I have been using Korean skincare for years now, and I don’t ever, ever want to go back to the yucky, drying American skincare. Once I actually tried it out, I was sold immediately. You’ve probably been hearing more and more about this magic lately but I want to emphasize it even more. I’m going to lay down everything you need to know about Korean skincare in the simplest, briefest way possible.
First things first. Korean skincare regimens usually have 10+ steps! That is because every step does something specific for your face. Instead of the “all-in-one” products you find in America, Korean skincare products work separately. This might seem like a lot of stuff to cake on your face, but I promise that once you get used to it, you will never want to put on any less again. You can customize these to your skin type and liking. It may sound expensive, but these brands come in different price ranges. You can buy one at a time like I did, or sometimes a whole line in sample sizes to try.
The differences between each type of product
Looking at the countless products to choose from, it may be confusing and intimidating. Here is what you need to know about the types of products and what they do:
Toner: This balances the skin’s surface pH back to normal. Korean toners hydrate instead of drying your face out.
Serum: These target very specific skin problems. They are thicker and the active ingredients are more concentrated.
Essence: Almost the same thing as a serum, but are more lightweight (These are my favorite).
Ampoule: An even more concentrated version of a serum to use for a limited time.
Emulsion: This is the Korean word for moisturizer.
The correct order to use your products
This is actually easier than it seems. I follow the advice to use my products from thinnest to the thickest. So, all ten steps would be:
- Eye makeup removal. You cannot get your makeup off with just cleanser. Wipes are the easiest to use.
- Cleanse. I use The Face Shop Rice Cleansing Oil (Pictured above). It melts all of my makeup off and softens my skin. After the cleansing oil, I then use a cream cleanser.
- Exfoliate with a scrub. Do not exfoliate every day. Depending on your skin type, exfoliate anywhere from 2 times a month, to as often as 3 times a week.
- “Refresher” or toning. I use Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Toner. (Pictured above).
- Essence. This is the step that made the biggest difference for me. I use BENTON Snail Bee High Content Essence. (Pictured below)
- Ampoule. I use Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule (Pictured above).
- Sheet mask. This is only twice a week.
- Eye cream. I use Missha Misa Yei Hyun Jin Bon Eye Cream (Pictured above).
- Moisturizer. Use an “emulsion”.
- The night cream. I use Benton Snail Bee High content Steam Cream (Pictured below).
How to apply the products
It’s important to be as gentle with your skin as possible. Do not rub or pull on your skin when you are applying or when you are drying your face off after cleanser, as this can cause wrinkles. Always blot, blot, blot. Dab, dab, dab, with your fingers until the product is absorbed into your face and then move onto the next step. Be gentle, especially around your eye area.
Finding the best brands and products
Consider what you want to achieve with your skincare regime. Wrinkle prevention? Getting rid of acne? Hydration? A dewy, even complexion? Smooth skin? Korean skincare gives endless solutions to all skin problems. To find a good product to try, I look to see what brands are the most popular (can’t go wrong with popular brands). Some great, well-known brands are BENTON, Etude House, MISSHA, Mizon, and Skinfood. Once you find a brand you like, explore each step of the regime and pick a product that suits your needs for each step. For example, I decided to use a collagen, lifting toner for my toner step. But there are many others to choose from. Explore Amazon, and explore some online Korean skincare stores. Make sure to look at Amazon reviews and blog reviews to make your decision. Most of the time though, you can’t go wrong.
Korean skincare secrets, tips, and advice
As a bonus, here are some Korean skincare tips! Taking care of your skin is much more important in Korea than it is in America. It is first taught from a young age.
Gently massage your face daily with an oil or cream. This prevents wrinkles and aging skin.
Wash your face twice. In Korea it is common to first use an oil cleaner, and then another cleansing product after to deep clean.
Always protect your skin from the sun. Use SPF, umbrellas, sunglasses, visors. In Korea, sun protection is used all year around.
Sheet masks! Sheet masks are way more effect than regular masks because it stays moist and soaks deep into your face the entire time you have it on, instead of drying out and sitting on the surface. You can make a sheet mask out of any products, all you need is Face Mask Sheets. Soak it with your product and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. There are also some popular premade sheet masks on Amazon.
Take care of yourself. Have a healthy diet for healthy looking skin. You are what you eat. Stay hydrated by drinking tons of water, as well. Get plenty of rest to rejuvenate your skin naturally.
Facial exercises! These are popular among Korean celebrities. This boosts blood circulation and can tone your face muscles.
Take time to treat your skin twice daily, in the morning and in the evening.
Hydration is the most important thing for any skincare regime for any age and any skin type.
Make it your goal to achieve clear skin without having to use makeup. Spend more time and money towards skincare than on makeup products. Work towards fixing your skin issues instead of covering them up.