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Skin care routines vary greatly from person to person. Preferences and needs are as personal as fingerprints; where your sister likes heavy moisturizers, you may notice they clog your pores. Sheet masks may do nothing for your skin but your friend swears by them.
Cultural factors and current beauty standards can influence the formulations and ingredients of products on the market at any given time, causing popular products to vary as you travel around the globe. In Korean culture, clear, glowing skin and subtle makeup dominates the beauty world.
The appearance of a fresh face and less is more attitude to make up is incredibly trendy; though the minimalism does not necessarily translate into skincare.
Currently, even westerners are getting into the over the top trend known as the “Korean Skincare Routine”. A multi-step process, these routines can get very lengthy and pricey. Ranging from five to more than fourteen steps, it takes some serious dedication to follow through on a full plan every single day.
Funnily enough, many Koreans do not even take part in the extensive extravagance of these cleansing rituals. It is a sort of niche trend that has grown recently due to several high impact western social media influencers taking part in the experience and sharing their results.
With an average of around ten steps, these routines may seem like overkill. Using so many products is maybe a bit unnecessary but so many swear the method has entirely overhauled their skin that there has to be some grain of truth to the madness.
The first step typically involves something we are likely all pretty familiar with: an oil cleanser. Oil cleansers remove makeup, sunscreen, and debris from the skin and gives you a squeaky clean starting point to pile on the rest of your skin goodies.
Tons of different oil cleansers are on the market that cater to every skin type under the sun but some people opt for a DIY alternative in the form of coconut oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil. Following the oil cleanse, the second step involves a secondary cleanser.
Usually water based, this cleanser removes any remaining impurities that the oil left behind, as well as any residue from the first cleanse. Many people just choose between the two, opting for either an oil cleanse or using a makeup wipe then following with a regular cleanser. Chances are you probably do one of these two methods already!
Exfoliating is key in keeping your skin looking fresh and glowy. There are two different types of exfoliation, manual and chemical. Typically, in a Korean skincare routine you would opt for a manual exfoliation like a scrub or even a damp washcloth used in gentle circular motions across the face but if you prefer chemical methods you can certainly swap it in.
This step is only done a few times a week to prevent irritation and is another that you very well may already partake in. After exfoliating, popping on some toner is the incredibly important fourth step. Toners kill bacteria and help clean out your pores.
Some, like witch hazel, have even been known to help clear up acne. Many people overlook the toning step but if you follow through you certainly will not regret it! The drink of hydration from toning also helps other products sink in more easily, giving you the absolute best results possible.
Step five is the first one that deviates from common western skincare practices. Touted as the most important part of the Korean skincare routine, essences may seem a little redundant. A sort of toner/serum hybrid, essences give your skin a deep moisturization experience and aid in increasing the cell turnover rate.
Many people may consider skipping the step entirely and opting for just toner but this is an integral part of the program that many of the Korean members of the skincare community swear by. Chase the essence with your choice of a serum, booster, or ampoule treatment.
This one is a little more unnecessary and can be skipped without damaging the integrity of the system. If you suffer from dark spots or acne, though, you can take this opportunity to add in a little extra treatment to help take down those skin woes.
The seventh step is to use a mask. Be it a acne fighting and oil controlling clay mask or hydrating sheet mask, choose whatever works for your skin and let it do its thing. Masks can work magic to help ease irritated skin and even out skin tones so relax and let it work.
Follow your mask with an eye cream to keep your peepers fresh and bright. Your eyes can easily go neglected through the day so the eighth step helps keep them looking hydrated and smooth, giving you a canvas for easier makeup application. Face cream comes in as step nine. A night cream or moisturizer will do the trick and lock in all of the other product you have used.
Lastly, many Korean skincare junkies apply SPF products. SPF is crucial even if you do not take part in over the top skincare routines or buy into product gimmicks. The sun can seriously damage your skin and even cause cancer so if you take nothing else from this routine, please pick up a bottle of sunscreen and make sure your makeup contains some sort of SPF.
Do not forget to pop on sun protectant lip balm too in order to prevent painful mouth burns and to reapply regularly! The korean skincare routine is a bit more intensive than a typical western set up but still follows many of the same product trends, making it an easily attainable and beneficial routine to give a shot!