K-BEAUTY – Philosophy, not Geography!
Hello lovelies! I’m sure you all must be aware of the latest skincare trend taking the world by storm – K-Beauty. To expand it further – Korean Beauty. Sheet masks are usually the gateway drug of choice into K-beauty, but there is so much more to it than just a couple of products and sheet masks. It is a complete shift in approach to your skincare. Read on below to know more!
Korean women are reputed to have the most flawless skin in the world. How do they do it? Most believe that it takes a rigourous adherence to the fabled 10 step routine to achieve such skin, but it is not so. You can follow 10, 20, 30 or 3 steps – it doesn’t matter. You can buy ALL your products from Korea as well – even that is secondary. What is important is the heart of the K-beauty philosophy – to treat the skin gently, protect it and hydrate it. The Korean beauty ideal is dewy, moist and glowing skin. Thus, their skincare regime and products are also largely tailored to achieve this goal.
We are largely used to the CTM Routine – Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise. Done! K-Beauty takes this routine up another notch.
Cleanse becomes Double Cleanse. You first cleanse with an oil/balm cleanser and then you clean again with a foaming, milky or gel cleanser. This ensures that your skin is a perfectly clean canvas for the rest of your products.
Toners in the western world are more of an astringent type product but in K-beauty the role of a toner is completely flipped. Here, they perform the function of either or both exfoliation and hydration. You choose which your skin would prefer. The point to be noted here is not to bully your skin into submission by using harsh toners, but to treat it gently. One word on exfoliation here – you can use your beloved AHA/BHA exfoliators after toning, but as the mantra goes – Gently does it!
And now we come to moisturize! Well, there comes the real joy of the routine. You customize this part to what YOUR skin needs and YOUR skin concerns rather than using a one size fits all moisturizer. You can start with light watery essences targeting specific skin concerns and then move on to ampoules and heavy occlusives to seal in the moisture. The point is – it is all up to you and your skin. It is YOUR choice!
Korean products usually do not try to be jack of all trade type products and attempt to cure all ills. They focus on one or two aspects of a skin concern and pack powerful ingredients to target that one concern. So you pick and choose what you want to target and then layer, layer, layer each product. As I said earlier, the aim is to get dewy moist skin – considered the Holy Grail in Korea.
One step which Korean women don’t take lightly is sunscreen, and rightly so. There are risks to taking sun protection lightly, for example, premature aging, hyperpigmentation, skin cancer, etc. K-Beauty therefore doesn’t compromise on this step. Now you may say that you hate using sunscreen because of the white cast, it is heavy, it is greasy, it breaks me out etc. etc.. No excuses now – there are some amazing sunscreens available which are light and offer tough sun protection. For example, The Biore UV Rich Aqua Watery Essence sunscreen is a holy grail amongst many K-Beauty devotees (One tiny caveat here is that Biore is a Japanese company)
Now you may have also heard about so-called ‘weird’ ingredients used in Korean skincare like snail mucin, donkey milk etc. You may feel strange and uneasy using products containing these ingredients, but here’s the thing. For the most part, they WORK! You don’t ‘have’ to use these products, but you can atleast try them once. You never know you might find a holy grail amongst them!
One extremely attractive aspect of Korean skincare is that superhero products are available at extremely reasonable price points. Good skin does not become a function of your wallet, but rather the effort you put into it. And isn’t that just the way it should be? For example, the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel which is a moisturizer that many oily skinned beauties swear by is available online for about Rs. 400. If you pick up packs of two or three, that reduces the price even further. Now don’t fret if you like your skincare to be a luxurious experience and don’t mind spending on your skincare, K-Beauty has a place for you as well. Brands like Sulwhasoo, History of Whoo etc are priced a bit higher but deliver on the promise of pampering your skin.
Earlier, we had to rely on ebay and other international online shops for our K-beauty fix. But slowly that is changing. Nykaa has started stocking Innisfree and The Face Shop. CosRx and other brands have come to India through Daisy.net.in. CosRx is looking to open a store in India as well, so hopefully no more dealing with customs and lost packages!
So this whole trend of K-Beauty is not just about where the products come from, it is more about the way products are used and the way you treat your skin. You can have a skincare routine comprising of Western or Indian products but use them in a way that reflects the K-Beauty philosophy. And this post is just a toe dipped into the pool of K-Beauty. There is so much more to explore and learn in this fascinating world!
So what are your thoughts on this trend, my friends? Are you keen on Korean skincare? Are you already having sheet-mask nights and layering your hydrators and occlusives? Do let me know below!