Meet the Team Ep. 6: Jihye, Cosmetic Expert & Lover of Handmade Soaps

Why should I invest in clean beauty? Do skincare products really go “below the surface”? What is the Knours Komplex? How do harmful ingredients like phthalates affect my body?

We heard your questions and we have the answers! Today we have invited our very own cosmetic expert to give insight into the growing clean beauty industry and the factors we should consider when choosing skincare products. Please welcome Jihye Im, R.N.!

Jihye is a crucial part of the Knours team. She oversees product research and development and works directly with our manufacturers in Seoul. She also researches clean beauty products that meet our strict standards to help determine the impact Knours can have in Korea. Prior to working in skincare, Jihye was a nurse in a hospital and would work long, consecutive shifts at a time (sometimes three in a row!), which led to extreme body fatigue and irregular meal times and sleep patterns. These long hours took a toll on her immune system and she eventually quit her job to take care of her health, particularly her skin health. She began studying natural healing methods and while learning more about the skin she was naturally drawn to skin beauty. With this newfound passion she acquired many impressive certifications so that she could further her learning and transition into the cosmetic industry. She is a certified skin beautician, international aromatherapist, cosmetic ingredient expert, and cosmetic prescription expert. She also has experience researching and developing natural cosmetics. 

When Jihye isn’t creating formulas or making sure product production is going smoothly, she can be found reading parenting books and making her own soaps, detergents, and household items. She always tries to incorporate natural ingredients into these products by growing and using herbs as the main ingredients or by infusing them with oils. She also loves Korean food and bread, particularly slow-cooked ones like sourdough. Now, let’s dive into our conversation with Jihye. 

1.  What is the importance of clean ingredients in skincare products?

Skincare products are not only absorbed into capillaries through the skin, but also through our pores and sweat glands and in turn, affect our bodies. One or two uses of a product with hazardous ingredients won’t have a significant impact on the body. This, however, is not true for skincare products that are used daily throughout our lifetime as there is the constant risk of exposure to the harmful components of these ingredients that can accumulate through lymph nodes and cause disturbance of hormones in the endocrine system, especially in women. These negative effects can then be delivered to children through pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation. So, we should use skincare products with safe and clean ingredients.

2.  Why should consumers be concerned about harmful ingredients like phthalates, parabens, sulfates, etc?

Similar to the first answer, phthalates and parabens are endocrine disruptors (EDC), which can cause precocious puberty, breast cancer, infertility, and thyroid disease. The data about which parabens were detected in the tissues of breast cancer patients was quite shocking to me. In Korea, phthalates have been designated as a prohibited ingredient that cannot be used in cosmetics. Parabens are also rarely found in K-beauty products as we have been striving to produce clean beauty in recent years. 

3.  How do you determine what the key ingredients for a product should be?

You can easily determine the key ingredients by thinking about which target your product will have and what potency effect you want your product to have. You can also check the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) safety score data of ingredients and check if the ingredients are suitable for formulation. 

For example, we have been looking at a popular oriental herb in Korea that is not well known in the United States. 

4.  Can you tell us about Knours Komplex and the effects of this combination of ingredients?

The skin should not simply be viewed as a skin problem. Knours Komplex was created by focusing on the many complex factors (sleep, stress, eating habits, etc. to name a few) that can appear as a skin problem. We can take care of our bodies and skin more effectively and wisely if we are aware of these factors earlier on.

5.  What are other ways people can care for their skin besides using quality skincare products?

We should strive to eat fresh and healthy food. I eat non-GMO food, am a vegetarian (I especially don’t drink milk), and I don’t really drink coffee. I also drop one or two aroma oils on my pillow before going to bed for a good night’s sleep and most important of all, I try to take a walk to a nearby park or forest on weekends for stress management. 

6.  How do you think K-beauty has changed the way people buy and use beauty/skincare products?

In the past, consumers only passively purchased cosmetic products, but now K-beauty is launching products that take into consideration consumer feedback and that actively reflect consumer needs. By actively reflecting the high awareness of ingredients and diverse needs of trend-sensitive Korean consumers, we help consumers find and manage products that suit them by customizing the products they need.

7.  Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?

I am very interested in environmental issues. We shouldn’t stop at just becoming aware of these issues, but we should also try to act on that information. It is also important to talk to your child about this important topic and find something to do about it together. I think Knours is a great brand as it is always interested in these kinds of movements.

8.  How do you like to relax after a long workday?

I like to take a warm shower and occasionally do a singing bowl meditation. Meditation is another chance for me to take care of myself, so that I can become more relaxed through the process of confronting my uncomfortable feelings and constantly getting to know myself better.

9.  What does being a woman mean to you?

Many women are interested in their external appearance and I think that is important. However, the way I define a woman is not something that can be judged by the eyes of other people. My definition means that I am a beautiful and important being in and of itself, especially the appearance I have as I go through natural hormonal changes. I hope to establish a clearer definition of what it means to be a woman through Knours and I would like to share it with other women in our community. 


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