A daily beauty routine to be performed in 10 long steps? Really? Every single day? Morning and evening? How time (and money) consuming must it be? Well, not as much as you think it would be. And it’s totally worth it!
Korean women (well, asian women in general) know that a flawless, smooth and polished skin is the real key to beauty. While women in the west tend more to concentrate on make-up and its power to disguise imperfections, asian women focus on the imperfection itself, trying to go at the root of the problem.
I noticed the same approach while comparing western medicine and traditional oriental medicine. Follow this example for a while and you’ll get my point.
Good things come to those who wait
Gab has suffered of a light disk problem since he was a teenage. Despite being very active and practicing sport regularly, he started having this sort of chronic pain, which has increased with the years. He used to take some medicine that would momentarily stop the pain, acting on the effect of the disk issue, not on its cause. The doctors said he would have to bear with it and that, if the pain had to reach a level where it would be untolerable, he had to undergo surgery.
While being in Seoul the pain reached a certain level where he would really have problems laying down or even sitting on a chair for a long time, so we decided to go this very famous clinic in the super posh Gangnam district (yes, the one from the song) which is specialized in non-surgical treatments for spinal disorders. Our doctor explained to us that the clinic focused on korean medicine and that they would go to the root of the problem, trying to regenerate the damaged tissue in his disk. In order to do this, they acted on several levels: spinal manipulation (called chuna), acupunture, cupping and postural training. Plus, Gab had to drink this very bitter herbal medication (made with korean herbs, plants and seeds used traditionally for centuries) two times a day for three moths, as it would help with inflammation control and soft tissue regeneration.
As you can understand, each session was pretty long and, most of all, we couldn’t see any result in the short period. After a few weeks, we were still there, the pain almost unchanged (maybe just slightly diminished), asking ourselves: “Is this worth it?”. It turned out it was. After the first month had passed, Gab’s pain started to decrease considerably and he was actually getting better. And it kept getting better and better with time. And the effects are still there after a few years from the treatment.
You see my point now? Covering our face with corrective make-up is like taking an anti-inflammatory medicine. Ok, maybe the skin looks flawless for a while, but what about when we remove make-up at the end of the day? On the other side, a good skincare routine is like good, slow oriental medicine, that goes deep down where the problem is. In fact, many korean companies use traditional herbs and plants in their products, combining them with modern technologies, as to maximize their impact on the skin texture. Sure, we will never be 20 again…but our skin can actually be better, trust me (because I’ve tried it!).
It’s all a matter of timing
Korean women also know that it’s never too early to start taking care of their skin, so even teenagers follow a beauty routine of some kind. In the west, women tend to ignore the problem until their skin starts showing the first signs of time (fine lines, dark spots, lack of elasticity) and that’s when they want miracles from products they start buying in order to stop (as if!) the aging process of their skin.
So, you must be asking by now, what is this “10-step beauty routine”? It’s a daily process you have to go through, layering on your face several products that carry out several functions to improve your skin from the outside and the inside. Korean women do it very naturally. They don’t even know the expression “10-step beauty routine” – it was actually invented by Charlotte Cho, the korean-american co-founder of Soko Glam, one of my favorite e-shop of korean cosmetics (unfortunately it’s in the US, so not very easy to shop from, due to high delivery fees, customs fees and other health certifications related issues that make it almost impossible to have products shipped in the EU), who explained the process in this article dated back to April 2014 (and she even wrote a book on the subject!).
The steps are:
- Remove your make-up with an oil-based cleanser
- Remove residues of impurities and oil from the previous step with a water-based cleanser
- Use an exfoliator to remove dead skin
- Restore the skin ph level and provide a bit of hydration with a toner (a.k.a. skin softner, skin refresher or simply “skin”)
- Apply an essence (a lighter and less concentrated version of a serum) to aid skin repair and cellular turnover
- Apply a serum (or super concentrated ampoules and boosters) to provide spot on nutrients and perfect your skin, addressing any peculiar issue you might have (brightening, pore-refining, pigmentation, wrinkles, acne -you name it!)
- Nourish your skin using essence soaked sheet masks or creamy mask packs
- Take care of the delicate skin that surrounds your eye using an eye cream
- Seal in all the good nutrients of the previous steps under a good layer of moisturizer (emulsion, lotion, gel or cream: its consistency all depends from your skin type)
- Protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays applying sun protection before proceeding with make-up
I know it sounds scary and intimidating. But really it’s not.
As first thing, consider that it’s called “10-steps”, but you don’t really have to go through 10 steps everyday. Some of them are intended to be performed only once or twice a week (like the exfoliation, or the mask thing), or at specific time of the day (cleansing applies to night time routine, while sunscreen is for mornings only of course); some others can be completely skipped, if your skin doesn’t require them (it usually depends from your skin type, but you can generally tell, after you use a product, if it is beneficial for you or not…your skin never lies!).
Secondly, once you find the routine that works for you, it won’t take more than 10/15 minutes a day to perform it -I guess your skin is worth 15 minutes of your time, isn’t it?
And last but not least, I’ll be guiding you, step by step, in this blog. I’ll write an article for each step, so that you’ll know a bit more of what is all about. And I’ll be suggesting some products (some of them will be sold here as well, so you won’t have to search far away in order to achieve that flawless skin you dream about).
Remember, as many good things, it will require some time to see results, even if it’s true that a softer and smoother skin will be noticeable straight away (you won’t believe this baby skin of yours!). You’ll need to master the ancient oriental art of waiting, but after some time has passed, you’ll be happy you took this road.
So, what do you say? Ready for step number one? Click here to start your journey into korean beauty!