I am pretty sure if you are a fan of K-dramas or K-pop stars, you have probably noticed the skin of those flawless Korean women! It is UNREAL. 진짜! 미친거 아냐?
They all seem to share the same traits. Smooth, poreless, dewy, snow-white skin! Even without any makeup on, you would see that it is a blemish, acne, sunspots, freckles, and wrinkles free! How is this even possible right?
Korean women are really diligent when it comes to taking care of their skin! So, I am going to reveal to you the Korean 10-step skincare routine so that you can achieve the “glass skin” look as well!
1. Oil cleanser 클렌징 오일
The first step to the Korean skincare routine is to wash your face! Not once but twice! (better known as double cleansing).
First, start off with an oil cleanser and then followed by a foaming/cream cleanser. Wondering why? 왜 그럴까요?
Because each type of cleanser removes different types of impurities from your face! The oil cleanser helps remove oil-based impurities – SPF, sebum, pollutants.
How to: Just massage onto your dry skin face with the oil cleanser until you see the makeup and impurities starting to break down and then rinse off with lukewarm water.
Popular oil cleanser used by most Koreans: Banila Co Clean It Zero.
2. Foam/cream cleanser 폼/클렌징 크림
A foaming cleanser will help remove the dirt and sweat from the face which the oil cleanser did not manage to remove.
Look for a cleanser with a low pH value. How to tell if a cleanser has a low pH? If it is super foamy and makes your face feel tight after cleansing it is probably not low in pH.
How to: Apply the foam/cream cleanser to your damp face, massage in circular motion and then rinse off!
Note: Take a few minutes to massage your face with both cleansers to help stimulate the surface of the skin and drain the lymphatic glands that cause puffiness.
Popular oil cleanser used by most Koreans: The Face Shop’s Rice Water Bright Foaming Cleanser
How to double cleanse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlr0cVyEPuY
3. Toner 토너
In the Western world 서양에서는, we relate the word toner with an astringent which is meant to wipe and strip the leftover gunk from our faces after cleansing.
However 그렇지만, Koreans look at toners differently. The see toners a thin layer of moisture that is meant to regulate the pH in your skin after cleansing, soften the skin and preparing the skin for the next step!
You can look for toners that come with active ingredients such as AHA and BHA if you are looking for more intense results to combat acne scarring, aging and fine lines.
How to: You can either use the usual way by using a cotton pad, but let’s try it the Korean way of doing things! Pat the toner gently into your skin using your hands as our skin reacts happily to the touch of warm hands.
Popular toner used by most Koreans: Shangpree Bitgoa Hue Essence Toner
4. Essence 에센스
One of the crucial elements for achieving a “glowy” skin is the Koreans layer products.
They do not just rely on one thick moisturizing cream to do all the work for their skin.
They believe by layering products, it prevents the pores from clogging and makes the skin breathe.
Imagine the toner as the first layer of moisture for the skin and essence as the second. Essence typically has a thin texture and some even feel like water. This enables the essence to penetrate deep into the skin to which provides aid for the coming products to absorb.
How to: Sprinkle essence into hands and pat it lightly on face and neck
Popular essence used by most Koreans: COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
5. Emulsion 에멀젼
An emulsion is a lighter version of a moisturizing cream. Emulsion is typically water-based which means they go on thinner and lighter than creams. Emulsions may even come in gel or almost liquid forms.
Emulsions absorb more quickly into the skin and they do not just lay on top of the skin the way creams do. Emulsion act as a moisture lock that seals all the hydration your skin has received from the toner and essence.
I know this is getting a little overwhelming with all the product names and uses but stay with me as I introduce the next product that the Koreans do not recommend you to skip – the ampoule/serum
How to: Sprinkle some emulsion into hands and pat it lightly on face and neck.
Popular emulsion used by most Koreans: LANEIGE Essential Balancing Emulsion Light.
6. Ampoule/Serum 앰플/세럼
Both 둘 다 ampoules and serum are highly concentrated products. However, ampoule is considered to be more concentrated than the serum. These power-packed products target a specific skin concern such as acne scarring 여드름 자국, fine lines and wrinkles.
How to: Gently tap the product on your skin, mainly focusing on areas that are affected.
Popular ampoule used by most Koreans: SWANICOCO Bitamin C Multi Solution Triple V Ampoule
7. Sheet Mask 시트 마스크팩
Recently 요즘에는 the sheet mask has become so popular that you can find it almost anywhere- in your local pharmacy or even the dollar store.
Sheet masks are usually soaked in serum so that’s another layer of moisture for your skin! If essence is the heart of Korean women, then sheet mask is their soul!
Let’s look at what 42 years old, Lee Sa-bi a South Korean model 모델 and actress 배우 has to say about sheet masks!
“For the last eight years, I have done a sheet mask every night, no matter what. I have done this without skipping even one day. You can call me a sheet mask connoisseur, for sure. I have tried thousands of masks, and I love the instant and deep hydration and glow sheet masks provide. If you do it daily, you also see long-term benefits. I have to say, Peach & Lily carries some of the best sheet masks. The Cremorlab sheet masks and Shangpree masks, in general, are phenomenal.”Lee Sa-bi
How to: Smooth the sheet mask onto the skin. Lay back and relax for about 15-20 minutes. Pat the excess product into the skin.
Popular sheet mask used by most Koreans: The Cremorlab sheet masks
8. Eye Cream 아이 크림
Eye creams are designed to moisturize the ultra-thin, delicate skin around your eyes.
It also helps to prevent dark circles, puffiness, fine lines and crow feet that are bound to appear as you age.
One popular trend among South Korean celebrities is to wear eye cream as a nighttime moisturizer all over their faces. Sadly, 슬프게도 not all of us have a big bank account like them, so I suggest you guys leave that trend for special occasions instead.
How to: Use your ring finger (as it is the weakest finger) to gently tap (never rub!) around the eye area.
Popular eye cream used by most Koreans: LANEIGE Perfect Renew Eye Cream
9. Moisturizer 모이스춰라이저 or 보습제
The last step before sunscreen is to moisturize. The moisturizer helps seal in all the layers before. Just like regular creams, Korean moisturizers come in different thicknesses and textures as well.
How to: Pat the moisturizer all over your face and neck.
Popular moisturizer used by most Koreans: LANEIGE WATER BANK GEL CREAM
As kids, we were told to wear sunscreen if we are at the beach. Sadly, nobody told us about wearing sunscreen every day, even if we don’t go out ( yes, UV rays can reach your skin inside too).
Korean sunscreen also has a bigger advantage over US-produced ones as it has the PA system. The PA rating system is developed in Japan. The letters “PA” followed by plus signs (PA+, PA++, PA+++, and PA++++) on the labels represent how much UVA protection the sunscreen offers. The higher the + the more protection it provides for your skin.
The UVA rays in the reason why Asian skin turn brown easily. It does not cause sunburn but a suntan. And trust me, the sunscreen in your makeup is not enough.
Even if you applied sunscreen in the morning before leaving out the door, the truth is – it is not enough at all as the sunscreen loses its effectiveness within 2-3 hours after application.
The Koreans are diligent went it comes to their sunscreen. They reapply their sunscreen every 2-3 hours and that my friend is their number 1 secret!
How to: Gently pat the sunscreen onto the face and neck area. Re-apply every 2-3 hours as the Koreans do!
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Popular sunscreen used by most Koreans: Mizon UV Sun Protection Cream
I hope you got to learn something new about how Korean women take care of their skin! Let us know if you practice a Korean skincare routine too and has your skin improved?