Cobra Kai’s Alicia Hannah-Kim on SPF and Her Very ‘Conscious’ Wellness Routine

Cobra Kai’s Alicia Hannah-Kim on SPF and Her Very ‘Conscious’ Wellness Routine featured image
Timothy Fernandez
This article first appeared in the Summer 2024 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

Born and raised in Australia and of Korean descent, Alicia Hannah-Kim, who stars in Netflix’s hit Emmy-nominated series Cobra Kai, is all about her heritage. As the formidable and ruthless South Korean sensei Kim Da-Eun—the first female sensei of the Karate Kid universe—Hannah-Kim is a standout as the popular show gets ready for its sixth season. Now a series regular, Hannah-Kim recently spoke to us from her Venice Beach home to talk skin care, stunts and everything else.

You’re about to have a a big summer. What are you excited for as the show returns for the sixth season?

“I’m super excited because I know the fans have been waiting for this big finale conclusion, and so it’s exciting to me that we’re beginning that. I know it’s going to be in three parts and so everybody is going to come on this long journey with us to unravel the final season. I’m so excited about that. I’m really just bursting for everyone to see my character’s journey this season because it is wild. It’s going to be hard for me to not spill spoilers all year.”

That’s funny. It’s a great show, and a huge Netflix project. Do you have a lot of travel coming up for the press and for the premiere?

“I think we’re having our premiere in LA, but it’s a worldwide show. It’s so popular around the world and that’s incomprehensible to my small experience on the show. It’s always wild to think about this thing that you’re making with a bunch of people is going to be watched by millions of people around the world. I hope that we can travel and promote it as much as we can. We have a lot of global talent this year.”

How do you get into a good mindset when you do have to travel and go on a red carpet? Do you do anything for wellness?

“Yes. I think that that is the least-talked about bits of being an actor. It’s so much about the work, and then now with work, a lot of it is the traveling out of state or international. I don’t think up-and-coming actors think about that but really, it’s hard on the body. I have to commit to a very deep conscious wellness routine to stay healthy and alert and be able to do my job to the best capacity that I can.

I’m very careful with what I eat. I think that I’m not manic, but I’m very much a “whole foods” kind of person. I don’t drink alcohol, I drink a lot of water and tea. I’ve been doing yoga for over 10 years now and that’s really the foundation of my health truly.”

Do you frequent any spas or wellness places on the local LA scene?

Spas are my Roman Empire. I think of them often! Massage is my favorite thing in the world. I would say the Raven Spa in Santa Monica is an old favorite of mine. That’s a classic West Side joint. People from the cast know this—wherever I am, you can always rely on me to give you a recommendation for a good massage therapist. It’s the first thing that I look for, especially if the job is so physical. Especially in Atlanta, where we were doing so much stunt fighting and training. It was crucial to me for recovery. I was passing out the number of my therapists to the rest of the cast, and so everyone was staying in good shape. I always know what’s up with the spas.”

When you did the reel for us for NewBeauty, you had a very serious routine of multi-steps. Where are you right now with skin care and beauty?

“I am further and deeper down the rabbit hole of K-beauty. In season five, I was like, ‘Look at my 10-step routine.’ Now I’m like, ‘No, no, I’m even deeper now.’ I’ve been to Korea at least three, four times since then, since I made that video, and so I’ve just done more exploration and discovered more brands. That’s really the base of my routine is Korean beauty, so I’m all about it.”

Do you bring the SPF back to LA?

“I’m wearing SPF 50 right now. When people show me their sunscreens and they’re like, ‘Oh, this foundation has SPF 25,’ I’m like, ‘Oh, bless your heart.’ It’s 50 or nothing! Yes, I have the SPF 50. I’m deep into Beauty of Joseon. They have an incredible new serum. They had the old regular sunscreen which was a hit, but their new thing, and I’m not paid to say this, their new serum is my dream. I wear it every day. I carry a sun stick, and I have a wide array of hats that I will wear. I’m just doing my best to protect myself from the almighty sun. I’m not a dermatologist, so you don’t have to listen to me. All I know is that I bow at the altar of SPF.”

I love it.

“I’m Australian. I’m Australian and I’m Korean, the two cultures that we only care about SPF.”

What else are you going to do this summer? Do you have a vacation planned? Do you have anything else exciting that’s coming up?

“I have something really exciting. I’m heading to Korea for work. That’s been a big dream of mine in the last couple of years, and so I’m really excited to do that. I’m really excited to work more between Korea and the U.S. I feel that there’s such a huge artistic explosion happening from Korea, and there’s a lot of excitement. I feel really lucky to have roots over there and want to work internationally as well.”

Well, congrats. I know a lot of people are pumped for everything and anything Netflix to hit. It’s become a way of life.

“It’s really true. The Netflix and chill is the routine for me. That’s my social routine. I’m deep into it.”

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