KraveBeauty Puts a Speed Limit on Beauty Consumption—Here’s Why

KraveBeauty’s Liah Yoo shares her raison d'être and dispels our constant need to add to cart.
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Going against the grain of the times, South Korean beauty entrepreneur Liah Yoo is in the game of reducing our beauty consumption. Following a personal brush with a multi-step regimen that wreaked havoc on her skin, the founder took it upon herself to go back to square one with a bare skincare routine aiming to restore balance to her skin’s health. The result was a resounding success, so much so that she began instilling the value of “less is more” into her skincare line. Keep reading for the full interview with Liah Yoo.

Since its inception in 2017, the brand has strived to educate its customers on the importance and the true meaning of caring for their skin. Seven years later, they have reached the Southeast Asian market via global beauty retailer, Sephora. 

What has your personal skincare journey looked like?

Adult acne. 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 sensitizing 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. It became healthier and calmer, and that’s what sparked my journey into skincare minimalism.

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

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You’re quite active on social media. How has all this exposure affected your relationship with your skin’s aesthetic and health?

Social media has definitely been a double-edged sword for my skin journey. In the beginning, it fueled an unhealthy focus on covering up imperfections. With bad acne, my content revolved around heavy makeup, particularly high-coverage foundations and concealers. It felt like my skin’s appearance dictated my self-worth, and the constant exposure on social media amplified that. I even felt the need to wear a full face of makeup for simple errands, fearing judgment from strangers! Thankfully, things shifted. Going foundation-free and simplifying my skincare routine were game-changers. Ditching the 14-step regimen for a streamlined approach with minimal 3-step skincare and targeted supplements made a huge difference. But the biggest change was focusing on living for myself, not the approval of others. Now, social media reflects a healthier relationship with my skin. It’s more about sharing my experiences and what works for me—not chasing unrealistic beauty standards.

The average skincare user is getting smarter and smarter. What has that allowed you to do at KraveBeauty?

Smarter skincare users are a game-changer for KraveBeauty. They allow us to ditch the marketing fluff and focus on education. We can delve into ingredient science and empower informed choices. Transparency thrives too. Regular stakeholder meetings and full supply chain disclosure ensure you know exactly what’s in our products. It’s a two-way street—informed customers foster collaboration. We can build a community that learns together, not just follows trends. Ultimately, smarter users allow KraveBeauty to focus on what matters—results. Effective, gentle products with visible benefits build trust and a loyal following. We can be a brand for the curious customer, offering authentic, educational skincare solutions.

You champion the “less is more” approach. This is a rarity in the beauty industry. In a world where shoppers can lean towards hyperconsumerism, how do you keep the attention focused on KraveBeauty?

You’re right, the “less is more” approach is a bold move in today’s beauty landscape. We fight for attention in a world fueled by hyperconsumerism and short-form content. It’s a constant battle, but here’s how we try to keep KraveBeauty relevant. We focus on results, not just hype. We believe in the power of products that work with the skin, not against it. Our streamlined routines deliver visible results, and customers who see the difference are our best advocates. Word-of-mouth recommendations hold more weight than campaigns. We challenge the “more is better” mentality. Maybe consumers are starting to see through the constant barrage of new products. They crave clarity and efficacy over overwhelming choices. We offer a breath of fresh air—a chance to simplify their routines and rediscover the power of good skincare essentials.

For a lot of people, skincare = self-care, and that’s where they would indulge. What do you indulge in then, in terms of skincare? And what’s your approach to skincare indulgence?

For me, indulgence isn’t about a ten-step product overload. It’s about slowing down and enjoying the ritual. One of my favourite ways to indulge is with a gua sha massage using KraveBeauty’s Makeup Re-Wined. The jelly oil cleanser creates a perfect, smooth glide for the gua sha tool, and I take my time focusing on areas of tension. It’s a mini facial massage at home, promoting lymphatic drainage and leaving my skin feeling invigorated. It’s about the process, the focus on myself, and the little touch of luxury the Gua Sha adds to my routine.

From the amount of products being released in the industry, one could say that beauty is a fast-paced industry. Is this really the case? How fast can advancements actually happen?

You’re right, the beauty industry throws new products at us constantly, giving the impression of the fast-fashion industry. Brands nowadays can easily slap new labels on “white label” options from contract manufacturers—essentially borrowing pre-existing formulas. This keeps the product carousel spinning. If you go down this route, you can easily launch a new product in three months.

You have collaborated with many initiatives. Can you share with us why community and partnerships are important to you and KraveBeauty?

Community and partnerships are at the heart of KraveBeauty’s mission. We see ourselves as part of a bigger picture, where environmental and social responsibility go hand-in-hand with creating effective beauty products. For us, the planet is a key stakeholder. That’s why we actively support organizations like the Amazon Conservation Project and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

We’re also members of 1% For The Planet, which means a minimum of 1% of our sales goes towards environmental conservation efforts worldwide. This commitment extends to partnerships like the one with the Women’s Earth Alliance. By working together, we can create a more sustainable and equitable beauty industry.

Share with us about your partnership with Women’s Earth Alliance. Do you see this kind of effort expanding in Southeast Asia?

Our partnership with Women’s Earth Alliance perfectly embodies KraveBeauty’s mission of minimizing environmental impact while maximizing positive influence. We prioritize creating effective, long-lasting products that empower users, not overwhelm them. By focusing on stakeholders and the planet, we’re hitting reset on the harmful “growth at all costs” mentality.

This partnership is about more than just donations. We aim to raise awareness for the communities we partner with, connecting them to resources and funding that improve lives and local economies. Understanding their needs allows us to develop a unique, give-back approach to product sourcing.

For instance, one project involves studying the current situation and needs of tamanu producers in Indonesia’s Kebumen region. We’re even investing in a tamanu farm there! This goes beyond simple sourcing—after gaining this insight, WEA and KraveBeauty hope to improve working conditions and offer resources to the Pembolang [Indonesian word for tamanu collectors] to better support them, their families, communities, and the local economy. It’s a win-win for everyone. This is just the beginning—we see similar efforts expanding throughout Southeast Asia in the future.

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What do you think the future of beauty looks like? What’s the next big thing?

The future of beauty is a crystal ball situation, but here’s what I hope to see:

  • Transparency. We need brands to be transparent about ingredients, sourcing, and manufacturing practices. No more greenwashing—full disclosure is key.
  • Intentionality over excess. Overstuffed shelves and complicated routines are out. The future favours brands that create high-quality, timeless products that serve a real purpose. It’s about intentionality, not overwhelming consumers with endless options.
  • Sustainability goes beyond a buzzword. Eco-conscious practices become the norm, not a selling point. Look for brands committed to sustainably sourced ingredients, and reusable packaging that gives back to the environment and local communities.

What’s next for KraveBeauty after taking on Southeast Asia?

Southeast Asia is a big step, but it’s just the beginning for KraveBeauty! Our focus will remain on building strong connections with our local brand communities across the region.

KraveBeauty is now available in Malaysia via Sephora MY.