As one of our favorite TCM beauty brands, YINA never fails to amaze us with high-quality, TCM-focused, natural skincare products. We are simply obsessed!
This week, we are thrilled to have Ervina Wu, the co-founder of YINA, to talk about her brand and her favorite beauty recipe!
Make sure to read through and participate in YINA’s Better Breast Health Campaign this month with an exclusive discount!
Ervina Wu is a Singapore-born San Franciscan who is now based in Asia. She is a PhD in Chinese Medicine, a licensed practitioner, and a certified TCM dermatologist.
She is currently in China, sourcing ingredients and enjoying her second home in Hangzhou, a beautiful city near Shanghai. Prior to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Ervina was in communications, Finance, and a Venture Capitalist. As a co-founder, she is involved from the product formulations, the branding, and the business development at YINA.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Angela (our other co-founder) and I started YINA as we got really inspired from our study of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). While we were still in graduate school, we couldn't find Chinese Medicine based skincare that was high-performing and cleanly formulated. Both of us shared strong entrepreneurial instincts, and creating a holistic skincare line seemed like a natural progression after graduation.
What was your first encounter with cooking/first awareness of Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Growing up, my family had always used herbs in our everyday cooking. Our family medicine cabinet has all sorts of TCM remedies for every ailment under the sun! Watermelon frost for canker sores, liniments for sore muscles, digestive pills...you name it. As a child I probably became more aware of TCM whenever I got sick and had to drink bitter herbal brews! However the reward of finishing the bitter brew is a piece of candy made from Shan Zha - Hawthorn berry, a refreshingly sweet-tart TCM fruit.
Hawthorn Berry | Shan Zha | 山楂
Anything you want to say on the connection between TCM foods and skin health?
Michael Pollan said it best: “Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” If you want beautiful skin, you need to eat a variety of fresh whole foods, cut out processed foods, sugars, and eat organically and seasonally as much as possible.
What are your must-haves in your kitchen?
This is a tough question. My must-have kitchen tool is probably the wok, which I can use for boiling, braising, steaming, and frying. It’s super versatile and the most used cookware in a Chinese household. In terms of ingredients, I have a lot but always seem to stock up on multiple grains and beans - millet, different varieties of rice, qian shi, job’s tears, sesame seeds, dates, etc... I guess I could never go keto because of my love for grains.
As winter approaches, what is your favorite dish to cook?
I tend to rotate to what’s available or to what my body needs. An all-time favorite is peach tree jelly. It’s easy to make and super hydrating for the skin!
Which herb/healing ingredient do you want to tell us about that's in 5Yina's amazing products?
Formulation is everything! We select medicinal herbs that correspond not only to the season, but also focus on specific skin issues. For example, sun damage and drier skin are common issues during the fall. This is generally triggered by sudden change of the weather or extended sun exposure during summer. Therefore we formulate our GRACE elixir with medicinal herbs such as Reishi, Mulberry Leaves, and Goji Berry to repair the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation. These key herbs are clinically proven adaptogens that help regulate immunity. We also select herbs that are hypoallergenic, such as the white tea and tremella. The other herbs help support and balance the entire formulation.
Which body constitution do you have and how will your daily ritual change after finding out?
Type 1 - Allergic. Good thing is I love and already include most of the recommended foods. The only thing that I’m still learning is to cut down is spicy foods.
We know that you are a breast cancer survivor. Could you tell us more about your journey and 5YINA’s Better Breast Health campaign this month?
I found my tumor through breast massage. Just one week before the discovery, a mammogram session was unable to detect the same tumor. In fact as many as 40% of breast cancer patients found their own lumps. Therefore, at 5YINA we created our GUIYING balm to encourage women to cultivate breast health awareness and get more connected with their bodies. Consistent massage helps promote lymphatic circulation, reduce stagnant Qi, and nourish breast tissues. It's simple and only takes a few minutes.