Korean beauty products have hit the scene in a big way over the past few years. Maybe you’ve seen the face mask sheets that everyone is raving about or the absolutely adorable Tony Moly product line that just happens to have the best packaging I’ve ever seen.
If you’ve been following along over the past year, you’ll know that skincare is pretty much my jam. Maybe it’s because I’m staring down the barrel of a major life milestone age-wise, or the fact that I’ve come to embrace my
oily dewy skin. Eitherway, beautiful, clear skin is key to looking youthful and healthy and I’m all about that.
So, during my downtime over the holidays, I downloaded Manrepeller’s Oh Boy podcasts. While driving home from work, I listened to the interview with the founder of Peach & Lily’s Alicia Yoon, and I had to pull over to take note of all of the great skincare tips and Korean beauty products she was speaking of. Something struck me about the interview too. I could tell the interviewer, Jay Buim, was smitten with her. He was all giggly and little flirty, so I made a mental note to go home and Google Image search Alicia. Now I know what caused the giggles:
Once I got home, I got to work. I’ve been reading about Korean beauty products forever now, and got my hands on some at the local T&T Supermarket to try. Through my research, I discovered some really interesting things that all of us should know. Here goes:
- Skincare has been part of the Korean lifestyle for a long time now…oh, since 700 BC. Interest in skin care has been documented in the earliest Korean writings and the ancient Korean text, the Dongui Bogam, has an entire section devoted to skin concerns.
- Koreans (women and men included) view skincare as something to savour and enjoy, not something to rush through or to be considered a chore. This latter way of thinking is generally absent from their beauty culture.
- Most major beauty brands have been using Korean skincare technology for a really long time now. Almost all of the major beauty brands work with Korean chemists to devise the latest and greatest in skincare and beauty.
- Koreans have been using oil cleansers FOREVER. For some reason, North Americans are afraid of oil. Maybe it’s the years of marketing that touted oils as the cause of acne breakouts and oily skin being unattractive, but oils are key to hydrating and protecting skin.
- Most Korean women don’t systematically work on getting rid of fine lines and breakouts topically – they work on their skin from the inside out. Common sense, right? They are more likely to work from the inside and stay out of the sun if their skin is less than perfect.
- They “double cleanse”. Instead of furiously washing their skin with harsh cleansers, they concentrate on removing makeup and impurities gently with an oil-based cleanser first, then follow up with a gentle foam-based cleanser to tackle the rest. The key is being gentle! Most would never, ever reach for a Clarisonic. That thing scares me. THERE. I SAID IT.
- Lightly tap on or gently apply your products in an upward circular motion. Please – no smearing moisturizer into your palms and mashing into your face at record speed. Light tapping and the upwards circular motion increases circulation and promotes a brighter complexion.
- Korean women generally have more steps (up to ten) in their skincare routine than others, but they don’t necessarily use all each day. They do ensure to work all of them in every other day or weekly. These steps include: oil cleanser, foam cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essence (a product that contains an active ingredient which boosts cell turnover rate), serum (more concentrated than essence), sheet mask, eye cream, sleep mask (product to intensely increase hydration and moisturization during sleep), and SPF.
- The steps they rarely skip? Cleansing, exfoliation, moisturization and SPF.
- Instead of spackling on makeup to achieve a totally finished, cakey look devoid of depth, they use the “blurring” technique. This technique includes applying foundation to blur imperfections, not hide them completely, which still gives a polished, soft and airbrushed look.
Well, I’m off to buy some essences, more sheet masks and some oil cleanser!
Got any Korean skincare tips you care to share? Please do so in the comments, or tweet them to me!
*Header image courtesy of www.zoereport.com