When it comes to skincare, I have tried it all. And yet, I feel like haven’t. For long, I have experimented with various formulas and combinations in my quest to achieve that glass-skin look. From trying honey and yogurt as an all-natural pack for the ultimate hydration to applying chickpea and turmeric paste on my face for the glow, I have tried everything at my disposal to achieve that flawless goal.
With he Hallyu Wave in 2012, the beginning of a revolution in Korean pop culture. Remember how the song ‘Gangnam Style’ took centrestage. It gave rise to a phenomenon that was soon to become a staple in the mainstream media – the Hallyu, or the Korean Wave. From the vibrant and catchy K-pop, ultra-dramatic K-dramas, to sweet and spicy Kimchi, and chic and trendy K-fashion, the Korean Wave has given birth to yet another progeny – the K-beauty.
Korean skincare is more than just skincare – it is self-care. At its core, Korean skincare doesn’t focus too much on beauty. In a world that is dominated by fast-paced routines, K-beauty is a surprising yet very welcoming trend that allows us to take better care of ourselves.
What is it that the Korean beauty routine offers, that its western counter partners don’t?
Often described as ‘dewy and porcelain’, Koreans don’t tend to show any noticeable signs of ageing any time soon in their lives. This can be attributed to how they treat their skin. Koreans don’t put much focus on ‘beauty’, but rather on ‘wellness’. Where the western beauty industry focuses on concealing the flaws such as fine lines, redness, pimples, and scars, K-beauty is all about alleviating them to make the skin glow through a gentle and hydrating way.
While K-pop did help thrust K-beauty into the spotlight, the further popularity owes itself to the quality and type of products used. Earlier, skincare was limited to cleansing and anti-ageing. K-beauty goes well beyond this basic two-step routine and focuses on practicing a holistic skincare regime, its main emphasis being on intense moisturizing, the lack of which is usually the reason for the formation of early-stage wrinkles and lines on the skin. The differences between Korean beauty products and western skincare ones differ mainly on this point.
For example, toners in most parts of the world are considered as a solution for oil control. Toners in Korean beauty, however, act as the first step of hydration for all skin types. Korean beauty insists on hydrating your face regardless of your skin type. Even their moisturizers have been formulated to meet this requirement.
One of the most popular ingredients here, is the snail mucin. Snail mucin is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and an anti-oxidant. Thus, it is ideal for those who are looking for a product with long-term benefits. Other ingredients such as camellia, rice water, green tea, bee venom, starfish extract and pig collagen are also quite popular in their products.
K-beauty also introduced me to the concepts of serums, essences, and sheet masks. Many of us are familiar with those Instagram shots of popular beauty influencers clicking pictures of themselves with a white mask on their face. Well, that’s a sheet mask for you. This one comes dipped in a packet full of clear liquid. Serum is effective in brightening the skin and works best when applied right before mousturising the skin.
Talking about the steps, K-beauty is known for its 10-step routine, which may look very daunting to someone new to it. However, with practice, one can shorten the entire routine to a mere minutes. In fact, there are many steps that can be skipped and need not be performed on a daily basis. K-beauty is all about light layers and maximum hydration that helps to keep skin moisturized and plump.
The steps are often queued in a way so the product with the lightest density comes first. Hence, a typical K-beauty regime starts with double cleansing, consisting of an oil cleanser and a foam cleanser. The next step focuses on exfoliation, where physical exfoliators such as walnut scrubs are an absolute no. K-beauty is all about gentleness, and hence gentle exfoliators such as peeling gels or AHA/BHA peels are used. This is followed by toner, serums, spot treatments, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Also, equally important is loathing yourself in self-love, accepting all flaws and loving them.
Share your thoughts on The Hallyu Wave. We would love to hear about products you use to take care of your skin. Feel free to share your beautiful picture with us as well.