Sally Kim is a 25-year-old entrepreneur who, in less than a year, has built a beauty empire that focuses on fundamental nutrients found in a Korean diet. Crushed Tonic is an anti-aging beauty drink which is currently stocked in Sephora and Anthropologie and is packed with anti-aging superfoods and antioxidants clinically proven to rejuvenate your skin.

With Crushed Tonic selling out across the country and a new book The Collagen Glow on the way later this month, we just HAD to find out more about Sally Kim’s incredible journey.

Have you always had an interest in Skincare?

Yes! It’s so easy to be obsessed with skincare when you grow up in the skincare capital of the world! Especially because where I grew up in Seoul, you can find a store dedicated to Korean beauty/skincare on almost every corner, and so much of the conversation is focused on skincare. Still, skincare was just a natural day to day hobby of mine (although I’ll admit that I often go to bed still, without taking off my make-up). It didn’t become my passion until I burned myself in a cooking accident, and I had to figure out how to get my skin to regenerate and heal quicker. 


You have said the secret to healthy skin is a diet that is high in collagen. What are some examples of foods that have a high collagen content?

Collagen is sourced from the skin, bones and cartilage of animals, fish, chicken, pigs, and cows. Koreans predominantly ingest marine collagen (it’s common for a meal to include whole-roasted fish with its skin on) and lots of bone broth (most of our meals come with a bone-broth based soup) and once or twice a week, we will have a Korean barbecue, such as pigs belly and then there are side dishes such as jellyfish salad, steamed octopus and squid. More extreme collagen-rich specialty foods are chicken feet and pork knuckles!Koreans also consume a lot of collagen-producing foods, such as green tea and barley tea.


When did you realise that collagen was key for healthy skin?

It was actually a bit of a process – although I realized that my skin and hair looked a lot healthier than they have ever been, and so did everyone around me because I kept receiving compliments and was asked what products I was using, it wasn’t until I did all of the research on the science of it however, that I truly realized how great collagen was and how integral it is for healthy skin and hair.

You suffered from severe burns to your arms. Was it a scary thing to take the healing upon yourself?

I definitely had outside help initially, just not great, my uncle and grandmother are both doctors and they prescribed me all ointments and creams known to man. However, when I saw that they had very little effect on the regeneration of my skin and weren’t helping me get rid of the scars, I took it upon myself to do more research. And I’m so glad that I did!

Did you have to do a lot of research beforehand? How/where did you start?

Funnily enough, I started on Reddit and Quora and peer to peer Q&A forums. After a couple hours of reading about home remedies, I came across a video of burn victims who were getting treated with collagen. They had the skin of tilapia topically applied to the wounds. This got me super fascinated about the concept of collagen, that I ordered some for me to consume right away. I ordered powdered collagen, as I am terrible at taking pills, but I was a bit disappointed by how it tasted when I initially started taking it. I was taking bovinecollagen, which comes from the cow hides (skin) and is not the easiest to keep down. However, I added a ton of other ingredients to make it palatable and switched it up every day to make sure I didn’t get too sick of it. Then, once I saw the benefits and realized how amazing collagen was for you, I ordered all the different types of collagen out there and vetted through each one to find the king of all collagens (and my favorite superfoods to accompany it!)


You have a book The Collagen Glow that is in the process. Can you tell us a bit about this? When is it due out? 

It is a collagen-based cookbook, of smoothies, smoothie bowls and soups and a collagen guide 101, a synthesis of research and anecdotes that will help those who have never taken collagen before, to be able to integrate it into their everyday diet. Collagen is traditionally suggested to be taken with coffee and I wanted to set out to disprove that. When you get used to collagen and how to use it, you can add it to anything and everything, watermelon juice, butternut squash soup, and protein bites! 

 It finishes with a “Collagen Boot Camp” that guides readers through a 30-day collagen diet that suggests what they should and shouldn’t consume, on top of the collagen and some other Korean beauty tips and secrets that were passed down on to me from my family. 

What can we expect to see from you next? Are you hoping to continue to grow the Crushed Tonic Brand?

You can expect to see some more delicious flavors of crushes, formulated with other amazing superfoods. We are always open to experimenting, and creating flavors that work for all!

We are also currently in talks with a couple international retailers and partners, which will be so exciting for us as we keep growing, and getting the word about collagen out.


Here are BELLA Magazine our tagline is Beauty Defined by You. How would you define beauty?

Beauty really begins from within, its wellness at the cellular level. I believe that for us to look our best, we must feel our best, which is why we must take care of our health and always ensure that everything is optimal underneath it all. 

You can pick up The Collagen Glow from Barnes & Noble and online from October 23. If you have any tasty crush flavor ideas for Crushed Tonic you can get in touch with Sally Kim here: sally@crushedtonic.com. We cannot wait to try some of the smoothies and soups! Keep up to date with all things Crushed Tonic by following their Instagram @crushedtonic.

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