Skincare in Korea is very, very important. To a lot of people their routines are somewhat extreme, especially because the western skincare regimen is relatively simple and quick. Korean women start their skincare regimen very early because it’s all about preventing damaging your skin and aging. The Western women have become more into skincare products the past few years, but still start taking care of their skin when it’s already ‘too late’. We buy a 100 dollar eye cream hoping it will reverse the signs of us aging even more. Korean women are also very persistent of using sunscreen every day and re-applying every few hours because the sun is actually the number one reason that our skin ages even quicker.
I have become more aware of taking care of my skin the past year and since I’ve been using only Korean skincare products I can say that my skin has improved drastically. I don’t use all 10 steps of the well known Korean 10 step skincare regimen, but I do actually use at least 8 of them on a daily basis. One very important rule that is well known in the Korean skincare scene is actually the rule everyone should stick to:
If you can spend half an hour putting make-up on your face, you should spend the same amount of time taking it off (my holy grail tip to you: please don’t use face wipes only to take off your make-up, personally I don’t use them at all).
During the wintertime my skin is usually very dry and in summer it turns into a greasy mess, but still feels dry from the inside kind of thing (also known as looking greasy but feeling rough). I’ve found out that it usually means that your skin barrier is not happy with you and can actually be severly damaged while you think you need to get rid of the oiliness by stripping it even more. Please don’t, because even people with oily skin need to take care and moisturise their skin instead of skipping a moisturiser because they think it will make their skin greasier than it already is. That is the biggest myth existing in the beauty world.
One of the key factors in the aging process is the loss of moisture. We skip hydrating our skin in summertime because we think that will keep our skin from getting greasier and breaking out. Bad foods, lack of sunscreen and many other factors help the wrinkles forming on our skin as well. The skin barrier is very important, and is made up of chains of little cells held together with lipids. Cholesterol, fatty acids and ceramides actually help to strenghten the skin barrier while cholesterol for example is being thought of as the devil himself. I will get more into the skin barrier in another post very soon, and it will be linked here.
In Korea the skincare innovations are much more advanced than the Western skincare scene is. They have loads of weird names and ingredients that make you say yuk (like snail slime for example). These yukky ingredients are actually really helpful and great for your skin! Bottomline of this long story: in Korea your skincare regimen is top priority.
Now, let’s get into the Korean 10-step skincare routine.
- Oil cleansing:
You could use some micellair water on a cotton pad or a face wipe to remove all of your make-up and call it a night, go ahead. Don’t blame anything or anyone else but yourself though when your skin breaks out. What you don’t realise is that both doesn’t get your make-up off completely and then there is the residue of the product itself as well. Basically you’re just moving around your make-up and upsetting your skin, believe me, I’ve been there and done it for a very long time. To truly remove ALL of your make-up, use an oil-based cleanser. The oil cleanser will remove all hard to get off and oil-based products off of your skin such as your sunscreen and foundation. You have oil cleansers that come in a pump and ones in a tub for example the Banila Co. Clean it zero balm. Tip: most oil cleansers turn into a milky consistency when getting in contact with water. Splash some water on your face to loosen the oil up before using a muslin cloth to remove all of the gunk off of your face.
- Double cleansing: a water-based cleanser (foam, cream or gel)
It’s called double cleansing for a reason. A water-based cleanser will remove the oily residue from the oil cleanser you’ve just used to loosen up your make-up and cleanse your skin from all impurities and gunk in your pores. I always use a low PH cleanser such as the CosRx Low PH morning cleansing gel because it doesn’t strip my skin off it’s essential oils and the most important thing: it won’t leave my skin feeling tight and dry.
- Exfoliate (once or twice a week)
People with very sensitive skin, like myself, really hate exfoliating because it turns my skin into hell itself. My skin turns into a red burning mess that doesn’t feel comfortable at all. I don’t use a manual exfolatior at all, or at the most once in a blue moon whenever I feel that my skin needs it. I’ve been starting to use peeling gels since I’ve heard so much about them last year and I absolutely love them, especially the Missha Super Aqua D-Tox peeling gel.
- Toner (or ‘refresher’)
- Other treatments such as boosters or serums
- Sheet mask (which I use about two times a week, this is why there are 11 steps)
- Eye cream
- Sleeping pack