If you have blown a paycheck (or two) on the BB creams, face masks, serums, collagen ampoules, and 10-Step Korean Skincare Regime, you may have Charlotte Cho to thank. Soko Glam, the Korean beauty company she cofounded in 2012 with her husband, Dave, is at the forefront of the movement to bring Korea’s “skin-first philosophy” to the U.S. Making sure her customers are always the first to have the Next Big Thing in skincare keeps Cho busy, jetting between New York and Seoul.
Here, Cho reveals her tips and tools for getting the most out of every day.
What’s a product that you are currently in love with?
Hot Tools Professional Curling Iron. It’s only $30 bucks, but it’s the best curling iron for that effortless, beachy wave hair look. I used to get blowouts all the time, but that took up so much time, money, and energy. I taught myself how to achieve perfect beachy waves using Hot Tools, and I’ve never looked back.
What service or tool can you not live without?
I travel about one-third of the year, and oftentimes with my cofounder and husband, Dave. We can’t live without Rover.com, which gets us quick and easy access to trusted pet sitters around our neighborhood for our miniature poodle, Rambo.
What do you do with the time when you have . . .
● A free five minutes? Make myself a homemade iced matcha latte, always with oat milk.
● A free hour? Connect with someone over coffee. I try to connect with one to two people a week to catch up and form bonds.
● A whole free day? People-watch at brunch or at a café, and explore the nooks and crannies of NYC for some inspiration. Personal experiences will always provide the most creative, genuine ideas, so you have to get out there.
What’s your Off Switch?
My nighttime skincare routine, starting with the double cleanse, which involves removing all the makeup and impurities from your skin with oil- and water-based cleansers. There is something therapeutic about ending my day by wiping the stresses of the day away.
What’s your On Switch?
Jump in the shower, and then get started on my morning skincare routine.
What books are on your nightstand?
Timothy Keller, God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life. This book takes you through the Book of Proverbs, with one lesson per day. Every daily devotional is inspiring, and offers a fresh perspective on how to live my life with a deeper relationship with God.
Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last. Leadership is never taught in school, and seldom in the workplace. This book has drilled into me that empathy is at the center of being a great leader.
Dami Lee, Be Everything at Once. This cartoonist is a Korean-American, and, with witty illustrations and stories, she shares her life straddling both worlds. I completely relate to her stories, and they make me laugh out loud!
Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter. I picked up this book because she’s a gifted storyteller. My favorite quote from Maya is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Kim Scott, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. Another leadership book that really makes sense to me and that I’m applying as I build a team for our new skincare line, Then I Met You. You have to gain their trust first by showing you care personally, and then that’s the only time when radically candid feedback can actually work.
Where do you go to recharge and refresh?
When I want to recharge, I like to go camping with friends and family. I love being outdoors because you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the city, food always tastes better when you cook it on an open flame, and it gives my dog, Rambo, a chance to run around and enjoy some fresh air.
What product have you recently splurged on?
Gentle Monster Black Peter sunglasses ($280). Gentle Monster is an ultra-fashionable and eclectic sunglass brand from Korea that recently set up a boutique in SoHo. The Black Peters are my biggest sunglass splurge to date, but they are worth it. They protect my eyes well, keep me from squinting, and because of the unique shape and rimless exterior, I get compliments on them all the time from both men and women!
What travel tips do you swear by?
I travel a lot to Seoul from NYC. I always choose the flight that gets me into Seoul at 6 p.m. I meet up with my team for dinner and we eat Korean BBQ and drink soju, so that I can sleep through my jet lag.
Always carry a travel-sized cleansing water on an overnight flight. There’s nothing worse than sleeping with your makeup on, or using the airplane sink water to wash your face.
It’s a no-brainer to sign up for TSA Precheck and Global Entry.
A firm rubber Lacrosse ball is my secret weapon for long flights. They’re great at releasing tension in the face and hard-to-reach places on your back.
What’s your favorite thing to eat when . . .
● You’re in the middle of work and need a quick burst of energy? Iced matcha latte
● When you need a quick takeout lunch? Poke bowl
● When you have plenty of time to go out and eat? Korean BBQ, always with soju
What are three things you love to do when you should be working?
Binge on Korean dramas, watch The Daily Show, and doodling on paper (I doodle on everything).
What’s your necessary vice?
Scrolling through my Twitter feed during specific breaking news. Sharing a bottle of wine with my husband after a stressful day.
What song would you listen to . . .
● When you’re waking up? Eric Nam, “Hold Me”
● When you’re driving? Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like”
● When you’re working out? BTS, “DNA”
● When you’re hard at work on a big project? Post Malone, “Congratulations”
● To get psyched for a big presentation? Dean, “D (Half Moon)”
● To mellow out at the end of the day? The Black Skirts, “Everything“