Originally published on Hussh.
South Korea is a leader in global beauty, but its valuable beauty secrets take a while to travel to Australia.
BB cream was founded over 20 years ago in South Korea. Wouldn’t have guessed, right? Maybe we need to pay more attention to the tiny East Asian country, whose beauty market is absolutely booming.
If you ever travel to Seoul, one of the first things you’ll notice is how sensationally flawless peoples’ skin is. That goes for both guys and girls.
In Korean culture, caring for skin is embedded from a young age. It’s has equivalent importance to brushing teeth, or us Aussies learning how to swim.
Cushion compacts have just started to pop up in the Australian market as well, but have been roaming around South Korea for about six years.
So let’s stop waiting for beauty brands to tell us what is trending, and test things out for ourselves.
Here is the full extension of the Korean skincare routine, and some products to give you a little inspiration. Be prepared, it’s nine steps long:
1) Remove all your makeup
Your skincare routine is virtually pointless if you don’t take your makeup off– you’ll just keep spreading makeup around your face. Apply some remover to a cotton pad or use a makeup wipe.
Try the Body Shop’s new Tea Tree Clearing Wipes for $9.95.
Many Korean beauty experts recommend using an oil-based cleanser– yes we hear the gasps and the “why would you apply more oil to your skin?!” Oil cleansers break down makeup that may still be lurking around.
You can find a balm-to-oil cleanser from Biotherm, now available on Strawberry Net for $42 (was $49).
3) Cleanse again
Sounds obsessive, we know. But you can never have your skin too clean. The next step involves a water-based cleanser to take away any impurities from your oil cleanser.
The Drops Of Light Purifying Foam Wash is available at The Body Shop for $24.95.
Time to scrape off that dead skin and get deep into those pores. Exfoliating should not be a regular part of your skincare routine, but maybe once or twice a week.
Dermalogica’s Clear Start Scrub is a winner for $23.50.
To close those pores up again, you have to use toner, which is considered the ‘guard’ of skincare products. Toner also prepares your skin for the upcoming steps.
Elizabeth Arden’s Oil Control Clarifying Toner refreshes the complexion without making your skin too oily.
5) Applying essence. Um sorry, what?
Essence is the missing step in the West’s skincare realm. It basically continues the toning process, while accelerating skin repair and cell turnover. For some people, essence can clog up the skin, so if this step isn’t working for you, subtract it.
Start off gently with Tony Moly’s (a Korean skincare brand) Floria Nutra Energy Essence for $33.
7) Sheet mask
You’ll see these starting to pop up around Australian beauty stores, they’ve already crept into Mecca and Sephora has had them for a few years now, too. Sheet masks are probably the most ridiculously fun part of the entire routine, but are a great way of forcing yourself to take a time out and treat yourself.
Sheet masks come in all sorts of ‘flavours’– cucumber, aloe vera, pomegranate, grape seed, and snail mucin for instance. Yes, we said snail mucin, the golden ingredient in the Korean skincare scene. Mucin is basically the trail snails produce and is said to have incredible cell restoration properties, is high in collagen and helps reduce hyperpigmentation. Who would have thought?
But because we are easing into things, let’s lay off the snail sheet masks. Try out Cloud 9’s Nutrient Booster Skin-Up Plumping Hydrogel Mask, $19 for a pack of six!
8) Eye cream
This is a given, and in Korean culture it’s never too early to start applying eye cream.
Here’s a double–trouble Ultra Firming Eye and Neck Cream by Skinstitut for $45.
9) Moisturise or apply night cream
Think of your skin as a sponge that constantly needs attention. It needs to be hydrated, otherwise it’ll dry up and ruin. Moisturiser also seals in all the other steps in the routine, and elevates their chances of working wonders on your skin.
If you’re looking for a new one, try The Body Shop’s Pomegranate Firming Night Cream, which claimed a Glossacars award this year. This cream also boosts your skin’s water retention abilities.
Note that these products may not work in harmony for your skin. Part of the fun is testing out products and seeing which ones compliment your skin type.
Enjoy exploring the broad and exciting world of Korean beauty!
Lead image credit: Strawberry Net Instagram