Founder’s Story: K-Beauty Distributor

Within our FOUR Life shop you’ll find a beautifully curated edit of Korean beauty products. Korean, as you probably know, is a huge destination for upcoming beauty brands, innovative products and an incubator for ingredients. That’s why we wanted to bring some of the standout products on the K-Beauty scene, to you. But to find out how we found them we want to introduce Jin Koon, founder of TONIC15 a fantastic Korean Beauty Distributor. As a female entrepreneur she shares her love for beauty, why K- Beauty has had such a movement, and how to navigate the market…

Can you explain exactly what TONIC15 is and what your role involves?

At TONIC15, we introduce the most up-to-date and in-trend Korean beauty products to the European market through our retail partners like Four Life, Harvey Nichols, and Selfridges. We also have an online store where the customers can shop all the products that I curate. I always ensure that my brands fit into these three categories, which are paving the way for beauty – clean beauty, personalisation and self-care.

How and why did you decide to start it?
Growing up in Korea, skincare has always been a particular love of mine. It was common to regularly have facials and visit a dermatologist, taking care of my skin has always been a big part of my life. When I moved to London my friends always asked for my product recommendations when they travelled to Korea, and when I came back I would buy a huge selection to share with them.

When I turned thirty, I realised that good skin is not just about which brand or how many different products you use. Our skin is simply a map of our lifestyle and habits – what you eat, how you manage your stress and fitness habits. Consistent, simple preventive skincare is much more important (and less costly) than taking care of concerns once they’ve happened.

With TONIC15, I wanted to help people to have at least 15 minutes of ‘me’ time out of their busy life; for me, the one thing that I can confidently offer customers is skincare products with high-quality, skin-friendly ingredients that enable people to achieve a simple yet effective skincare routine.

Why is K-Beauty so huge?
When it comes to K-Beauty, most people tend to think about an elaborate 10-step skincare routine combined with exotic ingredients (snails mucin, for example), and kitschy packaging. However, as a Korean heavily involved in the Korean beauty scene, I can confidently tell you that K-beauty is so much more than that.

There are more than 20,000 beauty brands currently competing in Korea and multiple beauty stores on every street. Korea is trend-led and incredibly fast-paced, which means that customers’ brand loyalty is a concept that almost doesn’t exist. There are always so many alternatives vying for consumers’ attention. In order to flourish, a brand needs to make sure that, at a minimum, it has high-quality products with safe ingredients, product innovation, solid brand philosophy and a unique selling point.

In Korea, consumers are incredibly well-educated and savvy when it comes to ingredients and formulations. There are TV shows and vlogs dedicated to analysing ingredients as well as mobile apps that people can check whether a specific product has any harsh ingredients.

What can we expect to see come over from Korean to our shores next?
Koreans are obsessed with whats in their products, this trend has really pushed Korean beauty brands to focus heavily on natural and plant-based formulations. So ingredients such as mugwort (a root-based plant) has been on the rise as its particular great at taming blemishes, without aggravating sensitive skin. Tamanu, an oil extracted from a Polynesiun nut is fantastic for healing the skin, while treating scarring and stretch marks. And the trend for Centella Asiatica (tiger grass) is still very strong, it’s a plant-derived antioxidant with skin-soothing properties.

You talk about a K-Beauty 2.0 ethos on your website, can you explain this to us?
I wanted to introduce the most up-to-dated and the finest collection of Korean beauty to the European market through two ways. First, by only sourcing high-quality, results-driven products that utilise skin-friendly formulations. Second, by bringing personalisation and simplicity to skincare routines and enabling customers to constantly take care of their skin effortlessly. Consistency and prevention are key to taking care of your skin, and you’ll find that in Four Life’s curated edit.

What five products can you not live without?

1. By Wishtrend Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum, £27.40 – is my all-time favourite vitamin C serum. It’s cruelty-free and has a totally vegan formula, its fantastic for brightening and diminishing pigmentation.
2.  Huxley Sleep Mask, £20 (for 3) – I love the Huxley signature scent. When I wake up the next morning after using it at night, my skin feels noticeably hydrated and glowing.
3. Aromatica Orange Sherbet Balm Cleanser, £27 – this organic formula is super gentle and extremely soothing, and it removes all make-up so efficiently. The beautiful orange scent is also relaxing at the end of a long day.
4. Love Edelis Foot Mask, £5- this is such a fantastic ritual at the end of a long day, or if I’ve been travelling. There’s a cooling effect and it also hydrates cracked heels or flaking toe nails.
5. Beaudiani Neroli, £7- made with carrot seed oil and neroli, it not only keeps my skin moisturised, but it also lifts my mood with every spritz. A handbag essential!