What is K-Beauty?
Originally, Korean beauty was a blanket term for all the beauty products made in Korea. Over the past decade though, it’s not just Korean skincare products that have become hugely popular, but how Korean people approach their beauty routines. K-Beauty is now defined by an extensive 10-step skincare routine to achieve glowing and plump skin using products. From skincare brands like Dr. Jart+ to beauty brands like Erborian, K-Beauty brands aim to hydrate and protect the skin barrier using powerhouse ingredients including ceramides and milk.
Why is Korean Skincare So Good?
Over the past few years, a lot of us have gone heavy on potent ingredients such as BHAs and retinol, which provide incredible results, but also have the potential to cause some sensitivity when not used correctly. With the focus on repairing and strengthening your skin barrier, Korean skincare tends to contain a lot of soothing and hydrating ingredients, such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid and honey to achieve that hydrated, glass skin look.
If you love the sound of healthy, hydrated, radiant-looking skin, but the typical 10-step Korean skincare routine puts you off, be aware that you can adapt the regimen to work for your skin concerns.
Who is Korean Skincare For?
Korean skincare works well for everyone but it’s especially great for those who have dry and sensitive skin, including rosacea as the K beauty method helps to strengthen your skin barrier. If you’ve been a little too heavy handed with your retinol serums or other actives, it’s a good skincare routine to follow to help soothe and repair skin. It goes without saying that if you enjoy taking a more ritualistic approach to your morning and evening routines, the K-Beauty method will be right up your street.
The Ultimate Korean Skincare Routine
The ideal Korean skincare routine is 10 steps, from cleansing to moisturising. If you want to achieve glowing, glass skin, here is your step-by-step guide:
Step 1 & 2: Double cleanse
Double cleansing is the backbone to the Korean skincare routine, removing makeup and impurities to create a clean canvas. Start with an oil-based cleanser or a cleansing balm to break down your makeup – we recommend Farmacy Beauty Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm, £24.00. Follow up with a gentle foam or cream cleanser, depending on your skin type. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, £15.00 is our go-to.
Step 3: Exfoliate
This step is optional based on what your skin needs. If you have combination to oily skin, you’ll benefit from using a gentle exfoliating toner, such as Ren Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, £16.00 each day. Those with dry, sensitive skin should incorporate this step once or twice a week depending on how your complexion feels.
Step 4 & 5: Toner and essence
While toner might not be as common in Western skincare routines, it’s essential in the K-Beauty method. We are huge fans of the Laneige Cream Skin as it removes all traces of your cleanser and gives your skin a hit of hydration. Follow up with an essence, which is the ideal step in between cleansing and treating the skin. An essence is like a primer for your skincare. If you haven’t used one before, we recommend starting with Dr. Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution Biome Essence With Intensive Blue Shot, £15.00 as it leaves your skin feeling super soft.
Step 6: Serums and treatments
Customise this step and choose the serums and treatments best suited to your skin concerns. If hydration is your main goal, choose a hyaluronic acid or niacinamide serum. Those hoping to ease acne and blemishes should opt for a salicylic acid serum. It’s about choosing what works for your skin.
Step 7: Sheet mask
Not everyone has the time, but using a sheet mask can help maximise your skin’s hydration levels. Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber So Cool Duo, £22.00 is like a glass of water for dry and dehydrated skin and it’s our go-to when our skin is feeling extra sensitive or dehydrated.
Step 8 & 9: Eye cream and moisturiser
Finish off with the best eye cream and moisturiser for your skin to lock in the hydration. We love LANEIGE Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer, £33.00, which is supercharged with hyaluronic acid. For the best beauty sleep, you can layer with the LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask, £28.00 – expect to wake up with fresh, baby skin.
Step 10: SPF in the morning
Always make sure to apply sunscreen as the last step of your morning routine to protect your skin from UV rays. Wearing SPF everyday will help support all the skincare efforts you made the night before.
Our Favourite Korean Skincare Products
We’ve recommended plenty of products above, but there are plenty of incredible Korean skincare products out there worth your attention. From cleansing and moisturising to the best BB cream, these are some of our favourite K-Beauty buys.
Our Final Thoughts on Korean Skincare
K-beauty is for you if you’re a skincare aficionado and love a multi-step routine. It is also a great approach to take inspiration from if you’re looking to increase your skin’s hydration levels as the products are super nourishing and focus on strengthening your skin barrier to lock-in moisture. What we love most about the K-Beauty method is that you can personalise it and make the approach work for your skin.
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