Hey guys, this week I am going to be tackling the topic of Korean Skincare! Only, I’m going to be taking a slightly different approach to the traditional Korean Skincare, by crafting a more streamlined version for “Busy Americans”.
Korean Skincare has been something I have been hearing people get very excited about for a few years now. It was always something I wanted to check out, however, I was fairly married to my skincare routine I created for myself so I never took the plunge.
That said, over the last 45 days or so, I’ve been experimenting with Korean Skincare. Now – I’m someone who already tends to take their time in the bathroom when it comes to skincare. I’ve got practically a product for any woe. So the idea of a multi-step-Korean regimen didn’t freak me out.
However, once I started doing some research and found out the routines could be anywhere from 10 – 17 steps depending on how determined you are… kinda freaked me out! I couldn’t even imagine WHAT 17 steps of skincare would look like. No less how long it would take!
I was worried it would be like painting the Eiffel Tower – where as soon as I finished I had to start over again.
My Korean Skincare for Busy American’s shouldn’t take you longer than 10-15 minutes in the bathroom. Yes, I’ve even set a clock to time myself from start to finish and I do not exceed that amount of time, unless I get distracted by something else.
If you have not already – and would like to review the Vlog this blog was created around, check it out below.
Otherwise, let’s start with a few overviews and tips:
Tip #1: Korean Skincare is meant to be slow
I know what you’re thinking now. Doesn’t streamlining Korean Skincare defeat the purpose of slow skincare? Yes and no.
These skincare routines are meant to me some time you can take for yourself every morning and night. To relax as you enter your day, and to calk down as your day comes to a close.
Don’t try to rush through it. Take your time and relax. Even if you are in a hurry in the morning, think of it as doing double duty of part skincare routine and part morning meditation.
Tip #2: The Anti-American Skincare
In America we love to use abrasive scrubs to sandblast away things we don’t like about our skin. Strong chemicals to smooth things out and plump things up. We use wipes and pads and spinning brushes to help us apply our products…
This is anti-Korean Skincare.
Korean skincare is about being gentle and kind to your skin. Instead of punishing it, you nourishing it.
I apply all of these products with my hands and fingers. No tools. Over the last 45 days I’ve stopped all exfoliation unless it comes from a mask. And I’ve foregone any kind of retinol or products that strip the skin via acids.
Tip #3: Think Thin to Thick
Yes, there are several step to a Korean Skincare routine. However, you don’t have to worry about remember what comes first or second or eighth.
The premise of these routines runs watery to thick. After you cleanse and tone, the more watery a product, The earlier in the process it goes on your skin as you work your way up to thicker and heavier products.
Tip #4: Let it sink in
I’m not kidding when I say I sometimes set a clock when I’m doing this routine. After you apply every product, wait 30 seconds to 1 minute. I prefer one minute. Before you apply your next step.
This allows the products proper time to soak in to your skin and not be wiped away by the next step.
Now that you have a few basic tips about Korean Skincare – let’s dive into my streamlined routine which clocks in at 6 steps morning and night. With 1 additional twice weekly step, and 1 mid-day addition.
The Korean Skincare Routine
Korean Skincare is all about the dual skin cleanser; the first being oil based and the second a hydrating foam cleanser.
I’m already making a little adjustment on the first step and I have to say, it’s because I’m a guy and I don’t wear makeup.
The oil-based cleanser is supposed to help replace makeup removers, as it LITERALLY makes your makeup melt off of your face. This already is going to be a huge improvement for those who use makeup removers or wipes which are typically pretty harsh on your skin and cause you to tug at your skin to get everything off.
For myself, I picked up a product called Pure Eco Bamboo Water Cleansing Gel Foam by TonyMoly as a one two punch.
This product does foam up some, but it REALLY made my skin feel super dry if I didn’t immediately put something else on my face. While the TonyMoly is the Korean option – I will be returning to my tried and true Cetaphil gentle cleanser as my go-to and returning to my night-only cleansing.
For my toner, I actually have selected 2. One of the first brands that started me thinking about Korean Skincare was SK-II. I picked up their Pietra Essence Starter Set which came with a travel sized version of their toner, the Facial Treatment Clear Lotion.
I also picked up a secondary option – since I know SK-II might be a bit on the pricey side – a Korean toner from Be The Skin.
Both of these toners are extremely watery – as you would expect from a toner. But I resisted the urge to use a cotton pad to apply these and instead just put a bit in my palms and applied to my face.
This is one step that you typically won’t find in any traditional American skincare routine. Korean Essence is a hallmark of the routine, however, some people still aren’t convinced it is necessary.
Again, I picked up the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence for my essence step. Similar to the toner, it is quite watery, but I put some between my palms and applied to my face. Of course, always in an upward motion.
The first few times I put the Essence on – I was hooked! I felt like my skin was a dry plant that had just received water for the first time in a week. My skin felt great, looked brighter, I don’t know – it’s hard to explain.
As I’ve progressed through the bottle though, I’ve noticed less of an impact on my skin. I don’t know if I’m just used to the effects now, or what. But I can understand how some people begin to skip this step.
This is where you can really dose up the number of steps in your routine. I myself, keep it to one. However, this is where you can insert products based on your individual skincare needs. Anti-aging, smaller pores, dark spots, hydration, whatever.
For my Korean Serum trial, I opted for the Snail Repair Intensive from Mizon. If you’ve seen my previous videos, you know I used to use the Snail Serum from Skederm which I loved as it blended hyaluronic acid AND snail serum.
Since that product has been discontinued with Skederm, this is probably as good of a substitute as any. Also – it’s super cheap at right around $10 from Mizon
Fun fact – Snail Serum is a natural antibacterial so if you have problem prone skin, this is definitely something you should pick up.
If I were to insert one more step here, it would be my hyaluronic acid. The best I have tried is still my Neutrogena HydroBoost Lotion – which I would apply before adding this snail serum on top.
Korean Skincare is VERY big on masks as part of your skincare routine two to three times a week.
Traditional Korean skincare would place the mask step just after the serum step. However, I logically feel like that would just be removing the product I just put on. If I’m going to do a mask, I personally add this step into my routine just after cleansing and before the toner.
You can get creative here on what masks you use. And again, it will depend on your skin goals.
This is the only kind of exfoliation I performed during this test. So I almost always opted a 2/1 ratio of extraction or exfoliation masks to hydration. For my selection of exfoliation mask I went with my Boscia Charcoal Mask, and Collagen or Hyaluronic Acid sheet masks by TonyMoly. For a full run down of my favorite masks, be sure you check out that video on my channel as well!
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not great when it comes to designated eye creams. I know I need to, and it’s something I’m in search of.
If you have any recommendations for a good eye cream, please comment in the comments section below this video. I’d love to hear what you use!
For now though, I have relatively recently picked up the Clinique All About Eyes – as they were out of my Even Better Eyes treatment I typically use. While it’s good for making the skin around your eyes feel moisturized and smooth… in my opinion, it doesn’t do anything for dark circles. Which as I’ve talked about in previous vlogs. Is a thing for me.
With your eye cream though – both day and night, be sure to pat the eye cream under your eyes to help it absorb into your skin. Never rub!
The final step in this routine is going to be the same last step as most American skincare routines as well. Moisturizer!
For daytime I vacillate between my L’Oreal Men’s Lotion with SPF, and my Confidence in a Cream lotion.
The Confidence in a Cream can sometimes make my skin feel a little too oily – so on days where I’m going to be in the sun more than usual, or if my skin feels oil prone – I’ll opt for the L’Oreal Mens with SPF. I definitely recommend having an SPF built in to your moisturizer. Otherwise, you will need to add that as an additional step to your routine.
See how they can pile on??
In the evening, I opt for my Skederm Night Cream to round out my routine.
Well that’s 6 plus a bi-weekly mask. That leads us to the final ingredient of a Korean Skincare routine which is PERFECT for busy on-the-go Americans.
Facial mists are another hallmark of a Korean Beauty Routine.
After you’ve done all of this work on your face twice a day, to maintain and “re-activate” the effects of these products you need to employ a facial mist.
While any mineral water mist will work. I personally opt for the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe and Rosewater. To the point that I have this product in both a travel size for when I’m traveling. As well as a larger 8 oz counter top size.
I picked up the travel size at the checkout of Nordstrom Rack I believe, but they also carry them at Sephora and Ulta and places like that as well.
The misting may seem excessive. However, it is very commonplace in South Korea for people to whip out their facial mists in the middle of the day to keep all of those products working.
Just trust me on this. You’ll be hooked on this in no time.
While that concludes the daily Korean Skincare for Busy Americans – there is one final, albeit optional, step that you can take that South Koreans swear by.
The “maintenance” facial
I didn’t do any of these myself, but I did want to make note of it to remain true to the Korean routine. It is extremely commonplace for Koreans to have these weekly maintenance-facials. They think of it like going to the gym, but for your skin. You head in for an hour and get a facial, steam, extraction, massage. All of it one after the other.
These maintenance facial centers don’t really exist in the states yet. However, if you would like to incorporate a routine facial into your regimen, a general monthly extraction/exfoliation facial would be my suggestion.
That does it for this blog! I hope you enjoyed it and found this information useful. All of the product links are below – or in the description of my video which you can find here. Be sure to give the video a thumbs up if you enjoyed this information! While you’re there, go ahead and click subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already.
Any questions, comments, or product suggestions – please comment them in the comments section below as I’d love to hear from you.
Other than that, I’ll see you next time!
– Andrew Jones-Brothers
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