When I think of the most recent Korean trends, bouncy bubbly K-pop springs instantly to mind. Harking back to the classic boyband days gives me a little kick of nostalgia combined with a whole world that I never knew about before. After a few youtube videos of BTS and GFriend my ads are now littered with all things K-Style.

While pastel bucket hats aren’t my thing, I have been getting more and more interested in the wide range of K-beauty products on offer. If you are like me you are probably asking what the K? So here is my quick primer on an approach to skincare that is guaranteed to build a good amount of me time into your daily routine.


The 10 step process

Here in the UK most of us live by the old skincare standard of cleanse, tone, moisturise (with a bit of exfoliation thrown in if we are feeling particularly fancy). K-beauty aficionados more than triple this with a 10 step process that goes a little something like this:

  1. Oil cleanse
  2. Water/gel cleanse
  3. Exfoliate
  4. Tone
  5. Essence
  6. Treatments
  7. Sheet masks
  8. Eye cream
  9. Moisturise
  10. Sun protection

If that seems a lot to get your head around think of it as being broken down into four sections

  • Cleanse (step 1-3)
  • Prepare (step 4)
  • Nourish & hydrate (step 5-8)
  • Protect (step 9-10)

Is it worth it?

If the ol’ cleanse, tone and moisturise regime was a bit of a stretch for you, you’re probably asking what the benefits of a ten-step routine are. The simple answer is that it takes really good care of your skin. The cleanse, prepare and protect parts of the routine are really not that different from your standard regimes, the different products just help get things really clean and really protected. The true magic is in the nourish section where you choose specific products based on what your skin needs. Ultimately it’s a much more personalised routine that will let you embrace your skin, with all its quirks.

Quick fixes

If you are reading this and thinking “Very good, but honestly I don’t have time to go through 10 steps!”, don’t fret, you can easily find stand-alone products that will pack a hefty punch. Personally, I think the pimple patches from Skinsider are a must-have if you get acne flare-ups. The patch acts as a physical  barrier to keep grime, germs (and your fingers) away from spots, while active ingredients get to work on the spot itself. As the patch only covers the spot there is no need to worry about healthy skin being dried out or irritated.

What makes K-beauty different

Extensive skincare regimes are nothing new in Korea, generations of Korean women and men have been taking exceptionally good care of their skin with an emphasis on natural ingredients. As a result, you will find K-beauty packed with ingredients like ginseng, turmeric and green tea.

All in all, it may seem like a daunting task to commit to a ten-step routine but there is no denying that a tailor-made skincare regime is going to be more effective than a one size fits all face wash that claims to do everything.

I also think it’s worth pointing out that the time spent on your routine is an ideal way to work in some proper self-care time to your day, something that I think we can all do with a little bit more of.

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Claire Kirby

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