Korean skincare, also called K-beauty, is held in high regard by beauty influencers the world over. What makes it so special? And what can you learn from it?
K-beauty is a fascinating mixture of ancient traditions and modern skincare discoveries. It’s both old and new at the same time. And it’s different to typical western skincare in a few key ways. We’ve done an analysis of Korean skincare routines and secrets to find some beauty tips that will fit easily into your life.
Use an oil-based cleanser
Like dissolves like, so using an oil-based cleanser is an effective way to remove the day’s sebum, skin product and makeup build up. Typical ingredients in a natural, oil-based cleanser are macadamia oil, jojoba oil or grape seed oil. Okana Mango + Apricot Sorbet Cleanser includes apricot kernel oil, macadamia oil and mango butter. Together they are an amazing cleansing team and the sorbet formula is delicious to use. If you’ve never used an oil-based cleanser, you’re going to love how clean it gets your skin. It also leaves your beautifully complexion soft as well.
Tip: See our article: How to get “Glass Skin” Naturally – Latest Beauty Trend Skincare Routine
Steam your skin
Korean women have invented a word – steamcial. It describes the use of steam to soften your skin and open up the pores for deep cleansing. Boil the kettle, pour hot water into a glass bowl, put a towel over your head to create an enclosed tent and steam your skin for about 10 minutes. Follow this up with a mask to draw out impurities or use a gentle exfoliator. Finish with toner and moisturiser.
Cleanse your skin as soon as you get home
On days when you’re not going out at night, cleanse your face as soon as you get home and apply your night-time skincare. Your skin will love you for it. It means less opportunity for stale makeup to clog up your pores and more time for your skin to be in contact with a nourishing night cream, like Okana Berry Blend Night Moisturiser.
Tip: See our article: Benefits of Double cleansing
Drink barley, ginseng and green tea
South Koreans are avid tea drinkers. They particularly enjoy barley tea, ginseng tea and green tea. Sipping tea all day counts towards your water intake, so you’re helping your skin to stay hydrated from the inside. Barley tea, known as boricha in Korea, is said to improve circulation and treat skin conditions.
Control acne with a nori mask
If you have acne-prone skin, nori sheets (the kind used for sushi) can be used as an easy sheet mask. Just cut the nori into strips, soften in warm water and apply to your face. Relax for 15 minutes, then tone and moisturise. Why do this? Seaweed has powerful antibacterial properties that can help to alleviate acne.
Give your skin a drink of soy milk
Soy milk is said to normalise the function of sebaceous glands in your skin. Give yourself a quick and easy soy milk mask by simply wiping soy milk over clean skin, then leaving it on for about 20 minutes. Rinse off, tone and moisturise.
If you’ve ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you will have encountered kimchi. It’s a fermented side dish made with cabbage, radish and spring onions. Eating kimchi introduces beneficial bacteria to your gut and many doctors say the health of your gut is reflected in the health of your skin.
Use an old-fashioned face cloth
In other parts of the world it’s known as a ‘wash cloth’, but in New Zealand we call them flannels or face cloths. Using a face cloth to remove your oil-based cleanser is an excellent way to exfoliate your skin. Choose a face cloth with a knobbly texture and you’ll really be winning. How hard you rub depends on your skin. Some skins can handle a brisk, circular massage with a face cloth; sensitive skins require a more gentle rubbing action.
Apply several layers of toner
Applying several layers of toner helps to hydrate your skin before you seal the hydration in with moisturiser. The easiest way to do this is with a spray-on toner, like Okana Cucumber + Lettuce Mist Toner. Count for about 10 seconds between each misting.
Be keen on sunscreen
In Korea, a tan is not desirable. Unlike New Zealand and Australian culture, pale skin is sought-after amongst Chinese and Korean women. It also minimises their risk of developing skin cancer. In Asia, skin cancer accounts for only 1-2% of all cancer diagnoses. For the sake of your skin in the long-term, it makes sense to give up sunbathing and ‘slip, slop, slap’. Slip on a cover-up, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.
Tip: See our article: 10 cool cucumber benefits for your skin