Korean Beauty 101: A Beginners GuidePosted on 09/08/2019
Korean skincare and beauty – K beauty for short – is gaining so much popularity in the Western beauty world.
Known for their flawless skin, Korean women will humbly tell you that it’s in the genes however that’s only one part of the equation. The truth is, Koreans are serious about their skincare routine.
It’s easy to spot K beauty nowadays due to their popularity. They’re characterised by affordable prices, whimsical packaging, natural ingredients and innovative formulas. But did you know the popularity of K beauty in the Western market is not a new concept? You’ll be surprised to hear that many innovations in the beauty world are Korean by origin. These include the famous cushion foundation, BB cremes, serums and these beautiful sheet masks, just to name a few.
So if Koreans have been taking amazing care of their skin for decades and we’re just starting out, can we ever achieve that beautiful Korean ‘glass skin’? The answer: yes, you can achieve beautiful skin and it’s never too late to start.
What’s the main difference between Korean and Western beauty?
While Western skincare generally focuses on anti-aging, Korean Beauty takes a holistic approach that involves ‘listening’ to the needs of your skin.
K beauty is all about thin, light layers of active ingredients to achieve a hydrated glow to the skin. It’s a little bit like wearing several thin layers in the winter to stay warm vs. wearing one big woollen jumper which can be overheating or suffocating.
It’s all about layering hydration while also preventing damage from environmental factors, pollution, and harmful UV rays which is so important, especially in our Australian climate.
Double-cleansing is an important ritual in K beauty performed just before bed. Think of our skin like a canvas. You need a clean canvas to allow active ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin and work effectively.
The first cleanse is usually oil-based and removes all the makeup, dirt, and pollutants that have accumulated on your skin during the day. The second cleanse is usually water-based and involves a good old-fashioned lathering cleanser and water to help get deeper into the pores.
K beauty also stresses the importance of toners. It’s the first liquid step of hydration. Toners absorb into the skin faster than the other steps, hydrating the skin and setting it up to better absorb following skincare steps. Toners in Western beauty are ‘a nice to have’ and often skipped in a skincare routine.
Unlike Western beauty, K beauty brands allow for flexibility to mix and match between lines, instead of purchasing a whole product line under the same brand which can be expensive.
Korean brands apply the same consistent skin philosophy. Trying different brands and products for each skincare step is encouraged. Having more choice allows you to easily adapt your routine depending on the condition and needs of your skin.
How does a Korean skincare routine differ to Western?
Western beauty involves cleansing and applying moisturiser. K beauty is famous for the 10 step routine however, it’s not a one size fits all. For any newbie to K beauty, 10-steps may seem a little overwhelming and complicated but its a misconception. The Korean philosophy is all about creating a routine specifically for your skin.
You start with the core steps of double cleansing, followed by a hydrating toner, a serum, and a moisturiser to lock-in all the hydration. From there, you can incorporate other products such as masks and additional serums based on what your skin needs.
You don’t have to take K beauty literally and do all 10 steps, because it’s not a one-size-fits-all model. Korean skincare focuses on the idea that each skincare concern that you have should be treated with specific products tailored to that concern.
What are the key ingredients in K beauty?
Natural ingredients are a long-standing heritage of K beauty. Historically, women in the olden day used rice and red beans to treat their skin. Beans were perfect for treating skin conditions such as acne and rice water helped with brightening the complexion. Missha’s First Treatment Essence is made with 90% fermented yeast extract from Himalayan purple barley to plump skin, refine texture, and reduce pigmentation. It has a luxurious feel without the expensive price tag of SK-II, an almost identical product made famous by Cate Blanchett.
In addition to natural ingredients, K beauty uses best-in-class scientific ingredients such as ceramides which are lipids that help form the skin’s barrier and help skin retain moisture and hyaluronic acid which is great alleviating dry skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and speeding up wound healing.
Are you ready to try K beauty?
We hope this has inspired you to try K beauty as part of your daily ritual. If you’re a beginner, we recommend starting with the basics (double-cleansing, toning, serum and moisturising) and building up as you get into a rhythm.
Beautiful and flawless-looking skin is now more achievable than ever. With a big emphasis on natural ingredients to hydrate and protect the skin, you’ll feel confident knowing there’s nothing but goodness entering your skin.
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