Inside Scoop: K-beauty tips and best kept secrets revealed.
This post was submitted by Sophia Smith, beauty and style blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover, graphic designer and a DIY enthusiast. .
Korean skincare seems to be the talk of the town, actually, the talk of the world. All other women across the globe are absolutely amazed at how youthful and radiant the skin of a typical Korean woman is, regardless of her true age. The dewy, damp look they rock has a term in their language – ‘chok chok’ and it’s one of the most coveted looks in the world.
We have been bending over backwards to find the right highlighter that will give us that damp, lit-from-within glow, and they just look like they were born with it. There’s also the ‘kkul-gwang’, loosely translated as the glossy, almost honey-like finish, and the latest craze is what the co-founder of the Korean beauty boutique Glow Recipe calls ‘glass skin’. Now this is the kind of skin that looks almost translucent – like glass; it’s plump, radiant, and most importantly – healthy.
So, we’re in awe of Korean women and we wish to know their secrets, right? Let us dive right into the best K-beauty tips out there, because there is plenty of ground to cover.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT
There are certain things we have no control over – different ethnic groups simply age differently, and a study called Aging Differences in Ethnic Skin explains that the typical tell-tale signs of aging are wrinkles, sun spots, uneven skin color, and sagging skin and that ‘these cutaneous effects are influenced by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors and often are varied based on ethnic origin given underlying structural and functional differences’. Essentially, Asians have good genes on their side, but of course, that’s not the end of the story – if it was that effortless, even they wouldn’t bother coming up with products more advanced than the Western ones.
What are the best kept K-beauty tips and secrets?
The unusual rituals
Korean women have some of the most unusual rituals to keep their skin plump and one of them is slapping. Yes, they slap their faces to improve circulation and subsequently bring more life to their skin. It sounds kooky, but it’s true. They’re quite diligent when it comes to this routine, as they also believe it ‘opens up’ the skin and allows products to penetrate and have a stronger, more effective impact.
They invest in their skin
Aside from the plethora of products and skincare regimen steps, which we will get to, Korean women are highly willing to spend a great deal of their disposable income on spas and facial treatments, so much so, that the salons were overcrowded and the receptionists were constantly on the phone. Of course, Koreans found a way to fix that as well and they were one of the first – thanks to their advanced technology – to come up with beauty booking apps, such as Hwahae, KakaoHairShop, Glow Pick and Mind Beauty HK. No more phone calls – with just a few clicks you can book any service from a facial to cut and color with these apps, and the trend is catching on in the Western world for its sheer convenience.
Let’s talk about the products
According to BBC, Korean women spend twice as much on skincare products as American women, and even Korean men spend on skincare more than men from any other country in the world. So, it’s definitely not just good genes and facial treatments. Daily diligence plays a major role as well. But, what do these products have that the Western ones don’t? What we do know is that the ingredients are gentle – they cater to the sensitive Korean skin, but they are powerful and sometimes downright strange, case in point, snail extract. Their technology is simply more advanced, their products are better and we just have to make our peace with that, snag some amazing K-beauty products and give them a test run. But can we keep up with the steps?
The countless steps
What we can say with certainty is that their approach to skincare is different. While we’ve been heading to a more minimalist skincare approach, theirs is anything but. First of all, they’re taught about cleansing, exfoliation, moisturizing and all the other steps from a very young age, which means that this diligence and commitment are instilled early on and it doesn’t even feel like work, while Westerners, who are just hopping on the K-beauty trend, have to make a conscious effort to remember and actually go through all the steps. So, what are they?
Cleanse it good
First in line is the double cleanse – makeup removal followed by a face wash. Then there’s the so-called 7 Skin Method which actually entails layering the same hydrating toner seven times. That is a lot of layering. Once you’re done with this step, you don’t apply, but gently, taking your time, massage a nourishing moisturizer into the skin. The healthy skin craze goes so far that they actually have a Wayskin Skin Analyzer, which is a doughnut-shaped device that can help you track your moisture levels throughout the day.
We may have started to pay more attention to masks, especially Korean sheet masks, as well as exfoliation, but they’ve been using these products for much longer than we have. If you want that ‘glass skin’ you simply must exfoliate on a regular basis, preferably using a product that contains AHAs as these acids will essentially ‘glue off’ (but gently) all the dead cells, leaving you with an even complexion, minimized pores and zero irritation.
There are also the AHA-containing sleep masks, such as the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask which rejuvenates the skin while you get your beauty sleep. Finally, for that truly lit-from-within glow – ultra-hydrating serums. No makeup, just great skincare. When you think about it, aside from the seven layers of toner, the rest seems pretty doable. Our beauty store aisles are slowly being filled with K-beauty products, so choose wisely and start your Korean skincare journey.
You are what you eat
Aside from topical solutions, Korean women have quite the holistic approach to skincare, meaning that they drink plenty of water, mind what they eat and are generally focused on the art of mindfulness. They practice meditation, the art of mindful living and are simply more in tune with their body’s needs.
The little secret
A little secret that has been, as every secret, told to everyone, is that when it comes to cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery, no country has a more advanced technology than South Korea. Even Americans are flocking there to get certain things done, and for Koreans, undergoing plastic surgery is far from taboo. You have a flaw that causes you insecurities – you go and fix it. So you see, not everything is in great genes and skincare – there is a little something in surgical enhancement as well.
Still, there’s no denying their products are just better than ours, so now that we have the chance, let’s snag them and try to remain dedicated and get through the routine. Finally, stay away from the sun – this is another Korean tip. Use plenty of sunscreen and think of the sun as ‘lava’ – you know the game.
Sophia Smith is beauty and style blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover, graphic designer and a DIY enthusiast. She is very passionate about natural skincare, minimalist wardrobe, yoga and mindful living. Sophia writes mostly about beauty-related topics in her articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including: Eco Warrior Princess, Viva Glam Magazine, How to Simplify and Carousel.