Health & Beauty

A Chat With Glow Recipe’s Founders Ahead Of Their Latest Launch

May 9, 2024

We sat down with Glow Recipe co-founders Sarah Lee and Christine Chang to learn about the beauty brand and get the scoop on their newest launch. —Noa Nichol

Glow Recipe has become a prominent name in the beauty industry. Could you share some insights into your entrepreneurial journey and what inspired you to co-found Glow Recipe?

SL: Glow Recipe was started in 2017 because we saw a white space in the market for a clinically effective, results-driven brand with a community-first approach rooted in sensoriality and fun.  Our first product was created by harnessing the power of watermelon. Growing up, our grandmothers rubbed watermelon rinds on our heat rashes during hot summer months and we experienced first hand the miraculous healing power of watermelon and how soothing and hydrating it was for the skin. This was the inspiration for our OG product, the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. Since its launch, we sold out over eight times and had waitlists in the thousands! We never expected that the product would be so well received, it was amazing.

CC: Sarah and I both grew up with skin care entwined into our daily lives, watching our mothers and grandmothers carve out time to do their skin care routines. We saw how much they enjoyed and cherished caring for their skin, which was a pivotal experience for us both growing up, and ultimately is what inspired us to start Glow Recipe.

What core values or ethos drive the mission of Glow Recipe, and how do you ensure these values are reflected in every aspect of your business?

SL: Since inception, Glow Recipe has paired first-to-market innovations with education to empower consumers to bring out their ‘glow’, while remaining hyper-focused on our core values of community, real skin acceptance, inclusivity, and sustainability. These values have allowed us to build an engaged community of Gen Z and Millennial consumers who have embraced these core pillars.

Glow Recipe has evolved significantly since its inception. How has the brand’s identity and vision shifted over time, and what have been some key milestones in this journey?

CC: We’ve always stayed true to Glow Recipe’s north star values, which also helped us scale the brand. Our goals are to make skin care more fun, approachable, and accessible while being clinically effective, and to champion real skin acceptance. This mission is why we’ve always focused on educational content across all our platforms, to make the skin journey as easy as possible for everyone. Inclusivity also includes our social channels: we wanted to create a safe space online where people know that we don’t retouch model photos and where the imagery reflects the wonderful breadth of our diverse community, showing skin of all different textures, tones, and concerns.

As the beauty industry continues to evolve, how does Glow Recipe adapt and innovate to stay relevant and meet the evolving needs of consumers?

CC: Our social media platforms have always been a space for us to connect and have meaningful dialogues with our community, which we believe has been a major factor to our growth and success. Our goal isn’t to create virality, but rather to be true to our community building philosophy. We’re focused on skin acceptance and promoting real, healthy skin to empower our followers to feel their best. We always keep skin un-retouched in all of our imagery, and do not use words and phrases like “poreless,” “flawless,” “anti-aging,” “ageless,” “anti-wrinkle,” “anti-aging,” and “perfect skin” because we believe that it doesn’t help support realistic expectations around skin. We believe this transparency around our values has created an environment that fostered real social connection and conversation.

Glow Recipe is known for its innovative and effective products. Can you walk us through the process of conceptualizing and developing new products, from ideation to launch?

SL: We begin thinking about how a product will go to market from day one: what will this look like on a retail shelf or website, and how will a customer feel when they see it for the first time? We start by presenting the question, “How is this product going to be scroll-stopping?

What factors do you consider when deciding which products to introduce to your lineup, and how do you ensure each new launch aligns with the brand’s mission and values?

CC: We always look at our portfolio and identify what new products we can formulate that will benefit our community in their skincare journey. We always educate to our community to take their skin day by day, so we ask ourselves what can we create to help our community along their skincare journey based on how their skin might be feeling that day.

Glow Recipe recently launched Hue Drops and has an upcoming Dew Balm SPF. Could you tell us more about these products, their unique features, and what sets them apart in the market?

CC: While makeup brands have been coming out with launches with skincare ingredients added, we’re so excited to formulate true skincare-first products with a touch of color – where skin can still be skin. Our Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops are a multi-use tinted serum with effective ingredients (like Niacinamide and Centella Asiatica) that enhance skin’s natural tone and radiance with a sheer warm glow.

SL: We’re very focused on creating skincare with effective ingredients first and foremost, but with added qualities. For example, Watermelon Glow Dew Balm SPF 45, is a hydrating balm that contains broad spectrum SPF 45 (and rated PA+++) to shield against UVA/UVB rays while helping to even tone & prevent hyperpigmentation with key ingredients like Niacinamide, Watermelon & Hyaluronic Acid, and Squalene. So it has the benefits and properties of our best-selling Dew Drops Serum, but with the added SPF protection in stick format. This was our next big extension to our hero family of Dew Drops, which sells 1 in every 12 seconds globally!

What inspired the creation of Hue Drops and Dew Balm SPF, and what benefits do you hope they bring to consumers?

SL: After over a year of formulation, we’re so excited to bring Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops to the Glow Recipe community. It’s a true skincare-first, multi-use sheer tinted serum that adds just the right amount of warmth to the skin. It’s the same beloved formula as Dew Drops, but with some new ingredient stars such as centella asiatica to soothe redness in addition to our powerhouse Dew Drops ingredients (niacinamide and hyaluronic acid) for skin benefits instantly and over time.

CC: Watermelon Glow Dew Balm, which has SPF 45 protection, is the exciting new launch joining the watermelon family. We dreamed of creating a serum stick that had all the benefits of our bestselling Dew Drops in a new innovative SPF stick format for easy application and reapplication on the go. We know for the average skincare user, SPF is still very much a chore especially when it comes to reapplication. With our new Dew Balm, you not only get SFP 45 protection with every reapplication, but a dewy glass skin finish as well.

Glow Recipe incorporates various superfruits into its skincare formulations. What inspired this approach, and how do you select which superfruits to include in your products?

SL: Our watermelon products hold a special place in our hearts because the idea of our OG Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask comes from our Korean heritage. Our grandmothers would rub cold watermelon rinds on our backs to soothe heat rash during hot summers in Korea. This inspired us to bring watermelon to the forefront of a product, which hadn’t been done before. We were able to show the beauty community how powerful watermelon is as an ingredient and expand the range using this superfruit.

CC: Since then, we always look to pair powerful clinically effective actives with synergistic hero fruits in our formulations. Each hero fruit is selected based on the formulation and benefit we’re looking to achieve – whether it’s antioxidant-rich pomegranate paired with peptides in our Pomegranate Peptide Firming Serum, or strawberry which is naturally rich in enzymes with salicylic acid to resurface and smooth texture.

Can you share some insights into the process of sourcing and extracting the beneficial properties of superfruits for use in skincare?

SL: We source our superfruits from suppliers that harvest responsibly as part of a natural & effective life cycle where the fruits are repeatedly grown, harvested and utilized completely. We support local communities using traditional methods when possible and use processing methods that conserve water, minimize food waste, and leverage upcycled ingredients.  We also use methods such as cold-pressing and freeze-drying to use less energy and water while maintaining maximum potency of the beneficial properties of the superfruits.

CC: For our Watermelon Glow Dew Drops, the watermelon is extracted from the pulp, seeds, and rind using an extraction method that helps conserve energy and reduce carbon emission. All leftover parts in the process are upcycled for future product. For our Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream and Serum, we use a Cosmos-certified blend of plum extracts that use all parts of the plum and is hand harvested by a family-owned organic farm in Australia. These are just a few examples of our extraction processes for some of our best-selling products.  In addition to being Climate Neutral Certified, we are constantly striving to reduce our environmental impact.

Are there any superfruits that Glow Recipe hasn’t used yet in its products but would love to incorporate in the future? What qualities or benefits do these fruits possess that make them appealing for skincare formulations?

CC: There are several superfruits that we currently have our eye on and in the process of formulating new products. It’s all about pairing complementing fruits with clinical actives that work synergistically together to produce real results.

How do you envision the role of superfruits evolving in the beauty industry, and what potential do they hold for the future of skincare innovation?

SL: We’ll continue to see superfruits in skincare as more people discover the benefits of these natural powerhouses. Watermelon had never been at the forefront of an ingredient list before Glow Recipe, so we’re excited for the industry to continue to see the power of fruits paired synergistically with clinical actives.


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