The South Koreans have made their mark in the world and in the media. They’re all over the music industry, film and television, and fashion. We’re a hundred percent sure you’ve heard the song Nobody, Nobody by Wonder Girls from 2007. We’re also sure you heard of the dance craze Gangnam Style by PSY in 2012. It’s now 2018, and there are even more Korean pop groups and songs such as Bboom Bboom by the girl group Momoland and Fake Love by boy group BTS. There have also been hit movies such as the action thriller Train to Busan and the heartwarming Miracle In Cell No. 7. Dramas and television series also continue to rise to popularity worldwide such as Descendants Of The Sun, Boys Over Flowers, The Heirs, City Hunter, and many more. We’ve named a lot of their pop culture icons but that wasn’t definitely half of the list.
With their catchy tunes, unique dance moves, quirky costumes, and exciting plotlines, it’s no wonder why a lot of people all over the globe, especially young girls, are captivated by these groups of Asians. This rise of South Korean popular culture and trends all over the world is called “Hallyu” which also means the “Korean Wave.” However, music, film, drama, music, dance, and fashion are definitely not the only areas where Koreans are thriving. They’ve also made their mark around the world of beauty and cosmetics.
The Rise of Korean Beauty
If you look closely at their music videos, films, and dramas, you’ll notice that Koreans (even the men) have very silky-smooth skin. You might also notice that they don’t put on heavy make-up as much as Westerners do. Try Googling a few Korean actresses for yourself, and you’ll see they don’t care much about contouring and putting on a lot of pigment. Perhaps the most striking and noticeable makeup component you’ll find in some music videos and other forms of media is eye makeup such as eyeliners and shadows. But that’s about it, really. No heavy bronzing or illusions of fake tans.
The Korean beauty trend sways more to the opposite of Caucasian beauty trends and aims for a look that is pale but dewy. All in all, Korean beauty focuses on keeping the skin looking and feeling natural, hydrated, and healthy without having to put on that much layers of makeup.
Because of their fresh approach to skin care, many women have moved to this Asian way of caring for the skin to look and feel young and fresh. Korean beauty has also become more sought after as fans of Korean celebrities also want to get the looks of their favorite stars.
Luckily, Koreans are starting to share their beauty secrets and products to the world. They’ve introduced some quite iconic and innovative beauty products such as BB creams, CC creams, and cushion foundations. There is also a growing number of Korean brands and companies that are selling products worldwide. Many of these beauty products and companies have become big hits. Along with the rise of social media, advertising has also become more accessible for companies. Many women undoubtedly became curious and purchased the products to see for themselves the magic of Korean beauty.
In addition to that, their products are also packaged in bright pastel colors and occasionally accompanied by cute cartoon characters. Thus, their products are also a big hit with adolescent women. This rise in the use of Korean beauty products is also proven by the fact that their beauty market is one of the top 10 in the world.
Korean Glass Skin
One of the newest trends this year is the “glass skin” which naturally highlights points in the face and makes the skin look poreless but dewy. If you’re aware of beauty trends, you might be aware of “highlighting” which makes use of shimmery powder product, much like an eyeshadow, that is placed on the cheeks, the forehead, the bridge and tip of the nose, and even the small bow in the upper lip. The concept of glass skin is very much similar to this. Except the shine and glow of the glass skin is made by natural hydration of the skin which is a result of a variety of skin care products and a 10-step Korean skin routine.
On the other hand, highlighting is more of a faux-shine while the glow of the glass skin is all natural and hydrated. What’s the 10-step Korean skin routine, you ask? We’ll get to that on the next part.
What Is The 10-Step Korean Skin Routine?
The 10-step Korean skin routine is exactly what it sounds like. Each step is dedicated to a certain beauty product that should be applied daily in the morning and during the night before you go to bed.
#1 Makeup Remover and Oil Cleanser
Did you know that merely washing your face with ordinary soap doesn’t remove all the makeup in your face? Using soap that’s not meant for the face is also not good for the skin. This is because most body soaps have bigger pH levels that are not safe for the face. Washing once with soap also does not guarantee that the layers of foundation, concealer, and powder will also be removed. With an oil cleanser, you can effectively remove all the substance from your face.
#2 Water-based Cleanser
This is the second step of the “double cleansing” process. This makes sure that any remaining substance from your oil cleansing will be surely and totally removed. This ensures that your skin is free of any layers that will keep it from accepting the next set of products that you’ll need to apply. After you wash, it’s also important to gently tap your face with a towel when drying. Rubbing your face against your towel or dragging it harshly across your face might cause it to become irritated.
This product and method are applied to make sure that dead skin cells are removed, giving your pores the chance to absorb better and accept the other products. However, it should always be remembered that exfoliating doesn’t have to be done every day as this might damage the skin (especially those sensitive ones) and make it dry. The recommended time to exfoliate is at least twice a week. You should also choose an exfoliator that matches your skin type so it doesn’t get irritated.
The toner is responsible for dampening the skin, balancing its pH levels, and allowing the skin to absorb the rest of the products easily. The toner also removes all the leftover residue from cleansing.
“Essence of what?” You may be asking. Essence is pretty much the hybrid of toners and serums that aids in cell turnover. Many beauty gurus have also called it as the center of Korean beauty.
These supplementary products are in charge of getting rid of lines, acne, large pores, or dull skin! Their material is much like the essence and there isn’t much difference between the two. However, it will definitely give your skin more nutrients.
#7 Sheet Masks
Sheet masks are soaked in beneficial ingredients that your skin will absorb once they are placed on the face. Sheet masks can be used for at least two times in a week for about 15-20 minutes. However, they should also be placed only during the specific time as leaving it longer will take the moisture away from the skin. While you’re at it, you can listen to music, read a book, or even take a nap (just make sure to set an alarm so you don’t fall asleep with it for hours!).
#8 Eye Cream
Did you know that the skin around your eyes is much thinner than the skin in the rest of your face? That’s why it needs to be protected and hydrated. That’s also why the under-eyes easily darken and grow heavy bags when we lack proper sleep or are very tired. Koreans apply eye cream by the orbital bone by gently and lightly tapping using their ring finger to avoid pulling and stretching those vulnerable spots. To make the application process easier to understand and apply, many beauty gurus and Korean stars suggest tapping underneath the eyes as if you were playing the piano.
Moisturizers come in many forms such as creams, gels, and lotion. Their job is to seal the moisture in your skin to plump it up and smoothen fine lines. The recommended application of moisturizer is on the face and neck on mornings and nights everyday. Remember, Korean skin is dewy and healthy, not dry or unhealthily oily!
#10 Sun Protection
The sun, though it is a great source of vitamin D, is actually one of the most harmful sources of skin ailments such as skin cancer. Constant and long exposure also causes wrinkles and freckles. Hence, it’s important to wear sunscreen before going outdoors. It’s also recommended to bring a small bottle of sunscreen in your bag so that you can re-apply it wherever and whenever you need to. And remember, the whole point of Korean beauty is to look pale and dewy, not tan and brown. Also, bring an umbrella at all times to keep you protected from the harmful rays of the sun.
Now that we’ve broken down and explained each of the ten steps and products, we know what you might be thinking something along these lines:
Ten products are just too much!
Buying all of these would cost a lot.
Religiously following all of these daily would be time-consuming.
However, if you’re already started using some of those products in your previous skincare routine, then you’ll find that you won’t have to buy every single item in the list. If you go back to the list, there are also items that only require a few days in a week such as defoliators, sheet masks, and sunscreen (which you just put in the morning and if you’re really sure you’ll go outdoors for the day).
There’s also no specific brand for each product that you’ll have to use so you can just go ahead and buy products that you trust. Furthermore, you’ll also get a feel of which products really work on your skin after a few weeks of using. Therefore, you’ll know which products and steps you’ll continue to follow and purchase to keep your skin hydrated and plump!
But Do They Really Work?
Back in the days where the internet wasn’t as easily accessible and popular, product commercials in televisions and magazines were what women used as a basis to judge a product’s effectivity. A lot of these companies have even claimed that results could even be felt within just a week of using their products. However, it was definitely hard to believe them in an instant and it would require actually using the product yourself before you could judge its effectivity.
Fortunately for the 21st century, women now have better sources of reviews for trends and products in the beauty world. Now, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard of Youtube. It’s an excellent source for songs, movie clips and trailers, and a whole other bunch of media. It’s also become a platform for a lot of beauty “vloggers”. If you haven’t heard about vlogs, it’s pretty much a video blog. Moreover, a vlog is where beauty vloggers do reviews about products or trends while trying them out on camera too. With these kinds of content, a lot of viewers can see for themselves how the products are applied and the effect that they bring.
Since the “Hallyu”, many beauty vloggers have tried out some of the beauty trends and products. Here are three Youtube vloggers with big followings who have tried for themselves the 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine. Apart from demonstrating the application of the products, they also expound more on the benefits and purposes of each step in the process.
She is a beauty vlogger from That’s Chic and is based in Los Angeles. In her video, she states that step 3 which is the exfoliating step, can be done for only about once or twice a week. The essence, which is step 5 of the routine is also the heart of Korean skincare routine and a “holy grail item”.
Safiya is another Youtube beauty vlogger with 6 million subscribers. In her humorously honest review about the routine, she states that in the first week of following the products, the skin on her face felt like it was “drowning in lotion” and that the sheet mask step was time-consuming. However, in her second week, her skin felt like it was getting used to the moisture and it was feeling plumper and younger. By the end of the month, she claims that her skin is “more hydrated than it’s ever before”.
Lily is a Korean-American Youtube beauty vlogger. She also follows a 10-step routine in her video. There are a few discrepancies with her steps from the ten we’ve listed. However, she still religiously follows the crucial steps such as double cleansing and moisturizing which are definitely the most essential steps in the 10-step routine.
While we only listed three, there are still definitely more vloggers on the platform who have
If you haven’t been aware of the Hallyu and need more convincing about Korean beauty trends, here are some Korean stars that prove how their products and routines are genuinely effective. But before we move on to that, let’s learn a few things about female Korean stars. They usually have hectic schedules which are mainly because they are multi-talented and do not stick to just one craft. A lot of them are actresses, musicians, and models at the same time. They spend the day either performing and touring at different venues, taping films and dramas from dawn to dusk, traveling to and fro countries, doing photo shoots, and facing press conferences.
These activities can be very stressful to the skin as it will be exposed to a lot of factors such as harsh light, exposure to the sun and dust, lack of sleep, and a lot of makeup too. Thus, it’s amazing how many of their stars remain looking youthful, fresh, and healthy despite their busy lives. If they got the time to keep their skin looking fab, surely you can do it too!
If you need more convincing about Korean skincare, here are some of the most well-known female Korean celebrities whose skins are sought after by many women from all around the globe.
Starting and Getting Ready for Korean Beauty
While these five women did not necessarily mention or follow the 10-step skincare routine, they’ve definitely mentioned some of the 10’s essential steps. They emphasized on cleansing, moisturizing, hydrating, and toning. We’ve also learned a few more additional very easy to do tips like getting enough hours of sleep and keeping the inside of the body hydrated as well by drinking a lot of water.
It’s also important to remember that the 10-step routine will take a lot of time during the first time. However, you will definitely get used to following the routine as you go through it for weeks. Take Youtube beauty vlogger Safiya, who we mentioned earlier, as an example. She says in her video that the first week took her a lot of time. However, the routine became more natural to do, and she slowly memorized the steps and how to use the products properly. There’s also no need to rush in applying the products as you may find the entire process as therapeutic. After all, pampering yourself after a hard day’s work can feel very rewarding. If you fear of getting bored while applying the products, put on a playlist of your favorite songs to hype you up.
We also want to reiterate that it’s not necessary to buy new products or to follow a specific set of brands to follow the procedure. If you already have some of the products in your stocks, there’s absolutely no harm in using them for the procedure. By the end of the month (or even a few weeks after), you will also discover which products are truly effective for your skin. You can then eliminate those you think aren’t needed that much. We also want to remind you, ladies, that the 10 step skin care routine does not necessarily give instant results. But with patience and discipline, you’ll definitely feel its results after a few weeks. Furthermore, each person has different skin types so how products work for others, won’t necessarily mean it will work the same for you. In following the 10-step routine, you also have to take into consideration your skin type so you can adjust the strength and level of products such as exfoliators, toners, and cleansers.
Last but not the least, following this routine and using the listed products would also be of no use if you don’t discipline yourself from exposing yourself to harmful products and factors. Just as Korean star Yoon Eun Hye does, avoid activities such as smoking which darkens and dries the skin.
So, are you ready to try out the 10-step Korean skincare routine and see the results for yourself?