If you follow skin care and beauty trends at all, chances are you already know South Korea has recently become the global epicenter of skincare and perfect skin. You might even have converted into a fan of the multistep Korean skin care routine as well as the cutely packaged Korean skin care products. Whether you’re new to Korean skin care – also known as “K-beauty” – or are already a devotee, you probably (still) have questions about it.

For example, what sets K-beauty apart from Western skin care routine? Do you need to apply all the steps in the so-called 10-step Korean beauty routine? Can you skip steps? What sets Korean face products apart from the rest? Korean or not, what do best skincare brands have in common?
Let’s explore.

First things first – what are Korean products?

Generally speaking, Korean beauty products are products that either originate or are produced in Korea or both. Regardless, they are created with the unique Korean skin care philosophy in mind – that skin care is a long-term commitment, not an overnight fix. That it’s as important as eating well or exercising. That it requires attention and intention.

K-beauty supply is light years ahead of the West because Asians – especially Koreans – have been doing it longer, even before all this recent commercialization. Good skin was always a culturally valued phenomenon, including knowing how to protect from the sun and keeping the skin hydrated, glowing, and bouncy. Children learned to moisturize at a little age. They learn to protect their skin from the sun.

Formulas that work in the long run

The best Korean skin care products and regimens are those that are designed to bring you long-term benefits. This is not to say your skin won’t feel or look great even after the first use – think, for example, about products that help reduce redness in the moment or help the skin get rid of dead cells. You see the benefits right away.

Still, Korean face products are known to be formulated with a long-term vision i.e. making sure that good results will last and that the products won’t damage your skin’s layer, sebum secretion, collagen production, etc. in the long run – in fact, any product from any good brand, Korean or not, should support these functions while giving you the instant, overnight, or short-term results you love to see. 

Why so many steps and/or products?

The Korean skin-care routine includes many products and steps – but not all have to be done one after the other. You can also skip steps depending on what your skin needs. Korean skincare products include essences, serums, ampoules, and masks. The idea is to allow the skin to absorb hydration and nourish a thin gentle layer at a time.

What about the ingredients?

Anything natural goes. From snail mucin to ground mung beans, silkworm cocoons, and camellia oil. Many of these formulas are centuries old while some have become popular recently – such as the snail mucin! Natural ingredients have always been a staple of Korean beauty.

How to start

If you’re new to Korean skincare, start by exploring a product or two, such as a serum or an essence. You can also try sheet masks and have an in-home spa experience! Don’t forget your SPF – remember, untanned porcelain-like skin is coveted in all Asia.

Have fun!