For why Korean Beauty? + Why is Seoul leading the skin care world right now, see here.
Why are there so many steps? Well simply because your skin is complex and incredibly personal, and it has to face a multitude of different things depending on your hormones, your regime, your environment, your lifestyle etc etc. The best way to deal with many concerns all at once is to provide a multi-layered framework of support, tackling various issues and establishing a base from which to progress from.
So, which product does each step entail and why, how do you use them and in what order?
The Double Cleanse: The foundation of your routine, it sets the tone for everything that comes up next. Not washing your face properly can lead to acne, blackheads and accelerated ageing!
1. Oil Cleanser (Makeup removal)
You spent all that time putting your makeup on, now you need to take some time to get it off. Using an oil cleanser is the most effective way to do this. Gently work the balm/oil onto a dry face and up your neck, massaging as you go. Apply a bit of warm water to your face and mix with the oil to emulsify the cleanser. Continue massaging in circular motions then rinse off!
2. Water-based Cleanser
Using a water-based cleanser this time, wash your face, banishing any leftover dirt, sweat and general water-based impurities as well as residue from your oil cleanse.
Exfoliating twice a week is paramount for clear and silky smooth skin. If you have sensitive skin, make sure to listen to it and judge for yourself how much exfoliation you need. Ridding your skin of all the baggage of dead skin cells, helps it better absorb and take in your skin care products, ready to work their magic (change). Massage gently or pat an exfoliant into your skin, to unleash the softness.
A toner’s job is to balance the pH levels of your skin and prepare it for what you put on next. They are crucial to helping your skins top layer be more welcoming to the products that you apply later. Even though they have a bad rap over her, in SK going without a toner, or a refresher, fresher, sometimes even just referred to as skin, is unheard of. Dampen onto a cotton pad, or pour a little directly into your hand and gently tap or swipe around your face in upward and outward motions.
A bit like a serum, but with a watery texture like a toner, an essence’s job is to hydrate, encourage cell turnover and help skin repair. Pat in to post-toned skin… everywhere.
Here we have the big daddies of the routine. The ampoules, serums, boosters, and whatever new name is coming forth these days. These are like essences on steroids that each target specific concerns such as pigmentation, wrinkles, acne etc. Gently tap and pat these in, and let them work their magic.
7. Sheet Masks
Perhaps the most famous of all the steps, the sheet mask revolution that is about to hit our shores is going to be an eye-opening moment for thousands out there. Not the least with scaring their friends with the inevitable sheet mask selfie, but more so with the almost instant addictive impact they have on your skin. Place on the face (don’t worry, practice makes perfect), and chill for 15-20 minutes. Then take off and throw away. At least once or twice a week would give your skin a major helping hand. But there is no limit, we know a lot of people who do it every day.
8. Eye Cream
If anyone has ever held a rose petal in their hand, and saw how easily it wrinkled, they know how gently you need to hold it to avoid it creasing. This is the same for the skin around your eyes, which is the most delicate and thin region of skin on your face. An eye cream gifts the area’s with an added kick of hydration and protection against everything our eyes have to deal with. Using your ring finger (this may feel weird at first but is the best finger to use), very lightly tap the eye cream around your eye bone (you can feel where it is) while avoiding your waterline. Youths who are reading this, start before signs begin showing, prevention is always easier than cure.
Healthy and glowing skin, is hydrated skin. Picking up any random moisturiser doesn’t quite do the trick. Moisturisers come in many forms, gels, creams, lotions and emulsions and finding one that works for your skin type is extremely important. It may take a bit of experimenting but once you’ve got it, it will be your best friend helping to keep your skin plump and fine lines at bay. Pat a moisturiser into your face, think Nicole Kidman at the 2017 Oscars clapping, but with your face in-between. Do this every morning and night, and when feeling that you need a bigger moisture kick, swap your normal moisturiser for a sleeping pack.
This, is without a doubt, the secret to younger looking skin. It shouldn’t be a secret, but for the lack of SPF worn in the UK, it definitely seems like it is. It is the simplest and most effective way to prevent premature ageing and all that comes with it as well as skin cancer – which is on the rise in younger generations. Always apply after everything else, so that it doesn’t get diluted by other products and can protect you best. SPF should be worn every day, (Yes - EVERY DAY, all year round every day). Apply it every morning, and re-applying it throughout the day will help keep your skin looking younger for so much longer and significantly lowers your chances of skin cancer.