Before I went to Seoul, StinkBrain asked me what I wanted to get while I was there. I had no idea what I wanted or what was worth getting in South Korea. He said “lookup skincare stuff, I think it’s a big deal here.” Boy, he wasn’t lying.
To say that skincare in South Korea is a big deal is an understatement. Upon googling “Korean Skincare” I fell down the interwebs rabbit hole of blogs, articles, and youtube videos telling me about all the things I needed to buy. There also a system to it, a 10 step system which sounds daunting- but isn’t.
I made a list of the steps I needed covered, and certain brands that seemed to be popular so I could reference them once I got to Seoul. I had no problem finding everything I never knew I needed. In Myeon-dong, there were multiple skincare stores of varying, and the same brands. You could leave one store, turn the corner, and see another of the same chain – and somehow be convinced that you needed to see if there was anything different in this one. Also, with every purchase, you get a handful of samples to take home. This was my favorite thing about shopping in Seoul.
Here are some of my favorite Korean beauty products and how I use them within the Korean Skincare regime. Not everything is done every day, and you can substitute where you need.
1. Oil cleanse (night only) – Banila co Clean It Zero Purity
This is the first step of my nightly routine. It’s a creamy, oil based cleanser that I use to remove dirt, sweat, and my makeup– all of it including my eyes and lips. It rinses off clean and doesn’t leave a greasy film on my face.
2. Foam cleanse – Skinfood Rice Brightening Cleansing Foam
Here is where I get my face clean. This step is for water based cleansers to really get down in there. I use this cleanser morning and night. I even keep one in the shower so I can do this step when I’m in there.
3. Exfoliate (night only) – Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea
This is another step reserved for night time only. As most of you know, there are two types of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical. These pads are a combination of both. One side of the pad is a buffer, while the other is soft. The smell is pleasant, but not overwhelming. This line also comes in wine and lemon, but the green tea is my favorite. I do this step once or twice a week.
4. Toner – SON & Park Beauty Water
I use this toner both morning and night, and even in the middle of the day if I’m feeling icky. It’s super gentle on the skin and helps return it back to its original pH after the exfoliation, and helps remove whatever is left on your face after washing (you’d be surprised)
5. Essence – Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
This is the step that is unique to Korean beauty. Essence is essentially vitamins for your face, and there are different types to suit whatever your skin needs. Snail mucin (sounds grosser than it is) is also a gift to us from Korea, apparently it’s a great moisturizer. I use this essence morning and night and my face drinks it up.
I am one of those fortunate souls that has been plagued with acne since I was 13. One bonus that comes with that and being black is hyper pigmentation. YAY! This serum has been my saving grace. I got it in Seoul and my acne scars were noticeably lighter in weeks. I use this serum twice a day, but when I have a bad breakout (thanks, hormones), I use the whitehead liquid. It doesn’t work miracles, but it keeps my breakouts to a manageable level until my body stops freaking out.
7. Sheet Mask – Missha Real Solution Tencel Sheet Mask
You’ve probably seen these before, but sheet masks are a thing now. You can get cotton or gel, plain or fun prints, for various sink concerns. In Seoul, you can by them individually, or in packs of 5-10. At the airport, you can grab a duty free pack of 50 🙂 I use these 2-3 nights a week, nights I don’t exfoliate, and chill for 10-20 minutes.
8. Eye Cream – Etude House Pink Vital Water Eye Cream
You’re never too young to start using eye cream. Wrinkles are real so I use eye cream every morning and night. Eye creams don’t have to be heavy or expensive to be effective.
The same rules that apply for you eyes also goes for the rest of your face. Moisturize. I follow my eye cream with a face moisturizer twice a day. At night, I use a sleeping mask. This thing is so moisturizing it feels like water sitting on your face, it absorbs in a few minutes and you wake up with super soft skin.
10. Sun Screen (day only) – Laneige BB Cushion (Target)
Sun damage is also real, and African Americans are not immune. If I leave my house, I’ll use this BB cream as a sun screen. It has a nice coverage and doesn’t leave a white cast on my face like most sun screens. Laneige is a Korean line and “dark” is the deepest shade they have. As a reference, I wear NC45 in MAC foundation. There are other American brands of BB cushions with deeper shades, I have only ever tried Laneige. If I’m going to do a full face of makeup, I will substitute the BB cushion with a sun screen underneath my foundation.
That’s it! In between these steps I also brush, floss, and style my hair. In total, it may have added 5 minutes to my morning and nighttime routines. But as an bonus, the added flossing has scored me points with my dentist!
Have you tried/What are your favorite KBeauty products?
If you’ve made it this far, thanks. And as a reward for sticking around, I’ve decided to do an Amazon Giveaway! One lucky winner will receive the Klairs Freshly Juiced Drop Vitamin-C Serum. Winning is instant, and you’ve got a 1 in 50 chance (not bad). Click on the picture below, or follow the link here to enter.