The Team Behind Kaja Is Bringing a New Skincare Line To Sephora — EXCLUSIVE

by Sara Spruch-Feiner

When K-beauty came on the scene in the U.S. it was all about expanding your skincare routine to lengths you'd never imagined. Essences? Ampoules? All part of the 10 to 15-step regimens that were making headlines. Flash forward five-ish years, and while self-care and skincare are still priorities, people are paring back their routines and reaching for multitasking products. New beauty brand, Otzi, which launches in Sephora this month, brings the best of these worlds together — a K-beauty brand launching with five products (which don't even all have to be used at once).

The products blend, "Korean heritage ingredients such as ginseng berry, Korean hibiscus and rice ceramide with highly efficacious ingredients that are well known in the United States like hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid, and kaolin," explains founder and CEO of MBX (the company behind the brand, as well as brands like Kaja, I Dew Care, Nooni, and more), Dino Ha, to TZR.

Otzi, pronounced "oat-zee," is a play on the Korean word 우리, which means 'us.' Ha says the brand is inspired by "the next generation," adding that "through the community we plan to build, we want to amplify the voices that have been left out of the conversation when it comes to skincare."

The brand's minimal but colorful, genderless, inclusive vibe, and affordable price point (prices range from $25 to $35) are in tune with how skincare should be — accessible and for everyone. It's also vegan, cruelty-free, and PETA-certified. Perhaps most exciting is that the brand has done away entirely with secondary packaging — so no unnecessary cardboard boxes, and most components of the product containers can be recycled.

Now, on to the products themselves. The starting lineup includes a cleanser, two serums, a moisturizer, and a mask. Together, they cover the basics of a fairly well-rounded skincare routine. You cleanse, treat (with staples like vitamin C or chemically exfoliating acids), and moisturize, and can add in the mask when your pores need some TLC.

The Crystal Nova Gentle Makeup Removing Cleanser is a gel cleanser that transforms into a creamy lather that is sudsy but does not contain SLS or SLES, which can be drying.

Courtesy of Otzi

C-Drip Vitamin C Brightening Serum is the brand's take on a vitamin C serum and uses ethyl ascorbic acid, a stabilized form of the infamously finicky ingredient. It's also got ginseng berry, a Korean staple, and mulberry and date seed, all of which are rich in antioxidants. It can be used morning and night, but if you're really trying to stay true to a 'skipcare' philosophy, vitamin C is a perfect morning skincare ingredient.

Courtesy of Otzi

Multi-Acid Drip AHA/PHA Resurfacing Serum combines glycolic acid, gluconolactone, and willowbark (a natural source of salicylic acid) to resurface skin. There's also K-beauty hero, cica, a soothing antioxidant, as well as a blend of Korean teas that help calm—helpful in an acid-packed formula, and making this one safe for sensitive skin. Though this can also be used AM and PM, serums with chemical exfoliants are often recommended for overnight use.

Courtesy of Otzi

Hydro Crystal Lightweight Gel Moisturizer is fortified with the same hydrating ingredients as Otzi's cleanser — but you don't wash it off. Hyaluronic acid attracts water and plumps skin, a blend of flowers including snow lotus and chrysanthemum soften skin, and sodium PCA, and other minerals moisturize and soothe.

Finally, the Dough Therapy Pore Treatment Wash-Off Mask is a simultaneously clarifying and hydrating five-minute wash-off mask. Like other purifying masks, kaolin clay helps draw out impurities, but this formula also includes skin-barrier-strengthening rice ceramide and soothing oat.

The collection will be available to shop on Sephora.com on December 16.