Korean Skin Care: All That Moisture

Time for the second half of the Korean skin care routine: the moisturizing half! Since you pulled all the dirt and oil out of your face with your double cleanse and scrubbed off your dead skin with the exfoliator, then balanced everything out with your toner, your skin is now in perfect shape to receive a lot of moisture to make it glowy and beautiful.

This is where Korean skin products really shine: the moisturizers that come out of Korea are soothing and wonderful, yet somehow manage to stay light and not cause breakouts. It must be the snails.

Snail
Wait, what?

Snails, guys. The current trend in Korean face care involves moisturizers and cleansers made with filtered snail mucin. That weirded me out for a hot second, but considering that there are fish scales in our red lipstick, bee venom in our serums, and the further back in time you go the weirder our skin care ingredients get,  I figured I’d suspend my ‘ew snails’ thoughts until I saw how some snail-based moisturizers did on my face.

What’s great about the moisturizers I use is that they soothe my skin and make it soft, without causing breakouts. This is something I’ve struggled with for years, which is why I never really used moisturizers before – why use something that’s going to give me zits or leave me looking greasy all day?

Well, the Korean products deliver. Here’s what you’re gonna do after you tone:

  1. Sheet Mask (optional/weekly). These are those adorable masks we’re seeing all over the place right now. They’re meant to be put onto your dry, post-toner face, and left alone for 15-20 minutes while they soak loads of moisture into your skin. I get mine at the little Korean grocery store in my town, and they’re 5 for $6. Strongly recommend hitting up your local Asian market to see if you can get a similar deal.
  2. Essence. The most important part of Korean skin care is the facial essence. It’s a light moisturizer that you pat onto your skin every time you do your routine, and it firms and smooths your skin, leaving you looking all soft and lovely.
  3. Serum (optional). These are tiny powerhouses for your skin – if you want to treat some dark spots or a bad breakout, or really tackle your dark eye circles, get a good serum or ampoule to use for a while. These are your special treatments (which is why they tend to have a pretty special price), that you use for a short time and then stop.
  4. Eye Cream. The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your body, so keeping it moisturized is very important. Tap it on lightly – no tugging or rubbing! – with your ring finger until it’s absorbed. My eye cream cleared up my dark circles after a few weeks, something that thrilled me to no end. What up, not needing concealer.
  5. Night Pack OR Sunscreen. Obviously, this last step depends on whether you’re doing your skincare routine in the morning or before bed. If it’s your pre-bed routine, a deep-moisturizing sleep pack will help your skin heal and regenerate overnight. If you’re about to head out for the day, sunscreen will help protect your face from dark spots and age lines – oh yeah, and skin cancer.

So after your toner, if you’re doing a full-on facial, hang out with your sheet mask on for a bit. If you’re not, skip straight to your essence, any serums/ampoules you’ve got going right then, and your eye cream and night pack OR sunscreen. Pat everything into your skin very lightly, and give it a little time to soak in between layers. You’re all set!

Next week’s blog will be a sort of FAQ about some of the things I wondered about when I started this skincare regimen, and what I’ve found the answers to be so far. Hopefully it will help you as you research your own skincare needs. If you have a question you want me to answer next week, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and let me know!

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