Meet the East-Meets-West Beauty Expert
Moving to the U.S. from Taiwan at age 10, Linda Wang founded Karuna in 2009 as a vehicle to blend her knowledge of Asian beauty regimens with Western influences. The result is a line of do-it-yourself masks formulated to enhance any skin care regimen. Prior to creating the line, Linda earned a fashion merchandising degree and built a career in the beauty and fashion industry over the last 12 years. The Karuna line of six masks is available at retailers nationwide, including Apothia at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, Bliss Spas and Victoria’s Secret Direct.
What inspired you to develop Karuna?
I developed Karuna after seeing this type of application being used throughout Asia. I knew it must work because Asian women are very serious about taking care of their skin. This type of application is one of my personal favorites and creating it was the best way to share it with the rest of the world. In addition to developing a product that used unique ingredients that were not regularly used by women globally, I liked the simplicity of the application. I couldn’t believe that no one had developed a one-step, no-mess, no-rinse, do-it-yourself mask, so I leveraged the opportunity. With the busy lifestyles of women today, I wanted something that was high-quality but also an easy treat and toss system.
Please describe some Eastern skin rituals that may be unfamiliar to our Western readers.
One key difference with Eastern skin rituals is that Asian women stay out of the sun! Ethnic skin tends to generate age spots and freckles with age, so whitening products are extremely popular in the Asian market. Another ritual very popular in the Chinese culture, and considered a delicacy, is Bird’s nest. The Chinese make soups out of it. They see it as drinkable vitamins. It’s really good for keeping the skin looking youthful.
Why have you chosen masks as the vehicle to deliver Karuna’s benefits? Should they be used with other products?
The great thing about Karuna is that we are considered to be a supplement to a skin care regimen. We are not asking consumers to switch up their current skin care routine but to use Karuna as an extension. Our goal is to help women address such skin care concerns as wrinkles, fine lines, dull skin tones, blemishes, drying and oxidation. The way the wood pulp cloth delivers benefits to the skin, pores are cleansed and opened, allowing skin care serums, creams and moisturizers to penetrate deeper into the skin’s surface to achieve maximum results. Skin will feel different afterwards because you are not washing it all away.
Each Karuna mask also has the added benefit of the revolutionary Karuna Beauty Boost to heal, detox and renew. The proprietary blend of ingredients fuses nature and science to benefit all skin types. Chinese licorice, aloe vera, chamomile, vitamin B and other plant extracts help to deliver high levels of hydration as they work to soothe, calm and fight free radicals. A special combination of peptides assists in skin cell renewal and work to fight premature aging while helping to repair previous skin damage.
Who is the typical Karuna customer?
The Karuna customer ranges from ages 18 to 65. The masks are for any woman who wants to enhance her skin using high-quality ingredients at an affordable price. Masks are sold individually, wrapped in packs of four (a one month supply) for $28. We also recently launched the Karma Kit, which is a premium collection of four of our best-selling Karuna masks including the hydrating mask, anti-oxidant mask, exfoliating mask and anti-aging mask.
We find travelers and gym-goers really like the masks because of their natural portability. The anti-blemish mask is popular among teens, and the anti-aging is popular with ages 40 and up. We also find that Karuna masks are a hit as a hostess or bridal gift. This holiday season we are seeing women wanting to split them up as a stocking stuffer.
How does Eastern philosophy reveal itself in the brand?
Karuna was developed as an innovative treatment that uses the highest concentration of the most effective active ingredients. We use rare, hard-to-find ingredients from around the world, but mainly out of Asia. Some of the ingredients include:
- Anti-Aging – The Karuna anti-aging mask uses wild yam to help improve skin circulation by increasing collagen renewal and elderberry extracts to improve elasticity for more youthful skin.
- Anti-Blemish – Calms and clears the skin using shiso – a Japanese green leaf – and ginger, which work as natural anti-bacterials to deliver blemish-free skin with unprecedented efficacy. The ingredient honey soothes and provides oil-free hydration, leaving the skin calm while maintaining its suppleness and elasticity.
- Anti-Oxidant – Protects and balances skin through a combination of Chinese green tea and African chrysanthellis to form a free-radical scavenging shield to protect the skin from environmental elements.
- Brightening – Reveals and enlightens skin by using grapefruit seed extract to shield the skin from environmental toxins, and rare Asian plant extracts to help even and revive the skin’s surface.
- Exfoliating – Revives and renews skin with a customized blend of lemon’s natural citric acid and pineapple extract to help exfoliate, hydrate and improve the skin’s elasticity. The fruit extracts are a natural way to remove dead cells.
- Hydrating – Restores the skin using natto–a Japanese soybean–which helps to retain skin’s natural moisture levels as it exfoliates to boost dehydrated and dull skin.
What western technologies do Karuna products incorporate?
Europe is the mecca of skincare, so we educated ourselves on what the latest and newest technology comes out of there.
What’s in your bag?
I have specific things I like. They range from luxury products to drugstore brands. My new favorite mascara is Revlon’s Grow Luscious. It’s amazing! I love Laura Mercier’s powder. I use Sephora’s waterproof eyeliner. I carry Nars’ cream blush in a stick with me at all times. Blush is the ultimate secret when it comes to retouching your face.
What’s your favorite bag?