INTERVIEW SERIES | Youn Chang, OJOOK Founder
Liz and Lizzy sit down with Youn Chang, founder of the all-natural oral care line, OJOOK, to hear about her current pregnancy, what maternity products she’s loving and why the health of our mouths matter.
You have this incredible line of oral care, OJOOK, inspired by the Eastern Asian belief that the mouth is a symbol of life and that oral care is key for longevity. Tell us why you founded OJOOK?
I have always been passionate about consumer products that offer an elevated customer experience. Before founding OJOOK, I worked at Apple and Glossier. When I had my half-Korean daughter in 2018, it triggered me to really think deeply about my career - what would be the most meaningful thing to do if I spend so much time away from her. And I really wanted to make sure what I do will pass down my Korean heritage to her and make her proud. So, I started working on bringing earth-friendly oral care with Korea’s treasured bamboo salt ‘Jukyeom,’ hoping to inspire the US market with an Eastern wellness philosophy–more of a holistic and continuous process and not a one-time fix. With OJOOK, we want to bring intention into people’s routines, for them to create their own sacred wellness rituals. And one way to do that is through clean, sustainable and elevated oral care.
You have a 4yr old and are expecting another child in a matter of weeks! What do you love most about being pregnant? What do you like the least?
I love the camaraderie and encouragement from the fellow moms on pregnancy and child-raising. For my current pregnancy, I had to deal with secondary infertility. And I kid you not, it would have been impossible to go through the process without the support from other moms.
My least favorite part of pregnancy has been having gestational diabetes with both pregnancies. It’s like you are on a weight loss diet in your 3rd trimester with lots of extra monitoring, food control and medication when some other expecting moms enjoy indulging in extra delicious goodies!
Tell us how your skincare / nighttime routine changed during pregnancy?
Pregnancy hormones changed my skin a lot drier than usual (goodbye adult acne though!). So I am incorporating more hydrating formulas for my facial skincare. In addition to that, I am using only pregnancy safe mineral sunscreens and avoiding retinoid products. At night, I spend a lot more time on bodycare compared to pre-pregnancy days to minimize stretch marks. Evening is also the time I can decompress a little more from my very active 4 year old daughter! I made my own belly oil with jojoba oil, hemp seed oil and sea buckthorn oil. After a shower, I massage my belly and swollen legs with the oil mixture. I also started taking Magnesium + Calcium supplement (Magnesium Plus) from Natalist for better sleep and relaxation, calcium absorption, and bone health. I hope I can continue this nighttime routine postpartum!
Which product in our Maternity Gift Set is your favorite + why?
My absolute favorite is the SoKind Loves Lines balm. I love how the product is formulated only using the best natural oils and emollients. Everything in the formula seems to work together so well to restore skin barrier and strength. This is positioned as a stretch mark balm, but honestly I would use it head to toe, even as a facial moisturizer. I really enjoy the rich and bouncy texture and how it doesn’t leave much sticky residue once absorbed.
As an all-natural product founder, what do you look for in your own beauty products as well as those for babies + kids? Any great products you swear by, for either you or your daughter?
After experiencing the beauty and wellness industry first hand, my strong belief is that less is more, and quality over quantity. Beauty products are mere supplements to overall health that comes directly from high quality food intake and a good night’s sleep! So, I try to use minimal but effective beauty products for both myself and my daughter.
My current favorite skincare brand is Traditional Chinese Medicine infused skincare called Yina. I love their botanic oil serums and Hydracloud moisturizer. For sunscreen, my choice is Elta MD mineral sunscreen and Tower 28 Beauty Sunny Days. For body and hair, I use zero waste solid shampoo bars from Conscia and DIY oils most days.
When it comes to baby + kids products, my less is more approach goes a bit more extreme. When my daughter was under 12 months, I only bathed her with water and used pure jojoba oil as a moisturizer. Now my daughter is a bit older, she uses products from mostly Babo Botanicals - fragrance free baby sunscreen, body wash and moisturizer. And she has never experienced any kind of skin rashes or problems (not even diaper rash!).