Even before she launched her beauty brand, June Yoo knew it would stand for something. Raised in America and Europe, Yoo's been living in Korea for nearly a decade. "The mindset here is still rather conservative," she explains to Byrdie, specifically calling out issues like racial justice, LGBTQ+ representation, and inclusivity around those with disabilities. Yoo says she's always felt a responsibility to be politically active and engaged, which led her to dream up ideas reflective of that.
Ultimately, Yoo founded K-beauty brand Mauve Fantasticever, a fully gender-neutral line built for efficacy, of course, but inclusion most centrally. "Rather than dividing men and women, our brand dreamed of a utopia, a vast universe where you could freely express your own personal thoughts and live without boundaries," Yoo says. "We wanted to create a brand that could be the voice for social change in Korea." And from the moment you open a Mauve package, itself decorated with swirls and stars and planets of an actual universe, you're part of the family—just the way Yoo intended.
The brand is committed to erasing existing gender barriers in beauty. So it's not surprising that LGBTQIA+ inclusion and social advancement is another chief pillar. To celebrate that community, Yoo takes Mauve's brand initiatives, campaigns, and each product name under severe scrutiny to make sure it all upholds the founding ethos of across-the-board gender equality.
Mauve's Pride campaign had more of an educational bent, focusing on spreading crucial information on LGBTQIA+ equality and history rather than pretty product shots. Though rest assured, there's plenty of glossy skin pictures and trippy aesthetic mood board carousels for all the beauty lovers out there.
Mauve Fantasticever's social media presence represents the brand's elevator pitch: be down the cause and express yourself while doing so. "Our customers have shown so much love for our brand’s principles," Yoo shares, and "we have many strong voices following us on social media, enthusiastically sending us DMs cheering us on." She's quick to add that, "we also have a silent crowd who quietly press 'like' and 'follow,' but they are never unnoticed."
That kind of dedicated fandom often follows authentic, mission-driven brands, of which Mauve is a stellar example. Yoo says that product names are a crucial component of the line, one that requires everything from dictionaries, databases, and even history books to truly nail. "From our research, up until the '90s, female consumers were the absolute majority," she explains, "and beauty product names and packaging reflect this today." Considering Mauve Fantasticever's stance on gender equality and neutrality, Yoo says the team is "superconscious" when deciding what to call their products. "We chose strong and unconventional names and packaging to counteract the commonly accepted femininity that has been shown throughout generations," she says.
Mauve Fantasticever's products are unconventional and genuinely appealing. With names like Cool Kids Never Sleep ($24) and Flash Architect ($13), their technicolor labels—affixed to bottles with neon auroras splashed down their fronts—and simple, easy-to-understand instructions make the brand a Gen Z beauty dream. It marries social consciousness with efficacy and impactful packaging.
The products look great, and they feel even better. That aforementioned Cool Kids Never Sleep? That's Mauve's best-seller of all time, a lightweight gel moisturizer that simultaneously hydrates and soothes (thanks to ingredients like squalane and dragon fruit) and very gently exfoliates with aloe vera leaf. The result is refreshment and illumination that mimics a full 10 hours of sleep, which explains the name. Yoo says they even have a customer who's repurchased the product nine times in less than two years.
If it's major hydration you're after, Hydro Mafia Booster ($24) is your Mauve go-to, thanks to one seriously high-tech key ingredient: their newly-patented cellulose nanofibers are comprised of nanoscopic plant- or bacteria-derived fibers shown to lock in moisture at unprecedented rates. "This particular technology was led successfully by Mauve Fantasticever's research team to apply into cosmetics," Yoo shares. In its mist form, it's effortless to reapply throughout the day—and feels deeply refreshing in the summer heat.
The Lazy Fig Toner ($18), Mauve's latest launch, has already made a name for itself among the brand's dedicated fans. Also dispensed as a spray, the toner's formula is infused with calming ingredients like the eponymous, antioxidant-packed fig extract and polyphenol, plant extracts that also help reduce skin oxidation.
For Yoo, everything the brand touches needs to be encoded with social responsibility. When asked what's next, she's quick to share news of Mauve Fantasticever's upcoming travel-sized product launch and is equally—if not more—focused on spreading its inclusivity principles. "We are a young brand, and we are excited to continue spreading awareness, " Yoo says. "It will be a huge task and challenge for us to study, educate, and manage our advocacy for delicate social issues that are important to us. Our social following is highly knowledgeable on gender bias issues and laws, and we feel a responsibility to represent and advocate for them correctly. This will be challenging but ultimately the most rewarding."