Korean beauty has become a significant obsession among Western consumers in recent years. From snail sheet masks to fermented rice water, this culture has captured our hearts in a big way.
Its multi-step skincare routine is cent red around a “skin-first” philosophy that prioritizes addressing skin issues at the source instead of covering them up with makeup. It’s also less about following viral product trends and more about identifying ingredients that work for your skin.
1. Double Cleansing
Double cleansing, or washing your face twice a row, is an effective skincare technique dating back to Japan and Korea. It’s a way to get rid of excess oil, dirt, and impurities like white makeup.
It’s a step that helps to achieve radiant, glowing skin and reduces puffiness. It also removes dead skin cells, which is essential for maintaining a healthy and youthful complexion.
Typically, double cleansing involves using two different types of cleansers with different cleansing goals in mind. The first is an oil-based wash that slows away dirt, makeup, and sebum. The second is a water-based cleanser that can exfoliate, smooth, brighten, or hydrate.
A toner is a great way to prep skin for the next step in your skincare routine (like serums and moisturizers). It removes any last traces of dirt, grime and pore-clogging impurities from the skin and restores its pH level.
It also smoothes and refines rough patches of the skin, leaving it more glowy and hydrated, New York-based dermatologist Arielle Kauvar tells Allure.
Snail secretion filtrate (yes, snail slime) repairs and hydrates the skin and protects against free radical damage. It also contains sodium hyaluronate and arginine, a natural moisturizing factor with reparative properties.
An essential step in any K-beauty routine, essences are watery liquids packed with anti-ageing, hydrating and complexion evening agents. They’re used after toners and before serums as a layer of hydration, which helps everything else you apply next penetrate deeper into the skin.
Essences are great for all skin types and can even be used in conjunction with an acne treatment if you have oily or acne-prone skin. As a general rule, they’re best applied onto slightly damp skin (think: using cotton rounds for toner or moisturizer), which gives them the ability to soak up more water and absorb faster.
4. Sheet Masks
Sheet masks are a must-have beauty essential these days. These face-shaped masks are soaked in essences which contain various nourishing active ingredients for brightening, moisturizing, acne control, and pore care effects.
Unlike traditional serum-type skincare, these masks prevent quick evaporation of the water phase of the ingredients and ensure they completely penetrate deep into skin cells. The hydrating essence infused in these sheet masks is formulated so that it seeps into every skin cell and gives a radiant glow to the face.
They’re a great way to hydrate your skin, but they should be used once a week or as directed on the packaging. Overuse could clog pores and worsen acne.
Serums are a must-have if you’re in the mood to pamper your skin. They help combat wrinkles, dryness, large pores, and more.
They also boost the hydrating properties of your moisturizer.
Serums are often formulated with anti-ageing ingredients, including retinol, green tea, hyaluronic acid and caffeine. They can penetrate deeper into the skin, making them more effective than regular creams and lotions.
Moisturizers add hydration, create a barrier to keep in the moisture and protect the skin from environmental factors that can cause dryness. They are a crucial step in any K-beauty routine.
Depending on your specific skincare needs, there are many moisturizers to choose from. But one thing to look for is humectants like glycerin high up on the ingredient list, as this help draw in and keep the water locked in.
SPF’s many benefits include preventing sunburn, protecting against skin cancer, reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation and promoting skin health. SPF protects against UVB rays that cause burning and UVA rays that penetrate deeper into your skin.
However, SPF doesn’t consider your beginning skin tone or the intensity of UV rays on a particular day. For example, on a beach in Costa Rica, UVB rays are more intense than on the shore of Lake Michigan.
Using sunscreen with high SPFs can lull people into thinking they’re safe in the sun when they aren’t, and they can overexpose themselves to UVB rays and absorb more harmful UVA rays. It also doesn’t provide enough protection for people who have a history of skin cancer or genetic disorders like albinism.