while I am in Manila. “This is actually my first interview as the CEO of Saturday Skin!” she tells Lifestyle.INQ. Although soft spoken over video call, it’s hard to miss Hyobin’s authoritative presence.
Prior to taking on the top spot at one of the world’s biggest skincare brands, Hyobin’s skills in the realm of beauty were honed during her stints at some of the most globally renowned beauty companies, such as Fruits & Passion, Belif, and The Face Shop. The South Korea-born marketing expert also took up her Master of Business Administration Degree at MIT Sloan School of Business. “When I first started working, my first job was at LG, LG Household & Health Care. Surprisingly, LG actually started out as a cosmetic company. It’s best known for its electronics, but it actually started as a cosmetic company.”
Since their launch in 2016, Saturday Skin has made waves in the beauty industry for their innovative approach to skincare. At the core of it all is their “7-peptide mix” which is an exclusive peptide formula designed to promote the look of skin’s natural glow and renewal. Although currently based in Los Angeles, Saturday Skin’s roots in South Korea run deep, shaping their brand’s DNA, and setting them apart from other beauty brands in the industry.
The Future is Female
“Female leaders have to prove themselves 10 times more than men,” Hyobin tells Lifestyle.INQ. Since joining Saturday Skin, Hyobin has fortified the brand’s background in formulating products based on scientific research and practices by bringing on board even more scientific and marketing experts. “These kinds of resources help bring the team together. With that, we form a powerhouse of dedicated and talented people to advance our brand,”
In today’s society, it isn’t that uncommon anymore for women to take the reigns for some of the world’s biggest companies. However, there is still so much work to be done. In the beauty industry alone, only 29% of it is led by women. While fashion averages around 27%, and media at around 15% according to the LedBetter Gender Equality Index.
“For me, I was really, really lucky to have such great female role models in my career. My immediate managers, or VPs, were all female, so I was very fortunate.”
“When I did my MBA, that was actually sponsored by LG,” Recounting how her manager and VP at the time worked together to endorse the sponsorship for her MBA, Hyobin’s story is proof that great things can happen when women work together. “They showed me what’s possible. They inspired me to have a very passionate and fierce attitude when it comes to work.”
Navigating Beauty Standards
It’s no surprise that western countries have a large stake in determining beauty trends and standards. Despite the fact that continents across the globe have carried on proven self-care regimens, routines, and practices, a lot of these are often overlooked or even ignored.
“When I first came to the US for my MBA in 2011, I had the chance to present about K-beauty. Back then, K-beauty had just started. It was mostly sheet masks and there weren’t any big brands compared to now. And then when I started talking about it and the ingredients commonly found in our products like green tea, they started laughing,” Hyobin recalls.
Almost 12 years later, the K-beauty industry has grown exponentially with an estimated market valuation of USD $10 billion as of 2019, and is projected to even reach USD $13.9 billion by 2027, according to Allied Market Research. Much of this growth is often credited to the continuously rising popularity of Korean content such as music, films, and fashion within the western sphere. “Nowadays, I see a lot of Western people or Americans more interested in K-beauty. I think what makes it special is how it’s a holistic approach to self-care. It’s not just about making you look good or making you look beautiful on the outside. It’s more about self-care that’s starting from the inside.”
This very philosophy of beauty being multi-layered is evident in Saturday Skin’s brand DNA. Focusing on clean formulations, their brand’s commitment to crafting products with mindfulness is exactly what catapulted them to success. “I am proud to say that the work we do at Saturday Skin is not just to create products, but to promote clean and good beauty. Products that are high-performing and fun to use. Skincare doesn’t have to be serious all the time, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. I think that being a representative of clean beauty is so important because people forget that our skin is our largest organ, and it’s so important to look for products that make you feel and look good without concern or compromise.”
If you pay a visit to the Saturday Skin website, one of the very first things you’ll notice is its diverse array of products ranging from skincare to hair care. Scroll further, and you’ll immediately see Saturday Skin’s clean beauty promise which emphasizes their commitment to formulating products that don’t compromise your health. “Committed to cruelty free”, “Vegan friendly”, “No artificial colors”, and “No artificial fragrance” are only some of their iron-clad guarantees. Apart from clean formulations, Hyobin also hopes to champion sustainability within their company, prioritizing the use of recycled materials for their packaging, and constantly figuring out new ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
When asked about her own personal skincare routine, Hyobin tells Lifestyle.INQ: “I have two different skincare routines, both with three steps. For the day, I have cleansing, moisturizing, and UV protection. And then for the night, I have cleansing, moisturizing, and special treatment.” Although Hyobin also admits the fun in constantly trying out new skin treatments and products, she also urges beauty enthusiasts to be more discerning with the way they curate their routine. Coining the term as an “A la carte” type of method, she explains how one’s constantly changing environment can drastically affect their skin. Whether it be a change of weather, or even something as simple as the amount of sleep you got from the night before – it all adds up. “I’ve always liked the less is more concept. It’s important to tweak your routine as your skin’s condition changes day by day. I think skincare has to be intuitive and it should fit your lifestyle and your own unique needs.”
“Korean skincare is a very holistic approach to self-care, and taking your skincare into account helps you take care of yourself. Koreans are known to do this in their daily routines. It’s a way to reflect and acknowledge the importance of the self. It’s not about the number of products you use, it’s about taking the time to really appreciate how each product does something for your skin.”
Hyobin also had some advice for Filipino skincare fiends, recommending the practice of double-cleansing to protect our skin from harsh elements such as pollution and dust. “Double cleansing is important. You don’t need to do it every day, but when you wear make-up or sunscreen often, I highly recommend double cleansing at night.”
“We have a melting balm which is coming to the Philippines in October of this year. It’s a balm-type cleanser that melts into the skin. If you have excess oil, you can use the “Rise and Shine Gentle Cleanser”, to effectively remove makeup and impurities. Once a week, I personally use the “Rub-a-Dub Refining Peel Gel”. It’s a gentle exfoliator.” Finally, SPF/UV protection is an absolute must considering how the Philippine sun is out pretty much everyday. “I wouldn’t miss SPF for one day at all!”.
Saturday Skin is now available in the Philippines online via www.adora.ph, and in-store at Adora Greenbelt & Shangri-La Mall