One of my favorite new discoveries is Korean Beauty or K-Beauty. Despite being new to me, K-Beauty is an old and well-established skincare philosophy complemented by an expansive array of really good skincare and beauty products.
There are literally thousands of South Korean beauty products widely available online and in brick-and-mortar shops. So many, in fact, that the process of incorporating K-Beauty into my skincare regimen was a little overwhelming at first.
This post will provide an overview of K-Beauty, dispel some myths and give you a sense of where to get started.
To begin, let’s review the overall Korean beauty philosophy. In short, Korean women are serious about their skincare, recommending an impressive 10-step skincare regimen which includes the following steps.
- Oil-based Cleanse
- Water-based cleanse
- PH-balancing toner
- Oils, Serums or Ampoules
- Eye cream
In truth, you don’t have to use all ten steps every time. K-beauty is nothing if not highly personalized to each woman’s unique skincare needs. However, to see the best results, you have to be willing to embrace the process. The effort is well worth it, since this skincare regimen will result in soft, smooth glowing skin that will truly change your life.
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Myth 1 – Korean Beauty Products are Low Quality
This is definitely a myth. Korean beauty products are rooted in science and they are full of clean, nourishing ingredients. Of course, as with any product from any country, there are both luxury brands and economy brands on the market. So, do your research and read reviews before buying.
Myth 2 – Korean Beauty Products are Cheap
Everything is relative. If you’re typically into drugstore beauty and skincare brands, your perspective on cost is likely different than someone who only buys only luxury brands from a department store. K-beauty product costs run the gamut from inexpensive to expensive. In general, it’s my opinion that K-beauty luxury brands are slightly less pricey than the luxury brands in the USA.
Myth 3 – I’ll Break Out if I Use All Ten Steps
K-beauty products are gentle and very lightweight. For example, the overnight mask I use has the lightest milky texture. Try to avoid slathering all of your new products on your face in one fell swoop. Instead, introduce new products one at a time so you can measure your skin’s reaction. Allow time for your skin to get used to new products before introducing more.
Breaking Down the 10 Steps of K-beauty
Steps 1 & 2 – The Double Cleanse
At first I was baffled by the double cleanse. The idea is that you should first use an oil- based cleanser to remove all of the makeup and other impurities from your skin. Next, you’ll use a water-based cleanser to finish the process. When I thought about it, I realized that this actually isn’t a whole lot different than using makeup remover followed by a light cleanser. Regardless, this works well and feels great!
Step 3 – Exfoliate
This doesn’t have to be done every day. Perhaps shoot for twice per week, but everyone’s skin is different. Korean beauty exfoliators tend to be quite gentle.
Step 4 – Toner
Use a toner to balance the PH level of your skin. Toner is also said to prep the skin for products, allowing it to absorb more moisture from other products.
Step 5 – Essence
Essence is a product that’s kind of like a combination between a serum and a toner. The primary goal of essence is to deliver moisture to the skin. It’s lightweight and packed full of soothing, brightening ingredients.
Step 6 – Face Oils, Serums and Ampoules
These are packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and other nourishing ingredients. When you digging into products, you’ll find a tremendous array of these, all specializing in different things. Take your time, do your research and pick the best solutions to your individual unique needs.
Step 7 Masks
Masks are the K-beauty product you’ve probably already heard of. You can mask in the morning, at night, or not at all. But, Korean women swear by them. Masks are a great way to personalize your skin care for the day. Feeling a little dry? Try a moisturizing sheet mask for some added oomph that day. Masks are also widely available and often quite affordable.
Steps 8 & 9 – Eye Cream and Moisturizer
These steps are fairly self explanatory. Eye cream and moisturizer are steps that shouldn’t be skipped. Man, I wish I’d started using them at a younger age!
Step 10 – Sunscreen
Sunscreen is an every day affair. Don’t limit yourself to using it only on sunny days. Sunscreen prevents damage that shows up later in life as dark spots and other discolorations. There are plenty of great sunscreens that have been designed for your face, so they won’t run into your eyes or cause breakouts. Some sunscreens have even been specifically formulated to be incorporated into your makeup routine, such as those that also contain a makeup primer. A dermatologist recommended this one to me and I love it!
My Korean Skin Care Experience
I only recently began incorporating Korean skin care products into my routine, and I have to say I’m a big fan.
The first K-beauty product I tried has turned out to be my favorite so far (honestly, it’s my favorite new beauty product this year!) It’s a lip product called Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. This beautiful soft pink colored lip product is applied at night before you go to sleep. Full of nourishing Vitamin C from raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blueberries and intensely moisturizing from Shea Butter, this mask really works for soft, moisturized lips! It can also double as a pretty daytime lip gloss and it smells nice too.
I’m also a big fan of a wonderful overnight face mask called Glow Recipe Watermelon AHA Sleeping Mask. This mask smells lovely and is light as air. The day after I use it, my skin is noticeably smoother and really does have a discernible glow.
Recently, I tried Black Sugar Mask by Skinfood. Honestly, it’s a little intense when you apply it. If you’re looking for a gentle exfoliator this is probably not it. However, after using this my skin feels so incredibly soft – literally softer than I’ve ever experienced previously – that I’m going to keep using it for awhile and see how it goes.
Korean skincare sometimes features unusual ingredients. As you may have heard, Snail Mucin (yes, it’s exactly what you think it is, Snail slime) is supposed to do a fabulous job of moisturizing the skin. The substance also reportedly helps diminish fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. I sampled Seoul Ceuticals’ Multi-Function All-In-One Anti-Aging Snail Repair Cream. So far, I’m really enjoying it. The product contains Vitamin E and B5, Organic Green Tee and a high percentage of Snail Mucin Extract . It is light weight, leaves my skin feeling well moisturized and it’s not slimy (promise!).
Finally, I have to share another amazing K-Beauty discovery. These Shiny & Soft Foot Peeling Masks from Purederm are highly ranked on Amazon and result in exactly what their name implies.
Since recently incorporating these products, my skin has already improved dramatically. Rough, dry patches are gone, fine lines and wrinkles have diminished and the texture of my skin has improved, taking on a healthy vibrancy that it didn’t have before. I’m excited at the possibility of adding more products to my skin care regimen!
I hope you have enjoyed this post about Korean Beauty!
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