Known for their elaborate 10-12 step daily beauty regimes, exotic ingredients and high-precision application techniques, there is a lot to be admired about the dedication and purpose many Koreans employ regarding care for their largest organ (…their skin.)
Steeped in history, Korean skincare has a lot to offer western users, causing a new consciousness around this “phenomenon”. I have always been completely intrigued by the concept of Korean skincare, so recently I decided it was time to find out more about it. So – what IS Korean skincare all about? I tapped leading Australian-based Korean skincare and makeup store, ANIQA to learn more.
The Korean Skincare Philosophy
FACT #1 – Whereas many westerners see skincare as a chore, Koreans do not. Instead, the process of skincare becomes something therapeutic to be enjoyed! Deeply respectful of their skin, Koreans approach skincare with knowledge, time, and a nurturing touch.
FACT #2 – Koreans place great value on time-tested philosophies. I was amazed to learn that Koreans have been honing their skincare game for more than 5000 years! The “Donguibogum” (an ancient document and national treasure) advocates medicinal herbs and natural substances for skin health. The knowledge and principles in Donguibogam has served as a foundation for many innovative Korean skin care products.
FACT #3 – Koreans truly value the importance of having healthy skin, which equates to beauty. Clarity, brightness, and translucence are the fundamental goals of many Korean skin care regimes, and achieving these with the help of k-beauty products has become a popular choice among skincare enthusiasts.
FACT #4 – The main point of difference between Western and Korean skin care is the innovative use of ingredients, from ginseng, mung bean, snail secretion, bee and snake venom (!!!), with the latest trends being the use of donkey’s milk.
Korean Skincare Steps Explained
Earlier I mentioned that Koreans were quite fanatical about their skincare, (after all, a 10+ step process knocks most western beauty routines out of the park!)
However, it’s important to note that the 10-12 steps aren’t always practised every day, and you can manage with a basic cleanse, tone, moisturize and sun protection as a bare minimum, if you wish.
1. First cleanse – Remove makeup and surface impurities with an oil or a cleaning wipe.
3. Exfoliate – Essential to remove dead cells to allow products to work their magic, plus creating that flawless porcelain surface.
I have recently been using the Mizon Seaweed Jelly Scrub and absolutely love it! This is a very gentle exfoliator which you apply to dry skin. Packed with Konjac, this exfoliator also contains rice powder and amber powder. It buffs and shines without any harsh irritation or nasty abrasives.
4. Toner – Remove residual dirt or cleansers/exfoliators left behind.
5. Essence – A critical step in the Korean regime, and completely foreign to most western beauty consumers.
According to ANIQA, essence is “a liquid that is rich in nutrients and aids in the skin regeneration process by enhancing the skin’s cellular renewal and turnover rate.”
I have been using the Mizon Moisture Ex First Essence which I pat onto clean skin. The essence feels like a super-charged water and it leaves my face feeling very supple and hydrated without ANY feeling of weight or product. It absorbs instantly and creates a great base for my serum.
6. Serum/Ampoule – A concentrated (customisable) solution to tackle a certain problem area such as ageing, hydration, brightness etc. Products can be layered.
I have been using Mizon Skin Recharge Activating Serum which contains a key ingredient, Bifidobacteria Ferment Lysate (the same lactobacillus bifidus found in breast milk), obtained through a difficult culture process. This ingredient works to improve weak and roughened skin and improves key skin issues such as hydration, elasticity and skin balance.
7. Sheet mask – Added hydration. Simply align on the face, let the product work it’s magic and put your feet up!
8. Eye cream – A specialist cream to treat fine lines, wrinkles and dehydration.
I have been using the Cremorlab Wrinkle Off Eye Cream which can also be used as an eye-makeup primer. It is a velvety-smooth medium-density eye gel that hydrates and calms the eye area.This product absorbs instantly and leaves no residue.
9. Moisturiser/Emulsions – Adding back essential nutrients. Pat or massage gently in a circular motion.
10. Sleeping masks – A powerful moisturiser, not to be confused with a “sheet”. A super-charged creme works miracles while you sleep.
11. SPF – Absolutely essential to keep pigmentation, wrinkles and general signs of ageing at bay. Koreans know that all their steps are futile if adequate sun protection is not undertaken!
Do you have any experience with Korean skincare products? Do you think their philosophy and routine is something for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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