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8 Unusual But Effective Skincare Tips From Korea
Every country in the world has its own preferred products and routines when it comes to skincare. Korea is no different. While some aspects may seem familiar, others may make you pause. Many of these tips, however, have been used effectively by a lot of people for many years.
1. The Ten-Step Korean Skincare Routine
In the West, the traditional skincare regimen has just a few stages - typically cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. In Korea, however, the most popular skincare routine comes with ten distinct phases. They are (and should be done in this order): oil cleanser, foam cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essence, serum/ampoule/treatment, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizer and sunscreen. This may seem like a lot, but each stage has a specific purpose to help improve your skin. You do not need to complete every stage every day, but incorporating just part of it into your routine may help your skin look and feel better.
2. Prevention rather than cure
Korean skincare focuses on prevention rather than cure, treating the skin gently but consistently to maintain its natural health. This means avoiding too many chemical products that can have a harsh impact and instead focusing on cleansing, hydration and protection. It works with your skin using the minimal processes for maximum results, which often leads to better skin health in the long term.
3. Double cleansing
The first two steps of the ten-step routine are both cleansers, which may seem strange. They are different types of cleansers, however, with different impacts. The first cleanser is oil-based, like this Perfect 10 Oil Cleanser. It can be used to help remove cosmetics, sunscreen and other oily, water-resistant products. Gently massage it into dry skin both first thing in the morning and at the end of the day. Afterward, you can rinse it with some lukewarm water.
The second round of cleansing is water-based and may even involve foam. This allows you to remove any remaining impurities, including dirt and sweat, that will not respond to oil-based cleansers. Again, it involves morning and evening application, this time on damp skin, and rinsing with lukewarm water. Double cleansing improves the effectiveness of your cleanse.
Another Korean technique that has gained international attention is the seven skin method. This is separate from the ten-step routine and involves applying one toner seven separate times. This is meant to optimize its hydrating effect. Another alternate mode of toner application is the toner wash method, where the toner is diluted with water for a gentler, more cleansing experience that can be especially good for those with sensitive skin.
Essences are like a lighter form of serum to be applied before you reach the treatment stage. They are easily absorbed by the skin and can be quite watery. Essences combine a variety of ingredients that can improve your complexion and reduce the signs of aging. One of their most important functions is as hydrators. You can then follow the essence with a powerful serum or ampoule with even more ingredients to target specific skin problems.
6. Sheet masks
Sheet masks are another distinctive part of the Korean skincare routine. These only need to be applied two or three times a week, but they provide a full experience. Once you have cleaned your skin, you can apply the mask, which will remain in place for as long as 20 minutes. This allows you to relax and meditate as your skin absorbs all the moisture and nutrients it can supply, leaving you refreshed and replenished.
Korean moisturizers can come in a variety of forms including gels, creams, emulsions and lotions. They are added towards the end of the routine as they tend to be heavier than the cleansers, toners and essences that are applied first. One particularly popular form of moisturizer is the sleeping mask that can be worn overnight to seal in moisture, making your skin bright and smooth. Korean skincare is notorious for its masks.
Sunscreen (at least SPF 50) is one of the most important things you can use to protect your skin, but it can sometimes be neglected in discussions of cleansers and moisturizers and serums. Not so in Korea. Protection from the sun is considered an essential part of your daily routine and for good reason. Not only is it one of the most effective products for anti-aging, but it also dramatically decreases your risk of skin cancer. Apply it after all other products to avoid dilution and reapply whenever necessary, especially after swimming or other types of exercise.