How many times have our parents told us that, “there really aren’t any shortcuts in life?” If your folks are anything like ours then you probably hear this saying once a week. The truth in this statement never really hit us as hard as it did when Korean Skincare took over the beauty world (yes, harsh realities are most effectively realized when one is battling acne). The 10-step Korean skincare regime may seem rigorous but there is a reason why women from across the globe swear by it. Korean beauty products have carved a niche for themselves and are now spotted at retail giants like Sephora.
Infact, Korean skincare has caused quite a bit of a stir within the beauty geek circle in Pakistan, with entire e-commerce platforms and social media accounts dedicated to the products. We reached out to our favourite K-Beauty instagram shop The Skin MASKuerade (TSM) to break down the famous 10 step Korean skincare routine and recommend some of their best selling products.
So let’s dive headlong into the magical world of K-beauty.
Koreans are obsessed with double cleansing. It is the foundation for a healthy and radiant skin. Double cleansing means you use an oil-based cleanser followed by a water based cleanser (also known as a facewash in Pakistan).
Step 1: Oil Based Cleanser
Oil based cleansers are applied on dry face and with the help of gentle circular motions you melt off all the oil, dirt, and acne/blackhead-causing impurities deep inside your pores.
SKM recommends: Banila Co. Clean It Zero Classic is a sorbet that transforms from a solid balm to a silky oil and effortlessly dissolves stubborn makeup and dirt.
Step 2: Water Based Cleanser
The oil based cleansers must be immediately followed by a water based cleanser since their oily residue needs to be properly cleansed to get that perfectly cleansed skin.
SKM recommends: S:UM 37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick is made with fermented damask rose extract and rose petals to give you a glowing clean skin. Moreover, it is packaged conveniently as twist-as-you-go tube.
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is a super gentle cleanser that’s great for your morning wash. This low pH formula gel cleanser doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils and contains purifying botanical ingredients and mild acids to gently cleanse your skin to its most supple and clear texture.
Step 3: Exfoliation
Koreans use two types of exfoliators; a mechanical exfoliator like a sugar scrub, or a chemical exfoliator with ingredients like lactic or salicylic acid which dissolves the dead skin cells and helps to unveil healthy new skin.
SKM recommends: SkinFood Black Sugar Strawberry Mask Wash Off is a nourishing wash-off mask with black sugar and real strawberry seeds that promotes hydration and brightening while sloughing of dead skin cells.
AHA Peel So Good Peeling Gel contains AHA ingredient, seaweed extracts and plant cellulose to removes dead skin cells and smoothen the skin.
Step 4: Toner
Toner is an in-between step and people will often tell you to skip in order to simplify the skincare routine. But don’t listen to them. Toners help remove any leftover residue from the cleanser and prepare the skin to absorb the moisturizers that follow.
TSM recommends: Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner is packed with aloe and salicylic acid, and snail mucin. Aloe soothes and moisturizes while salicylic acid exfoliates, reduces sebum, and is anti-inflammatory which is great for acneic skin. Snail Mucin supports natural cell regeneration and replenishes moisture to increase firmness. It is suitable for all skin types.
Step 5: Essence
Essence is the heart of Korean skincare routine. It helps hydrate and increases the cell turnover, hence, hellowww brighter skin!
TSM recommends: Missha Time Revolution Essence Intensive Moist is highly concentrated essential essence. It contains Purple Barley and Fermented Gemmule Yeast Extract which moisturizes the skin deep down giving rise to a clear bright skin.
Step 6: Serums, Ampoules And Booster
These are interchangeable terms. Serums are usually thicker in consistency and are often for a wide range of skincare requirements like whitening, brightening, anti-spot treatment or skin firming.
TSM recommends: Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop is is high in Vitamin C and is gentle enough for sensitive skin! Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps reverse the ageing process and also brightens and evens out the skin tone.
Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum is an antioxidant serum is formulated with freshly squeezed jeju green tea and green tea seeds to create a clear and dewy skin from deep within.
Step 7: Sheet Mask
It is advised to use a sheet mask twice a week. But you can do it more often if your face is very dry. Here is a pictorial tutorial on how to go about sheet masking.
TSM recommends: SkinFood Hydro Fitting Snail Mask Sheet uses snail mucin to encourage cell regeneration, smoother irritated skin, and replenish moisture levels.
Dewytree Tea Tree Blemish Treatment Mask is amazing sheet mask for controlling acne and acne blemishes.
Here is a pictorial tutorial on how to go about sheet masking.
Step 8: Eye Cream
Then skin around your eyes is the barometer of your age. Regularly using an intensive eye cream can help keep the dark circles, puffiness, and crow’s feet at bay.
TSM recommends: Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream is an all-in-one eye cream formulated with 80% snail mucin. This eye cream hydrates, helps diminish the look of fine lines, and promotes the brightening of dark circles. It is appropriate for all skin types.
Step 9: Moisturise
Hydration is the most important part of your night time skincare routine. It is likely the thickest formula that you will apply to the face and which is why it goes on last. Once a week, substitute it with a sleeping mask in place of your night cream.
TSM recommends: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is a lightweight, gel-textured overnight mask enriched with Beta-glucan to deeply hydrate fatigued and dry skin. It is loaded with Snow Water to restore clarity and vitality to skin. After cleansing and toning at night, smooth it evenly on face, leave on overnight, and rinse well the next morning.
Innisfree Orchid Enriched can solve multiple skincare problems at once. It is a powerful anti-aging cream that brightens the skin and shrinks enlarged pores. Orchid Elixir extract offers excellent antioxidant effect.
Step 10: Sunscreen
SPF is the most integral part of your skincare morning routine.
TSM recommends: Neogen Daylight Protection Sunscreen SPF50 PA+++ offers broad spectrum protection for sensitive skin types.