K-Beauty (Korean Beauty) is much more than just a trend from South Korea! It is a beauty method where healthy skin and skin care are more important than covering your skin under many layers of make-up. A typical Korean skin care routine consists of 10 steps and ensures a deeply cleansed, hydrated and glowy skin. Are you already curious? Then read on, because here we explain all the steps, how they should be performed and why they ensure healthy, beautiful skin!
STEP 1: CLEANSING OIL
A cleansing oil is the very first step of the Korean skin care routine.
Why? A cleansing oil is an effective way to rid your skin of make-up, sebum, sunscreen and all other greasy dirt that builds up on your skin. The oils in the cleanser adhere to the oils on your skin and act like a solvent. The cleansing oil absorbs and removes all oil-based impurities from the skin. Cleansing oils not only cleanse the skin, but also moisturize the skin!
How? Apply a small amount to the skin and massage it gently into the skin. Add a little water so that the cleansing oil becomes an emulsion that you can rinse off easily and thoroughly. Gently pat your face with a dry, clean towel and follow up with a water cleanser.
STEP 2: WATER-BASED CLEANSER
If you use a water-based cleanser after using an oil cleanser, you immediately master the famous ‘double cleansing’. This is a thorough but gentle way to cleanse the skin, which in the long term ensures clear skin and clean (and therefore less noticeable) pores!
Why? A water cleanser (such as a foaming cleanser or a cleansing gel ) ensures that your skin is cleaned even more deeply than if you only use a cleansing oil. It effectively removes remnants of cleansing oil that can remain on the skin. In addition, many water cleansers contain ingredients that help to soothe your skin.
Cleansing gels and foaming cleansers are suitable for normal to oily skin. A foaming cleanser is often less suitable for sensitive or dry skin.
How? Apply the cleanser to your fingers and gently massage it over damp skin. Take your time, because cleaning is an important step! When you’re done, rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry with a soft, clean towel.
STEP 3: EXFOLIATE
Do you suffer from flakes? Dull skin? Or a rough skin texture, pimples and blackheads? Exfoliating can be a great way to upgrade your skin care routine! In most cases, you really don’t need to use an exfoliant every day. Exfoliating too much won’t give you faster results, but it will give you irritated, red skin.
Why? An exfoliant rids the skin of dead skin cells that build up on your skin’s surface, can cause a dull complexion and even cause blackheads and pimples. By regularly using an exfoliant, a clear, healthy and more even skin emerges. You can use a chemical exfoliant : salicylic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid are well-known examples, but you have something for every skin. Also known are the physical exfoliants or scrubs that, for example, use pieces of walnut shell or sugar to get smooth, soft skin.
How? Apply an exfoliating toner after cleansing. You also have wash-off products such as masks that you rinse off after a short time. Massage a physical scrub over the skin with gentle circular movements and rinse with lukewarm water. Pay attention to the sensitive skin of your lips and around your eyes.
STEP 4: TONER/MIST
We keep saying it: hydrated skin is healthy skin! To hydrate the skin extra, a toner or a mist is really perfect!
Why? Toners give your skin an extra hydrating boost after cleansing, helping to achieve that coveted, dewy look. Toners also ensure that other skin care products are better absorbed by the skin. You have toners in all shapes and sizes and for all kinds of skin types. The main purpose is hydration, but many toners also contain antioxidants or soothing ingredients that help the skin stay in top condition.
How? So many people, so many wishes. Some people soak a cotton pad in toner and wipe it over their face, but there is also a group that applies a small amount of toner directly to the face with (clean) hands. You spray a mist from about 20 cm away from the face (but close your eyes!). Then, gently dab the mist into the skin until it is absorbed.
STEP 5: ESSENCE
Essences are still relatively unknown in the West. An essence is slightly more watery than a serum but more concentrated than a toner. A kind of golden mean! They are an essential part of your K-beauty routine because they are moisturizing and extra rich in antioxidants or beneficial plant extracts.
Why? Essences are similar to toners, but they are generally more nutritious and have a bit more ‘power’. They are the key to hydrated, nourished and glowing skin, blending seamlessly into both your morning and evening routine and providing a rich layer of hydration. In a Korean skin care routine, an essence is indispensable to create a radiant foundation for healthy skin.
How? Apply a desired amount to cleansed skin (after toning). Dab the product into the skin until completely absorbed.
STEP 6: TREATMENT
At this step in the skin care routine, skin care gets really specific. You can use serums , spot treatments and ampoules to target specific problems.
Why? There is a treatment for every problem. Do you suffer from dark spots? Take a clarifying serum with vitamin C or licorice extract. Does your skin need some soothing care? Perhaps an ampoule with centella asiatica or panthenol is for you. Peptides and retinoids stimulate cell renewal and ensure firm, resilient skin. And if you want to get rid of an annoying pimple quickly, reach for the pimple patch to speed wound healing and protect the infection.
How? The following applies to serums and ampoules: Apply a desired amount to the skin and dab until the product is completely absorbed into the skin. Spot treatments are only applied to the affected area. When in doubt, always read the instructions for use on the packaging!
STEP 7: FACE MASK
Ahhh.. The face mask. Here relaxation and skin care come together in a perfect way! There are different types of face masks, all with different effects and uses.
Why?Sheet masks are the most famous masks of the Korean skin care routine. These are masks made of a special sheet material that is soaked in an essence or ampoule.
How? remove the sheet mask from the bag and carefully unfold it. Place the mask on the face and let it sit on your face for 15-20 minutes. Remove the mask and dab the remaining serum with your fingertips until it is completely absorbed. Taking a selfie is optional.
STEP 8: EYE CARE
The skin around your eyes is thin and sensitive. This is where the first signs of skin aging often become visible (hello fine lines, bags under the eyes and crow’s feet).
Why? The skin around your eyes contains fewer sebaceous glands, making the skin dry out faster and extra vulnerable to wrinkles and fine lines. It is therefore not a bad plan to use a special eye cream for this delicate area that is aimed at caring for and firming the skin.
How? Apply a desired amount around the eyes in the morning and evening. Gently dab the product into the skin until completely absorbed.
STEP 9: MOISTURIZER
A good moisturizer that suits your skin type is worth its weight in gold!
Why? A moisturizer is a skin care basic . But the fact that it is ‘basic’ does not make it less important: in addition to cleaning, moisturizing is the foundation for good skin care! Especially for dry skin types, a good moisturizer is very important as it locks in the hydration in the skin and prevents the moisture from evaporating from the skin, aka transdermal water loss. Overall benefit dry skin the best of a facial moisturizer or facial oil and the oily skin benefit from a facial gel or emulsion .
How? Apply a desired amount of cream, gel or oil to cleansed skin and gently pat into the skin.
STEP 10: SUNSCREEN
In Korea, sunscreen is sacred and the sun is the enemy! Can we learn something from that?
Why? It has long been outdated that you only need to use sunscreen in the summer. In the colder months, the UV index may be low, but if you spend a lot of time outside or sit near a window, it’s still a good idea to wear sunscreen. There are two types of radiation that affect our skin: UVA and UVB. UVB causes sunburned skin and you notice it quickly, but UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and destroys collagen. You only see the result after a longer period of time: pigmentation spots, wrinkles, sagging skin and even a risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen is an effective way to prevent skin aging (and skin cancer). It protects your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
How? Apply the sunscreen about 30 minutes before going out into the sun. Apply a layer to the skin as the last step of your (morning) skincare routine. A rule of thumb is about two fingers or half a teaspoon. Reapply every 2 hours for continuous protection.
Hopefully this blog has made things clear! Ten steps may sound intimidating, but once you know what each step entails, it becomes easier to apply to your own routine. Feel free to adapt this step-by-step plan to your own lifestyle, skin type, season and so on. Ultimately, you can completely tailor this skin care routine to what works best for your skin!