Korean skincare has made an impact on the global market by introducing new and unique formulations, ingredients, and philosophies. By emphasising hydration, soothing, and mildness, Korean skincare takes a different approach to the harsh exfoliants that were all the rage in the past. As awareness of Korean skincare philosophies grows in the West, we can start to see the impact of Korean staples even in western trending products such as La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast balm.
The Foundations of Korean Skincare
Korean Skincare Focuses on Health in the Long Term: By focusing on preventative care, the products can be formulated gently, having lasting effects with repeated use in comparison to strong formulations for emergency use.
Unique Ingredients: Korean traditional medicine plays a part in the use of unique ingredients in skincare – ginseng, for example, is widely used across Asia as a tea for its anti-inflammatory properties. This holistic knowledge carries over well into skincare, with many prominent and beloved ingredients being natural in origin. For example, heartleaf, rice water, and the cult classic snail mucin all are derived from the natural world!
Layering-Friendly Formulations: All Korean skincare is meant to be used as part of a wider routine. Due to the gentle nature of the formulations, layering more products is less likely to irritate your skin as other harsher formulations. The 10 step routine provides a framework on the order of steps to execute – although not every step should be done every day. Often, skincare lovers will have a simpler routine in the morning!
The Steps of the Korean Skincare Routine are as follows:
- Oil Cleanser – Removes makeup and dirt.
- Gel Cleanser – Removes sweat and dirt, oil remnants.
- Exfoliators – Removes dead skin cells and impurities: depending on the strength of your exfoliant it could be damaging to use it every day!
- Toner – Balances the pH levels of the skin and creates a nice base for additional products.
- Essence – A gentle, water based product that hydrates the skin.
- Serum, Ampoules, Treatments – Thicker products with stronger active ingredients, addressing targeted skin concerns.
- Sheet Mask – Once in a while, get a targeted and relaxing experience by using a sheet mask! Similar to step 6, but concentrated, not for everyday.
- Eye Cream – often anti-aging and intended to combat wrinkles near the eye. Some eye creams also depuff the eye.
- Moisturiser – One of the most important steps of all: moisturisers come in different weights for different skin types. Even oily skin needs moisturiser! Oil can be a sign that your skin is dehydrated and producing excess oil to compensate.
- SPF and sunscreen – The most potent anti-aging measure you’ll come across. Protects your skin from wrinkles, dark spots, and most importantly, reduces the risk of skin cancer.
Why UK Beauty Enthusiasts Are Turning to Korean Skincare
Korean skincare provides many options for all skin types and concerns. One really good example of this is with hydration/moisture. Korean moisturisers come in many different weights, from lightweight gels like the Jumiso Waterfull Hyaluronic Acid Cream for oily skin to thicker options like the Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream for dry skin. On top of this, hydrating products come in all formulations, from sheet masks to toners, allowing for hydration to be brought in at any step in a routine! The variety of formulations also lets the individual pick out a variety of active ingredients to be used in different steps. Korean skincare is also good value for money, with excellent ingredients for reasonable prices compared to higher end UK retailers.
Must Have Korean Skincare Products for UK Audiences
For Teens with Acne Prone Skin: Try out the Benton Goodbye Redness Spot Cream. Benton is an underrated brand here in the UK, with its spot treatment being a familiar style to known western spot creams. If you want to try out this redness-busting formulation before buying, it also comes in a sheet mask – though the cream is more potent!
For People With Older Skin Who Like To Keep It Simple: Try the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner. This two-in-one simplifies your skincare routine while still packing a punch in terms of moisture! Many customers have come back to repurchase, giving us in-person reviews on the effects of this unique product.
For Everyone: Sunscreen is fundamental! The COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is a slightly more affordable option that delivers on protection and feeling. It’s lightweight with no strong scent, doesn’t leave a white cast, and leaves skin glowy and hydrated!
Adapting Korean Skincare for the UK Climate and Lifestyle
In the winter months, a cream-type sheet mask is perfect for delivering moisture with a thicker texture. Anua’s Heartleaf Cream Mask Night Solution is perfect for this – from the brand that created the heartleaf toner that won first place in the Olive Young Awards in 2022.
For busy Londoners on the go, we’d recommend streamlining your morning routine down to steps 2, 4, 9 and 10 of the 10 step routine, with a fuller routine in the evening if you wish. These four steps alone will cleanse impurities and refresh protection of your skin barrier before heading out to brave London tube air all day!
Aigoo: Your Trusted Destination for Korean Skincare in the UK
If you want guidance and help creating a personalised skincare routine with Korean products, come by our stores to talk to our expert staff! You can also do patch tests to make sure products react well with your skin. Aigoo stocks nothing but the best of authentic K-Beauty Products, direct from Korea – check out our Korean Skincare in UK selection to shop online, no long wait times and delivery across borders.
Share your skin journey with us with the hashtag #aigooloves to be featured on our socials and website! We would love to see what your routines look like and spread the K-Beauty buzz here in the UK!