Ayushi Dhiman, New Delhi
Korea has always been two steps ahead in terms of innovation in skincare and was indeed the place of origin of skin care. Koreans have inculcated skincare in their everyday routine because they closely associate it with cleanliness and hygiene. Korean skincare consists of many powerful antioxidants and natural extracts that reduce redness, and acne scars and boost hydration.
Korean skincare appears to be luxurious and high-end, but in reality, the products are quite affordable compared to many brands out there. Koreans follow the classic 10-steps skincare routine; which helps them achieve the glass skin effect. Although, it can be a lot for some, but once you get into skincare you realize how taking care of your skin is closely associated with your mental and spiritual well being. It is more about the perfect layering of products, better absorption, and hydration.
Koreans pay a lot of emphasis on the importance of double cleansing. The first wash is generally an oil-based cleanse, which helps eliminate makeup, dirt, SPF, and all the other oil-based impurities from your skin. Getting rid of sunscreen is tricky, and hence oil-based cleansers or “cleansing balms” work perfectly for it. The next step is a water based cleanser; which is a much deeper cleanse that helps you get rid of all the water based impurities, dirt, leftover makeup or sweat. Double-cleansing helps unclog your pores, so the rest of the skincare can sit much better on your skin.
After cleansing comes exfoliation. Scrubs could be harsh on your skin and are not meant for every skin type. A chemical exfoliant is comparatively less harsh on the skin and helps get rid of scarring.
The next step is toning. Toner helps in soothing your skin and reducing irritation. After toning, you go in with an essence. An essence is composed of a thicker consistency, and it preps your skin to absorb moisturizer. Serums are a crucial part of Korean skincare. They are lightweight but highly concentrated with active ingredients which help in hydration, moisturizing, and healing.
Sheets masks are the backbone of this long 10-step routine. Korean sheet masks are no joke, they are known to do wonders. They are highly packed with skin healing ingredients like tea tree, honey, hyaluronic acid and many other skin rejuvenating components. Most sheet masks can be aggressive to the skin, but Korean sheet masks are loaded with multiple nourishing ingredients; they are fun, relaxing, and easy to use.
Do you know that your neck and eyelids tell your age? You need to start taking care of those prominent areas, as they mostly get neglected in our routine. Koreans love a good eye cream, which can heal all the puffiness, dark circles, and wrinkles under the eyes.
The next step is moisturising. Moisturisers hydrate your skin, heal scars and make your skin happy. This step cannot be missed, because for the healing of the skin, it is important to prevent trans-epidermal water loss, and moisturisers help to “lock” the moisture into the skin for a longer time, hence protecting the skin barriers from any damage.
The last and final step of this routine is a night cream/sleeping mask/or SPF; based on the time of the day. Korean skincare has always given utmost importance to SPF; something westerners are still trying to grasp. Most SPFs could get greasy, or feel heavy. But Korean skincare was always ahead of its time. It had created some of the best sunscreens, with a lightweight formula and zero white caste; which is fantastic for people of color. Once you start realizing the importance of sunscreen, it will save your skin!
One of my observations has been that many Koreans prefer gently patting the products into their skin, rather than rubbing it in. Rubbing can be harsher for the skin, and Korean skincare is all about treating your skin as gently as possible. One of the reasons Koreans look much younger than their actual age is that they start inculcating skincare into their lives from the early stages of life, so they age as beautifully as they do. Many celebrities and skincare specialists have also shown their obsession with Korean skincare. Good skincare also helps makeup to blend more seamlessly, which is why Korean makeup looks so natural. Korean skincare will always remain superior. They also incorporate many fun facial tools in their skincare, which are not just cute but help in boosting blood circulation in your skin. Many Korean brands like innisfree, Laniege, Klairs, CosRX, TONY MOLY, etc. are now available in India too. One should give it a try!
Note: All pictures used in the article are for representation purposes only!