Korean Skincare is a bit of a viral trend at the moment. Myer has a special section dedicated to it in their Sydney, CBD store and there is even a shop under Myer called BONIIK where you can buy lots of Korean skincare brands. Korean products are super hydrating and mostly fragrance free and people like me (with sensitive skin) love them. The sheet masks that come out of Korea are quite amazing and lots of western brands are trying to piggy back on the trend and release new and interesting things. The korean skincare routine is 10 steps long! But do you need all those product?
Read on for my opinion on the subject...
I have always looked after my skin quite well so I am not sure that I am really needing a transformation, however I have always been impressed with the Korean products I have tried. I decided to do a bit of research into the Korean 10 step routine and then discuss some of the Korean products that I can't live without.
The 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine
So what is with the 10 steps? Unlike our western multi-target approach – you know, the moisturiser that promises to heal acne scarring, unclog your pores and wipe 10 years off your face overnight – Korean skincare focuses on one issue per step. Hmmmm still a skeptic...
Step 1: Makeup Remover and Oil Cleanser. To truly remove ALL makeup, reach for an oil cleanser. Massage it over your dry face and neck to break up makeup and then add a splash of lukewarm water to emulsify the cleanser. Massage again and then rinse everything off! I have not actually removed makeup with an oil cleanser before I was given Cocobetty Coconut Oil Wipes, an Australian invention, that are biodegradable, alcohol Free, fragrance Free (except for the natural awesome coconut smell), palm & mineral oil free, nourishing and 100% organic. I used them and loved them, so I now see why an oil in the first step is good.
Step 2: Water Based Cleanser. That's right, you double cleanse for a reason. Wash your face with a water-based cleanser to whisk away any remaining residue and impurities from your oil cleanse. I double cleanse and my second step is a water based cleanser. The Korean water based cleanser I have tried is LAGOM Cellup Gel to Water Cleanser. It has a sort of jelly texture however it ends up foaming and has pretty pure ingredients.
Step 3: Exfoliator. Notice I say exfoliate before tone? If you have sensitive skin you should keep the exfoliating to a minimum, but keep in mind that exfoliating at least twice a week is crucial for clear, polished skin. Sloughing off dead skin cells makes sure the rest of your skin care products sink in and do what they are supposed to do. I prefer chemical exfoliators and I have a whole blog post dedicated to the subject here: Chemical Exfoliants: AHA vs BHA.
Step 4. Toner. Toners dampen your skin and balance its pH levels. You can either pat toner onto your face from a bit in your hands or dispense it onto a cotton pad and gently swipe around your face working outwards. I don't use toner because I don't need to I feel. I have never used one before. Head over here for a break down on Do You Really Need a Toner? I actually use a more toner/serum by Dr Jart+ called Ceremidin which I will discuss a bit later. It's actually an essence.
Step 5. Essence. This is the main product of the Korean skin care routine! An essence is a kind of toner/serum hybrid made for hydrating and aiding skin repair and cell turnover. As I mentioned above I use Dr Jart+ called Ceremidin Liquid.
Step 6. Treatments. The products that fit in this step are pretty diverse. Boosters, serums, and ampoules are concentrated products that treat the issues you’re most concerned about. They target dull skin, large pores, pigmentation, wrinkles and acne.
Step 7. Sheet Masks. I had never tried a Korean sheet mask so I gave VLOGGING a go. Check out my embarrassing video here. Slap a sheet mask on and relax with a magazine for 15-20 minutes (always follow the instructions - many are written in english too now). You can use one at least once or twice a week or every single day if you’d like! Instagram is full of accounts with people showing their sheet mask empties. It is amazing how many some people use - the packaging adds a lot to our waste problem I feel...
Step 8. Eye Cream. Eye Cream is pretty self explanatory. The skin around your eyes is thin and delicate, and an eye cream provides the area with hydration and protection.
Step 9. Moisturiser. I am obsessed with finding the perfect hydrator. Korean moisturisers come in many forms, from an emulsion, lotion, gel, or cream. They seal in moisture to plump up skin and smooth away any fine lines. If your skin is extra dry extra hydrating sheet masks or sleeping packs are the extra help you need.
Step 10. Sun protection. This is the step that I am most interested in because I have the most trouble finding a great sunscreen to put on my face. Everything I have tried so far has either made me oil and given me pimples or I have gotten a rash. Come summer in Australia I want to try something Korean. I have high hopes of finding something I will love. And I think this will be a future blog post topic. I wear a hat and carry an umbrella in Sydney in summer. The sun is really intense. Of course I am not an outdoors person; but when I do go hiking or swimming I wear sunscreen everywhere. I just wash it off pretty quickly after I leave the location.
A normal routine in a western country involves a cleanser, exfoliator, hydrating serum, moisturiser and sunscreen. We're not really big on toners. You can see this if you search on google trends in Australia for example. So with all of this in mind and the fact that I still didn't want a complicated routine; I set about trying some Korean products.
Korean Products that I can't Live Without
I discussed my love for Cicapair™ and how it influenced me and had me starting concealing my skin correctly with colour correcting concealers in The Low Down on Colour Correcting Concealers. You may remember me mentioning how Dr Jart+ Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream is a skin cream to calm sensitive, irritated, inflamed skin It’s formulated with resurrection plant, houttuynia cordata, and yarrow to enhance the skin’s viability and help support strong skin. It’s infused with minerals, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to help improve skin moisture levels and restore fatigued skin for a healthy appearance. I really love it because it helps calm my red cheeks before I put makeup on.
I also really love Dr Jart+ Ceremidin Liquid and Cream. The Liquid skin saver plumps and seals dull, dry skin for all day moisture. The serum acts as a liquid cushion that strengthens and protects skin barrier from chronic water loss with the power of ceramides. It transforms rough and dehydrated skin into a hydrated, healthy glow. The cream is a powerful hydrating face cream for sensitive skin that is formulated with Ceramide 3 to provide time release moisture. It contains licorice root extract for soothing & its anti-redness properties and my skin really appears softer, smoother & plumper with a healthy glow.
In terms of Korean makeup I have tried Laneige B.B Cushion Pore Control SPF 50+ and I actually really love it. The B.B Cushion Pore Control SPF 50+ didn't sit in my lines and it was great around the eye area too. My skin felt amazing after I took this off and although it was harder to get off than the Lancôme Miracle Cushion compact; I wasn't worried because the coverage was more. Read about it in my Foundation Review Post.
Plus I have also tried the Laneige Two-Toned Lip Bar in Maxi Red. The colour combination is supposed to give you an attractive looking gradient/ombre lip effect however I found it a little tricky to apply. I think it does require you to blend with either a brush or your finger. The Laneige Two-Toned Lip Bar in Maxi Red is diagonally cut with a soft texture to give a natural gradation.
I feel like maybe one of the lighter shades may have worked better.