Today, we deep-dive into Korean beauty, the practice that celebrates radiant and flawless skin as an art form. The Korean Beauty or K-Beauty industry has gained global recognition for its innovative skincare routines, ingredients, and products that have revolutionised the way we approach skincare. The Gaggler team was curious to explore the unique ingredients, revolutionary formulations, and novel approach to skin care routines, K-Beauty advocates addressing various skin concerns such as oily skin, acne-prone skin, dry skin, and combination skin. So, let’s uncover the secrets behind the Korean skincare phenomenon!
What Is Korean Skincare?
Korean skincare is a unique and popular way of maintaining healthy and beautiful skin. There are several ways that Korean skin care sets itself apart from other skin care techniques:
Focus on hydration: Korean skincare prioritises hydration as the foundation for healthy skin. Using multiple layers of lightweight, hydrating formulas helps to nourish and plump the skin, creating a glowing, dewy complexion.
Use of innovative ingredients: Korean skincare features innovative ingredients like snail mucin, bee venom, and propolis that have been shown to provide a range of benefits such as boosting collagen production, brightening the complexion, and reducing inflammation. These ingredients are often sourced from natural resources and used in high concentrations.
Use of sheet masks: Sheet masks are a staple of Korean skincare and are often used as a quick and easy way to deliver active ingredients into the skin. Sheet masks come in various types from hydrating, brightening, and anti-aging to skin-specific concerns like acne or redness.
Emphasis on sun protection: Korean skincare products always include a sun protection factor (SPF) to protect the skin from harmful UV rays throughout the day. Sun exposure is known to cause premature aging, dark spots, and wrinkles.
Korean “Glass Skin” Effect
A Korean-inspired phenomenon, the Glass Skin achieves high levels of hydration and plumpness making the Korean skincare routine extremely popular.
Glass Skin refers to a term coined in Korean beauty that describes skin that is luminous, clear, and dewy, with a smooth and poreless finish that resembles the reflective and translucent qualities of glass. This coveted skin texture is achieved through a multi-step skincare routine that focuses on hydration, nourishment, and protection.
The Glass Skin routine typically involves layering products to boost skin hydration and nourishment continuously. The goal of the Glass Skin routine is to achieve skin that looks naturally healthy and radiant. It is not about applying layers of makeup to achieve a temporary glow or poreless look but using skincare to maintain a healthy, radiant complexion over the longterm and from the inside out.
Korean Ingredients of Magic
For Korean women, anti-aging, brightening and sun protection are the main concerns. The simple Korean skincare routine is based on formulas that are innovative, prevent hyperpigmentation, and exist in a multitude of formats such as powder, sprays, and sticks for easy reapplication. Korean beauty skincare products use Covanol pigments that work just like castor oil-based pigments used in traditional skincare formulations, except they are castor oil free. Covanol pigments are high-purity pigment dispersions with high pigment concentration and excellent stability which means your skincare products will stay fresh longer and the active ingredients will maintain their efficacy.
Covabead crystals are yet another ingredient used widely in Korean skincare products. These microspheres are recycled from the “cleanest” and “clearest” Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, contributing to sustainability. Multi-purpose balm sticks, organic beauty products, and medicinally effective herbal sprays which contain Covabead crystals provide high levels of sun protection, excellent texture, and are the ideal base for makeup applications.
Other interesting ingredients include Vegetable Charcoal, Ilex Guayusa Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinesis Leaf extract, and Cacao extract. These are all used in a wide range of Korean products like makeup, skincare, haircare, suncare, and personal care products.
The 9-Step Korean Skincare Routine
The essence of the Korean skincare routine lies in its meticulous step-by-step approach. Of course, the number of steps can be as many as 15, here we present the 9 steps of the Korean Skincare Routine we feel you should incorporate to improve your skin gently and achieve lasting results.
Step 1 – Double Cleansing: The foundation of the Korean skincare routine lies in thorough cleansing. Double cleansing involves first using an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum, followed by a water-based cleanser to eliminate impurities. This two-step process ensures a clean canvas for the subsequent skincare steps.
Step 2 – Exfoliation: Regular exfoliation helps to slough off dead skin cells, unclog pores, and promote cell turnover. Koreans often incorporate both physical and chemical exfoliators into their routine. Physical exfoliation involves gentle scrubs or brushes, while chemical exfoliation utilizes ingredients like AHAs or BHAs to dissolve dead skin cells.
Step 3 – Toner: Unlike Western toners, Korean toners are not astringent but rather focus on hydration and balancing the skin’s pH levels. They prepare the skin to better absorb subsequent skincare products, leaving it refreshed and supple.
Step 4 – Essence: Essences are lightweight, watery formulas packed with beneficial ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and antioxidants. They deliver hydration deep into the skin, improve skin texture, and enhance overall radiance.
Step 5 – Serum/Ampoule: Serums and ampoules are concentrated treatments targeting specific skin concerns, such as brightening, anti-aging, or acne control. These potent formulations penetrate deeply into the skin, delivering active ingredients that address individual needs.
Step 6 – Sheet Masks: Sheet masks are a staple of the Korean skincare routine. These single-use masks are soaked in serums infused with various nutrients. They provide intense hydration, nourishment, and can address specific concerns like soothing, brightening, or firming.
Step 7: Eye Cream: The delicate skin around the eyes requires special attention. Korean eye creams are formulated to combat puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines. Gently patting the eye cream in a circular motion ensures absorption without tugging on the sensitive skin.
Step 8: Moisturiser: Hydration is crucial for healthy, glowing skin. Korean moisturisers come in various textures, catering to different skin types and climates. They lock in moisture, strengthen the skin’s barrier, and provide a smooth base for makeup application.
Step 9: Sunscreen: Protection against harmful UV rays is a non-negotiable step in any skincare routine. Koreans prioritize sun protection, using broad-spectrum sunscreens with high SPF ratings. Regular sunscreen application helps prevent premature aging, dark spots, and skin damage.
The Korean Skincare Routine for Oily Skin
Korean skincare for oily skin includes ingredients that are sourced from South Korea’s Ulleng Island. They also include Ginseng flowers to prevent skin irritation and provide soothing effects for sensitive and oily skin. If you struggle with oily skin, fear not, for K-Beauty has got you covered!
Here are the steps to follow:
- Start with an oil-based cleanser to effectively remove excess sebum and impurities. 2. Follow this with a water-based cleanser to ensure a thorough cleanse.
- Incorporate a toner to balance the skin’s pH levels and reduce oiliness.
- Consider using lightweight moisturisers and gel-based products to hydrate your skin without overwhelming it.
- Don’t forget to shield your skin from harmful UV rays with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
The Korean Skincare Routine for Acne-Prone Skin
Acne can be a daunting challenge, but the Korean skincare routine can aid in your battle for clear skin. Exfoliation also plays a crucial role in unclogging pores and preventing breakouts, so make sure to include a mild exfoliant in your routine. Opt for products with soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like Tea Tree Oil or Centella Asiatica to calm irritated skin.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Begin with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt and bacteria without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
- Moisturise with oil-free or non-comedogenic products to keep your skin hydrated without exacerbating acne.
- Never skip sunscreen to protect your skin from potential post-acne hyperpigmentation.
The Korean Skincare Routine for Dry Skin
For those with dry skin, the Korean skincare routine offers an oasis of moisture! Ingredients such as anti-inflammatory Grapeseed oil and Antioxidant-rich vitamin E, as well as, Aloe Vera, Portulaca, Papaya, and Honey extract (a natural humectant) – all offer a variety of benefits including antimicrobial properties, antioxidants and glowing skin. Not to be left by the wayside, Korean skincare products incorporate key ingredients to support dry skin such as Niacinamide which creates a visibly brighter appearance and targets dark spots; Hyaluronic Acid which draws moisture to the skin; and a blend of peptides that boost collagen production. Lastly, superstar substance Snail Mucin – a slime by-product – can improve hydration, stimulate collagen production, and aid skin regeneration.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Start with a gentle, hydrating cleanser to cleanse your skin without stripping away its natural oils.
- Follow with a hydrating toner to replenish moisture levels.
- Apply hydrating serums or ampoules that contain hyaluronic acid or ceramides to lock in moisture.
- Nourish with rich moisturisers, preferably with emollient or occlusive properties.
- Use moisturising sunscreen during the day and a sleep mask at night to wake up to supple skin.
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Dry Skin Be Gone Checklist
GYPSY ROSE HOLISTIC
Abundance Oil Mist
Sweet Almond Oil
Rose Essential Oil
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Black Stone Diffuser
Candy Crush Tea
Midnight Rendez Vous Tea
Oh My Glow Tea
Pretty Berry Tea
Exotic Glam Tea
The Korean Skincare Routine for Combination Skin
Combination skin requires a delicate balance between addressing oily and dry areas.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Begin with a gentle cleanser to remove excess oil without causing dryness.
- Follow with a balancing toner to restore your skin for the subsequent steps.
- Apply targeted serums or ampoules to treat specific skin concerns.
- Moisturise with lightweight formulas that hydrate without clogging pores or leaving dry patches
- Protect skin with broad-spectrum sunscreen.
The Korean skincare routine is a holistic approach to skincare that emphasizes consistent self-care, hydration, and and inside-out approach. By following these steps, you can achieve a healthier, more radiant complexion. However, it’s essential to remember that skincare is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Adapt the routine to suit your skin type, concerns, and preferences. Ultimately, the Korean skincare routine encourages you to embrace self-love while unlocking the secrets to beautiful, glowing skin.
The Gaggler team is passionate about finding and sharing great products with our readers. We take pride in researching and testing products to find the best of the best, and we only recommend things that we love and think you will, too.