I must admit, being Korean, and working in the beauty industry, the pressure is multiplied to have impeccable skin. I was groomed from birth by my mother, aunts, and countless maternal figures on how to eat, wash, and care for my skin. It’s just part of Korean beauty culture, which isn’t about products at its core, but about skin-preserving methods and techniques. But on the days I need a quick fix, here are nine of my go-to beauty hacks that’ll transform your skin from blah to amazing, any day.
- 1. Give your face a steam massage in the shower.
- 2. Exfoliate with a washcloth soaked in hot water.
- 3. Use a charcoal sheet face mask.
- 4. Try blurring to create HD perfect skin.
- 5. Apply a facial essence between two layers of moisturizer.
- 6. Bring out the natural flush of your lips.
- 7. Try a lip tint/oil for your lips.
- 8. Use an overnight sleeping mask.
- 9. Drink barley tea.
- 10. Crack open an ampoule for any skin SOS.
- 11. Practice mouth stretches.
- 12. Detox your private parts.
- I went on a ‘Skincare Diet’ for a week. The results were shocking.
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- Eye Cream
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- Best Korean Skincare Routine for Mature Skin
- 1. Oil Cleanser
- 2. Foaming Cleanser
- 3. Exfoliate
- 4. Toner
- 5. Essence
- 6. Treatment
- 7. Face Mask
- 8. Eye Cream
- 9. Cream Moisturizer
- 10. Sunscreen
- Keep the Conversation Going
- The Secret to Korean Women’s Beauty
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- Korean skincare products are a staple on American vanities, and our routines are constantly expanding to accommodate the next big k-beauty discovery. But the truth is, we’re still way behind on the country’s newest innovations, and there’s no one more knowledgeable about caring for skin than a highly-trained Korean skincare expert. Ahead, eight skin-changing secrets from Araceli Elchami, the lead aesthetician at Sulwhasoo.
- 1. One cleanse is never, ever enough.
- 2. Yes, waters, emulsions, and refiners all serve their own purpose.
- 3. The order you apply your products is everything.
- 4. Supplements are the next big thing in skin health.
- 5. Exfoliate with caution.
- 6. Facial massage is the secret to a contoured face, and you can do it at home.
- 7. Jade rollers are so last year.
- 8. Skin health is tied to overall health.
- 10 Korean Skin Care Mistakes to Avoid
1. Give your face a steam massage in the shower.
Skin clinics are down every block in South Korea, where you can get a facial massage as easy as a budget manicure. I recommend not only using circular motions with your fingers, but also tapping in rotating motions — starting on the forehead, then the cheekbones, cheeks, and working down to the jawbone. Massaging increases circulation and creates a dewy complexion. For added benefit use an oil cleanser to maximize hydration.
2. Exfoliate with a washcloth soaked in hot water.
My aunt is 70 and has no wrinkles. Her secret? She uses a nubby washcloth to massage her face every day, using upward moving, circular strokes.
3. Use a charcoal sheet face mask.
Buying sheet masks is as common as getting Kleenex in South Korea. An all the rage ingredient? Charcoal. It detoxes and exfoliates your skin, and all you have to do is let the sheet sit on your face for 15 to 20 minutes while you relax. I like this one from Dr. Jart.
Dr.Jart+ Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Masks $79.95 Bubble Purifying + Charcoal Face Sheet Mask $21.00 The Elixir MJ Korean Charcoal Essence Mask Pack $14.90 Celavi Essence Facial Mask $17.99
4. Try blurring to create HD perfect skin.
You know when roll out of bed and think OMG, how do I hide all of this? Try the Korean blurring trick, which basically means using one or several smart coverage products (my go-to is Iope’s Air Cushion foundation) with a makeup brush to wipe out and “blur” unwanted imperfections. If you use an air-cushion foundation, a signature Korean cosmetic, you can blur like a pro, because the formula flexes from ultra sheer to total-coverage with each application without ever looking heavy.
5. Apply a facial essence between two layers of moisturizer.
Many modern Korean women feel that essences are the key to sealing in all the goodies of your daily cleansing. Essences are mild, skin nutrient-filled solutions (not toners) that hydrate your skin and are applied after cleansing (here’s one of my new favorite ones by Mizon). The next step is to add a serum, and then you can add your moisturizer for maximum skin elasticity and hydration.
Olivarrier Dual Moist Hyaluron Essence $35.99 Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence $18.00 MISSHA The First Treatment Essence Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence $16.00
6. Bring out the natural flush of your lips.
By merely enhancing your own lip color, your complexion will actually look younger and more vibrant. Try a favorite of mine, Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Awakening Lip Balm, which adjusts to the individual chemistry of your lips, making them radiant. And with wild mango as one of its moisturizing ingredients, it smells positively amazing.
7. Try a lip tint/oil for your lips.
These nutrient-rich lip oil treatments slide like butter (yes, really) onto your lips, and also give you a sheer pop of color with zero stickiness. I love this one by Julep, which has a blend of Korean Camellia oil, as well as avocado and rosehip oils.
8. Use an overnight sleeping mask.
It’s during sleep that your skin cells turnover and do their hardest work at cell recovery. This is the best time to hyper-moisturize and work on a tired complexion. I like to apply an intensive sleeping mask to correct any dullness. When you wake up, weeks of wear and tear will have come off of your face. Trust me.
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask $23.99 Goodal Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Cream Pack $27.64 MIZON Good Night Wrinkle Care Sleeping Mask $12.98 Nightingale C-Toning Sleeping Mask $18.50
9. Drink barley tea.
Ever gone to a Korean restaurant and gotten a nutty tasting tea? It’s probably roasted barely tea, which is what is served to Korean babies from birth to fortify their skin and overall well-being. Barley tea is rich in anti-oxidants and one study showed that drinking it can improve blood circulation. Some suggest it may even double as a weight loss drink. You just can’t go wrong!
10. Crack open an ampoule for any skin SOS.
First things first: an ampoule is like a face serum on steroids. It contains the highest concentration of active ingredients to repair, rebalance, and recharge cells in the shortest amount of time (Dr. Grandel’s Beauty Flash is my favorite). Apply a few drops of the fluid, housed in a pinky-sized vial, before your essence to target and treat hyperpigmentation, dullness, and acne.
11. Practice mouth stretches.
Channel your inner Eliza Doolittle and say A-E-I-O-U in an exaggerated way. Repeat three times. It sounds silly, but many swear this trick improves circulation and brightens skin tone. It certainly can’t hurt, so I’ll let you be the judge.
12. Detox your private parts.
Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of vaginal steams, called “chai-yok,” which involve sitting naked on an open-seated stool above a steaming pot of water filled with medicinal and aromatic herbs such as mugwort for 30 to 45 minutes. The treatment supposedly helps women with infertility issues by “cleansing” the uterus and balancing hormone levels. V-steams have plenty of (very) vocal critics, but the practice’s devotees swear by them. At the very least, you’ll get a relaxing, surprisingly pleasant half hour to yourself — so yeah, they’re worth it.
Nuy Cho is a mother of one and the founder of NuyBeauty.com.
Growing up in Korea, I was surrounded by seas of lotions, creams and moisturizers everywhere I went—I never second-guessed the importance of skincare. But, despite the craze today around the 10-step Korean skincare routine, the obsession with applying topical product after product, and all the different ingredients popping up (from snail oil to gold-infused creme), the only Korean skincare ritual that my family passed down to me is the one spoken about the least: the Korean diet.
For those who aren’t familiar, Korean cuisine is always a balanced meal of grilled protein and rice (never bread), with lots of various fermented vegetables such as kimchi and miso paste.
Kimchi, a fermented, pickled cabbage almost iconic in our culture, is dense with minerals, vitamins A, B and C, fat-free and most importantly, loaded with probiotics, a gut-friendly bacteria that takes shelter in your stomach after ingestion. And what probiotics do for our health and our skin, is almost immeasurable: our stomach, the so-called “second brain,” is actually the ruler of our overall health. And when our stomach is off, our skin takes a beating almost immediately. But with probiotics, our stomach is able to fend off a lot of what causes these problems, and gets our skin to its optimal condition.
What’s more, Koreans consume a lot of collagen-based dishes and soups. Think of collagen as the gatekeeper of moisture in our cells, a “wall” to keep our cells hydrated so they don’t lose structure or lead to weaker, stretchier, and thinner skin i.e. wrinkles, fine lines, dry skin, cellulite, and the loss of structure in your hair follicles (integral to holding on to your hair). Ingesting collagen facilitates new regeneration of skin, muscle, bones and joint cells, which is something my mother and grandmother never let me forget if I ever decided to be picky with my food.
At this point, most of us know that what we put into our body directly translates to how we look and feel. But I do think that most of us either like to conveniently forget, or underestimate just how much what you ingest, translates to your skin. If you take a second to trace some of our most frustrating skin and hair problems to their roots, you would find yourself circling back to your stomach and liver, two of our most stressed out, hungover organs.
Despite being entrenched in this Korean skincare diet, I didn’t always put two and two together. I always ignored the immediate link between pizza date-nights to morning after pimples, and rarely thought about eating the “right” type of foods. I focused mostly on putting extra eye cream on nights following a tough day, and religiously spent hundreds of dollars monthly on massages, facials, and more and more products.
The realization of just how important diet is to the health of my skin actually only occurred to me one day in my early twenties when I got burned from hot oil. I turned to silicone patches, topical creams and ointments to ensure that my skin would heal but saw little improvement.
So, I decided to try making my treatment an inside job and started taking 20 grams of collagen every day, hoping for its regenerative and healing benefits. Sure, I hated the taste of it, but I stuck to it. Though it should never become the only path to healing skin, in my personal experience, I started noticing a dramatic change not just on my arms, face and hair a month after I started my daily intake. My eyelashes, brows and hair got so much thicker, and my skin, once chronically dry, didn’t need as much topical attention as it used to, 10-Step Korean skincare routine, or otherwise.
And that was when it hit me. Our moms were right all along—when it comes to skincare, it really is what’s underneath, and inside, that counts.
Sally Kim is the founder of the collagen and probiotics powder Crushed Tonic.
The Ultimate Shopping Guide to the Best New Beauty Products for Fall
That santal scent that everyone wears just met its match. Rodin’s unisex eau de toilette blurs gender lines with geranium, the ever-popular men’s flower, and iris, an Upper East Side lady’s go-to.
Rodin 3, $170, nordstrom.com
Trade in your summer lip oil for this autumnal option, which conditions lips, while imparting a shiny tint.
Chantecaille Lip Sleek, $38, neimanmarcus.com
Virtue’s formula packs bioidentical keratin that sticks where strands need it, rather than washing down the drain.
Virtue Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner, from $15 – 40, virtuelabs.com
After burning herself in the kitchen, founder Sally Kim blended the perfect cocktail of marine collagen, probiotics, and biotin to heal burns from the inside. The matcha flavor makes for an easy antioxidant-packed swap for that afternoon coffee.
Crushed Tonic, $115 for 30 crushes, crushedtonic.com
Danish beauty vet Avonda Urben set out to share a bit Scandinavia’s carefree culture with some very practical products. The pH balanced wash cleanses, tones and soothes the bikini area, because skin is skin.
The Perfect V VV Cream Gentle Wash, $21, theperfectv.com
The grab-and-go ease of a foundation stick never meant that blending would be easy. Luckily for us, Nars added an antimicrobial blender to the other side of their matte formula that can be washed or replaced as needed. Let the taxi makeup application commence.
NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick, $45, sephora.com
Because brushing your teeth should be as ritualized as the rest of your routine, Aesop added their own chic variety to the mix with sea buckthorn to soothe gums.
Aesop Toothpaste, $17, aesop.com
Wearing skirts after Labor Day just got less stress-inducing. The botanical blend will brighten and bronze gambs for a subtle gleam.
Votre Vu Silk Stockings, $38, votrevu.com (available in September)
Ben Gorhman keeps making scent easier to sport. A drop of the alcohol-based formula quashes bacteria, for an aromatic post-subway application.
Byredo Vetvyer Rinse-Free Hand Wash, $30, neimanmarcus.com
As air pollution is an ever-growing issue, Verso’s mist acts as a magnet for skin aging particles, and can be spritzed on either a clean face or a fully painted one.
Verso Anti-Pollution Mist, $47, barneys.com
Watch: British-Korean Model Sang Woo Kim Shows His Artistic Side
British-Korean Model Sang Woo Kim Shows His Artistic Side
Many of you may heard of the skincare diet before, many if you may not. Don’t panic, I’m not asking you eat less rice or eat less meat! So Recently, I’ve tried the “skincare diet” for 30 days. In this post i will be covering :
:dizzy: What is the skincare diet and how does it work
:dizzy: What to include and what not to include in your skincare diet
:dizzy: My skincare diet
:dizzy: My experience
Let’s get started!
source : google
:dizzy: WHAT IS THE SKINCARE DIET , HOW DOES IT WORK
So, I believe we all know about the 10 step korean skincare routine. I saw many posts on this amino app about people asking if they should commit to this 10 step routine. Well my dear chingus, I’m here to tell you : LESS IS MORE.
The whole idea of the skincare diet is basically cutting down your skincare routine for one month and adding other products in gradually after one month. In this one month, we are targeting on healing our damaged skin barrier. You have to believe that your skin has the ability to heal itself. Besides, with this minimal skincare routine, we are pushing our skin to do its job.
A minimal skincare routine should only consist products our skin really needs. Yes yes yes, our holy grail snail essences, our vitamin C serum, everything seems so important and necessary to us. But, dear kbeauty lovers, keep this in mind, nothing can heal your skin as much as your skin can heal itself. I know that snail essences help us with scarring and the results are amazing! So here is a little disclaimer : If you are happy with your current skincare routine, you definitely don’t need to change and minimize your skincare routine. This skincare diet is for people who don’t see results with their current skincare routine or people who are simply interested in minimal skincare or maybe you just wanna save some money (hehe i feel you) I will link a better and more informative video at the bottom of this post.
Our main focus should be on HYDRATING and RECOVERY in this one month.
:dizzy: WHAT AND WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE IN THIS SKINCARE FASTING PERIOD
:sun_with_face: WHAT TO INCLUDE :
:white_check_mark: your favourite oil cleanser
:white_check_mark: a gentle water-based cleanser
:white_check_mark: a basic moisturiser
:white_check_mark: a decent sunscreen
:white_check_mark: a hydrating toner (not the AHA/BHA/chemical ones) this is totally optional, I personally didn’t include this in my skincare diet but a kbeauty fam of ours suggested this idea and I thought that it is reasonable to include a hydrating toner. Shoutout to JJ!
:sun_with_face: WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE
:x: acne treatment
:x: strong actives
:x: acne medication
:x: sheet masking and treatment
:x: spot treatment
:x: drying out your skin
:x: foaming / alkaline cleanser
(source : Liah Yoo)
:dizzy: MY SKINCARE DIET
1. I wash my face with water.
2. I slap on my COSRX Birch Sap moisturiser.
3. I finish my routine with a suncreen.
1. I gently massage my face with the Shu Uemura oil cleanser.
2. I continue my double cleansing with the COSRX Good Morning Low PH gel cleanser.
3. I put on my trustworthy COSRX Birch Sap moisturiser.
Are you shocked by how simple it is? How about removing dead skin cells? How about prepping your face with toner? Guys, a skincare diet has its “cheat day” too, at least I have it for me.
:raised_hands: CHEAT DAY
I only do this once a week, I normally do it on Saturdays. So after double cleansing, I add in two more steps :
3. Prepping my face with COSRX AHA/BHA toner
4. Slapping on the COSRX BHA Blackhead Liquid. Wait for 20-30 minutes. (Read the review of this product here)
5. Ending as usual with moisturiser.
:dizzy: MY EXPERIENCE
At first, it feels REALLY WEIRD to not use toner and skip to moisturiser. But after a few days, I got used to it. I still do my “special skincare routine” (click here to read) when I need to attend something important. But I remembered only doing it once in this whole 30 days.
FUN FACT : I LEGIT STOPPED WRITING AND WATCHED NCT127’S CHERRY BOMB. THEY HOT AF ADSKEOWNWBSKSKA. I SCREAMED. WHEN IS EXO COMING BACK.
In these 30 days, the thing that i noticed the most is during the time before I’m getting my period. You know how our skin tends to breakout when it is near our period time? I realised that I brokeout way lesser compared to last time. I don’t know the exact reason but I only had two small pimples on my forehead. Magical?
But, my skin didn’t improve in acne scarring nor brighten up. I figured out that the main focus of this whole skincare diet is to recover our skin barrier. After 30 days, you can gradually add in other skincare products if you want. I would definitely add in my snail essences, centella blemish cream and vitamin c back in my skincare routine slowly, as I believe my skin barrier is stronger now. A quick before and after :
BEFORE AFTER please excuse my expressions, i’m in a public area and weirdly staring and smiling at the camera
Not much difference as you can tell.
I recommend this skincare diet for :
:cherry_blossom: people who want to strengthen their skin barrier
:cherry_blossom: girls who want lesser breakouts during period season.
If you are happy with your skincare routine as it is now, i advise you to not change it. Here is a video by Liah Yoo talking about the skincare diet :
For those who are wondering how I did it in one month when Liah only posted this video like 10 days ago. Well, I can’t remember when I first saw this idea, but Liah was posting about minimal skincare on her instagram story so I decided to try it out.
Hope you picked up something in some way in this post! Thank you for making it to the end, you are much appreciated 🙂 Have a nice day ahead and don’t forget to correct me if you found any mistakes in this post in the comment section down below / comment any of your questions and I will try my best to answer you :heart:
Have an amazing skincare journey! Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle :dizzy:
I went on a ‘Skincare Diet’ for a week. The results were shocking.
My friend Maki Ryoke, a NYC-based makeup artist, has the best complexion of anyone I know.
Her skin glistens, it glows and looks like a perfectly glazed donut. So bouncy and plump that when people discover her actual age they’re completely shook. Maki isn’t some 20-something Glossier model who was #bornwithit, rather, a working mother in her 40’s who’s always on-the-go. Obviously, Maki’s unlocked the secret to beauty and one day I had to ask her secret.
SEE ALSO: The easiest guide, ever to Korean Beauty
“You’re doing too much,” she explained, surprised by my extensive 10-step K-beauty regimen. While examining my skin she said that it looked fine, but could be better. “When you feed your skin too much, it expects it and stops working hard on its own.” To her, skincare is all about minimal effort and maximum results, more of a Japanese method of skincare. J-Beauty, after all, is being more thoughtful about your regimen and feeding it only what it needs.
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#tipswithmaki: all about the eyes – Part I 〰️ P.S. Make sure you have well moisturized skin as always before massaging 💆♀️ #facialmassage
She had a point.
For the past few years, I’d been testing retinols, Vitamin C’s, new moisturizers, creams, you name it. And it’s obviously had a toll on my complexion. Testing new products make your skin into a battle ground and you end up with cystic acne, inflammation, and more when a random nuclear ingredient explodes into your pores. It was evident that perhaps my skin needed a complete reset.
Resetting isn’t anything new. The entire idea of becoming more minimal has been trending in South Korea for the past year, where men and women are choosing to forego so many of their products, opting to go on a “Skincare Diet.” The diet has nothing to do with what you eat, like forbidding carbs or tossing out sugar. Rather, it’s all about using less and gaining more in the process.
The methodology has been adopted by beauty guru Liah Yoo, founder of Krave Beauty, who recommends her followers “press reset.” Her entire brand comes with three products: a cleanser, toner and SPF.
“I used to overdo it with skincare as well,” Liah told me, one day over coffee and pastries. But it’s only when she developed inflammation and skin sensitivity that she decided to stop using so much altogether. Today, Liah tells me she uses a cleanser, toner and moisturizer only. Most mornings, she skips cleansing altogether and opts just for a toner and a cotton pad. “Over-cleansing dries out your skin,” she says. It can also destroy bacteria that’s actually healthy for your skin.
There are, of course, bacteria that cause acne breakouts like p. acnes. Then, there are microbiomes that are all over our bodies – and face! – that allow us to stay perfectly healthy. Turns out that with all of the scrubs, wipes, pads and more, we could be doing more harm than good. A research study by the National Institutes of Health actually conducted a study that supports this.
(Skincare Diet, anyone? I used a minimal amount of products as shown here. Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)
To start my reset, Maki instructed that I forego cleansing my entire face for an entire week. “Make sure you’re not going out or anything,” she told me. Of course, being a working professional, this wasn’t possible, so I opted to try this from Thursday to Monday morning. I then followed a strict Skincare Diet regiment, one recommended by Liah. That meant cleansing, toning and moisturizing only – while also skipping cleansing in the mornings with a beauty water or simply my toner.
Below, is a photo after 6 weeks of my Skincare Diet. It’s not Photoshopped, FaceTuned or tweaked in any way. I literally achieved my smoothest, clearest skin – and smaller pores! – through putting my face through this process. Here’s how you can, too.
I tested the Skincare Diet for an entire month and here’s how I did it.
(Here’s me after six weeks on the Skincare Diet – foregoing ALL of my usual beauty products for just…3!)
Start with a reset
NO CLEANSING, prescribed Maki, with caps. On a recent Thursday through Monday I felt like an average man in Middle America, living his best lift, eating whatever he wanted, then brushing his teeth and heading to bed. Was it lazy AF? Yes. Did it give me nightmares? Uh, yeah. At first, I felt my skin becoming super oily and trying to overcompensate for what was happening. It was definitely expecting a cleanser to do a thorough job at purging. But because I didn’t use a cleanser altogether, my face recalibrated. At the end of Sunday night, I didn’t feel my face was greasy at all, rather, felt perfectly clean – though a little dry (I am in Colorado after all). I made it through, and my skin totally reset itself.
1 Use a very gentle cleanser
The first step in any skincare regimen is cleansing. Duh. For a Skincare Diet regimen, I used one from Then I Met You, a formula that is super gentle for any skin type. I also love Liah’s own, from Krave, called the Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser – it’s vegan and all natural. Others that I recommend is from Cerave’s Gentle Cleanser, which comes in a lotion-like consistency, Belif’s Creamy Cleansing Moist if you’re into foaming action, and Charlotte Tilbury’s Multi-Miracle Glow (which is a balm, cleanser or moisturizer all-in-one!). If you need to wipe away makeup, go with a double cleanse, my favorite is from Then I Met You.
2 Tone up!
Whether you’re using a toner to soften your skin before moisturizing or using one to balance out your pH, you realize just how vital toning is. After cleansing, I’d either use a toner from Missha or an essence from the new brand from Unilever called Skinsei (editor’s note: I was recently in a campaign from the brand!). I really do love the consistency of Skinsei’s essence – it’s thicker than water – but non-sticky, feels gentle, smells light and refreshing, and instantly plumps your skin. If you’re not toning and want an alternative to cleansing in the mornings, I used a beautiful cleansing water from the Korean/French brand Erborian. It moisturized my skin when I wasn’t using water in the morning and made my regimen super simple: splash cleansing water and then SPF.
3 Moisturize or use sunscreen
Moisturizing is important for protecting your skin – especially in the winter. At night, I’d use two pumps of my Curology I’ve been using for clarifying my pores. I’d switch off with an Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream from Youth to the People or Skin Rx Lab’s MadeCera cream. The latter is so, so good and soothing. If it’s the daytime, I’d use my favorite SPF ever, Elta MD. Good alternatives I’ve used were Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost SPF, Peter Thomas Roth’s, or Tatcha’s. But really keeping it consistent and boring is key!
If you need eye cream (like me!), go for it! Your undereyes don’t have pores so aren’t working at ALL (ugh!), so luxuriate with eye creams galore. I’ve been using Drunk Elephant’s C-Tango, which has vitamin c. It’s worked well, though my all-time favorite is still currently AMOREPACIFIC’s eye cream.
The Korean 10 Step Skincare Routine for Your 50s and Beyond
With each passing year, we start to experience major changes in our skin. These visible changes get more challenging for women who are 50 years old and above. It’s the decade of your menopause that causes hormonal ups and downs in your body, making your skin thinner, drier, and sensitive as it loses its collagen production ability over time.
To age gracefully, it takes a proper skincare routine that will help you to protect, restore and rejuvenate your skin, and with advances in skin care, your skin can revitalise its collagen if you use the right products.
So, what skincare regime should you follow to achieve healthy, glowing, and firm looking skin in your 50s? Read on to find out!
Cleanse: Benton – Honest Cleansing Foam
As your skin gets thinner with age, it becomes prone to absorb bacteria and airborne toxins. For facial cleansing, using harsh soaps and liquids can make your skin rough and dry. This Korean moisturiser removes all the excess dirt from the depth of your skin, leaving your skin refreshed and hydrated with its essential nutrients and botanical extracts.
Exfoliate: SOME BY MI – AHA, BHA, PHA 30 Days Miracle Serum
Who would be opposed to bright looking skin in their 50s? This gentle exfoliating serum made from the mixture of natural and acidic ingredients helps in removing the layer of dead skin that builds up with age. Its light texture sets it apart from other exfoliators in the market. This unique serum based exfoliator is the perfect solution for your dry and uneven skin tone as it fortifies the complexion and regenerates the collagen production cells on your face.
Toner: BANILA CO – Dear Hydration Toner
Achieving healthy skin requires a lot of deep cleansing. Banila’s alcohol-free hydration toner is the ultimate answer to your rough and dull skin. This super effective toner cleanses your skin right to its deepest by removing the hidden impurities residing beneath your skin.
Moisturise: Missha – Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream
Snail mucin is famous for boosting the collagen and elastin cells that make your skin tighter, brighter, and moisturised. This magical cream is made from snail mucin that helps to replenish your skin and give it a youthful glow.
Serum: SKIN & LAB – Red Serum
This anti-aging serum is a fountain of youth for the people in their 50s and beyond. It has the power to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines from your skin. By adding this serum in your daily skin regime, you can achieve a firmer and tighter looking skin.
Eye Cream: Benton – Fermentation Eye Cream
Hollowness under your eyes can make you look much older. To tackle this, use Benton Fermentation Eye Cream to plump up your under-eye area so that you can get rid of those obvious signs of ageing.
Face Mask: KLAVUU – White Pearlsation Enriched Divine Pearl Serum Mask
As you join the 50s club, you must make it a habit to keep your skin hydrated. A mask made from a blend of vitamin extracts and shea butter is the best choice for your dry, aging and pigmented skin.
Facial Oil: SOME BY MI – 30 Days Miracle Tea Tree Clear Spot Oil
Dry skin can leave deep and dark spots that are hard to get rid of. This extraordinary 30-day spot treatment can help you to achieve a spot free and fresh looking skin. If you desire a blemish free skin in your 50s, this miraculous oil is your saviour.
Hydrate: CosRx – Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream
You can raise your skin hydration level by using CosRx Hyaluronic Acid Cream. The star ingredient of this cream is hyaluronic acid that has the ability to hold and draw water up to 1000 times. It means you can enjoy super moisturised skin for a longer period of time.
Sunscreen: Missha All Around Safe Block Waterproof Sun Milk
Missha’s sunscreen is a shield against the harsh rays of the sun; it protects, brightens, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles with its Double Layer UV Blocking System. The extracts of 4 flower varieties in this sunscreen helps your skin to boost its collagen production, resulting in smooth and younger looking skin.
Add these 10 best Korean products to your beauty routine for healthy and glowing skin in your 50s and beyond. Purchase them now at https://www.k-beauty.co.uk/
Skincare For Your 50s and Up
Welcome to K-Beauty: Korean Skincare for Your 50’s and Up
Here at Beautytap, our K-beauty philosophy is that skin should be treated gently, with love and care. That philosophy has never been more important than when addressing skin in our fifties and beyond. If you’re looking for ways to nurture and improve a complexion that is seeing the effects of five decades of life and laughter and sun damage and pollution, you’ve come to the right place. We can get you glowing no matter what!
No matter what your age, sunscreen remains the most critical tool in your skincare kit. Daily sun protection allows skin to repair past damage and regain lost firmness and even tone, so don’t skimp on your sunscreen. Our favorite sunscreens are lightweight, dry clear on all skin tones, and offer excellent UVA and UVB protection.
+ Normal skin: Try A’Pieu Pure Block Natural Sun Cream, a light, smooth cream that dries totally clear with a soft satin finish.
+ Oily skin: Try A’Pieu Pure Block Aqua Sun Gel, the even more lightweight and watery sister to the Natural Sun Cream.
+ Dry or sensitive skin: Try COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream, which provides intensive moisture and extra calming properties. Or, if you’d like a little more luxury, go for Blanc & Eclare Serein Essential Sun Cream, a richly nourishing sunscreen that leaves a veil of moisture over skin.
(Or shop our full selection of sunscreens here!)
With age comes thinner skin and a steep reduction in natural moisture, meaning that as we get older, the gentleness of our cleansing routines becomes ever more important. In our fifties and beyond, our skin can’t afford to lose any of its own precious lipids or natural moisturizing factors, so stay far away from rough, scrubby makeup remover wipes or harsh foaming cleansers. Instead, use cleansing oils to remove makeup and sunscreen, and very mild foaming cleansers to wash.
+ Cleansing oil: Try SanDaWha Natural Mild Cleansing Oil. This thick, rich cleansing oil uses a base of green tea seed and olive oil to soften and nourish skin while removing makeup.
+ Foaming cleanser: Try Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam EX, a gentle, hydrating foaming cleanser packed with the anti-aging goodness of traditional Korean herbal extracts.
(Or shop our full selection of cleansers here!)
Past our fifties, chemical exfoliants can be counterproductive due to the way that they thin the upper layers of the skin. Instead, collagen-boosting vitamin C and intensively nourishing botanical formulations and facial oils will firm skin from within and allow it to glow without compromising delicate complexions.
+ Vitamin C serum: Once a day, use Tia’m My Signature C Source, a vitamin C serum expertly formulated for maximum brightening, firming, and line-reducing results.
+ Firming serum: Try Eclado Wild Ginseng Ampoule, a richly moisturizing and ultra-potent anti-aging serum formulated with 98% wild ginseng extract.
+ Facial oil: Try Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Essential Oil to bring suppleness, vitality, and radiance back to dry, aging skin.
(Want a more targeted treatment? Shop our full selection of essences and serums here and our facial oil selection here!)
The dullness and loss of resilience caused by age-related moisture loss isn’t the end of the world. The best Korean moisturizers instantly revitalize skin by replenishing needed hydration, while their active ingredients and botanical extracts work deep within the skin to improve tone and texture over time.
+ Normal skin: Try Eclado Cell Memory Cream. This unusually textured facial moisturizer with cell-protective plant extracts rapidly firms the surface of skin for increased elasticity and youthful bounce.
+ Oily skin: Try Su:m37 Flawless Regenerating Lotion to repair skin and leave it supple and soft. Su:m37’s signature fermented herbs nourish while the soft texture glides onto skin and sinks in quickly.
+ Dry skin: Try Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX for deep, long-lasting moisturization and instant smoothness and glow.
In our fifties and beyond, our eyes are prone to crepiness, sagging, and wrinkling. Lifting, tightening, and moisturizing the eye area require extra effort—but they can be done! An intensively nourishing and reparative two-step eye care routine will get your eyes sparkling again in no time.
+ Eye serum: Try Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum. Infused with red pine extract and highly concentrated ginseng saponins, best applied with the included 24K gold-plated massager, this moisturizing eye serum visibly lifts and smooths the eye area for a far more youthful appearance.
+ Eye cream: Try Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream. This luxurious eye cream noticeably strengthens and smooths the skin around eyes for dramatically improved elasticity and resilience.
(Or shop the full selection of eye treatments here!)
Still with us? If you’ve gotten to this point, you’re well on your way to timelessly beautiful skin at any age. The best is yet to come, though. Continue discovering the best of K-beauty and learning which products and ingredients work for you over at our editorial section, where our team of editors write about skincare and makeup for all ages. Or start with our recommended reading below.
+ Intro to double cleansing
+ Sunscreen 101
+ An ode to binge masking
+ Key K-beauty ingredients
Here’s to a new age of beautiful skin!
Best Korean Skincare Routine for Mature Skin
Best Korean Skincare Routine for Mature Skin
No matter your age, taking care of your skin should never go out of fashion, especially when it comes to aging or mature skin.
Between ages 25-30, the metabolism of your cells will start to slow down, meaning your skin will lose elasticity and the ability to retain moisture. So basically, as soon as your acne starts to calm down from your teenage years, you’re going to have to start worrying about fine-lines and aging skin, right?
Well, not exactly. Mature skin doesn’t necessarily mean bad skin. It just means that you’ll have to go about your skin differently, targeting products with anti-aging properties and more moisture. As your skin changes, so should your skincare routine. And that’s okay. We’re here to help you find your next best mature skin finds to help maintain your natural glow for years to come.
And because we’re completely in awe of the glowing mature skin of our favorite Korean celebrities, we’ve chosen to show you our top K-beauty products for anti-aging.
So, without further adieu, here is our favorite Korean skincare routine for mature skin.
1. Oil Cleanser
Step 1: Remove Makeup and Sunscreen
The first step of any skincare routine should be cleansing. You want to clear off any makeup, sunscreen, and other oil-based products from your face. We suggest using a gentle oil or balm cleanser.
Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
The Face Shop Facial Cleanser
2. Foaming Cleanser
Step 2: Remove Everything Else
After you’re done rinsing your oil-based cleanser as part of the double cleansing method, make sure to wash your face with a water-based cleanser to remove dirt and sweat from your face. Again, the key is to avoid drying out your skin, so make sure to use a gentle cleanser.
Neogen Blueberry Real Fresh Cleansing Foam
Mizon Snail Repairing Foam Cleanser
Step 3: Remove Dead Skin Cells
Because your cell turnover rate slows down as you age, you need to make sure to exfoliate. Pick something gentle that leaves your skin soft and hydrated.
Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine
Skinfoood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off
Step 4: Prep Skin with Hydrating Toner
Please note that we said hydrating toner. Do not use a harsh toner with alcohol, which is typical in American toners.
You want to ensure that your skin soaks up all the hydration it can, so the toner will help balance the pH of your skin as well as maintaining your skin’s moisture barrier. Look for toners with anti-aging properties and antioxidants.
Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner
Etude House Moistfull Collagen Facial Toner
Step 5: Target Mature Skin Concerns on a Cellular Level
Here is where you can really start to experiment and look for what actually works for your skin. Choose an essence that targets your mature skin concerns like fine lines, lost of elasticity, or brightening.
Missha Time Revolution The First Intensive Moist Treatment Essence
Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Essence
Step 6: Target MORE with Ampoules, Serums, and Boosters
Now, here is where the “magic” happens. Treatments, such as ampoules, are essentially more concentrated essences. Like the essence step, this will totally depend on your skin preferences and needs. They should target issues such as dullness and fine lines for youthful-looking skin.
Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule
Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop Vitamin C Serum
Time Stop Collagen Ampoule
7. Face Mask
Step 7: Treat Yourself to Even More Moisture
This step isn’t needed every evening, people typically apply face masks between 2-7 times a week. Because face masks can target any concern, this is another one where you will want to experiment to find your perfect match. However, just make sure to stick with masks that are anti-aging and moisturizing.
Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack
Leaders Lifting Recovery Mask
Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Gold Eye Gel Patch
8. Eye Cream
Step 8: Remember Your Eyes
Your eyes can age you dramatically, so make sure to remember to care for them, too. The skin surrounding your eyes is delicate and wrinkles can easily form there. So, look for something hydrating and filled with anti-aging properties. Just make sure that whatever you choose does not irritate your eyes.
Benton Fermentation Eye Cream
Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
9. Cream Moisturizer
Step 9: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
This is your last step in the evening or your second-to-last step during the daytime. A moisturizer locks in your moisture barrier. For mature skin, we recommend sticking with creams for extra hydration.
Mizon Black All in One Snail Repair Cream
Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream
AmorePacific Time Response Skin Reserve Cream
Step 10: Protect Your Skin From the Sun
SPF is the most important step of your daily skincare routine, whether or not you have mature skin. It protects your skin from the UVA and UVB rays that are likely one of the causes of your wrinkles and age spots. So, when the sun is out, make sure to apply sunscreen. We cannot stress that enough.
MISSHA All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk
Neogen Dermalogy Day-Light Protection Sunscreen
As you can see, there are tons of products to help you maintain your best mature skin. You might have to do some experimenting, but that’s exactly why we love Korean and Asian skincare products. They give you the opportunity to customize your routine, from the ingredients you include to how many steps you choose to have.
That being said, the openness can also be a bit overwhelming at times. If you couldn’t find something you love, here are some ingredients to look out for when choosing skincare for mature and aging.
- Retinol (vitamin A): Increase cell turnover, decreases collagen breakdown
- Vitamin C: Antioxidant to reduce brown spots and age spots
- Vitamin E: Antioxidant for wrinkles and fine lines
Keep the Conversation Going
What’s your favorite K-beauty product for anti-aging? Tweet us @womendotcom or message us on Facebook!
The Secret to Korean Women’s Beauty
Traditionally, for Korean women, makeup was not simply about becoming more beautiful, but about treating one’s body properly and cultivating both inner and outer beauty. Presented here is a brief history of Korean women’s skincare and cosmetics. Learn the secret of their flawless skin and try a few of their tips this summer to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.
In the past, Korean women made their own skincare products including everything from scrubs, lotions, creams, and oils. Ground mung beans were made into soap by blending the powder with water and lotions were made from the juice of plants1. Just as today, vitamin E was valued for its moisturizing properties and women applied oils such as Safflower oil, which was abundant in vitamin E, to their skin.
During the Joseon dynasty, Confucianism had a significant influence on women’s beauty routines2. A clean and soft face was considered beautiful due to Confucianism’s emphasis on thrift and modesty as well as on inner beauty rather than outer beauty. Typically, women from middle class families wore lighter makeup, focusing on having a clear and healthy-looking face. Even for special events such as weddings and feasts, they did not stray far from their natural appearance. On the other hand, gisaeng (female entertainers of the royal court) and court ladies wore much showier makeup that set all the latest beauty trends.
Korean women considered eyebrows one of their most important features and used eyebrow ink to emphasize them. During the Koryo dynasty, particularly with gisaeng, it was popular to draw thin, distinctive eyebrows while applying powder generously to make their faces pale and white.
Jun Michael Park/Jun Michael Park Photography
Traditionally, Korean makeup was made by hand with natural ingredients. Since modern preservatives were not available, women were concerned about their makeup deteriorating. Thus, they only made cosmetics in small quantities and stored them in small containers. During the Three Kingdoms period, dishes and bottles for holding cosmetics and lotions were made of earthenware. During the Koryo dynasty, containers were made from celadon and during the Joseon dynasty, white and blue porcelain were used.
A wooden mirror box that contained makeup was also indispensable in the makeup routine, in addition to diverse tools such as brushes for mixing and applying the many colored powders, eyebrow ink, and rouge that women wore.
Try it at home
Korean women are known for their glowing, natural-looking skin. Try the following popular face masks to refresh your skin this summer.
Cucumbers are packed with vitamins and antioxidants and this mask is especially good for restoring moisture to sunburned skin after a day at the beach.
1 cucumber, flour (20 grams)
Wash the cucumber and finely grate it
Mix 60 grams of the grated cucumber with 20 grams of flour
Optional: Add ½ tablespoon of honey into the mixture
Spread the mixture across your entire face, avoiding the eyes
Leave it on your face for 15 minutes and rinse off thoroughly
This potato mask is a favorite for its nourishing and brightening effects. It is also good for cleansing the skin of excess oil, so those with oily or blemished skin will especially love it.
1 potato, flour (12 grams)
Wash the potato and finely grate it
Mix 60 grams of the grated potato with 12 grams of flour
Optional: Add ½ tablespoon of honey into the mixture
Spread the mixture across your entire face, avoiding the eyes
Leave it on your face for 15 minutes and rinse off thoroughly
Sheet masks are a must-have item for Korean women for a quick pick-me-up or as part of an established routine to address skin needs. These cloth masks, with holes for your eyes and mouth, are infused with ingredients ranging from aloe to pearl extract and are sealed in individual packaging for one-time use. Visitors to Korea can find them at beauty stores including innisfree, THE FACE SHOP, and Olive Young. High-end beauty brands and department stores typically also carry specialized sheet masks.
1. Coreana Cosmetics Museum
2. Amore Pacific Gallery of Art
Putting the best face forward: How South Korean men are shaping the beauty industry
SEOUL: Before heading to work every day, Shawn Jung spends about 30 minutes in front of the mirror putting on makeup.
Like many other Korean men, it is no longer enough just to use basic skincare products like toner and skin moisturizer.
“Average Korean men these days don’t just use skincare products, they also use base makeup and do other makeup like their eyebrows,” said Jung.
Applying makeup on the eyebrows is important, he said, as it helps define a person’s image, while lip balm or lipstick moistens the lips to make people look healthier.
Eyebrow and lip makeup are becoming increasingly common among men in South Korea. (Photo: Lim Yun Suk)
Jung works at South Korea’s largest cosmetic company Amorepacific as a makeup artist, but he admits that he became interested in men’s grooming even before this.
“Even in the military, which all men have to do, men are putting on sunblock and BB cream,” he said.
“I think I started around then too.”
Many young Koreans agree that makeup is essential if they want to give a good impression, especially when they are going for job interviews.
“When we go for interviews, it’s good to give a good impression. And looks matter in Korea,” said a Korean job-seeker in his 20s.
That might explain why South Korean men are now the world’s biggest spenders on men’s grooming products. Data shows they spend about US$45 per purchase.
According to a Global Data report in 2018, three quarters of South Korean men have a beauty treatment done at least once a week, like going to the salon or doing facial at home. Sales of men’s cosmetics hit about US$1 billion last year.
Analysts said the face of male beauty is changing in South Korea due to the popularity of “pretty boys” seen in K-pop bands and dramas, and that has also helped to promote Korean men’s cosmetic products not just in the country, but around the world.
According to a 2018 report, three quarters of South Korean men undertake beauty treatment at least once a week. (Photo: Lim Yun Suk)
“When you look at the idols and see how they look, they have become more feminine. It’s become more difficult to tell the difference between how men, who in the past were more masculine, and women look these days,” said Lee Jung Hee, professor of economics at Chung Ang University.
“The gap between looks of men and women have narrowed.”
Apart from wanting to look like idols, Lee said that as South Korea becomes an aging society, more and more men are now taking better care of their skin in a bid to look younger as they age.
“In the past, being healthy meant being strong but now it’s more than just being strong. The desire to stay young keeps growing. And so in the future, the desire to take care of one’s skin will continue to grow among people in their 40s, 50s and 60s.”
Analysts say the face of male beauty is changing in South Korea due to the popularity of the so-called “pretty boys’ seen in Korean K-pop bands and dramas. (Photo: Lim Yun Suk)
A survey conducted from July to October last year showed that sales of beauty products for men in their 40s were up 28 per cent from a year ago. For men in their 50s, the growth rate was 53 per cent. It is increasingly common to find men of various ages with some makeup on in the streets of Seoul.
With the promising growth potential, cosmetic companies in South Korea and other global brands are coming up with more varieties of men’s products to meet the growing demand. They believe the ones to target in the coming years are men in South Korea, which is currently the eighth largest cosmetics market in the world.
They are scenes of beautiful destruction—often to the tune of many hundreds of dollars. South Korean women are trashing makeup collections accumulated over months, or even years, and then posting the results online. Iridescent eye shadow is pulverized into glittery dust, peachy nail polish emptied out onto pieces of white paper, and lipstick crushed into crimson smears.
Dozens of these photographs have been posted on social media platforms, as part of a South Korean feminist movement nicknamed “escape the corset.” Young women are rebelling against the strict beauty standards that have become their country’s norm. They’re chucking out their cosmetics and skincare products, replacing complex gels and peels with unscented moisturizers and lip balms, and adopting short, wash-and-go haircuts. “One theme running through the movement is the idea of a beauty regimen as a form of labour,” reports Benjamin Haas, in the Guardian, “one that only women are expected to perform and for which they are in no way compensated.”
South Korea, the world’s eighth largest cosmetics market, accounts for nearly 3% of global sales. It’s the country responsible for BB and CC creams, skincare involving snail slime and donkey milk. Women are urged to pursue a dewy, “pore-less” look, achieved by rigorous skincare regimens and carefully applied make-up. Between 2012 and 2017, the market grew annually by over 7%. Now the tide may be turning, with women frustrated by the unpaid labor represented by having to make themselves up every day. And it’s not just a time cost: These ruined collections represent tremendous financial investment. Just one MAC lipstick retails for 30,000 won ($26)—about four times the hourly minimum wage.
Cha Ji-won, a Korean woman interviewed by the Guardian, reported that she was spending as much as 100,000 won ($88) each month on cosmetics. Not anymore: “There’s only so much mental energy a person has each day, and I used to spend so much of it worrying about being ‘pretty’.”
Another woman’s makeup collection once seemed like “meaningful consumption,” she writes. “Now, it’s just garbage.” Without it, she wonders, “how will I spend my money?”
This woman wore makeup daily from junior high, reapplying lipstick every hour. Now, she’s throwing it, and “the corset,” away:
“I liked pretty things. I wanted to be pretty. I hated my ugly face,” this woman writes. “I didn’t go to school on days when my make-up didn’t look good.” Now, she says, she realizes that she doesn’t have to be pretty. “I took off the mask that was ruining my life.”
“I was embarrassed to go outside if I didn’t have makeup on.”
Seeing the combination of all these lotions and potions, this woman writes, “I wonder how I was putting this on my face.”
The “escape the corset” movement didn’t come out of nowhere. Instead, it’s just one part of a feminist revolution that has swept the country in the wake of its #MeToo movement. In January, public prosecutor Seo Ji-hyeon accused a former high-profile politician of groping her at a funeral in 2010. In the months since, hundreds more women have come forward with their own stories of assault and harassment. A 22,000-strong Women’s March for Justice in Seoul in June became the largest feminist rally in the country’s history.
These shifting principles are filtering out into how women spend their time and their money, in a country in which a premium has long been placed on beauty. Plastic surgery is a common graduation present, while photos are a normal feature of job applications.
It’s still too early to say whether the movement has begun to affect cosmetics companies’ bottom line, let alone whether it will bring about substantive cultural change. But local media reports say some cosmetics retailers are already working out how to reposition themselves in this new, feminist market. Rather than playing on women’s insecurities, they’ll be targeting male customers more aggressively, instead.
Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleansing Oil Mamonde ulta.com $21.00
1. One cleanse is never, ever enough.
The leaders of the skincare world are thorough: “Korean skincare rituals begin with double cleansing: use an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, sunscreen and other oil-based impurities, then follow up with a cleansing foam or soap to clean out the pores,” says Elchami. If you’re in a rush and have approximately 60 seconds before Pilates starts without you, combine the two with an oil-in-micellar formula to dislodge stubborn mascara and erase every trace of makeup.
2. Yes, waters, emulsions, and refiners all serve their own purpose.
Each one has a specific consistency and serves a different purpose. A water, the most lightweight of the bunch, replenishes nutrition and hydration after cleansing, while a refiner addresses texture issues to refine pores, improve skin clarity, and smooth texture. Emulsions, the heaviest out of the three, feel closer to a milk than a cream. This hydration step balances oil and moisture to ensure your skin actually absorbs the skincare products that follow.
Vintage Single Extract Essence AMOREPACIFIC sephora.com $145.00
3. The order you apply your products is everything.
Layering is the key to maximum efficacy: if your skin is primed to absorb your products, they’ll work even better. And easy way to remember the steps? Go lightest to thickest in terms of texture. One step you might be skipping, according to Elchami, is balancing: “In this step, you should use a water followed by an emulsion to balance out the oil and moisture levels in the skin, which maximizes the skin’s potential to absorb nutrients. Then you can move on to your concentrated active treatments which come in the form of serums, essences, and ampoules. These are designed to address specific concerns.” To seal in all that moisture, apply your eye cream, face cream, and face oil last, which will create a barrier to lock in and protect the active products against environmental aggressors.
4. Supplements are the next big thing in skin health.
“One of things I notice becoming really popular in Korea is taking skincare vitamins or supplements,” says Elchami. She’s not surprised, though, as her training taught her that many skin ailments are derived from an unhealthy gut. “Beautiful skin truly starts from the inside out,” she says. If your diet is lacking in micronutrients, a skin supplement can help fill in the gaps.
Treatment Enzyme Peel Cleansing Powder AMOREPACIFIC sephora.com $60.00
5. Exfoliate with caution.
“Korean women are very strategic about exfoliation to ensure skin balance. They know that is important to remove dead skin, but they also know that they have to be gentle about it,” says Elchami. This means having more awareness about your skin on a day-to-day basis. Rather than following one set routine, Korean women choose and adjust their exfoliating products (like powders, masks, and retinols) based on their skin’s concerns and need on any given day, week, or month. Korean skincare has also developed innovation to include water activated enzyme exfoliators, which are popular because the enzymes remove the dead skin without damaging the healthy skin underneath.
6. Facial massage is the secret to a contoured face, and you can do it at home.
It’s not just for relaxation. “Massage has so many benefits, it’s one of the most important parts of skincare certification in Korea. They have such an advanced technique that can make you look much younger without fillers and Botox,” says Elchami. Aside from manipulating the appearance of your face, massage improves skin’s health by applying physical stimulation to the muscles, promoting circulation of blood and lymph and vessels, strengthening skin capillaries to promote active delivery of oxygen and nutrition to the cells. It’s also incredibly anti-aging, as it can promote tension and elasticity of connective tissues and prevent wrinkles.
“Apply gentle pressure from the chin upwards, tapping gently around the eyes, and always remember to massage opposite direction of the wrinkle lines,” says Elchami. While a DIY massage is great for daily maintenance, she highly recommends seeking a professional trained aesthetician for deeper contouring and detoxifying effects. Their prowess ensures the correct amount of pressure is applied during the treatment, so your skin isn’t overworked.
First Care Activating Serum – Inner Fullness sulwhasoo.com $84.00
7. Jade rollers are so last year.
Elchami says there’s been a shift in the most popular tools for clearer complexions and lymphatic drainage. “Contouring rollers have always been widely popular amongst Koreans, but I’ve noticed that LED face masks are all the craze now,” she says. The robotic-looking masks help improve skin tone, stimulate collagen production, and kill acne-causing bacteria by using red or blue light.
8. Skin health is tied to overall health.
More than just tips or tricks, Korean men and women view skincare in a more symbiotic way. According to Elchami, they approach it from a holistic health perspective, not just from an aesthetic place. “Being the largest organ, skin concerns are connected to internal health concerns. Skincare is an extension of a holistic, balanced lifestyle, and diet. Whereas Americans tend to view skincare as more aesthetic, Korean rituals are essential to give ourselves back all the energy we give out,” she says. An easy first step: slow down your routine and use it as a moment to recharge mentally.
Some of the biggest beauty trends in recent memory (BB creams, anyone?) have originated in Asia, which is way ahead of the West in the skincare game. “Korean women, on average, use 26-27 steps in their beauty regimen, versus American women who only use six to seven,” says Global Aesthetician and Skincare and Beauty Expert for Korean skincare brand Amorepacific, Dana Nicolette. What is it that these women know about beauty that I’m missing? I went in search for some of the best Asian beauty secrets to learn how to incorporate them into my current routine.
1. Brush your skin.
While Francine Gingras, VP Global PR for Elizabeth Arden, lived in Japan as a teen (she grew up in Canada), she learned the importance of brushing her face every day with a soft-bristled brush. Gingras, who continues the ritual even today, says it is responsible for keeping her skin toned all these years. It’s also said to help prepare your skin, so the serums and creams you put on actually sink in. It seems Americans have caught onto this trend; now almost every beauty buff owns a Clarisonic or a similar face-cleansing device.
2. Slap it on.
Gingras also learned a very specific way of applying moisturizer (today she opts for Prevage Anti-Aging Moisture Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($129, elizabetharden.com)) and makeup. She starts from the bottom of the chin and applies it going up, so her forehead is the last part of the face to be covered. And instead of rubbing product into her face, she slaps it on, another tip she learned from her time in Japan. Most surprising is that Elizabeth Arden herself had a machine with spoon-looking objects attached that gently slapped cream onto women’s skin, and that was 102 years ago!
Esther Dong, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Korean skincare brand Sulwhasoo, says that women in Korea also believe in slapping their faces to stimulate circulation and elevate the energy level of the skin.
“They do this seriously and with considerable consistency,” says Dong. “Don’t be surprised next time you travel to Korea and see Korean ladies padding their face with force in the washroom. To them, it is so important that it should not be missed, even when they are on the road.”
3. Make SPF a priority.
Another huge skin care consideration in Korea is sun protection.
“Have you ever seen pictures of an Asian lady with an umbrella under a clear sunny sky?” Dong asks. “Keeping away from the sun is skin care 101 in Asia.”
Whether you use a foundation with built-in sunscreen or you opt for a stand-alone product, like Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream ($70, sulwhasoo.com), make sure to protect your skin, no matter the weather.
4. Hydrate throughout the day.
“Asian women hydrate often throughout the day, and lightly mist facial sprays over the face to refresh their foundation post lunch,” says Nicolette.
Facial mists are starting to catch on in the US, so try Amorepacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System ($35, sephora.com). It was created with bamboo sap to keep skin hydrated for up to 8 hours.
5. Make sure to polish your skin.
Victoria Tsai founded skincare line Tatcha after discovering a 200-year-old manuscript that described the daily beauty regimen of a Japanese geisha. She based her products on traditional geisha beauty secrets. One example: Instead of cleansing, toning and moisturizing the skin, like many of us do, a geisha’s routine would include polishing, brightening and moisturizing steps. Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ($65, tatcha.com) exfoliates without harsh abrasives.
6. What’s good for your body is good for your skin.
“When you want your body to be healthy, you seek out unprocessed, nutritious and natural foods,” says Tsai. “The same goes for your skin.”
Green tea, ginseng and kimchi are all ingredients that are often infused in Korean skin care. Dr. Jart+ uses these key ingredients in their Detox 02 Cleansing Foam ($24, sephora.com), Renewalist Melting Cream ($38, sephora.com), and their Waterfuse line.
Tsai also points to a home remedy from Japan, in which some women save the cloudy water used when washing rice to wash their faces, giving their skin a youthful glow.
7. Opt for an oil, instead of a cleanser.
While “oil-free” products rule in the US, oil-based skincare is a popular category in many parts of Asia. “Cleansing oils work so well because oil dissolves oil — makeup, sunscreen and sebum literally melt away when you use a cleansing oil,” says Tsai. ” The trick is to use one without mineral oil so that it doesn’t break you out or leave residue that you have to use another cleanser to remove. Had I discovered these earlier in life, I think I would have saved myself a lot of breakouts and dry patches long ago.”
For a cleansing oil that doesn’t contain mineral oil, try Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil ($26, sephora.com).
8. Don’t underestimate a good facial.
“Korean women spend a large sum of their dispensable income on facials,” says Dong. “Beyond indulging in high-end beauty products that deliver great results, they also go to the spa every other week!”
The spa tradition in Japan goes back hundreds of years. “Geishas used to use a complex device called an alchemical still to capture the essence of botanicals,” says Tsai. “They would boil water underneath beneficial flowers or leaves, then capture the steam on a swatch of kimono silk. This silk was applied to the face for a nourishing mask, long before masks became known to the wider world.”
Do you incorporate any of these secrets into your daily routine?
10 Korean Skin Care Mistakes to Avoid
You don’t need us to tell you that the Korean skin care craze is major. You just need to take a look at any department store counter or drugstore aisle. Even Western beauty brands are being inspired by K-beauty and developing their own ranges based off of its principles.
If you’re curious about Korean beauty and have begun researching it, you’ll know that there’s a lot more to a traditional Korean skin care regimen than your usual routine — about 10 steps more. There are many products — like milk peels, essences and ampoules — that don’t fit into your typical cleanse, tone and moisturize routine.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the Korean skin care options or you’ve tried products but aren’t sure whether you’re really doing the routine right, we asked experts for tips on avoiding the most common mistakes and how to get the most out of your products.
Not Cleansing Thoroughly
Charlotte Cho, co-founder of popular Korean beauty site Soko Glam and editor-in-chief of The Klog, says that the biggest mistake people make is failing to realize how essential cleansing is. That doesn’t simply mean rubbing your face with a cleansing wipe and calling it a day. It usually means double cleansing. Cho explains, “With all the dirt and impurities in the air, it is so important to make sure your skin is being cleansed, not only from dirt in the air, but also the oil that skin produces throughout the day.”
“An oil-based cleanser, like the Enature Moringa Cleansing Balm ($23), is needed to take away all of that extra sebum, makeup and SPF that a water-based cleanser is not capable of removing since water and oil don’t mix. A water-based cleanser in foam or cream form, like the Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser ($19), will gently draw out sweat and dirt,” she says.
Misinterpreting K-beauty Terms
The more you start looking into K-beauty, the more new terms you will come across. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but don’t let that stop you. If you’re thinking about buying new products, it’s important that you get what those terms mean. Take one new term at a time and learn it. It will help you shop smarter.
Jessica Jeong, MISSHA‘s marketing and PR coordinator, points out that “brightening” and “whitening” often lead to some confusion because they’re not the same thing. “Products labeled ‘whitening’ only target hyperpigmentation and dulling skin tone,” she explains. Furthermore, “whitening” products aren’t necessarily about bleaching your skin. “I can’t speak for other brands, but MISSHA’s ‘whitening’ products do not include any potentially dangerous bleaching agents. Therefore, anyone can benefit from so-called ‘whitening’ products, no matter what their skin tone.”
Rubbing Instead of Tapping
Are you scooping up your creams, then rubbing them over your face? If so, you need to stop. Your complexion is sensitive and all that rubbing isn’t doing your face or your products any favors. Cho suggests tapping your products into the skin. Being gentle is key.
Not Following the Grain of Your Skin
There’s more to grains than steaks and wood. Jeong explains that following “the grain of your skin” is a popular application method for many products. What it simply means is that when you’re applying a product, you start from the innermost part of your face and work outward and upward. For example, you start at your nose and go out toward your temple. Then you work from your forehead to your temples. “This process is meant to give your skin a little boost in reducing lymphatic swelling and fighting the downward pull of gravity … Many of the women I have encountered during my life as a beauty enthusiast swear by it,” she says.
Too Much Too Soon
While you may be tempted to get right into the 10-step Korean beauty routine by completely switching things up, it’s actually not the best idea for your skin — or your wallet. Jeong suggests replacing products in your current regimen with K-beauty equivalents, then adding in other steps that seem relevant to you, such as an essence or ampoule.
Cho adds, “An important tip is to introduce one product at a time and slowly build a skin care regimen based on products that react and work well with your skin.” She suggests getting a starter kit like the Soko Glam Quick Starter Skincare Set ($56) and gradually incorporating each product.
Applying Products in the Wrong Order
You can have all of the right products, but they won’t reach their optimal potential if you’re using them in the wrong order. Cho explains that a good rule of thumb is to apply cosmetics from lightest to heaviest. That way you won’t have a heavier product preventing a lighter one from being absorbed. For example, you use your toner before your serum, followed by your moisturizer.
Focusing Only on Treatment
One of the biggest principles in the Korean beauty world is prevention. Instead of waiting for those pimples or fine lines to appear before you treat them, think about maintaining the health of your skin now. Cho says that being proactive is essential. That means using products like sunscreen before your skin is damaged.
Not Being Consistent
In life, being consistent is the key to doing things well and that applies to your skin care routine, too. That means washing your face on those nights when you can barely lift your arms. It also means giving your products enough time to work. If you’re constantly switching from one thing to another, you’re not giving products ample time to do their job.
Mixing the Wrong Ingredients
You’ve probably discovered that mixing perfume doesn’t always produce the best results and it’s the same with skin care. Cho cautions that you don’t want to mix vitamin C with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) because they can interact and cause irritation. Remember that when it comes to non-Korean beauty products, too.
Most places that are good for Instagram flat lays aren’t ideal for storing your skin care products. Cho explains that it’s best to store your products in cool areas where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight. That means no shower stalls or sunny vanities. Direct sunlight exposure causes products to fluctuate in temperature, which can reduce their potency. Cho cautions that this is especially true with products containing vitamin C, retinol or benzoyl peroxide.
She suggests storing skin care products inside a cabinet, drawer or even a lidded box. You can also keep products containing vitamin C in the fridge. Cho says that this helps keep the vitamins from breaking down or oxygenizing, which can potentially change the formula.