Exclusive: Kang Ho Gil, Founder of Pilling Bean Speaks To HSA About This Revolutionary Skincare Line

Exclusive: Kang Ho Gil, Founder of Pilling Bean Speaks To HSA About This Revolutionary Skincare LineExclusive: Kang Ho Gil, Founder of Pilling Bean Speaks To HSA About This Revolutionary Skincare Line

Kang Ho Gil, founder of Pilling Bean started the business to identify prospects of combining coffee and beauty, and in the process transformed the industry's landscape

You may know that besides being consumed as a beverage to boost energy levels, coffee also contains a multitude of skin-boosting goodness. Its natural anti-oxidants instantly restore and rejuvenate your skin, and all this goodness has now reached the Singaporean shores, all thanks to the revolutionary Pilling Bean Coffee Scrubs.

An all-natural skincare line, the Pilling Bean scrubs are made to deeply cleanse, provide natural exfoliation to the skin, and combat skin ageing. They originated in Korea and were the brainchild of Kang Ho Gil who was inspired by the strong café culture in Korea and developed a keen appreciation for coffee, which led him to creating Pilling Bean.

Gil sat for an exclusive tete-e-tete with HerStyleAsia to share all the deets about this innovative skincare line and his vision for Pilling Bean. 

Pilling Bean Coffee Scrubs Are Changing The Landscape Of Skincare Industry

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HSA: What is the story and inspiration behind Pilling Bean’s coffee scrubs? 

Gil: I have been a national and international barista for about five years. As I was exposed to the coffee culture of East and West, I became curious about coffee. And I found that less than 10 percent of the coffee beans were used to extract espresso to make coffee, and the rest were thrown away. I thought it was a huge waste.

I was wondering if there would be a more complete use of coffee, and I started researching beauty products using coffee. Finally, my goal is to scale one percent of the global coffee market, and I would like to run a franchise business related to beauty and coffee in the future.

HSA: Why did you specifically choose coffee as a key ingredient?

Gil: I started my business in 2015 and we were able to identify potential prospects for a market combining coffee and beauty. It was coffee's exfoliation abilities and pore-care function.

HSA: Is your brand the first of its kind to uncover the real goodness of caffeine?

Gil: We are not the first brand to be associated with caffeine, but we strive to be the best in the beauty industry, including caffeine. Coffee scrubs for body may be rather prevalent in the beauty market. However, we are the first brand to have the facial coffee scrub that can remove make up, which means no need for double cleansing.

HSA: What are the natural skincare benefits of coffee that most people are unaware of?

Gil: Most people think coffee is a drink. However, if skincare is carried out using coffee, the effect of exfoliating, hair care and moisturising can be seen. Other skincare benefits include:

  • Cellulite reduction
  • Calming effects for skin
  • Anti-ageing benefits  
  • Rich in vitamin B3 for skin cancer
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Acne prevention and treatment

HSA: Please tell us how you developed your coffee scrub? What are its benefits?

Gil: When I researched beauty products using coffee, most of the products on sale were finished with grinding coffee and mixing it with oil. Therefore, the question of how to improve the quality of the product was strong. I came up with a product in the form of coffee beans because I wanted to preserve the characteristics of the coffee ingredient. Benefits include unique coffee beans, portability, powder form and protection.

HSA: When you say 'all natural product' could you explain how?

Gil: In our products, we comprised of mostly natural ingredients, other than soap.

HSA: Do you think there is need to go back to our roots and explore natural skincare?

Gil: I think there is a growing emphasis on using natural ingredients. Many consumers do consider if skincare brands use parabens, test on animals, etc. I definitely think the beauty industry should go back to our roots and explore using natural products.

We use natural ingredients and we have been awarded the LOHAS certificate, which means our products are eco-friendly. Instead of using micro beads (which contaminate ecosystem and cause sea pollution), which is commonly used in other exfoliating products, coffee bean powder is used.

HSA: Have people become more willing to try Korean skincare in the West and even in Singapore? Why do you think that is?

Gil: I think the K-pop and Korean drama scene has definitely contributed to the growing popularity of Korean Skincare.

Many actresses and celebrities in that scene have flawless skin, and it is no wonder that Westerners and Singaporeans have a growing interest in what skincare products are used by Koreans.

Why Pilling Bean Products Have Quickly Become So Popular

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HSA: Is it true that coffee scrub is great for getting rid of cellulite? Does it work, if so, how can we use this scrub?

Gil: Yes, it is. It’s thought that the caffeine content in coffee is the key to cellulite reduction by dilating blood vessels beneath the skin and improving overall blood flow.

First, damp your body with water and spread the powder evenly over the body. Next massage thoroughly. Then rinse with water.

Coffee may help reduce the appearance of cellulite on the skin. It’s thought that the caffeine content in coffee is the key to cellulite reduction by dilating blood vessels beneath the skin and improving overall blood flow. In turn, this may help decrease the appearance of cellulite. This skincare method is thought to best be used via a coffee scrub because the exfoliation can also smooth your skin and provide an even appearance.

HSA: There’s a 'recommended usage' for each product – Is it because of its potency?

Gil: The recommended usage is once to twice a week. If you have normal skin, once a week might suffice. But for people with oily skin and more sebum, twice a week is recommended.

Of course, remember to remove your eye make up before using the Pilling Bean Coffee Scrub Cleanser.

HSA: Which top five products would you recommend for clear skin as well as for cellulite?

Gil: I'd like to recommend all of them, but personally I'd like to recommend the lavender variant. I personally find the scent of Lavender very relaxing.

HSA: Why should an aspiring millennial purchase this product?

Gil: Coffee is a material that has greatly influenced my life and I know the infinite potential of this market so I will continue to develop products that would be suitable for millennials.

Kang Ho Gil, Founder Of Pilling Bean And A Millennial Idol 

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HSA: Your work has quickly become inspirational for many young millennials. What is your life advice to them?

Gil: My motto is CCC (Means chance, choice, challenge).

Chance is all about the opportunities given, I had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of coffee when I was a barista. I had the choice of taking a risk and setting up my own skincare business. Thus, I took the risk and decided to take up the challenge.

HSA: What's your secret to establishing a successful all-natural company in a heavily Westernised cosmetic and skincare industry?

Gil: There is always room for improvement and we must work harder in the future. The driving force that I have grown up in this business so far seems to have come here with the ceaseless desire and passion of the product.

Pilling Bean was launched in Singapore in November last year and is available online and in Metro stores. 

Also read: How These Two Sisters Are Changing The Landscape Of Art And Culture In Singapore

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj