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The Korean Skincare Routine - The Quick And Easy 3 Step Routine [Part 1]

Korean skincare has come to the fore interms of products that achieve real results for your skin. A whole host of products are available from a number of different brands which usually fall into a 10 step routine. This may seem duanting at first but each step has logic behind it backed by resuts reflected in your skin. The more steps you incorporate into your routine the more likely you're going to achieve a glowing, youthful look to your skin. However, not everyone needs to perform all 10 steps all of the time. The great thing about the Korean skincare routine is that you can customise it with products that work for your skin. As a minimum your skin requires cleansing, moisturising and sun protection. These are the 3 basic steps to maintaining healthy, glowing, youthful skin. You can then add further steps onto this foundation and customise it according to the needs of your skin going from 3 steps to 5 or even the whole 10! In this article we look at what the 3 step routine looks like and recommend products your could use.


Step 1 - Double Cleanse

First cleanser – Oil-based cleanser

Recommended products: 

1) Banila Co - Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm

2) Hanskin - Cleansing Oil and Blackhead

3) Heimish - All Clean Balm

Directions: Apply a dime-sized amount onto a cotton pad and gently wipe your face to remove excess oil, sebum and any makeup, paying careful attention to avoid the eyes. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Why? The first step is using an oil-based cleanser to remove your makeup and purify your skin from other oil-based impurities (SPF, pollution, grime), important for keeping skin clean to avoid breakouts.

Tip: An oil-based cleanser doesn’t make your skin oilier! This double-cleanse method protects your skin clear from bacteria, and other pollutants.


Second cleanser – Water-based cleanser

Recommended products:

1) COSRX - Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

2) Etude House - Wonder Pore Deep Foaming Cleanser

3) Innisfree - Green Tea Foam Cleanser

Directions: Add water and gently lather, massaging into skin. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Why? Your double cleanse wouldn’t be complete without a water-based cleanser, better known as a foaming cleanser. The water cleanser removes any excess residue left over from the oil cleanser like sweat and dirt.

Tip: A cleanser should NOT make your face feel squeaky clean and tight. It should feel clean, but not tight or uncomfortable. If you ignore these signs, your skin’s natural response when it’s stripped is to just produce more oil. If this is you, or if you naturally have dry skin that can’t handle water and foaming, look for a ‘cream’, ‘milk’ or ‘hydrating’ cleanser instead of a foaming one.


Step 2 - Toner

Toner helps to balance your skins pH level

Recommended products: 

1) Pyungkang Kul - Essence Toner

2) Klavuu - White Pearlsation Revitalising Pearl Treatment Toner

3) Nacific - Real Floral Toner Calendula

4) Benton - Deep Green Tea Toner

Directions: Pat gently into the skin with your hands or apply with a cotton pad or ball.

Why? The pH balance of your skin can get thrown off after cleansing. In order to restore your skin’s balance to it’s normal 5.5. pH level, you need a toner. When you hear the word toner, you may think of the majority of Western toners which typically contain high levels of alcohol and end up being very dry. Korean toners are the exact opposite, created to preserve your acid mantle, draw water into your skin and prepare your skin for absorbing the following solutions you apply afterwards.

Tip: Avoid toners with alcohol, menthol, witch hazel, fragrant extracts such as rosewater, citrus fruits, or essential oils, or other skin-aggravating ingredients.

If you suffer from dry skin, choose a toner with a hydrating ingredient (i.e. hyaluronic acid), and if you have oilier skin, seek out those formulas that are a lightweight consistency.


Step 3 - Moisturise and Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

Recommended products:

The following sunscreens all have a moisturing element to them, so if your short on time you could compress moisturising and SPF into one step by using the following products, however I recommend using seperate products for each of these steps for better outcomes in the longer term for your skin.

1) MISSHA - All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA+++

2) Lagom - Cellus Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA+++

3) Kao - Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel 50+ PA+++

Directions: Day and night, gently pat onto your face and neck as your final K-beauty step.

Why? Preferably, moisturize any time you’ve cleansed your face to replace the moisture that’s been lost. This is an essential product for any skin type to lock in moisture and your layers of products.

Tip: There are 3 types of basic moisturizing ingredients – humectants which draw water to the skin (i.e. glycerin, urea, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid), occlusives which seal in water (shea butter, dimethicone, lanolin) and emollients which make skin soft and smooth (ceramides, squalene, fatty acids).

You can always layer 3 different types of moisturizer to achieve these different goals. Just don’t buy an occlusive moisturizer, expecting it to draw more moisture to your dry skin, for example. Although having said that, most moisturizers already have a combination of humectants and emollients. And some common humectant ingredients, like glycerin, propylene glycol and butylene glycol, are found pretty much in most moisturizers.

November 17, 2019 — Dr J

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