Over a year ago I read an article about K beauty products and how it is a new trend taking over the American beauty market, and it peaked my interest. I began researching and came across the 10 step routine the skin obsessed women of Seoul practiced that made their skin look so luminous and flawless and I wanted to learn more. I started incorporating one step at a time to my routine until I tried all the steps. I was in love with it, and my skin loved it too. Disclaimer: You do not have to use all 10 steps to achieve results, thats the beauty of this routine. It is highly customizable to your skincare needs and lifestyle so if all you do now is just two steps, you can make it 5 steps on days when you have the time to indulge. The other reason I love the routine is it teaches how to layer your skincare products from the lightest (more concentrated) to the heaviest product, allowing your skin to absorb the product effectively. Finally, its all about hydration. Most Korean skincare products are made to keep the skin hydrated which is key to healthy skin, and it can be practiced by all skin types. Below is a brief description of the 10 step Korean skincare routine.
Ten step Korean skincare routine
Make up remover and oil cleanser
First you start with a make up remover to remove any makeup around the eye area. This step is usually done in the PM after your day. Then you apply an oil base cleanser which may come in balm or liquid form. This takes off the makeup and dirt from the skin, it can be the first step to a double cleanse method in the evening, or it can be the only cleanse you do in the morning. This step can be done by all types of skin, even oily skin types can use oil based cleaners. Your skin will not look or feel oilier, it will just break down the oily sebum and pollution from your skin.
In this step you are using a cleanser that will not only take off the debris thoroughly but it would nourish your skin. The cleanser you use should be tailored to your skin type or skin concern, so if you have acne you should use a cleanser that targets acne or for skin with blemish you should use a brightening cleanser. Basically this step is when you use your active cleanser to maintain or treat your skin.
Exfoliating is a major key to flawless skin. It sloughs off dead skin cells, unclogs pores, improves texture and allows the following products to absorb better and be more effective. You could use either a manual exfoliant like sugar or salt scrubs, or a chemical exfoliant that use ingredients like lactic acids to eradicate dead skin. You can exfoliate two to three times a week depending on your skin type.
Toners are not unique to Korean skincare routine. A lot of people know about it and choose to use it or not to use it. However In Korean beauty routine it is a key step. Generally it is used after cleansing, to remove any leftover dirt, and repairs the skins barrier to absorb moisture more effectively. It is also important to point out that Korean women use hydrating toners instead of astringent toners so they are more hydrating and soothing vs. stripping. You can either apply on a cotton pad or directly on the skin.
This is the heart of the Korean skincare routine and it is slowly becoming my favorite skin care product. Essence increases cell turnover, it is hydrating and brightening. My skin feels softer and plump since I started using essence in my routine. You can apply it on cotton pad and swipe over your skin or you can pour a little into your palm and pat it directly on the skin until fully absorbed.
Ampoules, boosters and serums
This is the treatment part of the routine. Serums, ampoules or boosters are concentrated skincare products that target specific conditions on the skin, or are used for preventative treatment of the skin. It can be a spot treatment, an area, or the entire face and neck. There are different serums for different conditions; like acne, hyperpigmentation and anti aging treatments. Apply a small amount to the area of your face you would like and wait till its absorbed.
The sheet mask
The sheet mask is synonymous with Korean skincare but it is slowly becoming popular with Western brands. Sheet mask helps the product penetrate your skin better because it is left on your skin for an average of 20 mins, forcing your skin to absorb more moisture and nourishment from the active ingredient infused in each mask. It can be used at least twice a week, by placing the mask over your face for a set time. After you take it off you should pat the residue into your skin till it is absorbed.
The skin around your eyes are the thinnest part of your whole face so it must be handled delicately. Eye creams are similar to serums, but they have a higher concentration and if used regularly can help reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffiness and fine lines. Using your fingers, take a small amount and lightly pat the cream around your eyes. Remember, the skin here is delicate so do not rub or pull.
This is the thickest product applied so it goes on last at night. This part is hydrating or moisturizing, depending on your skin type. It is used to seal in moisture or hydration into the skin after all the treatment has been applied. It may also have active ingredients that could add to treating any skin condition. At night, a night cream can be used to restore what your skin has lost during the day. On occasion, a sleeping mask might be used over your moisturizer which just adds more hydration to your skin, giving you plumped dewy skin in the morning.
Sunscreen is the last step of your AM routine. It is a very crucial step in any skincare routine and should be worn by everyone no matter what. It protects the skin from aging and, most importantly, skin cancer. Enough cannot be said about the importance of this step to the health and beauty of your skin. A minimum of SPF 30 should be applied daily, and can be reapplied during the course of the day. Apply all over your face, down to your shoulders.
This routine may be a lot for some people, which is completely understandable. As mentioned earlier, it is highly customizable. You do not have to use Korean skincare products to practice this routine and you can incorporate it to your current routine. The key to the Korean skincare routine is to pamper and take care of yourself. Take time to enjoy and indulge in a routine occasionally because you deserve it
I would like to hear from anyone who has tried this routine, and your experience (good or bad). Also if you have any questions I will be happy to answer them.
SOURCE: the little book of skincare. Korean beauty secret of healthy glowing skin by Charlotte Cho