Korean skincare style, also called by some people “layering”, is really difficult to get at first. There are a lot of products and it seems like they all are the same, plus you don’t even know in which order you apply them. I’ve been reading an article about Korean beauty in a January issue of Grazia in France, which helped me understood it all, besides all I’ve been learning all these years!
Let’s not get lost and feign knowledge when a sales adviser presents us a specific product in a shops. This is how it works.
1 – Makeup remover
FIRST THINGS FIRST. There are a lot of different formulas depending on your skin type, but since it’s nothing new, let’s just skip this part.
In France, my go-to is micellar water, but in Korea, it was expensive as hell. I used Green tea cleansing water by Innisfree, which was quite good for sensitive skin, but not so much for my eyes. Still, I think the pumping system is messy.
2 – Toner
Toner is used to end up removing your makeup and dead skin.
I ended up getting a witch hazel toner by Mizon by chance, and really appreciated it. The product felt cleansing, refreshing, hydrating, but also tightening around my nose pores.
3 – Cleanser
Classic, too, you should wash you face from all those bad bacterias afterwards with some gel or foam product, or a good old hypoallergenic soap. You can add the use of some special brushes or sponges to get rid of dead skin cells.
In 2014, I was obsessed with the Every Month collection of cleansers but Etude House, but unfortunately it has been discontinued. Now, there are 2 new Every Month, not funny anymore, but the products are still okay.
4 – Lotion
Lotions help the skin absorb other products and starts slowly the hydration and care process. In other words, using a lotion is boosting the effects of the products you use afterwards.
I don’t usually use lotion, but since I am a faithful Innisfree consumer (as you could tell on this page), I have been using some samples, and even though I liked the Jeju mineral water lotion better, it seems some people are allergic to this product. Olive real lotion also is really agreable, and perfect if you are having some dry skin issues.
5 – Essence
Essence is filled with some active ingredients that can help cure a specific skin trouble. It is optional, but can be very useful to treat something additional from what the other steps of your routine already take care of.
I’ve been recommended It’s Skin “Power 10” products several times; even if I have not tested it myself, it seems like they are really effective.
6 – Serum
We already have some serum in our western beauty products. But in Korea, due to the amount of products use on a daily basis, they are slighty less filled with molecules. Serum, like essence, contains fine molecules that will improve your skin complexion and is absorbed really quickly by the skin. Serum is also used to lock the water in.
I again use a product from Innisfree Green Tea series. It applies greatly on the skin with a very refreshing sensation. You just need 1 or 2 pumps of product by use, and after several months of use, I still have half the bottle of serum.
7 – Ampoule
Ampoule basically is a product you use as a temporary treatment when your skin is not so great. But some people also use it regularly (not everyday, or else your skin will get used to it). Well, if you really adopt the Korean Beauty routine, I think you’d better use it occasionally only, because that’s still a lot of products to use on your skin. But everyone has its own taste.
Here, I can’t advise you anything, I have never used ampoule products myself, or maybe once with a sample, but it left me no memory at all!
8 – Eyes cream
Eyes are a particular area and so its surrounding skin is. You have to adopt a special kind of cream on it since your other face creams are not adapted to it.
9 – Emulsion
That’s the hydrating part of the routine, but still lightweighted. It can also be called Milky Lotion. People with sebum issues tend to use it as a replacement for cream.
I’ve been testing the Fresh Apple Sparkling Pore Emulsion several times in samples. It feels tightening and smells like apple candy.
10 – Cream
Cream is the most commonly used beauty product around the world so no need for a presentation! Besides from being the nourishing formula we know, it’s also kind of a barrier to protect our skin.
Nowadays, I am using Nature Republic Super Aqua Watery Cream. I like the texture, which is kind of a sorbet texture, and the fragrance is amazing.There are 3 kinds of them, depending on your skin, and I took the one for combination skin type.
There is also this thing called mist that you can use throughout the day to rehydrate your skin or fix your makeup. A great use is to spray it over your face as soon as you finished your shower to prevent your skin from drying because of calcareous water.
Therefore, the Korean skincare process is rather heavy. I wouldn’t recommend to use all the products night and day, but to test out some products and combinations and see what really suits you.