From targeting oily skin to reducing the effects of aging, people everywhere around the world have been going through a huge number of processes of trial and error in order to develop the perfect skin care routine. All in aims to get the smoothest, most perfect skin with a flawless complexion. Now, looking at all those routines, one can notice that most of them consist of vaguely similar basic elements. Yet, they differ in their arrangement and purpose according to the type of skin a person has and the type of skin they are aiming to get.
Among the lists of routines, one of them was quite impressive and interesting. It was a Korean multi-step skin regimen; it consists of ten steps to be specific. As you know, Korean beauty trends have been changing beauty standards for quite a while now, which I have to admit, gave me the push to actually try out this routine and see how it would go. For now, I can tell you that it is not really what you would expect and that there are a few misconceptions that ought to be cleared out – pun intended – before you start off with the routine that will make your life much easier.
I will not be recommending many products, since I am focusing on the routine itself rather than the specifics.
Step 1: Oil Cleanse
When it comes to cleansing, although the methods are open to debate, I personally believe that in order to allow other products to reach their full potential, the skin has to be free from make up, invisible dust particles and general impurities. This is why during my trial I used a double cleanse that consists of two stages; one with cleansing oil and then one water-based, just to make sure that the skin is ready to reap the benefits of this never ending routine.
- Do not forget to rinse.
- Make sure that the cleansing product you’re using is not one that will strip off a skin layer or irritate it in any way.
Step 2: Foam Cleanse
This is the water-based cleansing I was talking about. The first round of cleansing will always feel like it’s enough, but surprisingly, experts disagree. To carry on with this step, I used a foam cleanser which, honestly, I thought was a waste of money since I already have a cleanser. I was wrong. The double cleanse really left me feeling more refreshed and left my skin feeling as clean as ever; one could even say, as clean as a unicorn’s coat.
- Give it a try, at least once, before you overlook this step or deem it unnecessary. Just one shot.
Step 3: Exfoliation
This is definitely a painful process. However, it remains beneficial to the skin. Think of the skin as a sieve; you can’t clean a sieve without removing stuff that is clogging the hole or covering the surface. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and subsequently opens up your pores. Remember, dead skin can block the pores and may eventually lead to the formation of bumps, cysts and other really unattractive consequences.
The good news is; I have discovered that you do not really need to exfoliate your skin every day. If you have sensitive skin, you only need to do it once a week. As for me, I did it three times a week.
- Be careful and gentle while scrubbing your skin, since exfoliating consists of literally removing a skin layer, a dead one nevertheless. So, make sure you do not start scraping your skin raw.
Step 4: Toning
Keep in mind that if you did not skip the first three steps, like me, you have just performed three rounds of cleansing. So, the skin must be not only exhausted, but also stripped of nutrients. That’s when toner comes in handy.
Toner is not just water. Granted, it hydrates the skin, but it also contains nutrients that the skin needs along with refreshing agents to provide the skin with moisture and keep it rejuvenated.
- It is better to use your own palms rather than a cotton swab to apply the product to avoid the cotton absorbing all the toner. The toner’s consistency is very runny and it would only take a short while for the cotton to absorb it, which makes this whole step useless.
Step 5: Essence
This step is where the impact of the Korean culture of skin care shows. Although essence can be brushed off and put under the ‘toner’ or the ‘serum’ sections, one must try to grant it the same level of appreciation it receives from others who are familiar with the culture.
As for me, I didn’t fully understand its purpose. Yet, I have had a vague idea. It is basically what its name suggests; it gives an essence to your skin, which is considered to be of high importance to the routine overall.
Moreover, it leaves the skin looking smooth and smelling heavenly. So, why not?
Step 6: Serum, Boosters, or Ampoule Treatments
As the name suggests, this is a treatment step; as in, it is not really necessary for you to carry out if you don’t want to. On the other hand, if you happen to have some sort of skin condition or a pigmentation, this step is very important because its effect is amplified by the other steps.
Step 7: Mask
Masks are a highly versatile tool. They have multiple purposes and their consistency, form and shape differ according to the purpose you need them to achieve.
With my routine, I didn’t need to apply the mask every night. Masks tend to have a lasting effect, so, in most cases, twice a week would suffice.
- Bear in mind that you need to read the instructions on your mask’s packaging carefully before applying it due to the fact that many do not need to be left for a long time, while others do.
- Also, make sure you read the list of ingredients as a precaution, to make sure your skin will not get any adverse reactions.
- Avoid getting the mask in contact with your eyes at all costs.
Step 8: Eye Cream
No, it is not for your eyeballs; although that would be an interesting idea. Eye cream is used to fix any problems with the region under your eyes. From dark, layered bags to grayish semicircles, there are various creams that target every sub region depending on the cause of the color change.
Despite my making sure that I get my usual 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night, I still end up with a bit of black under my eyes. After including the eye cream within my daily routine, though, I found the skin changing back to its natural color; it actually encouraged me to start using the cream throughout the day. It feels as good as working out and immediately noticing results.
- When applying, make sure you use a gentle tracing motion with your finger. Avoid any tugging, pulling or vigorous rubbing, since they are a direct road to wrinkles at an early age. Speaking of wrinkles, I know I said I won’t be recommending products, but I know how finding your first wrinkle feels like. So, after much research, reading a multitude of articles, I eventually found my favorite anti aging wrinkle cream; feel free to choose yours here.
Step 9: Face Cream
After moistening the skin, it is essential to find a way to keep the moisture locked in because as we all know, the environment can be more than cruel to our skin. It simply is merciless and this is why we use face cream.
I usually try to find a cream that doesn’t leave me with skin that feels greasy. Also for you who don’t see a point in buying a day cream and a night cream, just give it a try. I used to think the same until I actually decided to do an experiment and realized that there is actually quite a difference. After all, you’ll never know until you try.
Step 10: Sun protection
You may think that the sun is our friend and that may be true. Yet, you must know that too much of a good thing ends up being bad for you; take fats, for example. Anyway, the main point is that protecting the skin from the sun is considered by many experts to be a critical step that can make or break your entire routine. It is also one of the pillars of this regimen.
For me, sun protection cream did a lot more than provide protection against the evil ultraviolet rays. It also acted as a source of moisture, extra nutrients and at the end, helped the skin in retaining its water content and the overall refreshed look and feel.
My analysis of the ten step Korean skin care routine
After that week had ended, I took the time to look back at the steps and how they have affected my skin. I was interested in finding out what gave this regimen its reputation; here is what I found.
The routine as a whole consists of three main parts, each of either three or four steps. The first part is cleansing, the second one is care and nutrition, and the final is preserving and maintenance.
1st Part: CLEANSING
The regimen starts by cleaning the skin and making sure it is completely free from all impurities, like dust particles and similar malice. Then, after you have gotten rid of all superficial impurities, the regimen takes the cleaning to the next level; the initial layer of skin is only composed of dead skin cells, which can end up blocking some of the pores.
The first three stages are focused on cleaning the skin fully in order to prepare it for the next stages. Any impurities may lead to the blockage of pores that hinders the effectivity of the products that are to be applied later. This is because the pores are the gates through which anything applied on the skin is absorbed.
2nd Part: CARE AND NUTRITION
The second part of the routine is dedicated to feeding the skin and caring for it. After the three stages of intense cleaning and putting the skin through all this torment, this is where the skin relaxes.
It starts with applying toner which hydrates the skin easily since it has a runny consistency so the skin finds it easy to absorb all the contents. Toner also contains a lot of nutrients which also find their way easily into the skin. Following this is adding the essence to your skin as a way of giving it a trademark scent and extra moisture, as well. The last step in the second part is the mask, which is the main supplier of nutrients. It has the most prominent effect on your skin, so it should be chosen carefully.
3rd Part: PRESERVING AND MAINTENANCE
The third and final part consists of locking in the moisture. By using eye cream, face cream and sun protection cream, all the moisture and nutrients that have been acquired by the skin are well preserved and protected against the elements and the challenges that our skin faces during a normal day in whatever environment we live in.
More than that, I realized that the purpose of the routine is not something that relates to skin health in specific. I feel the purpose is to teach a person how to love and take care of their skin, and providing the various ways of doing so. That’s why I don’t think that it matters whether you perform all the steps, because at the end of the day, each step is beneficial on its own. With enough time, you will learn which steps are the ones that are going to produce the best results for your skin.
Taking care of your skin is a necessity. I cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain your skin health, if not for that shining look that turns heads, then for the simple fact that it’s a medical necessity. We forget how much strain our skin is subjected to on a daily basis, and we take this protective layer for granted more ways than one. If you think about it, without what medics call ‘the largest external organ of our body’, we’d suffer in ways we cannot imagine.
So give this treatment a try, and thank me later. Trust me, you can’t go wrong with this one!