A huge trend in the beauty world, the ‘K’ in K-Beauty stands for Korean where its women are notoriously obsessed with achieving a flawless, glassy skin finish that looks incredible, even without makeup. To achieve a well hydrated, pale and pristine complexion most regimes often involve as many as 12 separate steps, all of which are fuelled by innovative products and sophisticated textures. Read on to discover your own 10 step Korean-inspired range and consider throwing out the foundation…
The first step in any K-beauty regime is a deep and thorough cleanse with two products. Start with an eye makeup remover as the eye area is incredibly delicate and in Korea it is treated extra gently. Be careful not to drag or pull the skin, instead simply soak a cotton pad with Nars Eye Makeup Remover and press down to lift away mascara, eyeliner and impurities. Ensuring you lift every tiny piece of debris from skin, leaving it pure and pristine is a mainstay of the Korean routine, so use a balm formula like Eve Lom Cleanser. Massage thoroughly into the complexion and use a muslin cloth soaked in hand-hot water to carefully remove. Repeat this step to ensure all traces of makeup and pollution are removed.
Maintaining a strong and healthy skin barrier is all about balancing your pH level. Over-exfoliating can make skin slightly too acidic, so in Korean beauty it’s a step that’s usually taken twice a month, rather than daily. The benefits of exfoliation are well documented, namely boosting glow and calming pimple-prone skin, so if daily works for you, then stick with it. If it’s new to your regime however, then try the gentle Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic and build-up to using it daily, starting with twice a month.
A quick and easy way to rebalance skin, a toner will help to bring the skin’s pH level back to its neutral point of about 5.5. Toners also act as a humectant and help to hold in moisture, which ultimately improves the efficacy of any skincare that follows. Try Sisley Floral Toning Lotion which contains skin calming witch hazel and softening rose.
A hybrid, ultra-light product that’s halfway between a toner and a serum and straight from Korea, the silky formulas are not to be missed – they sink quickly into skin providing extra hydration and gently encouraging healthy cell-turnover. We love Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Essence with its all-natural blend of actives and uplifting floral fragrance.
Serums are often the most expensive products in a skincare routine and that’s because they contain a highly concentrated blend of active ingredients to deliver visible results to skin. When choosing a serum, it’s important to find a formula that is tailored to your skin’s needs. Consider whether you’re looking to smooth lines with a peptide-loaded blend like Sarah Chapman Skinesis Age-Repair Serum, or if your skin is dehydrated try Darphin Hydraskin Intense Moisturizing Serum. Brighten with a vitamin C rich formula like Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum or keep reactive skin soothed with Ren Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum.
Sheet Mask Must-Haves
A huge trend originating in Korea, sheet masks ensure beneficial formulas are delivered efficiently into the skin as nutrients and active ingredients effectively trapped behind the sheet and forced into the skin. Again, choose a mask to target a specific area; for dull, tired skin we recommend Colbert MD Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask. Try Rodial Pink Diamond Lifting Face Mask if firming is your concern and for blemish issues look to 111SKIN Anti Blemish Bio Cellulose Facial Mask which can be split into two segments to target forehead and chin separately. When you remove any sheet mask, ensure that you massage any product residue into skin to receive the full benefits.
Eye Cream Essentials
Choose an ultra-light texture for the sensitive eye area. As this is the thinnest area of the skin with no naturally oily sebaceous glands, it requires special care, and is taken very seriously in K-beauty routines. Try Odacité Ba+S Eye Contour Serum Concentrate, a unique, super-light oil that instantly banishes dryness and dehydration lines.
Max Your Moisture
In the evening try a Korean-inspired sleep pack to replenish lost nutrients; we like Algenist Splash Absolute Hydration Replenishing Sleeping Pack, formulated with red microalgae, polysaccharides and skin-energising electrolytes to boost hydration and tone. When it comes to your day cream, choose one that offers protection against pollution like Emma Hardie Moisture Boost Vit C Cream includes a cocktail of vitamins that work to fight free radicals and damaging environmental factors.
The final step is possibly the most important in K-beauty for preserving skin’s youthful porcelain look. A high SPF is non-negotiable as an even skin tone without pigmentation marks is highly prized in K-beauty. We love By Terry UV Base Sunscreen Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50 as the velvety texture melts into skin leaving a flattering matte finish.