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Popular K-beauty retailer Peach & Lily launched its own skincare line — we tried it and found the formulas to be gentle and effective

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  • Peach & Lily is a popular e-commerce startup that connects online shoppers with Asian beauty products.
  • Alicia Yoon — a Harvard Business School graduate, Korean immigrant, and former esthetician — created the $30 million company in 2012.
  • Recently, the company launched its own in-house skincare brand that includes serums, overnight masks, gel cleansers and more for $27-$43.
  • We tried a few of the bestsellers and were impressed with how gentle yet efficient the formulas are.

After skincare brand Dr. Jart introduced BB Cream to the US in 2011, K-beauty's popularity exploded. In 2014, for the first time ever, Korea exported more beauty products than it imported — and the trend hasn't changed since.

Few were better poised to capitalize on this trend than Alicia Yoon, a Harvard Business School graduate, Korean immigrant, and former esthetician. One year after BB Cream hit the United States, Yoon left her consulting job and launched Peach & Lily — an e-commerce startup that makes it easier to find and buy Asian beauty products online. Yoon developed a $30 million company over the last decade, and her team is quick to add that it was done without institutional funding or influencer marketing.

Like its competitor Soko Glam, Peach & Lily leveraged its industry expertise by starting its own supercharged, eponymous in-house Peach & Lily brand. Right now, it includes most of the skincare basics — cleansers, serums, creams, toners, essences, oils, masks, and an eye recovery stick — which you can find at either Ulta or the Peach & Lily website. Prices range from $19 to $43, which isn't exactly cheap, but it's not unusual either. 

To see how they stack up, a few of us on the Insider Reviews team tested out some of Peach & Lily's bestsellers: the Overnight Star Sleeping Mask ($43), the Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser ($28), and the Cold Brew Eye Recovery Stick ($28; currently out of stock).

You'll find more of our thoughts below, but overall, we found Peach & Lily products to be great for everyday use. They're gentle and effective, though you'll need to apply the Recovery Stick with a light hand to avoid buildup. As a bonus, they're also cruelty-free, vegan (with the exception of the K-Beauty Rescue Balm), and don't contain synthetic fragrances. 

Peach & Lily Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser

The Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser ($28) is a gentle everyday cleanser.

The Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser ($28) is a gel cleanser that lathers into a foam. Inside, you'll find soothing ingredients like camellia extracts and chamomile, a lack of sulfates, and a 5.5 pH to help maintain the skin's natural moisture barrier.

It's a really solid basic — it didn't irritate my temperamental combination skin, and I noticed fewer blemishes while using it, which is unusual in my experience with one-size-fits-all cleansers. If you're wearing makeup, you should plan to double-cleanse, and ideally use it with another moisturizing product. I used the Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser twice in one washing to remove every bit of long-wear foundation, and it left my skin feeling dry and tight. But when I double-cleanse with a micellar water or cleansing balm first, and then use a dime-sized amount of the cleanser, my skin feels clean and balanced — not dry, and not tacky with residue.

Overall, this didn't dethrone my all-time favorite cleanser, but it's going to stay in my bathroom cabinet as a safe baseline to use between testing skincare products. If you're just looking for something simple and easy to use every day, then I recommend the Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser. I found it to be more effective at keeping acne at bay than Cetaphil ($11), however, it's probably not worth the extra $17 if your skin isn't as temperamental as mine. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter

Peach & Lily Overnight Star Sleeping Mask

The Overnight Star Sleeping Mask ($43) combats dullness and didn't clog my pores like most overnight masks do.

The Overnight Star Sleeping Mask ($43) has earned a permanent spot in my nightly routine. If you're looking for a morning glow and a way to combat dry, dull skin, this would be your product. Its peptides and antioxidants feed the skin during its reparative mode while we sleep, and its ingredient list includes a slew of the big-name skincare ingredients: a complex of hydrating jojoba, squalane, and macadamia, moisturizing hyaluronic acid, firming acai berry extract and peptides, and a myriad of others like black ginseng extract and niacinamide to brighten the complexion and fight free radical damage.

It's a thick blue mask, so you'll want to be careful not to lay on any white pillowcases immediately after putting it on, but it absorbs completely overnight. In the morning, my skin is soft, plump, and well hydrated without any tangible residue. I was surprised and relieved to find that, unlike most thick overnight masks, this one never made me break out. If you can spare the $40-plus, this is a particularly gentle and effective overnight mask. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter

Peach & Lily Cold Brew Eye Recovery Stick (currently out of stock)

The Cold Brew Eye Recovery Stick ($28) brightens the under-eye and will last you a long time, but you'll want to apply carefully to avoid product buildup.

I use the Cold Brew Eye Recovery Stick ($28; currently out of stock) almost every day to brighten my under-eye area and it makes a difference. My advice is not to overdo it on the layering — it can build up and leave a residue. Instead, pat it gently under your eyes. It feels smooth and cool, and my under-eyes both look and feel soothed. I also love that it comes in a stick form since it's more convenient to travel with and apply (you won't lose any product on your fingers). — Connie Chen, senior editor

Like Connie, I found the Eye Recovery Stick to lend a brightening effect, though I prefer a thinner formula like Maelove's $28 Eye Enhancer that can be more easily absorbed and is less likely to clog pores. But, the $28 should last you at least six months of use. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Serum

0528 peach lily0812 Edit_1_2

The Glass Skin Serum ($39) has been getting a lot of hype lately, which I once foolishly believed is because it's the flagship product of Peach & Lily's line. I thought, of course the product the brand talks about most is the one people are going to pay the closest attention to.

Turns out the hype is because it works, and it works well. I've been testing and writing about skincare products for almost five years, and I truly think that about 95% of the beauty world is just good marketing. It's the other 5% that I want to make sure our readers know about, and this serum makes the cut.

I have rosacea on my cheeks, and since I started using Glass Skin about a month ago, I've seen my redness subside so significantly that I've started skipping even my basic CC cream some days. That's not to say that it's totally gone and my skin is suddenly perfect, but if you deal with redness, you know it can feel nearly impossible to see signs of improvement with new products. Rosacea also causes dryness, a bane that's being soothed well by the ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid in the serum.

I've also found myself breaking out less since I started using the serum, and my skin texture seems to be smoothing out in a way that very few products have ever helped with. My instinct says this is due in part to the inflammation-reducing ingredients, and in part to my simultaneous commitment to eat less dairy.

In general, my skin feels plumper and healthier. I'm generally hesitant to laud skincare products in this way because I'm hyper-skeptical of how much crap is out there, but this stuff is the real deal. — Sally Kaplan, senior editor

The bottom line

Peach & Lily's in-house products are worthwhile if you're looking for gentle, effective everyday products that will work on a variety of skin types. They're cruelty-free, vegan, and don't contain synthetic fragrances. I'll be using the Overnight Star Sleeping Mask ($43) all winter to maintain my skin's moisture without clogging pores, and the Eye Recovery Stick ($28; currently out of stock) has become a staple of Connie's morning routine.

Shop all of Peace & Lily's skincare at Ulta or directly from Peach & Lily.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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