Do you know a friend or an influencer on social media who does a 10-step K-Beauty skincare routine every day? For most of us, 10 steps is just way too much time and too expensive to keep up with daily. If, like most of us, you can’t spend hours in front of the mirror and hundreds of pounds on beauty products, fear not. There’s another, much simpler way.
Let’s take some inspiration from South Korea. Instead of focusing on the number of steps in our routine, let’s focus on what we need to have great skin and use the right products to get the job done.
You don’t have to take K-Beauty literally and follow every single step (apart from daily moisturising and sunscreen protection). You can make it work for you and your skin type. All you need to do is find the best elements of the routine and K-Beauty products for you and your skin.
With that in mind, the following are not steps, just options.
There are two parts to cleansing when it comes to K-Beauty. First, you need a cleansing oil that’s suitable for your skin type and that gently removes makeup, grease and oil from your pores.
The second part of your cleanse is to use a water-based cleanser. This will help to further deep-clean your pores without stripping your skin of its natural oils or irritating it. You only ever need to use gentle formulas, and avoid anything harsh. Water-based cleansers vary in form, and the kind you need depends on your skin type:
- Cream for dry skin.
- Foam for oily skin.
- Gel for combination skin.
Now your skin is thoroughly cleansed, it’s time to prep it using an exfoliator. Here you have two choices: physical or chemical.
Physical exfoliators are typically made using microplastic or natural materials like nutshells or coffee grounds. Always go natural, as microplastics are wreaking havoc on our environment. These types of exfoliators are good at deep cleaning the pores by force, creating a soft surface. But they’re not great for anyone with sensitive or dry skin.
Chemical exfoliators use skin-friendly acids to do the same job as above, without being rough, making them perfect for dry or sensitive skin. There are different types of chemical exfoliators to choose from:
- Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) — best for oily or acne-prone skin.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) — best for sensitive or dry skin.
You only need to use these exfoliators once a day, preferably at night.
Sheet masks are iconic within K-Beauty and serve an important function. It’s not vital to the routine, but if you have the time, by all means, treat yourself to a sheet mask. There are lots of choices, but the main focus should be hydration. Finding the right sheet mask for your skin may take some trial and error.
Serums should be applied before any oils or creams are added. It’s a chance to add some more hydration, plus nutrients and antioxidants to your skin. Some serums include AHAs and BHAs — remember which one is most suitable for your skin type.
If you’re concerned about any fine lines around the eyes, a high-quality eye cream will help you when applied nightly. Be sure to apply it all around the eyes and only before bed. Be very gentle when applying the eye cream.
At the start of this post, we said that the K-Beauty skincare routine was not strict, and you don’t have to follow all the steps…except for moisturising! This is a must, and it should not be skipped, as it’s the final layer of deep hydration for your skin. It also helps lock in all the products you’ve applied before you hit this step, so moisturising is essential.
Again, the type of moisturiser you choose will depend on your skin type. Those with normal to oily skin can get away with regular cream. If you have dry, sensitive or eczema/acne-prone skin, you will need something much richer. Apply your moisturiser every morning and night for the best results.
No matter what the season or the weather, you should be applying sunscreen daily to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. Dark spots, hyperpigmentation, premature ageing and skin cancer are all genuine skin issues we should try to avoid. Sunscreen can help protect your skin and heal any damage.
Again, you will need to make sure that your K-Beauty sunscreen is suitable for your skin type. There’s a massive range of sunscreens out there to choose from. Failure to protect your skin from the sun means you’re undoing all the great work you did above.
Don’t overcomplicate your K-Beauty routine. Find the right K-Beauty products for you, and only use the steps needed to give you great-looking skin. K-Beauty doesn’t have to be time-consuming, complicated and expensive. Make it work for you and your skin.