I know you’ve probably all heard a lot about Korean skincare these past few years and there’s a lot to that. The main takeaway is that South Korean Beauty culture is real. Similar to how France has one of the most advanced perfume industries, SK has an extreme interest in skincare culture-wide. All genders are encouraged to have clear, dewey skin.
If anything, it just means that greater interest means more money into it and more options for the general public. That’s what makes it great for foreigners even, as you can find many very specific products geared to certain skin types and issues that not only work but don’t cost all that much either. I find it to be very effective, and never spent more than 20 bucks on any of the hundreds of products I’ve bought. I love it.
The longest methodology for K-beauty is know as the 10-step (give or take a few depending on your source apparently). I like to break it down as follows.
0. Get Rid of Everything You Can
If you’re going to be doing your face and go through all this effort, start at your worst. Get rid of every pimple, every open blackhead, anything. Now avoid squeezing literally. You could make the whole situation worse if you push in a blackhead further. Use loop tools properly, which I’ll definitely explain at some point. As for pimples, not squeezing and letting fester is utter nonsense. It’s the pores around a pimple that can be affected when a person squeezes and then wipes off instead of cleaning it. That’s where the idea of not touching it comes from. However, we all touch our faces so we are constantly spreading the bacteria the longer we leave it there. Clean, pop, clean. Always.
That being said, I like to open up my pores to begin with by splashing some hot-ish water about 10 times on my face. Water is the friend of the youthful.
SK is very clear about the most important part being the double-cleanse method. Two cleansers of different functions designed to clean and treat the face. Pre-cleansers are generally oil-balm cleansers designed to remove makeup or external residue from the skin. Circular motions.
These two are my go-to’s: Banila Co. Clean It Zero Cleanser and Heimish All Clean Balm. They are extremely good at picking up makeup with very little. So good in fact it takes longer to take the cleanser off after than it feels like it should. Can’t deny how well it actually works though.
The second step is, of course, the second cleanser. There are several different kinds of cleansers that are effective for different skin types. There are water cleansers, oil cleansers, foaming cleansers, powder cleansers, and cream cleansers. Circular motions.
For my combination skin type, I like using foam cleansers. As with combination, however, even some foam cleansers are too drying for the dryer parts of my face like around my mouth.
These are some of my current cleansers: Skinfood Egg White Pore Foam, The Face Shop Jeju Volcani Lava Cleansing Foam, and Nooni Snowflake Whipping Cleanser. The first is my favorite for everyday use for my skin. It’s light and smooth, leaving a dewey complexion. The second has some clay and exfoliating qualities, which is perfect for when my skin is both too dry and too oily. The last has a fun little tool I’ll talk about later which makes the foam feel like marshmallow fluff and is fun to play with while it works.
This is the step for clearing your face of dead skin. Your face is constantly replacing itself at a cellular level so there is always some degree of it. Often, like around the nose area, there may be dry patches or large pores with blackheads. They’re also great for picking up looser blackheads if you have a product for it. I use a combination of one for the dead skin and one for lifting the blackheads after. Circles and water alterations, several times a week.
The Tosowoong Black Sugar Facial Scrub is my highest recommendation for exfoliating, for exactly why some reviewers don’t like it. It’s rough, but if you ad water it gets gentler. So consistently adding water to the very little needed to begin with allows it to adjust for the different areas of your face that can handle more or less. The Face Shop Blackhead Out Gel oil was the first one I’ve ever had that consistently removed blackheads even from large pores when slightly indented. Much love.
Now steps 2-4 are the common mini-method in western culture. The aim of toning is to restore the ph balance in your face. After being stripped and assaulted by all the super cleaning, it’s a little off and feels a bit funny. This just calms everything down to restore the balance. Apply to a cotton round and wipe. And if somehow you still got that eye makeup on, it’ll be gone after this. Toner’s can also add some love with ingredients for certain purposes: Reduce sebum production, hydrate, brightening, etc.
Gotta say, I’m not too picky with toners but the brands Etude House, Innisfree, and SecretKey are all ones I trust. In the same collection, SecretKey has a Rose and an Aloe one I just can’t use at all. Just not ingredients my face likes, even when they’re two of the easiest.
This is the most time consuming and infrequent part. There are many different types of masks, and that’s just increasing. The most well-known are sheet masks. They’re cloth and soaked in essences and ampoules designed to affect the face in certain ways.Other types are clay masks which wash off, scrub masks which you constantly rub across your face, peel masks which rip out your inner lining, and jelly masks which are kinda hilarious when they dry.
There’s a lot of in-between and really they’re all fun to use. Useful too. It’s 15-20 minutes of your life usually, so be determined and don’t schedule around delivery times unless you’re happy to open the door that way. I usually use sheets for when I have deliveries coming just so I can whip them off. Only forgot once.
6. Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes is poreless, unlike the rest of your face so it needs to be treated differently. The primary purpose for these creams is to reduce swelling and brighten the skin in that area. It would reduce both aspects of eye bags and in turn give an appearance of bigger and rounder eyes.
Currently using Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream and Farmstay Snail Repair Eye Cream. A lot of eye repair creams contain the ingredient ‘snail’ which is actually snail secretions which surprising contain common beauty ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, glycolic acid, antimicrobial and elastin. It’s not bad. doesn’t smell, and works wonders.
7. Essence, Ampoule, Serum
Step 7 is in this specific order due to the consistencies of the liquid. You should start with the thinner liquids for your face to absorb as once the thicker ones are used, a thinner one wouldn’t absorb and instead be layered on top. Apply liberally in circles.
They are designed to specifically target specific issues, so having several with different purposes is prefect. Tea tree is great for fighting acne. Lemon is great for skin brightening. Hyaluronic acid is great for moisturizing.
Moisturizers are very important, even for oily skin. The important thing is to get a moisturizer that suits your skin type. The safest types for most are very thin so they’re not heavy enough to block pores. That’s why body lotion is not suited for your face. Clearing out all your pores only to fill them up again is not the way to go.
A-ha! Bet you’d thought they’d all be Korean. Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cream clearly is, but Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer can actually be purchased at your local drugstore. The balancing cream I use for a typically rough session of face attack, but generally wash it off after a minute or so in order to prevent my skin from getting oily. The other one I’ll let absorb twice before applying makeup to no issue at all. It’s perfect for me.
9. Facial Mist
Mists are like a preemptive measure against being affected by sweat and oils from the hair. They keep your skin in check for a while. It’s also great for a refresher throughout the day, especially in the summer.
Sulwhasoo Hydro-Aid Moisturizing Soothing Mist smells incredible and great during hot, sticky summers. SecretKey Starting Treatment Aura Mist is great for oily skin touch ups throughout the day.
10. Sun Protection
Okay, so this is a big thing in far east Asia where lighter skin (associated with lives void of hard labor outside and royalty for classic beauty) is better. It’s not wrong at all to say that an even skin tone is easier to achieve with adequate sun protection though. Sun spots, dark patches, even freckles (like the ones that only appear in the summer) can be caused by sun damage. Sunscreen and the like is a perfectly reasonable step for the path of less damaged skin.
I’m a bit of a homebody so I don’t have a lot of recommendations for everyday use ones as when I go outside in the summer it’s gotta be waterproof and extreme
A lot of foundations nowadays have SPF but it’s certainly something I’ll look into a bit more for you guys. I mean, I have the ability to tan for the most part but I would burn after being outside at like a beach or water park in a few hours.
I normally get a blush burn on my face and the tops of my feet are immune to the sun at all somehow so I’m just a weird one really, sorry.