Akar Skin was imagined by Founder, Kate Chen, long before it was even a glimmer in our eye! But what inspired her to take such a risk to help others learn the importance of using clean, natural products? We sat down with the innovative beauty guru ourselves to hear the whole story!
Let's jump right into it! What inspired you to create your own skincare line? Have you always worked in beauty?
Believe it or not, my career started in investment banking, which actually had a huge influence on my transition into starting Akar. At the time, my job was requiring me to work extremely long hours, sometimes keeping me up until after 4am!! Needless to say, it caused my body to go into overdrive and my stomach was poorly effected by the lack of rest & normalcy. I was on a business trip to London when I was hit with extreme stomach pain & I immediately rushed to the nearest hospital. My trip was cut short and I was hospitalized for a week back at home in Hong Kong while the doctors ran tests. After being treated by antibiotics, I was hospitalized again & this time the doctors informed me that I had to undergo surgery or else my life could be in danger. Just 4 hours later I was in the O.R. with surgeons removing a huge cyst that had been growing on my small intestines.
WOW!! Did you ever find out what caused the cyst?
Unfortunately, there was no clear explanation, however, the doctors mentioned it was safe to say that my immune system was not functioning properly due to my lack of sleep and high-stress work schedule.
So then is that when you took the leap to starting Akar?
More or less! I decided at that point that I needed to make some major changes in my life - not only career-wise. I moved to a private equity firm so I could maintain normal working hours & I began exploring a healthier lifestyle all around. I began eating whole foods, exercising regularly and even started looking at the types of chemicals that were in products I was using on a daily basis. I was appalled at how all of my skincare products were actually quite toxic! At that point, I knew all I needed to do to ensure I was using healthy, organic & non-toxic products on my skin was to create them myself. And thus, Akar Skin was born!!
What a journey! Many of the key ingredients from your products are produced from the Tibetan plateau. How did you know that ingredients from that location would help you sculpt your perfect skincare product lineup?
Well, the Tibetan plateau is actually the 3rd cleanest place in the world, after the North & South Poles. During the transition to my new job in private equity, I took some time to travel & decided it would be good for me to get some fresh air & visit Tibet. While at the Tibetan Plateau, I was so blown away by the unpolluted, clean air & beautiful wild crops that a light bulb went on inside my head - these were the perfect all-natural ingredients I needed in order to create organic, non-toxic skincare products for myself & others.
Incredible! You currently have 6 products in Akar's lineup. What's your favorite?
It's near impossible to choose just one, but I will say, I love to combine the Lush Balance Toning Mist & Neat Remedy Face Oil. The Toning Mist is formulated to protect skin from free radicals & helps to smooth fine lines & wrinkles, while the Face Oil calms inflammation & clarifies complexion without drying out skin. Together they help to nourish my skin, while keeping any skin issues at bay. It's the perfect duo!
Which product was the most difficult to perfect?
Actually, the lip butters - both regular & tinted! I wanted Akar's lip butter to be different. While many competitor's lip butters require constant reapplication, I wanted to make sure that ours would last. We chose not to use any mineral oil and instead the perfect balance of wax & vegetable oil... and VOILA! The perfect Lip Butter was born, requiring reapplication only 2-3 times in an entire day.
So when you aren't coming up with the PERFECT Lip Butter, what do you like to do for fun?
Overtime, I have grown to love cooking & creating healthy, well-balanced recipes... I guess you could say it's the "at-home" version of my beauty lab. I often make my own salad dressings & marinades for future meals. I also enjoy making (and drinking) smoothies. Really, anything wellness related & I'm in.
I also am a huge movie junkie - especially romances & comedies. There's nothing like relaxing with a marathon of the ultimate "feel-good" movies after a long day of work!
Who in your life has been your biggest inspiration?
My father. He is the hardest working, most disciplined person I know & always inspires me to remember that I can reach any goal I set my mind to if I put my all into it.
So what is your goal for Akar Skin?
I really just want my products to be easily accessible for consumers. I want people to realize that they can get effective skincare with 100% natural, non-toxic products & they don't have to choose between the two. I'd also love to over time include a broader range of natural products in both the body care & cosmetic sectors.
Akar Skin prides itself in sourcing highest grade natural ingredients that are organic, wildharvested or gathered from the Tibetan plateau. Being 100% natural means every Akar product is biocompatible with the body, enhancing your skin's ability to repair and renew itself. Indulge in nature's finest. Experience a moment of tranquility in your self-care routine. Unwind and let Akar reveal your best skin.