Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of the 8/10 step Korean Skincare Routine. The western world has become infatuated with Korean beauty and skincare in the last five to ten years, and for good reason, too.
South Korea is equally renowned for their beauty ideals as they are the extent they'll go to in order to reach them. Plastic and cosmetic surgeries are nowhere near as taboo as they are in western society, and even high school graduates are being gifted cosmetic procedures as congratulation/compensation presents from their parents. But ask anyone in South Korea and they'll tell you that beauty begins with good skincare. Surgery can't fix every skin problem, and often cosmetic surgery patients will have a post-operative skincare routine to help the healing process. Clear and radiant skin is the basic foundation upon which Korean beauty standards are built.
So it's no wonder that we in the west have become obsessed with it. It was only a matter of time, honestly.
But for many of us who are used to being told to simply wash our face with a cleanser twice a day...and maybe exfoliate it once or twice a week, a twice daily 8 to 10 step routine can sound daunting, time consuming, and expensive - especially if you're completely new to the entire concept of Korean beauty and skincare.
But never fear! Keoji is here! We're going to show you how you can incorporate the Korean skincare routine into your daily life, without spending hours and thousands of dollars on your skin.
It may sound over the top and extensive, but a lot of Korean women use 8-10 different products on their face each morning. Like we said: clear and radiant skin - it's a must have. Although it sounds like a tonne of work, it obviously pays off. Koreans are known to have some of the best skin in the world.
But, we must admit, that a lot of us either don't have the time or energy for 10 different skin products twice a day.
That's why we've analysed and assessed the routine, to cut it down to its core 5 steps. It's still more than you might be used to, but it will definitely pay off! Some of the steps may really only be necessary once a day or twice a week, as well, so you can shave some time and money off there!
Here's what we've come up with:
This step is one that pretty much everyone does daily anyways. The only difference when it comes to the Korean skincare routine is that you should be paying attention to what kind of cleanser you're using.
Korean skincare has a massive focus on ingredients and what they bring to your skin. If you have oily skin, you'll want something that caters towards oil control and clearing blackheads/whiteheads. If you have dry skin, you'll want to use something that has a focus on nourishment and hydration. There's a cleanser out there for everything you can possibly need. The Low pH cleanser we've shown above is great for all skin types, as it balances your skin's pH level, meaning it won't leave your skin dried out, whilst also clearing away oils and impurities. It's also mild enough to be used on sensitive skin types, too!
At night, however, is when things start to stray from what we're used to. Double cleansing is a Korean method wherein you use an oil based cleanser before your normal water based cleanser to really scrub your pores of any oil-based impurities, pollution, or makeup that's sunk in during the day. It picks up all the gunk and nasties that a normal water based cleanser would likely miss. You absolutely must cleanse again after using an oil based cleanser, though, as you don't want the oil clogging your pores! The Heimish All Clean Balm above is a cult favourite of K-Beauty lovers worldwide, and is a great, affordable starting point for those wishing to try out double cleansing.
The western skincare industry has starting joining in on the toner hype in the last five years or so, so you may actually already do this as part of your daily skincare routine. If not, though, don't worry! We're here to explain it to you!
Toners can do a multitude of things; hydrate, protect, cleanse, exfoliate, nourish - the list goes on. It all depends on the toner you buy. Son and Park's Beauty Water (shown above) is one of the best toners on the market. It does all of the things mentioned before, smells lovely and floral, and comes in a ginormous bottle. It's great value for money, and will last you months, if not well over a year.
Toners generally act as a second skin or a barrier to all the external nasties like makeup and pollution. To apply a toner, you can either soak a cotton pad with the liquid and swipe it onto your face, or you can pour some into your hands and pat it on, it's really up to whatever is easiest for you.
We'll let you in on a little bit of a skincare secret...ampoules, essences, and serums....there's very little difference when it comes to the three. Now don't get me wrong, it can be really beneficial to use a serum and an essence that target two different things. But in order to save time and money, why not get one product that targets everything?
The biggest difference when it comes to ampoules, essences, and serums is the concentration of the active ingredients in each. Essences generally have the lowest concentration of active ingredients, and ampoules have the highest. Sometimes, though, high concentrations of things can hurt sensitive or irritated skin, so you might need a lower concentration, and vice versa.
For those with sensitive skin types or people who prefer eco-friendly and minimalistic products, the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner is a great value option. It contains only 10 active ingredients, all of which are eco-friendly and mild enough to not cause redness or irritation. It hydrates, protects, and heals all in one.
If you're looking for something with a little more oomph to it, the Skin & Lab Red Serum has a higher level of concentration. It's still nourishing, hydrating, and replenishing, but it also includes the benefit of anti-ageing effects thanks to its Colour Therapy with Phyto red complex, which helps protect the skin from oxidation, keeping your skin looking youthful and healthy.
Moisturising is an absolute must, even if you have oily or acne prone skin! Moisturising is a massive element of the Korean skincare routine, as it helps regulate oil production, hydrates, nourishes, and helps prevents wrinkles and other premature signs of ageing. It's all just about using the right moisturiser for you and your skin type.
Oil free moisturises, like COSRX's Ultra-Moisturising Lotion above, are awesome for those of us with oily, combination, or acne-prone skin. Often, when your skin is dehydrated, it produces even more oils to compensate, and this is when blackheads, whiteheads, and even cysts can arise! So don't be scared to use a moisturiser on your oily/acne prone skin! It can save you from a world of oily, acne-filled nightmares!
But don't worry, they're also good for those of you with drier skin! Oil-free just means it won't clog your pores with nastiness, so you can enjoy all the benefits of a deeply hydrating moisturiser without worrying about breakouts or oily residue!
Ask any South Korean woman what her number one tip is for beautiful skin and we guarantee you they'll say sun protection. The western beauty industry is only just starting to catch on to sun creams and incorporating SPF into their products, but Koreans have been doing it for years now. Not only are UV rays harmful to your biology, they aren't all that great for your skin, either.
But getting your daily dose of Vitamin D is absolutely essential, and you can't just stay inside for the rest of your life! So wearing sunscreen, or sun cream as countries that aren't Australia might call it, helps provide that extra layer of sun protection to block out those deadly cancer-causing, wrinkle-making, sunburn-creating UV Rays.
Typical sunscreens are great for your body, but they can leave a weird residue/film on the skin, so they're not ideal for use on the face. Instead, we recommend something like the COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream shown above. It's made specifically for use on the face, but it can also be applied on other parts of the body! It contains aloe vera, which is great at soothing redness and irritation caused by sun damage, and it has SPF50+, meaning it provides awesome protection against UV Rays!
Of course, on top of using these products, a healthy diet and good sleep hygiene are not only beneficial, but ultimately necessary in keeping your skin radiant and clear! So love your skin daily, feed your body the good stuff, and be sure to rest up - those are the keys to maintaining beautiful and vibrant skin!