Monday, May 16, 2016

10 Step Korean Beauty Routine & My Experience

You have probably noticed up to now, that I have mentioned Korean beauty routine steps numerous times on this blog. Therefore, the time has come to clarify all 10 (and sometimes even more) steps in Korean beauty routine, as well as the impact that they made on my own beauty routine, during the last two months that I have been following them. Have they improved my routine? Read on for all the details! :)

1. Eye make-up removal / make-up removal

Although you will find some sources mentioning two separate steps, often we can not strictly separate eye make-up removal from cleansing make-up with oil. Oil make-up removers became very popular recently, but you can also remove make-up with a gentle cream cleanser or a micellar solution. This is the first step in the Korean beauty routine, as well as in the beauty routine of most women in the world. You can't have a clean and healthy skin without a thorough make-up removal.

L'Occitane Oil Make-Up Remover

2. Facial cleansing

Sometimes, after make-up removal, we feel that our face could be cleaner: maybe there are traces of oil make-up cleanser, maybe we just need to purify our pores and our face to feel squeaky clean. My ritual consists of gently massaging my face with a foaming cleanser while showering. It relaxes me and invigorates my face and senses. Other than foam, a mild cleansing gel or micellar solution are also excellent choices.

Uriage cleansers

3. Exfoliation

Exfoliation of the face and neck is an optional step in the Korean routine and you will decide on this step depending on the type and needs of your skin. Exfoliation is not recommended for every day, unlike the rest of the steps. If you have normal, dehydrated skin, chemical exfoliation once a week will probably work for you. If you use AHA acid solution like me, I recommend this step after toning (step no. 5). If you are using mechanical exfoliators, then follow the steps as listed here.

Paula's Choice Weekly Resurfacing Treatment

4. Toning

A long time ago, toners were intended for removing the last traces of make-up (see step 2), but these days toners are filled with valuable face-caring ingredients. They prepare the face for better absorption of precious cosmetic products from the following steps and they keep facial pH balance in order.

Nikel Rose Tonic

5. Ampoule

For starters, there is a thin line between ampoules, essences and serums. All three products can be combined and these three products are my favorite steps in the Korean beauty routine. The results that European and American women achieve with serums, Asian women usually achieve with a combination of essences and ampoules. Briefly explained, the ampoule is super concentrated skin care product that is used depending on the needs of the skin and is usually not used on a daily basis. It can also be applied under a sheet mask for the instant skin regeneration, increasing the mask benefits.

The SAEM Ampoules

6. Essence / Serum

It is difficult to strictly divide an essence from a serum, because the textures of essences became richer, those of serums lighter, but both products these days have enough beneficial ingredients. For example, Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Serum  is sold in Korea under the name Brown Bottle Essence. In short, essence and serum are two branches growing on the same tree. In theory, serum should have more valuable ingredients than the essence. But, if you combine essence with serum, the essence should always be applied before serum.

Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100 Essence (review here)

7. Sheet mask

Western women have luckily incorporated sheet masks into their beauty routines. Sheet masks are a great idea for almost all skin conditions and problems, whether you're dealing with dehydration, lack of glow or hyperpigmentation. Sheet masks are actually masks made out of paper or rice paper, soaked with precious ingredients in liquid and / or gel-like form.

My selection of Korean sheet masks

8. Eye cream

We are all certainly aware that eye cream is a must, but Korean routine recommends patting it gently underneath the under-eye bags, so that the ingredients are absorbed better, without tugging and pulling sensitive skin around the eyes.

Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream (review here)

9. SPF

SPF is a must, mainly because sun rays are the main reason for skin ageing. Pay attention to women who excessively sunbathed and smoked: their skin is, almost without exception, wrinkled and they look much older than their real age On the other hand, the women of the Far East are hiding from the sun and wear SPF every day of the year.

RoC Soleil-Protect Anti-Wrinkle Smoothing Fluid SPF50+

10. Night cream or mask

Night cream and overnight leave-in facial mask hybrids are extremely popular in Korea. The main goal is for skin to stay plump and hydrated. SKin regenerates overnight and precious ingredients soak in while we sleep.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque, my current favorite

My Experience

During the last two months, I have been following the Korean 10-step beauty routine as much as possible. Every night I have been removing my eye make-up with double-phase cleanser, then I double-cleansed my face, which was followed by an alcohol-free toner. Once a week I exfoliated with a 10% AHA solution. Every morning before my SPF moisturizer I have been using my Mizon Hyaluronic Acid Essence. Every night and on the weekends, I have been gently tapping in my serum while I used sheet masks twice a week, when my face needed additional hydration and was feeling dull. The Essence was also used beneath the sheet masks to improve mask's effects. I have also used my eye cream twice a day. The only thing I haven't been using is an ampoule, as I didn't have any, but I sometimes combined the essence and the serum for a better effect. In short, I am extremely happy with the results! My face is plump, hydrated and more even, and the special care that I dedicated to my face is very visible. There are, of course, days when I skip a step or two, especially when I'm too tired or in a hurry, but this Korean routine has not complicated my beauty routine at all. It is a doable routine and you might ask me if all these 10 steps are necessary for all? As always, the truth is out there. What I do feel a need to emphasize is that your skin will cherish a regular and improved beauty routine. The most important thing is to listen to your skin - what it needs and what will flatter her, whether it means using an essence, serum, sheet mask or a combination of all mentioned. You might notice that as the years pass by, your skin needs more care and more products to glow. Adapt the routine to your own needs and habits. What do you think of this 10-step routine and do you follow any of these steps?

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