a note from Paul.

Image of MATTER OF FACT founder Paul in the lab
2 mins
I like making things, especially when they’re able to bring beauty and pleasure into people’s lives.

I was born and raised in the Deep South, to Korean parents working hard to make ends meet, at a time before high-speed internet and smartphones. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time alone, finding ways to entertain myself. I knew early on that I loved books, puzzles, and making things that made people smile, especially art and music.

While in college, I was offered a record deal in South Korea. Little did I know that making music would lead me to a deep interest in skincare formulation. The pressure of being in front of the camera was intense, and the industry could feel brutally image-conscious at times. My already acne-prone skin was a source of great stress, and despite frequent visits to the dermatologist, without much guidance on daily care, I found myself in a constant cycle of sensitivity, redness, and breakouts.

It was at that time that I met the person who would become my mentor and instructor in cosmetic formulation. She not only helped me get my daily skincare in order, but also taught me about the art and science behind creating effective skincare formulas and encouraged me to start formulating myself. I learned about the effect of different delivery systems for active ingredients, the challenge of balancing potency with gentleness, and the importance of creating products beautiful enough to compel users to apply them day after day. Being in the lab was fun and restorative and took me back to some of the happiest memories of my childhood, when I spent my time making things that I hoped would bring people joy. I felt inspired, and after getting over my initial fear of whether I was “allowed” to create formulas of my own, I started to wonder if I could:

  1. Find new ways to deliver active ingredients to skin that maximized efficacy and pleasant textures while improving product stability and shelf-life.

  2. Apply the idea of “combination therapy” that is often used in prescription products to create skincare that delivers strong clinical results without intense irritation and negative effects on skin’s barrier function.
After 15 years of reading, learning, and playing in the lab, and having been mentored by veteran formulators, PhDs, and dermatologists, I’ve been able to develop over 10 technologies, including numerous pending patents, around efficient delivery of research-backed actives such as azelaic acid, retinol and vitamin c. My aim is to create high-potency formulas that target multiple concerns through a combination therapy approach, all while providing a beautiful sensorial experience.

While there have been plenty of bumps and some challenging experiences along the way, I believe that they have made me more thoughtful with regard to the challenges that many skincare users face: self-consciousness, confusion, and a sense of being overwhelmed (just to name a few). That’s what motivates me to formulate with a clinical approach – to create products that are straightforward, safe, and proven to be effective. Our clinical commitment means that we run thousands of hours of independent testing around the clinical efficacy and safety of our products so that you can feel confident about getting a positive experience, and most importantly, results that you can see and feel.

I’m so happy that you’re here.

Founder + Formulator

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