In case you hadn’t noticed, Korean skincare is big news. There’s a much-reported difference between the way different nations treat their skin, with the Brits, Americans, French and South Koreans frequently being compared and noted for their differences- and it’s pretty darn fascinating. The beauty industry is currently obsessed with the way Korean women favour the layering of products and a strict ten-step regimen and we have to admit, so are we. To break it down briefly, the typical Korean skincare regime includes a double cleanse, exfoliation, a toner, an essence (the part that makes Korean regimes most noticeably different from our Western one), a serum, sheet mask (we’re now firmly on this bandwagon), eye cream, moisturizer and either night cream or SPF, depending on the time of day. Yes, it’s pretty high maintenance, but the skin transforming benefits are enough to tempt us to give it a try. Fancy curating your own bespoke version of a Korean multi-step skincare routine? Follow our tips to find out how.
- Use two different cleansers
Squeaky clean skin is the cornerstone of Korean beauty. Thoroughly cleansed skin that is free from make-up, dirt, SPF and oil is an essential part of the layering process and requires two different cleansers: an oil-based one and a water-based one. The former literally melts away stubborn make-up (yes waterproof mascara, we mean you) while the water-based one removes the traces of – you guessed it – the oily cleanser. Massage both products in to the skin thoroughly: Korean women see massage as a passage to better circulation (read, glowing skin).
- Use a good exfoliator – but not too often
Use a natural exfoliator to buff dry skin and slough away dead cells, allowing for the next stages in the process to work their magic on newer skin cells. But don’t go too crazy: stick to using it just twice a week.
- Re-introduce a toner
Remember when we were told to cleanse-tone-moisturise? Remember when we were then told that toning was an unnecessary step, that achieved little more than disrupting the skin? Well toning is most definitely back on the agenda, but the new generation of toners work to balance the skin’s pH levels and dampen the skin, prepping it to absorb the later products. If you want to stay true to the Korean way, look for Korean toners, known as ‘refreshers,’ that aren’t harsh on the skin.
Try: Pixi Glow Tonic
- Tackle your problems with a prescriptive approach
Said to be the heart of the Korean regime is the ‘Essence’. A sort of toner/serum hybrid made for hydrating and aiding skin repair and cell turnover, it’s a slightly difficult concept for Westerners to get used to. Treatments – applied after the Essence – is something we’re more au fait with: think boosters and serums, they’re basically concentrated formulas used to directly treat the issues you’re most concerned about. Whether it’s dull skin, large pores, pigmentation, or acne, consider serums a skin-perfecting step that should be akin to a prescription from your doctor.
- Tap, don’t rub
It’s not just what you use on your skin, but how you apply it, that’s important to Korean women. Eye cream is a must, but be sure to tap it on to the delicate eye area, around the orbital bone, avoiding the waterline. Strictly no rubbing allowed.
Try: The Ordinary Caffeine Solution
- See your regime as meditative
Finally, don’t look at this routine as a chore: look at it as fifteen minutes (thirty if you include time for a sheet mask) of you-time. Consider it a ritual that will give you a glow, while allowing you time to reflect, relax and unwind. If you can’t stick to this routine twice a day (and truthfully, some of the steps aren’t necessary, nor advised, that frequently) follow it on an evening at a time that you can stick to every night. Let’s face it, if you can make time for Love Island every single night, then surely you’ve got time for this?
* Included in your July Roccabox