Thursday, 30 March 2017

Korean Skincare: The Beginners Guide (part 2)

And we're back for Part 2. I really hope that you found Part 1 helpful and helped you on your way into Korean Skincare. 

Next, we're going to dive into serums, moisturisers and sheet masks so let's go!

Step 6 - Serum

A serum is usually packaged in a little bottle with a pipette and has a much higher concentration of key ingredients than the essence. The serum is definitely a key step in customising your skincare and homing in on exactly what areas you wish to work on. There are serums for just about everything e.g. dark spots, brightening, acne, pores, anti-wrinkle. It all depends on what areas your skin need a little help with. For me, I focus on restoring the balance due to my oily/combination skin. I use the Innisfree (are you sensing a theme - I just bloody love this brand so much) green tea seed serum and to be honest, if I could only pick one product, it would be this one! This serum helps to control and balance my oil levels throughout the day, evens out my skin tone and keeps my skin looking hydrated. 

To use: squeeze a drop or two onto your fingers and apply gently to the face, covering all areas that require attention. 

Step 7 - Moisturiser

We are getting towards the end of our skincare routine now! At the very heart of Korean skincare, is hydration. Hydration is key to keeping the skin looking young, fresh and supple and this is exactly what you want your moisturiser to do. You want a cream that's going to help you lock in your skin's moisture all day, something not too heavy and something that works with your skin type. A lighter moisturiser might be better during the Summer whereas a heavier one may be best over the Winter months if you have dry skin. I use the Innisfree balancing cream and I've found this to be best for my skin. 

To use: apply small amounts on your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, then gently massage into the skin, avoiding the eyes. 

Step 8 - Eye Cream

Yes, avoiding the eyes because we have a separate cream for that! Ok, now I must confess, I don't always do this step. Not because I don't like it but I'm still on the hunt for the perfect eye cream. The skin around your eyes can be very thin and very sensitive so you should try to avoid any heavy creams in this area. Most people will choose an eye cream that focuses on brightening dark circles or preventing wrinkles.

To use: apply a small amount onto your little finger and gently pat around the orbital bone.

Step 9 - Sunscreen

This step is incredibly important in Korean skincare and something that most BB and CC creams will have in them. There are many, many Korean makeup and skincare brands that sell sunscreen specifically for your face. These creams are much lighter than the ones you apply to your body and are often a much higher SPF. The idea of this is to help prevent the formation of dark spots, to protect your skin from damage and to reduce the darkening of acne scars. It can also work really well as a base for makeup. 

To use: the same as a moisturiser. apply little dabs on your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, then gently massage into the skin, avoiding the eyes.

Step 10 - Sheet Masks, Sleeping Packs and Face Masks

Ok, so this isn't technically the final stage but I wanted to put it here because realistically you can apply a mask at many different stages and however many times you want throughout a week. For most people, a good time to apply a sheet mask would be after your toner and before your essence. For Sleeping packs, you apply your skincare routine up until your moisturiser and apply your sleep pack instead. This is to be worn overnight (it's just like a more heavy duty moisturiser) and then wash it off in the morning. For face masks, I like to apply these just after my double cleanse and then take a shower and wash it off there. I think I will do an entirely separate post about masks just because there's a lot of them and I just really love them. 

OK, we made it and if you managed to get through both of these posts, THANK YOU, I really appreciate it! I hope this sheds some light into the wonderful world of Korean Skincare. Like I mentioned in Part 1, I'm no expert, just someone who has used this routine for the last couple of years and really enjoys learning about Korean Skincare. I hope that you are able to pull some information out of it to help you on your way and if you have any questions, please write them in the comments below and I'll do my best to help. 

Have a beautiful day! 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Korean Skincare: The Beginners Guide (part 1)

Korean skincare can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, especially if you are new to it. There are so many different brands and products to choose from, with weirdly wonderful ingredients all targeting specific areas of the skin. 

I would never claim to be an expert in Korean skincare but I've been using it and learning about it for the past few years and I thought it would be fun to share the knowledge and hopefully write a simple guide for beginners to follow and try out. 

Now, where to start? Maybe with a little story about how I got into Korean skincare and a little about my own skin type. I've loved Korean makeup for a very long time and my first ever product was a bunny lipgloss by Tony Moly. I first discovered it on a post by Kiki Kannibal (yes, I was a myspace kid - don't judge). Ever since then, I've been hooked on Korean makeup and have slowly built up quite a collection. Then, a few years ago on my first trip to Tokyo, I visited Korea Town and took the plunge into Korean Skincare. My first product was a sheet mask by Holika Holika for 'After a long journey' which I thought was pretty appropriate. I tried it that same night and I was honestly so pleased with the results, even my fiance noticed my skin had a little glow to it. Ever since then, I've been researching more and more products and slowly building up my 10 step Korean skincare routine. Korean products are honestly the only ones where I've truly noticed a difference in my skin, the way it look's, feels, it's texture and tone. I'm completely hooked and still learning as I go along. For anyone interested, my skin type is oily/combination, acne prone and dehydrated. Any specific products mentioned below are the ones that work for my skin. There are hundreds of others to choose from and it's just a case of trial and error to find the ones to suit you. Hopefully, this post will give you a rough guide into the wonderful world of Korean skincare and give you a little bit of encouragement to give it a go. 

 The 10 Steps To Korean Skincare

There are roughly 10 steps to Korean skincare. These steps are just a loose guide and it doesn't mean you have to follow all 10. It's a case of finding the steps that work for you and more importantly, finding the steps that your skin needs. Some people's skin really benefits from all 10 steps and others can pick and choose just a few. All the products mentioned below are things that I've found work for me but hopefully, the descriptions will give you an idea of the product you can search for, for your own skin type. Ok, let's go! 

Step 1 - Oil/Water Based Cleanser

An oil or water based cleanser is your first step towards that beautiful glowing skin. The aim of this step is to remove makeup and any other dirt that has built up over the day. Oil-based cleansers are great at just dissolving makeup but can be a little scary if you are acne prone but don't worry, that's why we have step 2.

To use: pump a little onto your fingers and massage into the skin. alternatively, pump onto a cotton pad and swipe across the skin. rinse off with warm water. 

Step 2 - Cleanser

Yes, the double cleanse! Oil cleansers can lead to some breaking out if you are acne prone (or not) so the double cleanse is essential for removing the oil and getting rid of any leftover makeup or dirt. I really recommend any of the Innisfree foam cleansers. They have a lot of different kinds for different skin types and are gentle on the skin. 

To use: if you use a foam cleanser, wet your face first and then foam up the cleanser in your hands before massaging onto your face. It's less harsh this way and to be honest, feels a little more luxurious. rinse off with warm water.

Step 3 - Exfoliator 

This step is not a daily step but rather a 1 - 2 times a week step. The exfoliator is there simply to give your skin a deep clean. It helps to unclog pores, remove any dead skin and just generally gives you a bit of a spruce up. The exfoliators I like to use are the Skin Food Black Sugar masks. I usually apply this at night in the shower because it's just easier for me. It's a lovely mask, not too harsh and it smells great too. 

To use: apply correct amount to damp skin and gently massage around. be careful, don't be too harsh!

Step 4 - Toner

The toner is definitely one of the key steps to Korean skincare and there are so many different ways to use it. Some people believe that you must apply the toner within 3 seconds after cleansing but I have to admit, I've never quite managed that. The idea of a toner is to restore your skin's pH balance after your cleanse. It also aims to reduce inflammation, tighten pores and remove any left over dirt. The toner is also there to prep your skin for the essences and serums so your skin can absorb the ingredients properly. The toner I use currently is the Innisfree green tea for oily/combination. I have just bought a new one by Innisfree for acne prone skin but I haven't tried it yet. 

To use: just pour a couple of drops into the palm of your hands and gently pat it onto your skin. some people prefer to use a cotton pad but I just find this wastes product. 

Step 5 - Essence

Ok, so we've stripped our skin with the double cleanse, given it a good deep clean with the exfoliator, restored balance with the toner so what's next? Hydration! Essences are key for hydrating the skin and I would also argue the first step in really customising your skincare to suit your needs. The texture of an essence is a cross between a serum and a toner. The essence usually has a high concentration of key ingredients e.g hyaluronic acid and preps your skin for better absorption of the following steps. I've been using the balancing green tea range by Innisfree lately but I've recently purchased the green tea fresh essence to try.

To use: apply a small amount onto the palm of your hands and gently pat/press onto the skin. 

Ok, I think I've talked enough for one blog post! I really hope that this post has been a little helpful and gives you a rough guide for your adventure into Korean Skincare. As I mentioned, I'm no expert (nor was I paid or sponsored to write this), I'm just someone who loves Korean products and has used this routine for a couple of years now. 

In Part 2 we will be discussing sheet masks, moisturisers and serums! If you have any questions about anything mentioned above or about a certain product, please comment below and I'll do my best to help. 

Have a beautiful day!