“Muihood was built to create more space for representation in the skincare industry,” founder and creative Charlotte Yau emphasizes. Launched earlier this year, the beauty brand celebrates traditional Chinese medicine ingredients and their ancient powers in skincare essentials. The mission of Muihood is to empower women through sisterhood by showcasing their beauty and heritage, while also being a one-stop-shop for all your self-care needs.
Growing up as a second-generation immigrant, Yau saw the lack of representation in the industry and wanted to reconnect with her culture in one of the most rewarding ways possible: self-care. As some of the first products upon launch, the brand introduced a Good Chi Cleansing Balm and Gua Sha Spoon. The former is a cleansing balm that effortlessly replenishes the skin while washing away excess oils and makeup while the latter helps with refining and smoothing your skin. Now, through Muihood, she looks to fill a much-needed space for young women with a common interest that doesn’t conform to society’s norms.
We spoke with Charlotte Yau about community efforts in the beauty industry, long-term goals for the brand, the rise of sustainable brands thanks to Gen-Z, and much more! Read below.
What made you want to start your own brand?
I really wanted to reconnect with my culture and my heritage because I abandoned it quite a lot throughout my youth. I thought to celebrate Chinese heritage through traditional herbal medicines that I grew up with and also, their benefits and ancient powers in skincare. As a second-generation immigrant, born and raised in the UK, finding beauty and pride in my culture has always been a complex subject. I really wanted to create a platform and space where young women of color can come together and feel seen because I didn’t feel like I was represented growing up.
I’ve always been such a massive advocate for skincare. I think looking after your skin is the best investment and it only seemed natural for me to explore and start my own skincare brand.
Can you share with us the inspiration behind Muihood’s name?
Muihood stands for sisterhood. It’s a hybrid between Cantonese and English which is a reflection of who I am being British-born and Chinese as well as having family in Hong Kong. Really touching into my identity was something quite important to me. I grew up with so many inspiring women in my life and I’m very lucky to be surrounded by them growing up. The strength of all those women inspires Muihood. I have some amazing friends and that’s what made me want to create a beauty brand that has the ethos of sisterhood because we all have different backgrounds but we share so many similar experiences that unify us.
The first products upon launch were the Good Chi Cleansing Balm and Gua Sha Spoon—why did you choose to start off with these in particular?
For me, cleansing is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine. Our cleansing habits often dictate the overall health of our skin, as well as product optimization. If you don’t have a clean face, but you’re putting on really expensive serums, they’re not going to penetrate the film of dirt, grime, SPF and makeup that has embedded itself throughout the day. It felt right to start off with those and for me, it’s my favorite step. Washing away the grime and renewing yourself, getting ready for a new day or for bed.
For the Gua Sha Spoon, that practice has not only been passed down from my family but many other generations. I wanted to pair the cleansing balm with an eco-friendly alternative away from single-use plastic that we often get in other cleansing balms. I also wanted it to be multi-use so not only is it a spatula for your cleanser but you can also use it as a really luxurious tool to practice Gua Sha facials and release tension through acupressure points.
Wanting to reconnect with your culture and celebrate Chinese heritage through traditional medicine ingredients, what was your definition of beauty growing up?
When I was a kid, my definition of beauty was very warped and media-driven. I grew up in the noughties and in the UK, the media promoted size zero and everyone wanted to look like Brittany Spears or the Olson Twins. The beauty ideal was having a small nose, big eyes, and perfect light skin. That was the message that we constantly saw and at that age, where you’re learning more about yourself and the world, that can have a toll on how you see yourself. I think all of that combined gave me a hard time accepting myself because you don’t see yourself being represented.
Do you view beauty the same way now as an adult?
Now, as I’m older, I’ve learned to love myself and all my unique features because they embody so much more than me. That’s what’s special and I’ve accepted that. I’m also aware of the unrealistic and unhealthy standards we are held against.
In the age of social media, where the majority of younger generations are becoming increasingly conscious of not only what they put in their body but also what they put on their body, do you think this is playing a role in the rise of so many emerging skincare labels such as your own?
Absolutely, I feel like consumers especially young people who grew up with the internet make more conscious purchases and are aware of what they’re buying into. People use social media for research; for me, that’s the first protocol if I’m checking out a new restaurant or brand. That’s how we collect information now and when we buy into brands, we want to feel like our values align. There’s this movement where you’re associating with this brand so you have to make sure that you’re represented. I do feel like brands have this space to be more relatable to their audiences now.
What are some long-term goals you have for Muihood?
I’m very excited about next year! I think for me, my main focus is to continue to raise awareness and create more space for people to share knowledge. I want people to unlearn these unrealistic beauty standards that were forced upon us and create a space where people can feel confident. At Muihood, we give 10% profits to GirlDreamer, a community, and space where women of color are supported in their pursuits. They help women with their professional and personal development to get them to achieve their goals.