Aromatica has been quietly but quickly winning hearts internationally through their distinct vision and comforting aromatics. Already a fan-favourite in their native South Korea, Aromatica finally launches here in Malaysia through Sephora. A holistic brand that puts aromatherapy first, BAZAAR speaks to its founder, Jerry Kim to learn more about the exciting brand.
1. How did AROMATICA come about, what was your inspiration to start the brand?
I had opportunities to experience local culture in Australia, since my family was living in Australia during my school years. That time, I thought going to the hospital and getting prescriptions were the only things that I can do when I was sick. But I was surprised to find out that people use natural organic herbal products or aromatherapy products to prevent or treat their illnesses. Well, it was kind of a culture shock to me.
Every family in Australia had a tea tree essential oil in their house, and they used it for wounds, insect bites, and itchy areas. And they used eucalyptus essential oil to treat sinus infection. This is how I met aromatherapy and became so fascinated with essential oils and natural fragrances as well. From there, I’ve decided to introduce culture of aromatherapy and essential oils to Korea market someday. After I left my corporate job a few years later, I launched the brand AROMATICA in 2004, and now it has been 19 years already.
2. What makes AROMATICA different?
Since 2009, AROMATICA has been partnering with the US environmental organization EWG’s Safe Cosmetics Campaign, introducing EWG to South Korea for the first time. As a result, the South Korean cosmetics industry began to pay attention to ingredient safety, leading to positive changes and opening the era of clean beauty in South Korea.
AROMATICA was the first in the cosmetics industry to introduce recycled plastic containers, and currently uses 100% recyclable transparent PET and 90% recycled glass containers for all products. The company also uses transparent plastic and moisture-resistant labels to make it easier for customers to recycle. As a pioneer of green beauty, AROMATICA ultimately aims to become the Patagonia of the cosmetics industry.
Although it may require more time and cost to be a green beauty brand, the company hopes to become a successful brand and inspire many other cosmetic brands to join the movement towards environmental sustainability. AROMATICA has also opened a refill station, where customers can bring their own containers and refill their products after sterilization. The company encourages the use of refill packs and operates various refill pack products to reduce plastic usage.
3. What products do you see Malaysian consumers gravitating towards most?
Considering weather in Malaysia, Rosemary Scalp Scrub and Rosemary Root Enhance will also get lots of loves from consumers in Malaysia with its scalp cooling effect. Under the hot and humid weather, scalp easily gets greasy and stinky. The salt from Lake Andes within Rosemary Scalp Scrub can thoroughly clean up dead skin cells and residue on your scalp, and Rosemary Root Enhancer can cool down your scalp temperature in airy texture. When you have excessive scalp oil or stinky smell on your scalp, you can use it as a dry shampoo during the day as well.
4. What would you recommend to a first time user of the brand?
One of the key ingredients used in AROMATICA products is rosemary. Rosemary has been used for centuries as a medicinal and culinary herb, and it is known for its energizing properties that improve blood circulation. This plant is also known for its antimicrobial, migraine relief, and hair growth-promoting effects. AROMATICA uses rosemary in a variety of products ranging from hair care to body and skin care, including its best-selling Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo, Rosemary Root Enhancer, and Rosemary Scalp Scrub.
AROMATICA’s rosemary ingredient is extracted using the decoction method, which delivers its active ingredients directly to the scalp and hair follicles. The warm nature of rosemary helps to gently exfoliate the scalp, promoting the shedding of dead skin cells and improving scalp health. Additionally, rosemary is rich in antioxidants and energy, which can help improve the condition of damaged scalps and promote healthy hair growth. AROMATICA’s Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo and Vitalizing Rosemary Essence have already been clinically tested for their anti-oxidative effects.
5. We’ve been taught to not directly put essential oils onto the skin, but is this fact really true?
It’s good to use 1-2 drops of Tea Tree Oil on your acne spot directly, and normally it’s safe to use skincare with less than 1% essential oil blended and bodycare with less than 3% essential oil blended. To avoid any side effects, you can do patch test before you use any essential oils. AROMATICA products with essential oils are safely blended based on skin type and target effectiveness so you are free to use on your face or body directly.
6. As AROMATICA does utilise pure essential oils in its formula—what are the biggest benefits of essential oils in your skincare routine?
There are plenty of benefits of essential oils depending on the variant. Let’s take an example of rosemary essential oil. AROMATICA uses rosemary in a variety of products ranging from hair care to body and skin care, including its best-selling Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo, Rosemary Root Enhancer, and Rosemary Scalp Scrub. Rosemary has been used for centuries as a medicinal and culinary herb, and it is known for its energizing properties that improve blood circulation. It’s also known for its antimicrobial, migraine relief, and hair growth-promoting effects.
At AROMATICA, we would harness the benefit of rosemary using the decoction method, which delivers its active ingredients directly to the scalp and hair follicles. The warm nature of rosemary gently exfoliates the scalp, promote shedding of dead skin cells and improve scalp health. Additionally, rosemary is rich in antioxidants and energy, which can help improve the condition of damaged scalps and promote healthy hair growth.
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7. Are there any essential oils we should avoid, if any?
People have been asking this same questions since they heard of oxidation of essential oil due to light or heat, and they also qurious how AROMATICA has developed products keeping away from oxidation issue. Oxidation by light or heat is a phenomenon that occurs more often with 100% essential oil products. But when essential oil is formulated with less than 3% in skincare, haircare and bodycare products, it does not require any special preservation techniques compared to other normal cosmetic products.
For 100% essential oils and synergy oils from AROMATICA, we use tinted glass packaging. Essential oils may be more reactive in the plastic container, so we package body oils and roll-on products with high concentration of essential oils in the glass containers. It’s good to use 1-2 drops of Tea Tree Oil on your acne spot directly, and normally it’s safe to use skincare with less than 1% essential oil blended and bodycare with less than 3% essential oil blended. To avoid any side effects, you can do patch test before you use any essential oils. AROMATICA products with essential oils are safely blended based on skin type and target effectiveness so you are free to use on your face or body directly.
8. AROMATICA utilises 100 per cent recyclable packaging material — why is this important in the current beauty landscape?
AROMATICA cosmetics are produced in a sustainable manner based on safe ingredients. However, I had a question about the ‘packaging of cosmetics’. The cosmetics industry is the second largest industry in terms of plastic waste after the food industry, and as someone in the industry, I thought I should take the lead in solving this problem. After conducting extensive research with the design team, container companies, and material suppliers, we released a product in 2019 that uses 100% recyclable transparent PET containers, and currently, 98% of all our product containers are made of recyclable transparent PET and glass containers.
9. If you could sum up AROMATICA in three words, what would it be?
Sustainable Aromatherapy Brand