Krave Beauty’s Liah Yoo on Launching in Malaysia and Her Stance on Sustainability

Sitting down with founder of Krave Beauty, Liah Yoo, she shares what it means to #PressReset, her innovative sustainability efforts and how it feels to finally be available in Malaysia.

 

Taking you back to 2011, Liah Yoo was a devoted content creator and youtuber who quickly gained a dedicated following thanks to her honest, in-depth reviews and practical advice, demystifying skincare for her audience. Her content focused on understanding skin health and debunking common beauty myths and Liah’s emphasis on simplicity and her mantra of “less is more” stood out in an industry often characterised by complex, multi-step routines.

 

Krave Beauty

Driven by the positive response from her audience and a desire to address their skincare concerns more directly, Liah transitioned into entrepreneurship. In 2017, she founded Krave Beauty, a brand that embodies her philosophy of prioritising skin health over aesthetic perfection. With Krave Beauty, Liah aimed to create products that simplify skincare routines and focus on the essentials, using gentle, effective ingredients. 

 

Now, with Krave Beauty finally available in Malaysia, we had the opportunity to sit with Liah herself whilst she was visiting Kuala Lumpur to learn firsthand a bit more about her philosophy and what upcoming plans she has for Krave Beauty. 

 

Where did your passion for beauty come from? 

LY: I think there’s two different moments for me. The first one was me growing up in Korea and I went to an all girls university so I was always surrounded by just women and girls obsessed with make-up. In front of my college, new brands would always open their flagship or test stores there—it was a very trendy area for beauty and there were a lot of new things popping up, so I think being exposed to that as well as the overall boom of k-pop got me very curious into trying more products to review on YouTube.

 

Then the second moment was more personal. I had started developing adult acne and working in the beauty industry truly opened my eyes to certain brand practices that didn’t fully favour the customer and instead benefited the business. So that really motivated me to do more content that’s true to what is really good for your skin instead of what is really good for the industry. 

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What gave you the confidence to transition from content creation to entrepreneurship?

LY: I didn’t have confidence, to be honest with you. But I think by having conviction and enough information from my audience and knowing that a lot of people who had acne and who had maximalistic skin care routines—their skin improved after stripping down to like three steps instead. So that kind of signals like there is something missing in the industry and that made me want to start a brand to tell the less is more story, and to press reset—to basically listen to your skin’s craving. 

Liah Yoo

Krave Beauty emphasises simplifying skincare routines compared to traditional K-beauty practices. What led you to challenge the industry norm of extensive skincare routines, and how do you define effective skincare differently?

LY: I think it was a tough time for people who had sensitive skin. So imagine those who have sensitive skin or a more compromised skin barrier and they apply the Korean ten-step routine—it’ll only lead to more pimples, inflammation, irritation and sensitivity. So that was the exact audience that I wanted to save from the beauty industry and those were the people that I was serving with my content on YouTube. And at that time I felt like it was almost an industry taboo to care about acne or damaged skin—the narrative would usually always be so negative. So those are the people that I really wanted to kind of cuddle and take care of.

 

Your approach to skincare looks at the importance of understanding what our skin truly needs. How do you educate consumers about this philosophy, and what are some common misconceptions you aim to debunk in the beauty industry?

LY: There are so many. One of them is that I think skincare product instructions need to be removed— I want to focus more on how we can bring more intuitive skincare into how we practise skincare every single day, instead of follow set rules. I just want people to start listening to their skin

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Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the beauty industry. How does KraveBeauty integrate sustainability into its practices, from ingredient sourcing to packaging?

LY: There’s definitely a personal inspiration for me too because my husband is also in the climate space.  So when you know when you’re living with someone who’s very well versed and their entire job is to save the planet and save this entire climate crisis that we’re in, you do tend to think about how your everyday activity is contributing to the planet and that made me more conscious and more mindful. 

 

 

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What has been your favourite product to formulate and why? 

LY: It’s definitely the Oil La La. It was something I wanted to formulate sooner rather than later and I wished it had existed when I was battling with acne. It’s a product designed for acne prone skin but it doesn’t have your conventional ingredients like benzoyl peroxide which can be incredibly drying. What many people don’t know is that acne-prone skin actually lacks a very specific fatty acid in their sebum that can cause more breakouts, which is linoleic acid. I found that incorporating it into my routine really did help me cure my acne. So knowing how effective it was for me, I knew I really wanted to create a product with it and I had the most fun formulating it. 

 

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken when it comes to Krave Beauty and what gave you the courage to carry forward with it? 

LH: I think the biggest risk was actually our launch of our ‘slow down skin care’ commitment. We wanted to put a stop to this almost fast fashion cycle of beauty so we made a commitment in 2020 that for the next two years we wouldn’t launch any new products, but still prove to the industry that you can still grow. 

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I think brands easily think that in order for them to grow you need new product to capture more revenue but I think it’s still possible for a brand to stay very timeless and very curated without doing so. It was a huge risk that we took and from that moment it was definitely a bet for us as a business too. But, we were able to convert a lot more audience to customers and community to customers and expand more globally. Right now, our growth kind of looks like a hockey stick and it shows it is possible for businesses to grow without needing to launch new products—so that was something that we were very proud of.  

 

 

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What mark do you want to leave on the beauty industry with Krave Beauty? 

LY: I want to lean into more food waste, like using food waste as ingredients for our products. For instance, the Makeup Rewind has upcycled grapeseed oil that comes from the waste of the wine industry. So I think capturing more food waste that comes from other industries, like wine, alcohol, jam or the juicing industry and eliminating the waste from other industries and creating that into a new material to use in skincare. 

 

Where would you like to see Krave Beauty in five years? 

LY: I want to take over Sephora in Malaysia! I want a huge wall dedicated to Krave. I would love to see Krave Beauty being more mainstream in Malaysia in the Asian market because it is tied to my own roots too and then ultimately I want to build a Patagonia-like brand or company in the beauty industry so hopefully within five years we’re one step or five steps closer to that.

 

Explore and shop Krave Beauty at sephora.my