Korean beauty is more than just ten steps and sheet masks – it’s not just what you use, but how you think. From all my experience, this is what I’ve come to observe about Korean beauty and the mindset that drives it. The way your skin feels and looks is priority number one. But in Korea, skin culture goes beyond products, and both men and women will go to great lengths to protect and nurture their skin. There are the steps.
1. Brand Loyalty Is Overrated
Korean consumers rarely stick with one brand, which keeps beauty companies on their toes. Shoppers are constantly in the market for the next best thing, and the Korean beauty industry has to develop products quickly to satisfy those needs.
This also means the products have to deliver, because no one’s sticking around if they don’t work.
2. Cute Is Not Overrated
Korean companies understand that packaging is important. We may be cautioned to not judge a book by its cover, but in this book, it’s totally okay to judge a cheek stain by its cat ears or a mascara by its dinosaur drawings.
3. Skin First, Makeup Second
Instead of trying to cover up flaws with makeup and spot solutions, Koreans tend to focus on skin-care products that get at the root of conditions and treat problems before they start. Relying wholly on makeup not only looks unnatural, but it’s also a temporary fix to a long-lasting issue.
4. Skin Care Is Not Just for Grown-Ups
Sadly, we don’t start taking care of our skin until pimples rear their heads right before prom, and then, at the first signs of aging, it’s a mad dash to the store to buy the most expensive cream available. When you’re young and healthy, that’s when it’s easiest and most beneficial to keep your body in a continuous healthy state, and your skin is no different. You know what they say: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – and the same seems to apply to skin care. If you start good habits now, they’ll be second nature. Wait until you’re older, and you’ll be kicking and screaming your way into a skin-care routine.
5. It’s Not Just What You Do, but How You Do It
While most people will put on a moisturizer and call it a day, Korean women use anywhere from six to ten products in their daily skin-care routine. And again, they’re not just reaching for whatever’s closest and slapping it on—the order in which the products are used is important, too!
6. When It Comes to Hydration, Go Deep and Go Often
Dewy, firm skin is the most sought-after beauty trait in South Korea. While
Western society may tend to focus more on achieving a matte complexion, Korean women prep and prime their skin so that they are luminous and glowing. Dewy is the opposite of oily, though—it’s a fresh look, not a greasy one.
7. It’s About Brightening, Not Bleaching
A bright glow is the end goal in your skin-care game. A lot of Korean skin-care products are labeled “whitening,” but this actually means “brightening.” Bright skin looks like it’s lit from within, and South Koreans love to enhance brightness with a little makeup hack. In other words, highlighters are a dewy girl’s best friend.
8. Skin Care Is Not Just a Luxury
Thanks to picky consumers and widespread demand, even the most innovative Korean skin-care products are usually affordable. There are skin-care shops on every corner, so good skin is accessible to everyone, and you don’t have to automatically assume that it comes with an out budget price tag. You can get effective ingredients and cutting-edge formulas – all wrapped in luxurious packaging – and still pay your rent.
9. No Routine Is One-Size-Fits-All
Unfortunately, skin care is very much a trial-and-error process, and there really isn’t a way to get it right the first time, nor can you just copy what someone else does and expect to see the same results. It’s also important to know that your skin is continuously changing – because, you know, life happens. Korean women understand this well. They’ve learned to recognize when a product is working for them. If it’s not, they’re quick to chuck it out without a second thought, cute packaging be damned.
10. Take Ownership of Your Skin – and Have Fun!
Your skin does not have to be a mystery. You can be in control of your skin, and you don’t have to wake up every morning wondering what might have appeared overnight. Yes, this is going to take a little time and effort on your part, but it doesn’t have to be drudgery. This is pampering, not cleaning the kitchen.
Any suspicions I had about the improvements being all in my head and not on my face, were erased when I went home for the holidays. People complimented me on how good my skin looked, which never used to happen, and I couldn’t help it – I glowed.
Source: Charlotte Cho’s Book – “The Little Book of Skin Care”