The desire to look young is universal. We women have been trying to unearth the secret to a youthful skin for ages. While we have been looking for it high and low, the Koreans have already mastered it. It is said that Korean women follow an incredibly detailed 10-step beauty regimen to maintain their skin’s youth. They are taught to treat skincare as a part of their everyday routine, so much so that taking care of their skin is as important to them as taking a bath every day. Interestingly, their approach towards skincare is long-term. So, no, overnight quick fixes are not encouraged. Rather, skincare is treated as a multilayered ritual that needs to be followed every day without fail. Let us look at the principles behind this ritual to understand what helps Korean women look so young and amazing.
1. A Thorough Cleanse
The first step of this ritual is to thoroughly cleanse the skin. Korean skincare recommends a two-part cleansing routine. First, you clean your face with an oil-based cleanser to remove impurities such as sebum, makeup etc. Next, this is followed up with a water-based cleanser to remove water-based impurities.
Though not recommended daily, exfoliation forms an important part of the ritual. It removes the dead cells that have accumulated on the skin and keeps your skin smooth (1). Depending upon their skin type, one could use exfoliating gloves or a bead-based exfoliator for this step.
3. Balancing The pH
We use a lot of products on our skin, and we also subject it to all kinds of atmospheric conditions, such as pollution, hard water, etc. All of this has an adverse effect on the pH of our skin. As dubious as it sounds, even tap water has been found to have an effect on the skin’s pH (2). Using a toner after exfoliation ensures that the skin’s pH balance is restored and additionally, the toner also helps the skin to absorb of other products.
4. Hydration, Hydration, And Some More Hydration
Yet again, moisturizing is the key (3). It is the oldest trick in the book when it comes to preventing aging of the skin, and the Koreans seem to live by it. This forms the crux of Korean skincare ritual. A large variety of Korean products such as the different types of essences have been developed to give your skin as much hydration as possible, especially in the problem areas.
5. Targeted Treatment
People all over the world have different types of skin. Just like fingerprints, no two people can have the exact same skin. With this much variety in skin type, the issues plaguing them are also varied. Therefore, Korean skincare is oriented towards offering target-specific solutions for specific skin issues. Serums, which are concentrated formulas, are a Korean innovation, specifically made for this purpose.
6. Replenishing The Vitamins
In the rush of daily life and its hustle-bustle, you might not get time to eat a proper meal. As problematic as it is for your body, it’s even more so for your skin. In order to have a good skin, one should have food that is rich in antioxidants and vitamins (A, C and E) (4). To make up for it, Korean skincare offers myriad solutions like face packs and sheet masks which are rich in these vitamins.
7. Taking Care Of The Problem Areas
A common skin problem that a lot of women face is that of dark circles. While for many, it might be temporary due to exhaustion or lack of sleep; for others it might be a more persistent problem. This happens because the skin around our eyes is very thin and quite susceptible to harm (5). To tackle this, Korean skincare lays special emphasis on caring for the skin around eyes, with a lot of eye creams specially developed for this purpose.
8. Sealing The Moisture
After such a rigorous ritual, all that needs to be done is to put on some moisturizer so that all the products that you have applied get absorbed into the skin and the moisture is not lost. For this step, a light moisturizer is recommended.
9. Protection Against The Sun
All this effort would come to a nought if you forget to put on sunscreen before heading out. Experts agree that nothing ages skin like sun damage (6). Apart from aging, it is also the number one cause of skin cancer (7). So it makes sense that it would be a part of the Korean skin regimen. Sunscreen is important!
10. A Healthy Diet
We might have been listing out cosmetic solutions to take care of your skin woes but they won’t work if you are not giving your body the right nourishment. Korean women recognize that and pay special attention to what they eat. Even though it might not be evident immediately, smoking, alcohol consumption, and lack of sleep are the major factors behind skin damage. In order to have a youthful skin, this is something you need to steer clear off.
Now that we have laid out the treasure chest of Korean skin secrets open for you, try on those which work for you. In case we have missed out on something, or if you can think of any gharelu nuskhas that will give the Koreans a run for their money, do share them in the comments below.