8 simple and essential Korean skincare tips for flawless skin
You can now say “Annyeong Haseyo" (Hello) to achieve the much coveted #iwokeuplikethis look
Korean skincare and beauty standards are taking the world by storm – everyone is just *obsessed* with how natural and radiant their skin looks. The (not-so-secret) secret is that they value skincare over makeup – common sense, isn’t it? But there are plenty of articles out there on the topic that it can be confusing to pinpoint what exactly are the essential steps and which are optional that will suit your budget and time. Having pored through dozens of skincare articles, we’ve rounded up 8 tips found in a standard Korean skincare routine – but first, here’re some newsflashes to set your understanding straight:
The good news- there’re no set rules to skincare (#mindblown). *Always* tailor a routine to suit your lifestyle and approach what we’re going to share as recommended steps. You don't have to incorporate all of them but layering on the products definitely does help so your face gets the cleanse or nutrients it needs in effective successions.
The better news - the routine *can* be quick, depending on how fast your skin absorbs the products. This matters because your skin and the products used would respond differently in the type of weather you’re in. This “rapid” application technique has been covered in Korean beauty tips many times over and will be appreciated by those who have busy lives yet want to achieve the #iwokeuplikethis look (admit it, that’s you).
Remember, everyone’s skin type is different, and a facial wash that works for you, for example, might not work on others. It’ll take some trial and error to find the “one” for your face. The initial process might seem tedious but it’ll all be worth it as you eventually get the hang of your skincare routine.
1. Pre-cleanse – Fight oil with oil
Your face is a work of art and the best art deserves the best canvas. With pollutants in the air and just about everywhere we go, double cleansing makes a whole lot of sense. Start by removing traces of makeup and dirt build-up from the day by tapping lightly with a tissue then wipe using an oil-based cleanser from the face and down to the neck.
2. Cleanse – 2 is better than 1
Clean with a water-based cleanser to “flush” away the oil residue from pre-cleanse. Start by cleansing the T-zone (forehead and nose area), followed by the U-zone (cheeks). This is because our T-zone is more of an oil magnet than our U-zone, which tends to be drier and by cleansing the latter last, you’re making sure that the drier area is not exposed to the cleanser for more than it needs to.
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3. Exfoliate – As needed (hint: not every day please, your skin begs you)
Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and excess oil on the skin so concentrate (with gentle pressure) on the T-zone, followed by your cheeks. If you have non-sensitive skin, use it 3x a week and if your skin is sensitive skin, 2x a week is fine.
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4. Tone – Whipping the face into shape (sort of)
After multiple cleanses, your skin naturally will be in a fragile state. Toners help neutralise your skin and prep it to absorb the subsequent products well. This includes balancing the pH and moisture levels of your skin, as well as remove any remote impurities that the steps before might have missed – what a hard worker it is!
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"There is such a thing as a proper order in skincare application, and it boils down to the fundamental principles of science.
This means the first things you apply on your skin should be of the lightest textures then work your way to the end with the heaviest textures, so subsequent products have the ability to go through and penetrate the skin.
To identify which is which, follow this guideline: anything that is water- or alcohol-based should come first, followed by your gels, then your light lotions, then heavier creams, and so on."
5. Essence – The 'X' factor
Touted as the heart of the skincare routine, essences nourish your skin and helps to achieve the desired look at the end. Want the moisturised or dewy look, a brighter complexion or that youthful bounce? That is the essence of the quest for the perfect skincare for you, by you.
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6. Eye cream – As delicate as thinly-shaved ice-cream
As the “window holder” to your soul, the area around your eyes lives up to its name by being the thinnest, most delicate part of your face. It has no sebaceous glands to produce natural oils, so we must MUST keep this area moisturised around the clock. Smooth the cream across both the brow and socket bone moving from the inner to outer corner of the eye in a continuous gentle motion. Apply using the pad of your ring finger, as it provides just the right amount of pressure to be effective yet gentle.
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7. Moisturiser – Adapt to the time of day
There’s (day) moisturiser and there is (night) moisturiser. Your skin will thank you for being fed the right thing at the right time. During the day, apply a lightweight moisturiser that blends easily into your skin without leaving it feeling greasy – and remember your neck when blending into your face. During night time, use a cream that allows your skin to lock in moisture as it aids in your skin’s repair when you sleep so you wake up looking fresh and ready to take on the world.
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"Koreans dedicate time to add face massage to their daily routine as it improves blood circulation and gives their skin a healthy glow (and that added “pop” with make-up on).
Since you’re already applying products on your face, save time by massaging your face as you apply these products to lock in the nutrients!
The trick to an effective massage is to press the knuckles and fingers as firmly as possible against the face. Start from below the cheekbones, then the sides of the nose, forehead and the edge of your face.
To finish, use your fingertips to massage your eyes to reduce puffiness. Depending on how much time you have to spare, give it a quick (and remember, gentle) go!"
8. SPF (daytime only):
Congrats if you’re still holding your breath – we have finally arrived at the last (and dare we say, final) step! Protecting your skin on a daily basis from UV rays should help loads in avoiding premature aging and the development of wrinkles and dark spots. UV exposure is everywhere - from lightbulbs indoors to the hard-to-miss rays of the Sun. It’ll be a massive shame if you were to undo your hardwork from previous steps.
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And there you have it! 8 steps, 1 face, tons of time saved and watch the compliments roll in. Check back next week as we discover Instaworthy hot spots in and around South Korea – after all, you’ve gotta go somewhere worth your while to flaunt that #iwokeuplikethis #nomakeup look of yours 😉
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