My introduction to Korean skin care products started when I read Charlotte Cho’s The Little Book of Skin Care (see my review here) and needless to say I’ve since become pretty obsessed!
The Korean 10 step skin care routine has taken the beauty industry by storm. I’ve particularly noticed just how much of an influence Korean skin care has had on products over the US and Europe this year, with dupes of Korean brands slowly surfacing onto our shelves. Sheet masks are incredibly popular with brands such as Garnier, Dr Jart + and Lancome producing their own, plus oil cleaners and serums are on the rise.
Yet, skin care has a different meaning in Korea, it has a profound cultural significance. Korea is renown for the people’s high regard for one’s well-being, both inside and out. A skin care routine isn’t just a drawn out task at the end of the day, great pleasure is taken in looking after one’s complexion. That’s why there are so many steps and each has a different purpose.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on the dear Klairs skin care collection to test out and I totally fell in love with the products! Here’s my own mini guide to the Korean 10 step skin care routine using the fab dear Klairs collection:
Step 1 – Makeup Remover and Oil Cleanser (Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil)
Makeup is best removed as soon as you get home from work, college or after a night out, particularly heavy makeup, as the longer you leave it on your face, the oilier the skin can become. Plus nothing beats the feeling of a fresh face. Start with a make up remover soaked into a cotton pad and remove any mascara and eye liner. Follow up with an oil-based cleanser on the rest of the face to break down the oil-based debris still left on your skin from your day – pollution, sunscreen and makeup up etc. I found the cleansing oil a strange product to get used to because it feels like you’re making your skin more oily not solving the oily skin problem. dear Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil is actually quite a light substance, despite the name. It’s made from black currant seed oil and black soybean oil, and on contact with water, it turns into a foamy substance as you gently work it into your skin.
Step 1.2 – Soap (Natural with HANDCRAFT, Body, Face and Pore Soaps)
dear Klairs also have a soap range for the body, face and specialising in cleaning out the pores. I would recommend using these soaps at the beginning of your routine instead of an oil cleanser if you’re not wearing make up as you don’t need the oil to soak away the residue from your make up. These soaps are great for a first cleanser, before moving onto the next step. My favourite has to be the black sugar charcoal soap – it smells like ginger bread and it was definitely the product that made the most difference to my skin out of the three soaps, reducing the size of my pores and clearing the black heads on my nose.
Step 2 – Water-based Cleanser (Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser)
Next take a water-based cleanser (yes you counted correctly, that’s two cleansers in one routine!) to a wet face to wash again – cleansing twice is recommended by dermatologists because it helps to thoroughly remove impurities that can cause break outs. The Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser feels incredible on your skin, you can really feel it moisturising the skin rather than tightening it as harsher soaps can do. Every time I use this product, my skin feels super clean by this step, like all the impurities have been thoroughly washed away now. Even though it seems excessive, it’s amazing the difference you feel using two cleansers.
Step 3 – Exfoliator (Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish)
Exfoliating helps to loosen debris in clogged pores and removes dead skin cells. This results in smoother, brighter skin. Exfoliate twice a week, concentrating on the nose, forehead and chin where blackheads reside. This is my boyfriend’s favourite step and product – dear Klairs’ Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish. Made from black sugar, shea butter and cranberry seed oil, this all natural face scrub is the best I’ve used so far. The sugar is abrasive enough to really feel like you’re working away the dead skin cells, yet it’s gentle enough not to tear and irritate the skin. Plastic beads used in other products are way too harsh and awful for the environment so I can’t recommend this natural formula enough! Plus, it smells like gingerbread -delicious!
Step 4 – Toner (Supple Preparation Facial Toner)
Toners are often viewed as a bit of an extra in a skin care routine and is often skipped, but toners are important to use after cleansing. They remove any leftover residues from your cleanser as well as prepping your skin’s barrier to absorb the moisturiser that follows. dear Klairs’ Supple Preparation Facial Toner is designed to balance the skins pH level, plus deeply hydrate the skin. Formulated from a base of botanical extracts, this toner soothes the skin. This toner doesn’t feel like you’re layering another product onto your skin, rather the formula is gently absorbed by the skin in preparation for the moisturiser.
Step 5 – Essence (Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop)
Considered the most important step in Korean skin care and actually created in Korea, essence helps to hydrate and increase call turnover. The most interesting product in the collection and dear Klairs’ newest arrival! The Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop is designed to repair the skin ‘ a revolutionary antioxidant treatment serum’. Using the pipet, squeeze a couple of drops directly onto the skin or a cotton pad and gently massage into the skin. On application, the vitamin drop provides a warming sensation and then cools after a few seconds. It definitely feels like it’s immediately working to repair your skin. I usually apply the serum before I get into bed as it’s a little sticky when you apply it – less is more definitely applies with this product.
Step 6 – Serums (Rich Moist Soothing Serum)
Serums have a thicker consistency than essences. They help to brighten skin as well as fade sunspots and smooth fine lines. You don’t have to use both the Rich Moist Soothing Serum and the Vitamin Drop in your routine if you feel it’s too much to combine them, it’s fine to alternate them. The formula of this product is a lot more concentrated, so again, you only want to use a small amount to massage into the skin. Using a serum has definitely dramatically improved the quality of my skin. After application I’ve been complimented on how my skin looks so healthy like it’s glowing!
Step 7 – Sheet Mask (Rich Moist Soothing Sheet Mask)
Sheet masks have to be my favourite product! They work to lock in the nutrients from the products and stops them from evaporating because the prolonged contact with the face forces your skin to absorb them. Sheet masks come in a range of different styles, flavours and prices which means they’re fun to experiment with! dear Klairs’ Rich Moist Soothing Sheet Mask is great for sensitive skin with it’s gentle formula. It has the equivalent of half a bottle of essence in one mask, so be careful when removing it from the packaging as this one is a little messy! Open up the mask and smooth onto your skin. Gather any excess essence and spread over your neck and chest so you don’t waste a drop! I like to use my sheet mask as a treat while I’m relaxing in the bath (it’s also easier to clean up!)
Step 8 – Eye Cream (Midnight Blue Calming Cream)
The delicate skin around the eyes is one of the most important areas to protect. Eye creams are specially formulated so that they’re extra gentle on the thin layer of skin. Regularly using an eye cream can help to prevent the skin aging, reduce the risk of wrinkles and puffiness. (dear Klairs’ Midnight Blue Calming Cream isn’t an eye cream but I’ve included it in this step a you could use it as one). From looking at it you can probably tell why I love this product so much – check out that gorgeous blue colour! ‘With herbal ingredients extracted from Chamomile, it’s natural dark purple color gives the cream a blue hue and effectively calms inflammation of damaged skin tissue and regenerates skin cells.’ This moisturiser smells sweet and like a lot of Klairs’ products, is ideal for sensitive skin designed to protect your skin from irritation or stress. I like to include it in my routine as a night cream.
Step 9 – Moisturiser (Rich Moist Soothing Cream)
Moisturisers feature ingredients such as emollients which smooth rough and flaking skin, creating that silky soft feeling you get after use. When skin cells are kept in good condition, they can rapidly repair themselves, which means that the skin will always be rejuvenating itself with fresh cells, preventing premature aging. Moisturise first thing in the morning, after showering and last thing at night for the best results! dear Klairs’ Rich Moist Soothing Cream is incredibly moist with a slightly gel-like formula. The cream works to deeply moisturise the skin and I’ve noticed how healthy and hydrated my face feels after use. Wait a little while for the cream to settle into the skin before applying make up for best results.
Step 10 – S.P.F. (Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream SPF 40,PA++ and Creamy & Natural Fit Concealer)
Sun protection is possibly the most important step, yet one that we often neglect the most. Our products do carry SPF but in Korea they take this skin care step to the next level. Korean skincare lines carry SPF moisturisers that are at least SPF 40+ (some are even SPF 65+). Protection from the sun is the best thing that you can do to keep paging at bay, or reduce your chances of skin cancer. Check your BB creams and foundations for a good SPF and make sure if you are out in the sun, you apply plenty of sun cream all over your body as well as your face. I wanted to get a BB cream to use on holiday so my skin was protected but I didn’t have to use as much protect for suitable coverage, so initially I thought I’d save it for the last week of summer. But, after trying dear Klairs’ Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream, I haven’t looked back since and I already need a refill. This cream is amazing! dear Kalirs’ boasts that it matches all skins tones and I’ve honestly never found a foundation that’s matched my skin tone so well! The formula has a creamy texture like a moisturiser so it gives your skin a fresh dewy look, without looking heavy at all which I love. I usually apply powder over the top of my foundation to keep my make up in place but with this product I haven’t needed to, it lasts all day with minimal reapplication needed. You only need to use tiny amount so it doesn’t feel like you’re covering up but instead enhancing your natural beauty! Plus, with SPF40, it’s great at helping to protect my skin from the sun. 10/10. To go with it, the Creamy & Natural Fit Concealer doesn’t disappoint. Like the Blemish Cream, the formula is light yet provides ample coverage. The concealer is great for not only hiding red patches and spots but also the dark circles under my eyes, without looking cakey!
So those are your 10 steps! There may seem to be quite a lot, but not of all these steps need to be done on a daily basis. For example, you might want to treat yourself to a sheet mask once a week. But I promise you, once you start this routine, stick with it and you’ll soon see the difference.
Have you tried the 10 step Korean skin care routine? What are your favourite products or steps?