5 Korean skincare steps you should be incorporating into your routine
Who hasn't wondered just how Korean stars get their perfect, flawless, and dewy skin? Korean skin care is getting a lot of attention all over the world for their use of innovative ingredients in products. But more and more the attention is shifting to how they use their skin care products. Their regimen is known for having anywhere from 10-12 steps, which can seem absolutely overwhelming to most of us. Don't be overwhelmed! We've simplified it down to 5 steps that you can incorporate into your routine tomorrow to achieve that beautiful, radiant skin.
Step 1: Cleansing
This step is where a lot of people go wrong. Some go the overly aggressive route of tough exfoliators and harsh bubbling scrubs to get that squeaky clean feel. The truth of the matter is if your skin feels squeaky you're actually causing damage. The other mistake people make is leaving makeup and residue on their faces, which is always bad and creates buildup. In Korea, cleansing is all about being gentle. That's why this step actually has two parts. The first is an oil-based cleanser, which works wonders to get all the makeup and dirt off without needing to vigorously scrub and hurt the skin. The second is a gentle foaming cleanser, which removes the oil from the skin to allow whatever hydration products you are going to use to penetrate the skin.
We recommend Shu Umera's High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil and May Coop's Cleansing Mousse
Step 2: Toner
This is probably the most often-skipped step. I too, have often wondered what the point of a toner was. I've also fallen victim to using toners which were too harsh for my skin, leaving red skin that felt prickly and sore. However, in Korea, everyone knows that it is an important step in the process. It restores the pH balance of your skin that gets out of balance from makeup use and the cleansing process. It also prepares the skin to accept all the "nutrition" we are going to feed it through our moisturizers. Absolutely always use an alcohol-free toner unless you enjoy dry, flaky skin.
We recommend Be The Skin's Botanical Power Nutrition Toner or Mizon's AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner
Step 3: Hydration
This step is the one where most people tend to get overwhelmed. What's the difference between creams and serums and effusions? Which do I need? How do I know which order to apply them? To simplify, most Korean products treat singular problems. One might treat hydration, another brown spots, and another wrinkles. With serums — which is the first thing you want to put on your face — you can pick and choose. If you are only focused on one area, apply that product liberally to your face and neck. If you have a few areas of focus, you can put a pump of each into your hand, mix it up, and apply like that. Afterwards apply a layer of moisturizer to seal in all that goodness.
We suggest May Coop's Raw Activator Serum and Cremorlab's Enriched Moisture
Step 4: Masks
When I think of masks, I think of my childhood friends and me sitting around in pajamas and green faces from the masks we bought at the pharmacy. It feels like a luxury or treat to give yourself this treatment. In Korea, however, this is a normal step to their skin care. Often they will add a sheet mask such as an exfoliating one before they apply their toner and moisturizers. If you feel like you need a little extra exfoliating or perhaps some extra hydration, add this step to your skin care regime a few times a week. There is also the more intense sleep mask. This is the final step if you really want to seal in all the good products you've put on your skin. It provides that extra dose of goodness to your skin.
We recommend Cremorlab's Herb Tea Blemish Minus Calming Mask or Mizon's Snail Wrinkle Care Sleeping Pack
Step 5: Suncare/BB
Koreans are fanatical about protecting their skin from the sun, and for good reason. Why spend all that time and effort making your skin look gorgeous if you're going to damage it with the sun? First, it's important to have a good sun block with a decent SPF. If you just can't bring yourself to wear sunscreen, then a foundation with an SPF is the way to go. Most Korean cushions offer both great coverage and SPF to keep your skin glowing, dewy, and perfect all day long.
If you follow this skin care routine regularly, and we promise it will become second nature to you, and your skin will be looking like these stars in no time.
Watch the radiant Kang So Ra (pictured above, left) in her current series, Jeju Island Gatsby: