Blog about Korean cosmetics, reviews and articles
The mysterious multi-step Korean care system – in short (as much as that’s possible).
When I first heard the verbiage of “ten step Korean facial care system”, I felt sick. It’s not like the ground fell from under my feet, but I definitely saw a few little green men.
In reality, as it always happens, Korean skincare turned out not to be as scary as I thought.
In the previous post, I have listed all of the necessary products, so you and I have all that we need to get right down to business.
I’m giving an example of my own, personal skincare. It’s somewhat of a puzzle, consisting of different products. Depending on the skin’s needs, puzzle pieces can be easily changed for other ones. Below I give the main base, without with the most miraculous Korean cosmetics will not work. In the same way that empty spots make a puzzle unattractive, missing one of the pieces makes the whole process of putting the puzzle together completely useless.
Generally, we take care of the face twice a day, morning and evening. The difference between the two is that most of us apply makeup in the morning, which has to be removed in the evening. Even if the kids are crying, the husband wants soup for tomorrow, and your boss is a jerk.
Korean morning skincare:
1. Foaming face wash. (Many people first cleanse the face with micellar cleansing water or cleansing oil, but for my skin that is too much. It didn’t like it). Do not foam the cleanser directly on the face, only in your palms, or even better – with a special sponge (I’ll talk about that later). Don’t rub the skin like you are doing laundry, just massage the foam itself very gently. I wash off with warm water, blot off with a single use paper towel, because a cloth towel is a mechanical destroyer of your face filled with bacteria. I specifically blot, not wipe. The function of the foam is cleansing, which everyone already knows 🙂
2. I apply toner. It can be very liquid or quite thick. It’s tempting to apply it with cotton balls, but Korean women (and same with me) apply the whole system with hands. Remember how our moms used to rub in the thick “Pani Valevska” cream almost with dish scrubbers and never do that ourselves. I rub a bit of toner in my palms and apply to the face with light, tapping motions. Toner is different from tonic, even though they sound the same, they are exact opposites. Toner opens pores and prepares the skin for the following steps of care, while tonic closes the pores and minimizes them.
3. I apply the serum. The serum bottles usually come with a dropper. Despite blogger claims (more about that later), one drop of serum is enough only for my nose. Maybe my face is too large, or maybe some of the advocates have never done it themselves. My face takes half a dropper of serum. I gently tap the serum into the skin. Now you have to wait until the serum is absorbed. Most likely, it will be slightly sticky, which is normal. During that time, I brush my teeth and take care of my hair. The serum penetrates the skin the deepest, and has the highest concentration of good things. All the treatments applied over the serum get absorbed even better.
4. Eye serum. I gently pat it in, starting from the inner corner of the eye toward the outer both above and below the eye. Along the line of the upper and lower bone. Do not rub anything in this area, unless you want to come to the next dress up party as Viy (*he is a Russian mythical character with huge, droopy lids). The skin here is very tender, and the cream will get absorbed easily when tapped in with light, butterfly-like pats.
5. Emulsion. If you have oily skin, then emulsion can easily replace cream. I also allow it to absorb. At this stage of the game, your skin will likely shine like the surface of a new Samovar from Tula. To speed up absorption, I massage the face with patting motions. Emulsion moisturizes the skin.
6. Day cream for eyes and face. Day cream has to contain sunscreen. Koreans and myself do not ever leave the house without this protection 🙂 If the cream doesn’t have this, then it is applied separately after all other care. Day cream protects the skin from the harsh effects of the environment.
7. Finisher or makeup base. If you don’t have special love for decorative makeup (I use it very rarely), then the finisher will replace all the following layers of BB, CC, and cream-powders if you flawlessly match it to the skin.
Then, your makeup. I will tell you about my own anti-aging makeup in one of the later articles.
Korean evening skincare:
2. Foaming cleanser. Repeat the morning process.
4. Serum for the face.
5. Serum for the eyes.
7. Night cream for the face and eyes or a sleeping mask/sleeping pack. A sheet mask is applied for the duration listen on the package, then gently pat the remaining product into the skin. A “non-sheet” mask is simply applied to the face like a night cream.
Now about occasional procedures:
– Peeling. Korean women recommend doing this no more than 1-2 times a month. I like chemical Korean peels, I don’t like “coffee grounds and apricot seeds”, but that’s a matter of taste. Peeing is done after foam cleanser before applying toner. I scrub my big fat nose and the surrounding areas with extra vigor because this entire zone loves to get oily, peel, and bring me joy with big blackheads during the time of the month when my mood is already crappy.
– Masks. I love Korean sheet masks. I love them like a maniac. I love them 1 to 7 times a week, the way Koreans recommend. The mask is applied after serum, kept on for the time indicated on the packaging, the remaining liquid is patted into the skin, then the normal “ritual” continues.
Koreans have a multitude of non-sheet masks. They have massaging masks, whitening, cleansing, but I will tell you about my favorite masks in a different article.
Here’s a trick for applying all other treatments – gently pat everything in with your fingertips along the classic massage lines. By the way, maybe the secret of Korean women is that they basically do a light facial massage … on average 9 times a day during their skincare routine? 🙂
And now about the inconsistencies between some information I’ve read in Russian and non-Russian Korean beauty blogs and the truth.
1. “Korean skincare system doesn’t take as much time as one thinks. 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night is enough”.
Because the long list of procedures that replaces our European cleanser-tonic-cream is still fresh in your mind, you are probably thinking – what 15 minutes? Either these are people with superpowers, six arms, or they have never done this themselves. This type of skincare really does take a long time. Just foaming the cleanser with a special mesh takes 2 minutes, according to instructions. And if you don’t let the products get absorbed, which I tried to do, trying to fit into 15 minutes, then you will have a thick and unpleasant oily “pancake” on the face. And if you imagine, on top of that, a finisher, BB cream, foundation and powder? It takes me 25-30 minutes in the morning and as long at night. Maybe I have weird hands. But in any case, I will tell you right away – good quality Korean skincare takes a long time.
2. “Three second rule – you have to apply toner within 3 seconds after cleansing, otherwise 50% of the skin’s moisture will evaporate”.
First of all, I can’t find any proof that this is true. And I, trust me, am very thorough and will find anything, as long as it exists. Besides, I have conducted my own experiment and applied the toner five minutes after cleansing and ten minutes after – after ten minutes the face did, in fact, feel dry. Second of all, three seconds is not enough to thoroughly blot the face dry, pour toner into hands, and pat it along the whole face, neck and chest area. Only if you pour the toner into a bucket and dip your face in. But let me tell you – that will be very, very expensive.
3. “All of skincare should be Korean, since the system is Korean”.
I mix products from different countries just fine. Why give up a trusted luxurious cream if we can simply add a suitable toner and serum? But the unique thing about Korean products is that these cute, but very decisive treatments will slowly but surely force out all the “foreigners” from your bathroom cabinets. And one morning you will simply see a full set of “Koreans” on your shelf.
And now, small tricks that I hope will help you make Korean system not so lengthy and very effective.
– Buy a Bubble Maker. Like this one, for example Missha Bubble Maker
Here’s why – this is the difference in quality and amount of foam while using hands (top right) and a sponge (bottom right):
Advice to avoid losing your mind.
⁃ I recommend that slow people like me hang a chart of Korean skincare on their bathroom mirror when they first start.
⁃ The most important advice – create a kissing schedule. Yesterday my husband quietly and humbly asked to schedule a time of day when he can kiss me (direct quote follows): “without getting slathered in snail hormones”. In the next article I will describe in more detail about my own personal bathroom shelf. Good luck in learning Korean multi-step system and a great day!
Your Inna 🙂