Korean skincare, otherwise known as K-Beauty, has been a tremendous hit in both the Eastern and Western beauty world for years now. These unique products are inspired by nature and designed to work long term. The goal is to achieve glowing and “glass-like” skin. K-Beauty brands often include innovative ingredients like snail mucin and bee venom. Beauty experts recommended that you follow a “10 step approach” which means multilayering your products to create a special skincare regimen that is customized to benefit your specific skin type. It’s hard not to love all things K-Beauty (not to mention, the prices don’t burn a hole in your pocket!). Here are 10 of my favorite Korean skincare products listed in the order of how I apply them.
Step 1: Double cleanse
K-Beauty experts recommend that you double-cleanse by starting with an oil cleanser and then following up with a water cleanser so you can be sure you’ve removed all impurities. The, “Then I Met You” cleansing balm is a combo of both! It’s meant to draw out any oil-based pollutants like sunscreen, sebum, and makeup, while leaving no oily residue. It also removes dirt and sweat. I (and many others) think this product is the best on the market since it melts off everything that was on my face, even waterproof mascara. I’ll double-cleanse with the balm and I love how it feels so smooth and how it emulsifies deep into my skin. The ingredients like seaberry oil, persimmon extract, olive oil, and vitamin E help sooth my skin. It’s also free of harsh chemicals and artificial coloring (the natural seaberry oil produces the yellow color).
PS: The container comes with the cutest spatula with the words “glow deeper” so you can easily apply it.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Skinfood’s Black Sugar Exfoliator Mask is an iconic K-Beauty product that excludes harmful chemicals. The Black Sugar ingredient is rich in vitamins and minerals, like calcium, iron, riboflavin, and niacin, so you can get the best version of your skin. The granules also eliminate blackheads, restore skin nutrients, and add moisture to your skin. I use this mask to scrub away dead skin cells before I apply the rest of my products (you can use it on your body too!). I choose this one over other exfoliators because it doesn’t strip my skin of moisture or leave me feeling dry. For $10, it’s also a bang for my buck!
Step 3: Hydrating toner
Etude House’s Moistfull Collagen Toner is an affordable yet effective product designed with super collagen and Baobab water. Both enrichers are superior for moisturizing and balancing pH in your skin. It was constructed for all skin types, so everyone can achieve a natural glow. After I exfoliate, I’ll apply the toner to a cotton pad and press it onto my face and neck. I’ve noticed my skin is more hydrated, brighter and appears softer since I’ve added this to my beauty arsenal.
Step 4: Essence
Essences are perfect for using before serum and moisturizer. The reason for this is that they help the rest of your products absorb more effectively by driving moisture back into your skin. The Primera Miracle Seed Essence is one of the best that I’ve found with benefits like a smoother texture, improved facial tone, increased hydration, and protection from environmental stressors. This is another product created for all skin types, with a replenishing formula that includes niacinamide, lotus seeds, and sodium hyaluronate. This essence is classified as clean beauty with zero harsh chemical ingredients. Customers rave about it since it also helps with acne and creates a long-term glow.
Step 5: Serums and oils
Peach and Lily’s Glass Skin Refining Serum literally transforms your skin to look “poreless, translucent, and luminous,” hence the name “Glass Skin.” This is truly clean beauty and features ingredients like peach extract, hyaluronic acid, peptide amino acids, and Asian mountain yam extract. These natural elements blend together to help create a smooth facial texture, target wrinkles, reduce redness, and fix an uneven skin tone. My favorite thing about this serum is that it gives me a camera-ready and radiant finish. I usually wear it alone, since it’s done wonders for my skin long-term, but it also works as a primer to wear under my foundation and concealer.
Step 6: Sheet mask
Personally, I am not a big fan of sheet masks since they rarely fit right and can be abrasive on my skin. However, Mamonde’s Rose Flower Sheet Mask is a game-changer (for even sensitive skin-types) and actually fits on my face. I leave it on for 15-20 minutes and after I remove it I massage the remaining essence into my skin since it acts as a serum and helps to nourish and hydrate. The key ingredients like eucalyptus pulp, rose extract, and hyaluronic acid are very beneficial for your overall complexion.
Step 7: PM- Face mask
While sheet masks aren’t for everyone, there are plenty of other options. This unique Nourishing Rice Overnight Mask by COSRX is an overnight wash-off spa mask. The purpose is to soften, brighten, and soothe your skin so you wake up in the morning looking like you just left the spa. It has intensive hydrating and revitalizing benefits. This is all because of the wonderful ingredients, like the 68% rice extract and 2% niacinamide, that are meant to deeply moisturize all skin types. I’m a huge fan of this product because it doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily or greasy. I love how I can put it on before bed and how it works wonders while I’m sleeping.
Step 8: Eye cream
A standout eye cream should tighten your skin, brighten your under-eye area, and hydrate, and Elensilia’s CPP Collagen Intensive Eye Cream does just that. It consists of 80% hydrolyzed French collagen extract, which helps to firm the delicate skin around your eyes while preventing fine lines and wrinkles. It also has other natural ingredients like SYN-COLL to boost collagen production, Haloxyl to minimize under-eye puffiness and dark circles, and gold which acts as an anti-inflammatory. I’ve noticed that since I’ve started using it my eyes look brighter and my dark circles have been reduced (even when I get little sleep).
Step 9: Moisturize
Innisfree is one of my favorite skincare brands. Their products never disappoint and they’re the main reason that I’ve become hooked on K-Beauty. Their Orchid Youth-Enriched Cream is another one of my holy grail skincare secrets. It’s made with peptide amino acids, Jeju orchid (a Korean antioxidant), and natural Jeju hyaluronic acid to trigger anti-aging benefits. The cream gives me a youthful glow while hydrating, firming, toning, and smoothing (my face literally feels like a babies). I also love how this brand’s packaging is recyclable!
Step 10: AM- Sunscreen
The last step, arguably the most important, is facial sunscreen. While there are so many on the market, Missha’s Soft Finish Sun Milk is my go-to. It’s SPF 50 for long-lasting protection, and also includes elements to help fight against aging. The sun milk includes a double UV blocking system for further protection and it’s water and sweat proof. It contains GLYCOFILM 1.5P and helichrysum flower water which aids in hydration. I apply this every morning and love how there’s no pilling, no overpowering smell, and it’s not greasy. It also doesn’t cause breakouts like many other sunscreens do, and if you choose to wear makeup, it blends seamlessly.
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