Warning: This post is a long one… And by long one, I mean even longer than all my other posts. I always start with “quick post today” and two pages later end up having to delete that sentence. What can I say? I have a lot to share.
As many of you may have heard, Korean beauty is all the hype these days.
I had seen it mentioned in magazines, blog posts and on promo’s on Hautelook. But I really didn’t understand the basis for it until I read this book.
The Little Book of Korean Skin Care
The writer Charlotte Cho breaks down all aspects of Korean beauty & beauty culture in a lighthearted and humorous fashion. She also recounts the culture shock she experienced when first moving to South Korea for work.
Now I’ll have to admit that I had very little knowledge about Korean culture before reading the book, so I was shocked to learn the importance Koreans place on healthy, glowing skin. It is so engrained in the culture that women AND men jump through hoops to achieve the desired chok chok (Korean phrase for moist and dewy).
My favorite snippet was her story of walking down the halls in her office and feeling like she was going through the rainforest due to all the humidifiers running on people’s desks.
The book ultimately leads to her breakdown of the famous 10 Step Korean skin care regimen.
Yes, you read that right. 10 steps people.
Now you may be ready to flip a table. But hear me out. Most steps only take a few seconds, and not all steps have to be performed every day.
I was intrigued enough to order several products from her website sokoglam.com and to take a little excursion to Korean town in Dallas (a special thanks to my friend Jessie for showing me around and for supplying the most adorable face masks).
The 10 Step Korean Skin Care Regimen in a Nutshell
- Remove make up and use an oil based cleanser
- Use a water based cleanser
- Apply toner
- Apply essence
- Apply ampoules, boosters and serums
- Sheet masks (as needed)
- Apply eye cream
- Apply moisturizer
- Apply SPF
To read more details about each step, read this post from the author herself. She can explain it 10 times better than I could.
What I walked away with
There is no skin panacea
I already knew this, but I needed a little reminder. Charlotte explains how Koreans are all about the long term. Often when I try products and don’t see short term improvements I toss them and move on to the next hot item. But the truth is, although I may not see results now, I will be rewarded with better looking skin in the future.
The Double Cleanse Method
This one really resonated with me. I had never cleansed my skin with an oil based cleanser but now that I have started using an oil first, I do feel like my skin is completely clean. You could still achieve the same feeling using something like the clarisonic, but for some reason using my clarisonic seems like such a chore to me. With an oil cleanser I just use a couple of pumps and rub it on my face with my fingers, then wash it off before using a water based cleanser. It adds 30 seconds to my routine.
In my teens I used an unnamed blue toner that was extremely harsh and drying on my skin so I wrote off all toners. Charlotte explains that after cleansing its important to restore your skin to its ideal PH level (which is usually around 5.5). Most soaps have a more alkaline with a PH ranging from 8-10 so using a more acidic toner with a lower PH is key. I have been using the Son & Park Beauty Water which has a PH level of 4. I don’t understand how my cotton pad still has makeup residue after the double cleanse…
I had used a couple of face masks prior to reading this book but I thought they were just a fad. But Charlotte explains this perfectly:
“while the sheet rests on your face, it acts like an icebreaker at an awkward party and forces the antioxidants and vitamins to mingle with your skin”
Leaving the ingredients on your skin longer allows them to really absorb. I have been using face masks between 1-2 times a week.
Some of my purchases
Between my order on Sokoglam.com, my purchases at Korea town in Dallas and the gifts I got from my friend Jessie it would take several pages to go through each item. So I shall spare you from my list and only include some highlights below.
Son & Park Beauty Water – This is a surprisingly refreshing toner. It does not dry out my skin and removes every last bit of make up and dirt left.
Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence – I can’t quite make up my mind on this one. I have never used essence so its hard to say. I haven’t seen any significant differences in my skin. But this is super easy to apply and the bottle will last me forever so I will power through since prevention is key. I actually read a ton of reviews on this product and people rave about it so maybe I just need to use it longer.
Skinfood Hydro Fitting Snail Masks – The packaging on these (and most Korean beauty products) is so flipping adorable. But unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan. This one left a very thick and sticky residue on my skin that never absorbed. Most sheet masks leave some residue on your skin, but it will absorb after 20 min or so. Not with this one.
Benton Honest TT Mist – Another facial spray for my arsenal… I like this one, the nozzle isn’t great but it has tea tree oil and hylauronic acid for hydration. The packaging is different than other facial sprays and is much more travel friendly than any other spray I own. This one is $8 which is the most affordable of all my facial sprays.
One last warning: Looking through the ingredients of several of the facemasks and products that I bought I saw several not so great ingredients including parabens, SLS, alcohol and fragrance. Everyone has different opinions on this, but my personal philosophy is to try to get some balance. I avoid certain ingredients when possible, but I don’t deprive myself of trying out a product because it has a fragrance. From what I can tell, some of the Korean brands are better than others in terms of what ingredients they use so just make sure to read the labels and only purchase products you are comfortable trying out.
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