A Female Founder Profile
You don’t need to be a beauty junkie to have heard of Glow Recipe’s best-selling watermelon products (the Watermelon Dew Drops blew up after tik-tokers demonstrated its real-life glowifying effects). Known to impart full-blown radiance, the brand now has a cult following (fans are lovingly called “Glow Gang”). Our co-founder Gracia sat down with her friend and former L’Oreal colleague, Christine Chang (co-founder of Glow Recipe) to chat all-things skin health.
Gracia: First off, I miss you.
Christine: I miss you too!
Gracia: I’m so proud of what you and Sarah have built. Can we talk about how it all began?
Christine: Sarah and I both grew up in Korea with skincare being an important part of our self-care, but when we started working in the US, we quickly learned that many of our friends in the US thought skincare could be overwhelming and even a chore. We wanted to find a way to bring over rituals we had grown up with and initially launched glowrecipe.com as a curation site focused on clean, indie Korean beauty brands. Our collective beauty experience in both Korea and the US helped us bridge the two cultures as well as refine our mission to provide formulas that were fun to use and paired with rich educational content. This eventually evolved into Glow Recipe Skincare, the fruit-forward, clinically effective line you see today on the shelves at Sephora.
Gracia: I remember one of our first meetings as Kiehl’s, you moved seats so you weren’t facing the windows. This informed how I think about my skin health – as something to nurture all throughout the day. Can you talk a bit about your skincare philosophy and how it informed Glow Recipe?
Christine: Gracia! Your memory! It’s true though, I treat my skin like any organ in my body (and it’s our largest). Our skin has such a wonderful function of protecting us and for this reason, it also is exposed to toxins, weather, sun, dry air etc. So, it’s essential to have a routine to nurture it, protect it and heal it. And consistency as well as the right effective solutions is key. I believe this core philosophy is why we’ve been able to build a wonderful community of customers over time We saw a lot of clinical brands that were efficacious but very serious, and then there were whimsical brands that didn’t always deliver - and we wanted to marry results-oriented with playful without compromising on either aspect. If your products aren’t experiential, then it’s harder to make a habit out of using them. This is precisely what I love about Broc Shot so much. The egg carton helps me remember to take it. And every morning my daughter and I love to ‘Push, Shake, Shot’. It’s so quick, easy and I feel good about how I started my day.
Gracia: I love imagining Peanut (Christine’s daughter) doing Broc Shot! One thing you know about me is that I despise marketing that makes you feel bad about yourself just to sell you products. I was so moved to learn about your mission to ensure your marketing was not only inclusive but promoted positive self-image in women. Can you share more?
Christine: Yes! As an organization, we are constantly evaluating language and imagery to make sure that it’s positive, progressive, and inclusive. We don’tretouch skin in our visuals and the models featured have bare skin (we only use makeup in pictures when it adds to the overall storytelling such as showing how the Watermelon Dew Drops works as a primer under foundation) -- so we can showcase real skin in all of its forms. When we first announced our pledge to not use words like “poreless” and “flawless,” we received hundreds of comments, story shares, DMs, and emails from our customers about how much they appreciated this positive approach. In July, we expanded our list of “banned” phrases to include industry-favorite terms like “anti-aging” and “perfect skin.” At the end of the day, we really want to push the message that healthy skin means something different for everyone and provide our customers with education to empower them to take an intuitive approach to their skincare so they can find their healthiest, glowing skin.
Gracia: Korean women are known to be experts in the art of skin health. And you and I have often discussed the importance of treating skin both inside and out. What have you learned from your mother and grandmother that you have brought to your own routine and even Glow Recipe?
Christine: Food is ground zero for skin health. It’s also why we use healthful, antioxidant-packed fruits in our formulas. And a great example is hydration. But we don’t only get hydration from only water though. Broth and tea are staples in Korean cuisine. I grew up watching my mother and grandmother drinking teas such as Sollip-cha (Pine-needle) which is high in Vitamin C which helps skin to fight free radical damage and Mindeulle-cha (Dandelion) which is rich in antioxidants to help with detoxification. We’d not only drink these teas but also during weekly visits to the Korean bathhouse, I would learn how to splash different teas on my face to tone the skin. And everyone knows another staple food, Kimchi which supports gut health. Your gut microbiome needs to be balanced so it can properly fight oxidative damage.
Gracia: Last question. At Broc Shot it’s not only important that our product is the most effective formula, it’s equally important that the consumer wants to keep using it, day after day. Helping our customer create healthy habits was a big part of our product development. I heard that you have a “good habits” tray at home. Tell us about that!
Christine: Everyone needs a good habits tray! Mine is next to my bed and it has hand cream, body lotion, lip balm, extra eye cream, some tinctures, so it’s an easy, seamless way that I make sure to get an extra dose of selfcare as I get ready for bed.
Gracia: Love a tray and love a habit hack so I’m making one tonight! Thank you so much for hanging with me today and sharing such cool stories.