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About Us

Adeline formulating in the Sabbatical Beauty lab.


sabbatical wins best of philly 2021About Sabbatical

Sabbatical Beauty is a Korean-inspired skincare line that delivers quality ingredients in high concentrations so your skin sees difference fast. It was started by Adeline Koh, Ph.D., who started formulating skincare products while on academic sabbatical from her tenured professor position because she was frustrated with the beauty products on the market. Many generic products loudly proclaim their "active" ingredients on their packaging, but these actives only make up a tiny percentage of ingredients. Inspired by the DIY beauty scene, she decided to start making her own skincare, and shared her results with her friends. Resoundingly her friends reported that her products achieved amazing results very quickly: diminishing redness, helping acne, filling in fine lines and wrinkles.

After a lot of thought and experimentation, she decided that she wanted to share Sabbatical Beauty with others as well. Sabbatical Beauty's goal is to share with its users the experience of being on sabbatical: happy, relaxed and refreshed. 

Sabbatical's goal is also to broaden the definition of beauty within the industry: to empower people of all skin tones, ages and textures to fall more in love with the skin they are in. Our Vacuum Cleansing Oil has been rated #2 Cleansing Oil by Elle Magazine, we have been awarded Best Local Skin Care Line by Philadelphia Magazine, and have been featured in Allure, Slate, Shape, Beauty Independent, the Guardian and more. 


Why Sabbatical

Sabbatical Beauty products are small-batch handcrafted and not made in a commercial lab. They are filled with much more active ingredients than are in regular commercial products, and they work fast. This quick effect is due to the high concentration of actives. Many of the products are influenced from trends in Korean beauty, such as Camellia Japonica oil, a traditional beauty oil in East Asia used to calm and soothe skin and fill in wrinkles and fine lines.

If you're feeling a little disillusioned by big brand beauty products, try a little sample of Sabbatical Beauty and see if it changes your mind about skincare.


Community & Political Organization

Because Adeline created Sabbatical Beauty coming from her career as a race & gender studies professor, she understands beauty as something deeply rooted in politics and inequality. For this reason, Sabbatical Beauty has always actively donated to causes to curb right wing extremism and advocated for progressive organizations that work to create a more just and equitable society. 

This has included past political skincare collections, with donations to national organizations like Swing Left, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, the National Abortion Federation and Red, Wine & Blue. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sabbatical actively donated masks and our in-house hand sanitizers to local homeless shelters, essential businesses like grocery stores and restaurants and nonprofit Philadelphia organizations like SEAMAAC. We also donated masks to Powai Polyclinic & Hospital in Mumbai, India. 

We believe that the roots of beauty and skincare are deeply political, because how we treat our bodies corresponds to how we show up in this world both for ourselves and others. Read more in Adeline’s blog post here.


About Adeline

Adeline has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan and is a former tenured professor of English who held fellowships at the National University of Singapore, Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a Formula Botanica Graduate, and holds certificates in natural cosmetic preservation and stability testing.