An Introduction to Korean Skin Care

Korean Skin Care

Korean skin care and beauty have been all the buzz over the last few years. Even major beauty publications like Vogue and Cosmopolitan have jumped on the K-Beauty bandwagon. Korean women have come to be known for their glowing, flawless, and dewy skin. And according to the Korean skin care experts at Peach & Lily, Korean women and men are some of the most demanding beauty product consumers out there.

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The main focus of Korean skin care is to prevent problems before they start. Skin care regimens are taught at a very young age, to both boys and girls. Since skin care is so important in Korean culture, new products and technologies are introduced at a very rapid rate, and competition among K-Beauty brands is fierce. In order to stand out from the crowd, Korean beauty products are packaged in super cute packaging and the prices are very competitive.

The secret to their skin care success involves a very unique, customizable 10-step routine. Ten steps may seem a little daunting at first, but not every step needs to be done every single day. Once you get the routine down, the whole thing can be completed in about 10 minutes, morning and night. The routine is very customizable, too. Some days you may only use 5 of the steps and other days you might even add in another product or two.

You should think of your skin care routine as a form of self-care. It’s important to take time for yourself every day, and this indulgent skin care routine is the perfect way to do just that. Consider the time spent to be an investment in your overall well-being.

Let’s go over each step to help you understand what it does, how to incorporate it into your daily routine, and how to tailor the routine for your individual needs.

Introducing the 10 Steps of the Korean Skin Care Routine

Step 1 & 2: The Double Cleanse

Korean women start their routine by using two different cleansers. The first one is an oil-based cleanser that breaks down oil, makeup, and sunscreen on the surface of the skin, making it easier to remove without tugging or scrubbing. The second cleanser is a water-based one that gets rid of any remaining residue without stripping the skin of needed moisture. Double cleansing is very important, especially at night, so don’t be tempted to skip this step.

Step 3: Toner

Apply toner using a cotton pad or the pads of your fingers. Toner will balance the skin’s pH after cleansing. In Korean skin care, toners are customized according to skin type and condition. You should choose one based on your individual needs.

Step 4: Essences

Essences are a lot like a serum, but they are generally more fluid and less concentrated. They prepare your skin for the treatments to follow and start adding moisture back into the skin that has been taken away during cleansing.

Step 5: Serums and Ampoules

These treatments are super concentrated formulas that target specific problems; like fine lines, dark spots, acne scarring, and dehydration. Sometimes more than one serum or ampoule is used, depending on how the skin is looking and feeling on that particular day. When applying more than one treatment you should start with the one that has the thinnest consistency and work your way up to the thickest one.

Step 6: Moisturizers

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The skin around the eyes is thinner and often shows signs of aging sooner. Korean skin care regimens usually feature a separate eye cream to brighten, tighten, and treat dark under eye circles. The eye cream is followed by an all-over facial moisturizer that will lock in all the ingredients you’ve previously applied so that they don’t evaporate away. This step is key to getting that dewy look Korean women are famous for.

Step 7: Sunscreen

Sunscreen is applied every single morning. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying sunscreen to all exposed skin daily. This is perhaps the most important step in the routine because it is critical for preventing sun damage and premature aging. Look for a broad spectrum SPF of at least 15-30, depending on expected sun exposure.

Kick It Up a Notch with Extra Treatments

Step 8: Exfoliators

This step is best done just 2-3 times per week. Gentle exfoliators are important for promoting cell turnover, helping other products to absorb better, and unclogging pores. The Korean skin care method prefers peels that exfoliate the skin without harsh abrasives.  They usually feature botanicals and fruit extracts that allow the dead skin to roll off without any need for scrubbing. Exfoliate immediately after cleansing and before toning.

Step 9: Sheet Masks

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Sheet masks feature a concentrated serum that is put onto a paper or gel mask and applied to the face once a week. Leave the sheet mask on your skin for about 15 minutes and rub in any extra serum, rather than rinse off.  Sheet masks come in huge variety of formulations to address just about any possible skin concern. A variety of sheet masks are kept on hand so that you can customize your routine to the needs of your skin at that time. Your sheet mask should be applied before your essences and serums.

Step 10: Sleep Masks

Sleep masks can be used in place of your regular night time moisturizer 2-3 times per week. You’ve probably heard that the body heals while you’re sleeping, and the skin is no exception. Sleep masks are packed with active ingredients to help speed up the regenerative process while you sleep.

How to Fit It All In

Obviously, you are going to get the best results if you follow the entire routine. But, if you’re just too busy to fit all of this in every day, here are some suggestions. Save time in the morning by doing just the water-based cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Cut it back even further by choosing a moisturizer that has sunscreen built in, or use a BB or CC cream with SPF in place of foundation. In the evening, customize the routine based on how your skin is looking and feeling; adding or taking away products as needed. The extra treatments can be done on weekends only or saved for special occasions.

Having flawless skin requires time and effort, but with a Korean skin care routine the amazing results make it worthwhile. Just like most things, you will get back what you put into it!