Comprehensive Guide To The Best Korean Skincare
When it comes to Korean culture – I can see why everyone is obsessed. Korean dramas, K-pop, and Korean food are just too good to pass up. But there’s one other aspect of Korean culture that has been the talk of everyone’s town recently: Korean skincare. Or, as some like to call it, K-Beauty. More and more, skin-thustiasts are seeing the influence of the best Korean skincare in the beauty aisles of their favorite stores. (Um, sheet masks, anyone?) However, you might be wondering – how did Korean skincare become mainstream outside of Korea?
Let’s break down everything you need to know about K-Beauty and the best Korean skincare on the market.
What is Korean Skincare?
If you see the term, “K-Beauty” floating around, the K doesn’t stand for Kardashian. It stands for Korean! As you might’ve guessed, the terms “K-Beauty” and “Korean skincare” refer to both the Korean influence on our own skincare rituals and the best Korean skincare products that are imported straight from Korea.
What is the Hype Around Korean Skincare?
Korean skincare is known for using a lot of cutting-edge ingredients in their skincare products. In fact, new ingredients are often used in either Japanese or Korean skincare first before coming to the West. Korean skincare has become more mainstream and, frankly, has blown up into a global phenomenon. Since Korean culture places a lot of emphasis on healthy skin, beauty-lovers from all over the world took notice and started to follow in their footsteps, as K-Beauty is backed by years and years of scientific studies.
Korean Skincare Trends
You might’ve heard the term “glass skin” or “cream skin” if you’re familiar with Korean skincare. But there are a handful of other terms out there that refer back to popular Korean skincare trends. Let’s go through ‘em:
- Mirror Skin: This trend describes the look of super glowy skin. When you’re all moisturized, our skin often has a dewy and almost reflective glow to it (1). In Korean skincare products, they often include niacinamide as an ingredient since it’s so brightening. Overall, niacinamide can help address dullness, hyperpigmentation, and dark spots while soothing, hydrating, and plumping your skin.
- Double Seruming: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, double seruming became a trend as more and more people started using two different serums to target various skin concerns at the same time. Since our skin mood can change on a daily basis, many skin-thusiasts double serum to check in with their skin and make sure they’re giving it what it needs at the moment. Plus, Koreans also double-cleanse, but we’ll get to that later.
- Gel-Textured Skincare: When it comes to Korean skincare, consumers are advised to avoid thick creams as heavy textures can overload the skin and potentially cause breakouts. Now, the next big thing in Korean skincare is gel-textured products that are made for all skin types. Gel-textured skincare is especially encouraged for those of us with an oily skin mood or acne-prone skin.
Breaking Down Korean Skincare Rituals
When Korean skincare popped up on everyone’s radar, skin-thusiasts outside of Korea were especially shocked to hear about one aspect of K-Beauty. What is it, you ask? It’s the 10-step Korean skincare ritual. Yeah – you read that right. 10 steps!
In terms of K-Beauty, Koreans developed the 10-step ritual to focus on clarifying, toning, and packing on layers of hydration to achieve that “glass skin” look we mentioned earlier. However, it’s not all about having the best Korean skincare products in your cabinet as it is about using those products in the correct order. Without further ado, let’s go through the 10 steps:
- Makeup Remover and Oil-Cleanser: If there’s one thing we all can agree on – never ever go to sleep without taking your makeup off and cleansing.
- Water-Based Cleanser: While an oil cleanser will draw out oil-based impurities in your skin such as excess sebum, leftover SPF, and pollutants, following up with a water-based cleanser will cleanse your skin of sweat and dirt (2).
- Exfoliator: This step is very important if we want to shed old, dead skin cells. But remember: use a gentle, non-abrasive exfoliator. Your skin will thank you.
- Toner: Toning will help remove any left-over residue while prepping your skin for hydration. Some toners even use the hydrating power of succulents in their formulas!
- Essence: Never heard of essence before? They’re watery formulas that are basically a lighter version of serum.
- Treatments: This can refer to anything such as acne treatments or anything with concentrated active ingredients that will benefit your skin mood and what you’re trying to target.
- Sheet Masks: While it might be excessive to use a sheet mask every day, sheet masks are great to use on a weekly basis to help infuse your skin with even more moisture.
- Eye Cream: The skin around our eyes is super thin, so it’s important we pay attention to keeping it protected. An eye cream can also help reduce puffiness, smooth out fine lines or wrinkles, or even lighten up dark under-eye circles.
- Moisturizer: We should always be moisturizing our skin, even when it’s not in a dry mood. Layering hydration is a huge part of K-Beauty, and most Korean skincare lovers will advise you to properly layer your hydration from the thinnest to the thickest consistency.
- Sun Protection: We can’t stress this enough – PLEASE protect your skin from sun exposure! Your entire skincare ritual will pretty much be null and void if you don’t. (P.S. This step is for morning rituals only.)
If you’re looking for new products to try out, maybe now you’ll consider giving some of the best Korean skincare a try! Like we mentioned earlier, Korean beauty experts are always in the know before anyone else, so you’re bound to benefit from the amazing ingredients in their products before anyone else finds out about them. Plus, as K-Beauty becomes more and more popular, there are several brands that are embracing cruelty-free and sustainable ingredients and practices to offer more options to their consumers.
Written by Selena Ponton