top of page

How Cardon is Giving Men a Space to Care About their Skin, Body, and Hair

In the United States, men aren't really known for indulging in intentional skin, body, and haircare rituals, and it's because they don't feel like those rituals are meant for them. That's where Cardon comes in, directly marketing to the male demographic and offering a plethora of products to do things like protecting skin from sun, treating dark circles, soothing shaving irritation, and preventing hair loss. Their products are easy to use, made of non-toxic, premium ingredients, and are backed by Korean innovation and science. We spoke with one of the Founders Narae Chung about the brand's beginnings, must-have products, and the overall DNA of the brand.

Cardon ©

What were you and Jacqueline's personal relationships with skincare growing up?

I grew up in Korea, where skincare is ingrained in our culture. I have witnessed firsthand the power of skincare and its ability to transcend cultural boundaries. That is why Cardon is not just a brand for me; it's a culmination of my personal journeys and passion. It symbolizes my and Jacqueline’s commitment to creating a brand that combines the best of both worlds - the expertise of Korean skincare practices and the understanding of the American consumer.

What opened you and Jacqueline's eyes up about the gaps in the men's skincare realm?

Jacqueline and I both noticed an increasing interest in men’s personal care here in the United States, but there was a lack of good quality and affordable options in the U.S. That’s when we decided to conduct a focus group right out of our apartment, inviting our male classmates to share their thoughts and concerns about skincare. It opened our eyes and confirmed not only the market need but also the lack of safe spaces for men to discuss their skincare journey openly.

How did Cardon come about, and what challenges did you face when laying the foundation for the brand?

Cardon's journey began with a shared passion for skincare and a deep-rooted belief that the men's grooming market was in need of a revolution. We recognized a gap in the industry, where high-quality, effective, and affordable skincare products specifically tailored to men's needs were scarce.

As we laid the foundation for Cardon, we faced challenges in breaking through the traditional norms and stereotypes surrounding men's grooming. We encountered skepticism and resistance from some men who viewed skincare as unnecessary or unmanly. Additionally, we realized the importance of educating men about the benefits of skincare and providing them with simple, easy-to-use products that seamlessly fit into their daily routines. We focused on developing formulations that were effective yet uncomplicated, ensuring that men could easily incorporate skincare into their lives without feeling overwhelmed. Despite these challenges, we were determined to challenge the status quo and create a brand that embraced inclusivity and self-care for all. We are proud of the foundation we have laid for Cardon and excited for the future, becoming a trusted name in the men's grooming, providing men with the tools they need to look and feel their best.

Talk about the importance of men's skincare being easy to use and simplistic.

The importance of men's skincare being easy to use and simplistic cannot be overstated. Men often find skincare to be a new habit, and if it becomes too complicated or time-consuming, they may feel overwhelmed and less inclined to practice self-care. At Cardon, we understand this challenge, which is why we focus on creating products that are not only effective but also convenient and user-friendly.

We believe that by offering products that are simple to use, we remove barriers to entry and encourage consistent self-care habits among men. Our formulations are carefully designed to be multi-functional, combining multiple benefits in a single product or incorporating easy-to-use packaging. This allows men to streamline their skincare routine without sacrificing efficacy.

If you had to describe the Cardon brand in three words, what would they be?

Effective, clean, and affordable.

Talk about why it's important for men to have a skincare company that declares their products to be made for men.

While we believe that skincare does not have a gender, we recognize that skincare is still a relatively new habit for many men. Unless a product is directly marketed to men, they may feel hesitant or unsure about using it. During the interview with customers, I asked how they typically search for skincare products. Their responses often included phrases like "the best sunscreen for men" or "the best moisturizer for men." This indicates that there is a level of comfort and reassurance in finding products explicitly tailored to their needs. By explicitly declaring our products as made for men, we aim to bridge that gap and provide a sense of inclusivity. We want men to feel confident and empowered to take care of their skin without any hesitation or concerns. While we believe that skincare is for everyone, we understand the importance of meeting men where they are in their skincare journey. As men become more knowledgeable and advanced in their skincare routines, their preferences and perspectives may evolve. We hope that, in time, the notion of gender-specific skincare will become less necessary as the industry becomes more inclusive and gender-neutral. However, for now, explicitly marketing our products as made for men helps to create a sense of familiarity and encourages men to explore the world of skincare with confidence and ease.

Also, while many industry reports discuss a shift towards genderless beauty, we believe male-focused beauty is here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future). Based on LEK survey and analysis, men are taking charge of their personal care choices, and over 50% say they prefer brands like Harry’s, Jack Black, and Dr. Squatch that specifically target men. By contrast, only 32% prefer brands that are gender-neutral (such as Kiehl’s, C.O. Bigelow, or SkinCeuticals), and just 16% favor female-oriented brands with a subline for men (e.g., Clinique for Men, Dove Men+Care). These statistics are mirrored in our customers' behavior and gender breakdown. Over 80% of our customers identify as male and are purchasing for themselves. Men are still new to the skincare and personal care industries and thus require a tailored experience when it comes to education and products.

How do you want men to feel when they use Cardon products?

We want men to feel like they’ve found high-quality products that effectively and efficiently address their skin, body, and hair care concerns in a way that supports their day-to-day lifestyle and boosts confidence.

Cardon ©

Along with skincare, you guys sell haircare. What makes your haircare products stand out?

Through direct customer feedback, we understood that Cardon’s customers wanted more than just skincare products. Cardon’s target customers experience early signs of hair loss and current methods on the market were not effective. One of the biggest concerns men have about their appearance is hair loss. Based on the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, the population of men who have hair loss concerns in the US is about 350 million, and 210 million women. The American Hair Loss Association says that 85% of men have experienced hair thinning by the age of 50. Given these findings and customer feedback, we turned to innovative Korean formulations and practices to tackle these concerns and provide our customers with effective products that easily fit into anyone’s personal care regimen. Our products are approved by the Korean FDA as hair loss products. Our protein-packed Shampoo + Conditioner features the following ingredients which help promote fuller, stronger hair and a healthier scalp:

  • Niacinamide: Soothes and smooths the scalp surface, while boosting circulation to the hair follicles (in turn promoting hair growth, strength, and retention).

  • Dexpanthenol: Strengthens and moisturizes hair to prevent further hair loss.

  • Salicylic Acid: Balances scalp oil levels and counters inflammation, while also exfoliating dead skin cells to prevent flaking.

  • Yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract): Boosts scalp hydration and stimulates hair growth.

  • Menthol: Cools and calms the scalp, mitigating irritation.

Cardon ©

If someone could only purchase one Cardon product to start off their collection, which one would you recommend?

I would recommend our award-winning Daily SPF + Moisturizer. It’s arguably the most important step in a skincare routine, yet one that is often overlooked. Our sunscreen is super lightweight and fast absorbing, so you do not feel like you are using sunscreen!

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Cardon's commitment to quality products has been widely recognized by industry experts, winning nine Grooming Awards. We take pride in our continuous efforts to deliver effective and reliable solutions for our customers. Lastly, we’re excited to step into the retail space! After winning Macy’s The Workshop competition, we have a lot of great moves coming in the physical retail space that we can’t wait to debut.

Cardon ©

Keep up with Cardon on Instagram @cardon. Explore all of their products on their webstore.


bottom of page