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! 

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