As someone who has dealt with more than their fair share of acne, as well as the countless trips to the dermatologist that come with it, finding a skincare regime that works for me has been a quest. However, after discovering the 10-step skincare routine last March, it’s truly revolutionised the way I look after my acne-prone combination (oily and dry) skin. With the country investing so much in skincare, Korea’s products use technology seven years ahead of that found in Western products; it’s no surprise that the world of beauty is turning towards the East for inspiration; BB creams, sheet masks and the increased use of collagen are only a taste of what is on offer.
The products we’ve recommended have been checked on cosdna.com so that none of the ingredients have an irritant or acne rating of above 2, making them acceptable to use on acne-prone and sensitive skin.
Step 1: Oil Cleansing: A first cleanse used to remove oil-based debris from the surface of the skin; think make-up, sunscreen and pollution. The double cleansing method is unique to Korean skincare, and ensures that the face is as clean as possible.
Product Recommendation: Banila Co. Clean-It Zero Cleansing Balm
Step 2: Foam Cleansing: This removes dirt from further inside the pores. Simply lather your preferred cleanser before applying it on the face, being sure to spend at least minute cleansing using gentle, circular motions with your fingers.
Product Recommendation: COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Step 3: Exfoliating: Ideally done twice a month, helping to improve skin turn-over, reducing the ability for acne to develop. This step helps improve the circulation in the face, resulting in a natural glow.
Product Recommendation: Holika Holika Smoothie Peeling Jam (Grape Expectation)
Step 4: Toner: This step is commonly overlooked, but really important in regulating the ph levels of the skin, removing residue from your cleanser and for providing the perfect base for the layers that are yet to come. Toners are very watery, so are best applied with a cotton pad.
Product Recommendation: Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner 10-in-1
Step 5: Sheet Masks: Although many Korean women use a sheet mask a day, twice a week is enough to reap the benefits. A material layer soaked in an essence featuring ingredients such as collagen or aloe vera. These allow the skin to absorb the ingredients better than just using a cream, as the sheet acts as a blanket, slowing down the rate at which the product evaporates.
Product Recommendation: Etude House I Need You Mask – Green Tea Mask
Step 6 & 7: Essences and Emulsions: These affect the skin on a cellular level, and as they are the first product to go into the pores, they have arguably the greatest effect. Essences help increase the cell turnover rate, helping reduce levels of acne and for improving and brightening dark spots, such as acne scars.
Product Recommendation: COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Step 8: Serums: Serums can be layered on top of each other in order to combat more than one skin issue. For example, one may use a vitamin c serum to brighten the skin and a serum featuring collagen to aid with skin healing.
Product Recommendation: Skin Food Black Sugar Perfect First Serum
Step 9: Ampoule: Often referred to as ‘serums’ in the Western beauty market, they are more concentrated versions of essences.
Product Recommendation: Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule (Note that this product has the same key ingredients as the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, but is half of the price.)
Step 10: Night Cream (Night): A thick layer of aloe vera helps lock in the moisture, which is particularly important for oily skin; the more moisture the skin receives, the less sebum it will produce, in turn regulating the skin’s oil production.
Product Recommendation: Nature Republic Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel
Text by Amy Furney
Picture research by Juliey Pham and Donna Darafshian; featured image taken from citygirlsearching.com.