The principles of natural ingredients, thanks to the ongoing Korean beauty phenomenon
Korean beauty has infiltrated the rest of the world and there’s a reason why the trend is firmly cemented in our skincare routine: it works. K-beauty brands are constantly innovating. Natural ingredients are crucial to the mainstream success of the K-beauty space because they deliver astonishing results and have interesting stories behind them, and Soul Story Skincare is no exception.
Vivian Ke Story is the founder of Soul Story Skincare, and is the innovator behind their lightweight, heavy protection sunscreen. She is taking the knowledge of Korean beauty science and bringing it to Vietnam, while also making sure it is a safe, natural and environmentally-friendly product. “The formulation was made being very health conscious, so we made sure that certain ingredients were excluded. For example oxybenzone, it’s a very common ingredient that you’re hearing right now in the media because a marine safe movement is long overdue and chemicals in sunscreens are actually damaging the marine ecosystem. Australia, Hawaii and Key West, Florida just announced that they aren’t going to allow sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and a few other chemicals,” explains Vivian.
Adding: “You even see it in children’s sunscreen, which is dangerous because the actual ingredient absorbs UV rays, but it also absorbs into our body. It’s a hormone disruptor so when young children are growing up, it builds up and accumulates. It’s really reducing that risk. And because I grew up in very multicultural communities, it was very important to me that this sunscreen was able to work on any skin type, as well as any skin complexion.”
Korean-Canadian, Vivian was born and raised in Toronto then moved to New York City for school, where she began focusing on the quality of her health, and ultimately, to Southeast Asia. That focus naturally parlayed into skincare, “All the products are paraben free and we are using better quality preservatives that are not considered hormone disruptors. The reason I did all this is because not only did I have sensitive skin and severe allergies, then my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and that made a huge impact. I just wanted to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Once I started doing my research and spending time in Korea I realized, ‘Oh, this is good and it’s affordable.’ So I started digging and was like, ‘I’m going to bring this to Southeast Asia,’” says Vivian.
Stepping out and starting her own business was a bold and risky step, “I started doing extensive research with over 342 companies. I hired a cosmetic chemist and dermatologist and we formulated a product. It took a year to launch and it was a big learning curve. I decided to go out on my own and create ones that, based on my research, could be better, healthier products and get them made at CGMP (Certified Good Manufacturing Practice) facilities. There are about 5,000 Korean cosmetic companies and less than 50 have this certification. So I’m paying more but the probability of having a defect is so slim because to have CGMP it’s another level. The reason I did that is because it’s a young brand and first impression is a lasting impression and I didn’t want to mess around. And, as a woman, I don’t want a bad experience for myself or for others,” says Vivian.
All of Soul Story’s products are carefully and thoughtfully made with natural health and the planet in mind, “I actually had a cleanser that I have reformulated. I removed all synthetic fragrances, which is common in most products. There is an organization called the Environmental Work Group in the US and all the ingredients rank a score of 1 or 2, which is how it effects sensitive skin and how harmful it can be. So that cleanser is going to be one of the purest available. It doesn’t have SLS or SLES, which means there are no sulfates. These strip the natural protective lipids on our skin and causes a feeling of dryness. The cleanser, Purifying Cleansing Foam, will be launched in April.”
Soul Story Skincare is proud to use a high number of natural ingredients, rather than parabens, which are linked to cancer, and abrasive sulfates. In their signature Warrior Sunscreen which utilizes Zinc for an SPF 50 protection level, Soul Story uses fruits high in Vitamin C, like blackberries and phyllanthus emblica to boost collagen, reduce wrinkles, moisturize the skin and protect it from damage. It also contains antioxidant rich green tea and goldenberry, which is anti-inflammatory, brightens the complexion and protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays and free radicals. Along with safe ingredients, a high level of sun protection, and Niaminicide, which improves skin elasticity, the Warrior Sunscreen uses an oil free formula to give users an easy matte finish, meaning it looks and feels light and won’t interfere with make-up.
Other products include the ingredients: tocopheryl acetate, which is a form of Vitamin E that helps protect the skin from UV damage; Portulaca Oleracea, a succulent that heals skin irritation; and Forsythia Suspensa, a native Asian plant used in ancient Chinese medicine that helps with acne breakouts. None of their products are made to whiten skin, but instead, brighten skin and improve texture. A complete list of all key ingredients used is on their website, giving consumers full transparency into what they are purchasing and why. Soul Story really is a conscious, quality, forward thinking brand.
Soul Story Skincare is available for purchase in stores in Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea. In Ho Chi Minh City, you can find their products at Won Directions in District 1, Yu Jung Skincare in District 7, and Salon de Sunny in District 3, or you can visit their website at soulstory.co from which they ship internationally.
Images by Vy Lam