Stories From a Curator is a column by Charlotte Cho, the curator and cofounder of Soko Glam. As a licensed esthetician and the author of The Little Book of Skin Care, Cho gives a glimpse into her discovery process and what brands and products make the cut for the curated site.
I take our curation very seriously. Soko Glam is and will always be a passion project created to help people outside of Korea discover the best Korean beauty products. It is important to me that the products curated are tried and true products from Korea. Not everyone can fly out to Seoul, so hopefully browsing through Soko Glam is like shopping on the streets of Seoul with a friend that knows her K-beauty!
It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that introducing new curations to the site is one of the most exciting parts for me at Soko Glam. Many people don’t realize that there are many countless hours the team and I have to spend behind the scenes to make the brands that we love available to you!
Today is one of those special days, because Erborian is now officially part of the Soko Glam curation. You may have heard of the Korean-French hybrid brand over the years. You may have also heard that their BB crème is actually the best selling BB cream in Europe, or that their Solid Cleansing Oil has quickly become a skincare guru’s holy grail. And perhaps you’ve seen Erborian products being awarded by beauty editors, for being part of their favorites too.
For me, I have to admit I did not know Erborian while living in Korea until I came across it here in New York a year ago. The truth is, initially I had a bit of skepticism about the Korean-French hybrid brand. I wondered if it truly stood by the philosophy of Korean skincare, considering Korean and French beauty concepts are quite different.
To answer the questions I had about this brand, I did what I do best–I cracked open a few Erborian products and gave it a go. On a trip to Seoul, I visited their shop in Apgujeong. While I was in Barcelona I stumbled across the brand at a Sephora and saw how popular the line was in Spain. Then on multiple occasions, I got to meet the co-founder of Erborian, Katalin Berenyi. Throughout the year of testing Erborian, I knew it was time to curate as I began to reach for Erborian products over my other holy grail products in my routine!
Katalin, a beauty expert with years of experience at Lancome, shared with me why she decided to create Erborian. She was a lover of discovering beauty rituals around the world. When she came across Korean beauty in Seoul, she knew there was something special about the philosophy and was fascinated by traditional Korean herbs and their effect on skin when infused with modern Korean skincare technology. Being French herself, Katalin knew there were also elements that make French skincare what it is today, and believed it would be a great compliment to Korean skincare philosophy. In 2008, she and her cofounder Hojung Lee, a cosmetic scientist in Korea, launched the brand Erborian.
Speaking with Katalin about her inspiration for each product she creates is so enlightening. I loved learning about how the products are formulated with Korean traditional ingredients (everything is formulated in Korea with French-born fragrances) and then flown to France to be packaged.
My favorite of all her genius ideas was to infuse matcha, finely milled green tea, into a delightful exfoliating mask for the most gentle yet effective type of exfoliating. They call it the Perfect Morning BB Mask. A matcha lover myself, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this yummy concoction!
But my first love was the Solid Cleansing Oil. I was so surprised at the quality of the formula–the luxurious balmy cleansing oil (made sans mineral oil) that not only removed all of my makeup, but kept my skin hydrated, soft and supple. The absolute best part of the cleansing oil was the fragrance. It smells amazingly luxurious, almost as if I was transported to the fields where French fragrance is born. Low and behold, I found out Katalin herself sources these fragrances from a family-run perfumer located in Grasse, France (the capital of perfumers) making the exclusive scent more authentic to French cosmetics.
By the way, the brand name is aptly named, “Erborian” which means “Herbs of the Orient.” It’s not just a catchy name; I can look at the ingredients on the back of the bottle and see that each main ingredient is sourced from the best Korean traditional herbs. For example, ginseng, an integral part of the Korean “hanbang” skincare concept, is a regular in Erborian products. Bamboo extract, a powerful hydrator that absorbs quickly into the skin, and results in a lasting glow is also a main ingredient in many of their products, my favorite being the Bamboo Waterlock. All proven ingredients that provide heaps of skin benefits.
I hope you enjoyed hearing my take on these gems and have fun exploring my favorites from Erborian (some of which are exclusive to Soko Glam!) To get you started, Soko Glam is offering a free deluxe Bamboo Waterlock ($15 value) for any two Erborian products that are purchased (while supplies last).
Soko Glam is also celebrating the launch with a special giveaway on Facebook Live on Thursday August 11th. Tune in to hear the details and enter!
Have you heard or tried Erborian products? Which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts below!