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Sabbatical Beauty

I would like to introduce you to Sabbatical Beauty. I myself only recently discovered this unique skincare line. It is a line of Korean-inspired skincare created by an academic on sabbatical who was tired of “active” ingredients being the smallest component of expensive skincare regimens.

It should come as no surprise that Korean skincare is all the rage at the moment. As such, it has infiltrated every level of the skincare market. But why this sudden deluge of Korean beauty products? Well, Korean women have a long history of spa culture and self-care, and they expect and demand quality beauty products. This tradition has created uniquely formulated products that use innovative, but gentle, and natural ingredients. It also focuses on long term change and solutions, rather than radical overnight results (which don’t really exist anyway!).

Inspired by the tradition of Korean Skincare, Dr. Adeline Koh, the founder of Sabbatical Beauty, set out to formulate Korean-inspired skincare products that focused on active ingredients rather than filler. A researcher and academic at heart, she started researching the much-touted ingredients of Korean skincare and actually began making and using her findings. As her colleagues saw her results, they began demanding she share her secrets and Sabbatical Beauty was born.

As with Adeline and her colleagues, Korean skincare has really taken off with female academics. Forever juggling academia’s double standards on appearance and complex relationship with femininity, many women in academia have found solace in the complex and intricate rituals of Korean beauty. As Adeline put it in her own blog post on the topic:

I’ve since changed my mind, especially as I’ve gotten deeper into reading the works of some amazing feminist women of color. I’ve started to view beauty as a form of self-care, instead of a patriarchal trap. One of my deepest inspirations, the writer and activist Audre Lorde, famously declared that “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” For many women, especially women of color, we’re often told that we are only useful, only valuable when we devote ourselves to others; that caring for ourselves in the last thing that we should consider. 

I love this – we absolutely should see caring for ourselves not as an act of feminist self-care, not indulgent or vain!

With such an amazing vision driving the company, I had only one answer when Sabbatical Beauty reached out and asked if I wanted to try their skincare… YES!

I received all of my products at the end of last week, just in time for my trip. Based on my skin assessment (I struggle with oily, acne prone skin and want to get ahead of the aging curve), they sent me the Rescue sample set along with their Dorian Gray’s Anti Aging Serum. As expected, the system requires a few more intricate steps than I am used to, but I am totally dedicated to my new feminist act of self-care!

The Rescue set starts with the Rose Cleansing Balm and the Rose Foaming Cleanser. The balm takes off makeup and oil-based impurities and helps to diminish the size of your pores. This is followed by the Rose Foaming Cleanser, which takes off everything else. It has aloe vera and colloidal oats — both very soothing and moisturizing, as well as rose extract, pink kaolin clay (to draw out impurities and deeply cleanse) and hydrolyzed goat milk (builds a protective film around your skin to prevent moisture loss). I have to admit the balm felt weird at first, but once I washed off both the balm and cleanser my skin felt so soft and smooth!

The Rescue set also comes with the Marine and Asian Powerhouse Serums. The Marine Serum is full of nutritious ingredients from the sea, like red algae extract and Japanese seaweed. The Asian Powerhouse serum contains traditional Asian ingredients like turmeric and ginseng extract. Finally, the set contains the Camel Milk and Yeast Mask and the Camel Milk Cream. I discovered that camel milk is more similar to human milk than cow’s milk, has lots of natural AHAs to encourage exfoliation, and will make your complexion look brighter!

For aging, they sent me the Dorian Gray serum, which contains gentle forms of Vitamin C to brighten and even skin tone, as well 5% of retinol which is often prescribed by dermatologists to help with anti-aging and acne.

Obviously, it is too soon to see any dramatic changes. But I will say that my skin does feel softer and looks a bit brighter. I can’t wait to continue using the line and share my full report in a couple weeks! In the mean time, check out their reviews on their Facebook page. Everyone seems to agree that this stuff is pretty awesome.

The best part is, I didn’t just find skin care, I found a community of like-minded, badass women… with great skin!

Have you tried Korean skincare? What are your thoughts on women taking back the concepts of beauty and self-care?