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10 STEP KOREAN SKINCARE

Korean Skincare looks like a facial care ritual consisting of several steps, 10 or even more!

Let's start immediately by saying that adhering to this regime, to this philosophy of care, does not mean to slavishly perform all 10 steps, it means to commit to understanding and taking care of your skin every day even with a much lower number of steps.

The changes that we expect to admire on our face will not be given to us by a single miraculous product (which, surprise of surprises, does not exist!) but will be the result of habitual attention, of the continuous and constant repetition of gestures of care and especially cleaning.

The number of steps corresponds to different types of products that are layered one after the other on the face. In summary, we can say that the products follow one another starting from those with the lightest consistency that then penetrate deeper into the epidermis, then products with gradually more full-bodied textures, up to ending with the heavier ones & rdquo; that & ldquo; seal & rdquo; in the skin with an occlusive veil the nutrients infused in the previous steps and prevent evaporation. The stratification philosophy can be used to act on several imperfections at the same time.

Do not tremble the oily and combination skins that already imagine the second sebum stratification that copiously produces on the forehead and falls off! No, this is not the case for two reasons. First of all, the consistency of Korean products is totally different from those we are used to here, and above all, moisturizing and nourishing in South Korea is not the same as greasing. Finally, the production of sebum and the appearance of dilated pores can be kept at bay without having to transform the face into a dehydrated mask but rather smoothing wrinkles and plumping the skin with hydration.

Let's see in detail what are these 10 steps towards our better skin.

STEP 01 - DOUBLE CLEANSING: CLEANSING OIL - BALM CLEANSER 

The first fundamental step is cleaning your face.

The first fundamental step is cleaning your face .... ah did I mention that already ?!

Well, cleansing your face is essential, that's clear right ?!

As the first cleansing step, oil-based products are used that clean the face by affinity, i.e. removing all greasy dirt such as make-up, cream residues and sebum, penetrating well into the pores as well. With a view to a lower number of steps, oily cleansing can be avoided without problems in the morning, but not in the evening.

Cleansing Oils are applied to clean skin, massaging particularly in correspondence with the eyes or mouth to remove even the most difficult make-up. Once all the dirt seems to have dissolved, you can wet your hands and continue to massage your face and ... surprise! The oil will turn into a milky emulsion which we can then rinse off.

For particularly oily skin, but not only, it is possible to use the Cleansing Balm , going to the core in fact we could say that these balms are the light version of the oil, but there are also nourishing balms designed for the driest skins therefore the choice is to be made exclusively based on one's preferences, or on seasonality, perhaps preferring winter oil and balm with higher temperatures. The balm looks like a solidified oil, just take some between your fingers and it will melt becoming an oil and from there the way to use it is the same.

STEP 02 – DOUBLE CLEANSING – CLEANSING GEL

However, oily cleansing alone does not represent an effective cleansing, it must be followed by a foamy cleansing, with Cleansing Gel , products such as soaps and foams for the face that complete the cleansing by removing the dry dirt that is blocked by the oils previously used and also removing the residues of the previous cleaning. Only after this second step will the skin be truly cleansed and will be like a blank canvas on which we can then apply all the other products.

STEP 03 – EXFOLIATION 

Exfoliation is an essential step in Korean Skincare, freeing the face of dead cells and facilitating the new skin to come out will bring a great change in the mirror, even touching the face will feel it smoother, more toned, almost `` crackling '' ;.

There are two types of exfoliation, the first is the mechanical one, through the so-called physical exfoliants - scrubs that scratch the skin thus facilitating cell turnover. An exfoliation that you can always do, even in summer when the sun is stronger than ever (always remember the sunscreen !!).

The other possible exfoliation is the chemical exfoliation , through products that contain acids, in detail they can be AHA, BHA or PHA but the important thing is to prefer them in winter and in the evening. In fact, these acids are very good for the skin unless we use them when we expose ourselves to the sun because they are in fact photo-sensitizing, that is, able to increase the sensitivity of the skin to light with the risk of finding itself with unsightly spots.

Don't be fooled because you will find them very often in Korean products such as tonics and even creams, but they are balanced formulations, designed to be used even in the morning, this means that the quantities are low but not ineffective indeed, on the contrary, they are dosed in this way precisely in order to be used daily, even during the day and without risk, expressing their benefit in a constant and moderate use different from the very heavy and more aggressive single exfoliation.

In our part of Italy it is generally recommended to carry out exfoliation cycles lasting one month in autumn and spring. In Korea, exfoliation is done throughout the year and it is a habit that I recommend but personally only on the condition of carrying it out in the evening, using a sunscreen in the morning and preferring mechanical exfoliation to chemical exfoliation with the arrival of summer.

STEP 04 – TONIC

The moisturizing toner is the olive branch of Korean Skincare, the messenger of peace between us and our skin after having scrambled it well for three steps in which we have removed everything, absolutely everything we could. The tonic serves to restore the pH balance, to soothe and prepare the skin to receive all the nutrients of the following steps. The great difference of Korean tonics can not fail to jump to the eyes from the first use, both for their consistency, there are more watery and more full-bodied tonics, but above all for the finish and the sensation on the face after using them.

In terms of tonic, we cannot fail to mention the 7 Skin Method a ritual that involves the application of the tonic 7 times! All tonics can be used for this ritual except exfoliating ones containing acids.

STEP 05 – ESSENCE

L' Essence is the real star of Korean Skincare. A highly concentrated and performing product with a peculiar consistency: denser than a tonic but less than a serum. Its texture allows it to penetrate into the deepest layers of the epidermis and after being absorbed by the skin it simply seems to have applied nothing, here is the real secret of layering! The ingredients of the essence are generally aimed at a general well-being of the epidermis, with a preference for moisturizing, anti-aging active ingredients that generally act on the tone and texture of the skin.

STEP 06 – SERUMS AND AMPOLLE

Serum is a well-known skincare passage even in our latitudes. In the Korean ritual, the serum is considered the variable element, that is the one to choose in response to an actual need of the moment, to treat a specific imperfection such as acne, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation. It can be used as a shock therapy even for a limited period and then switch to another in the usual routine, this is because they have a high concentration of active ingredients. The term ampulla & ldquo; ampoule & rdquo; is used to describe a particularly dense and concentrated serum but often the two terms Serums and Ampoules are practically interchangeable.

STEP 07 – MASKS

The fabric masks are an iconic product of Korean Skincare, we are used to considering them, also for their cost, something precious and special while in Korea, also thanks to completely different prices, they are used daily . Another difference to note is our approach to the mask, which has always been considered a self-sufficient product to be applied to very clean skin. Korean women apply fabric masks soaked beyond belief in serum after putting in tonic, essence and one or more serums. And actually they are not wrong. The perfect adherence that these masks create with the skin allows better absorption not only of the serum they are soaked in, but also of everything previously applied. They are left in place and then simply wait for the skin to drink everything and complete with the last occlusive step. It is obviously a cuddle that is generally preferred to reserve in the evening, but it is not a rule, for example an excellent time for a nice mask is when returning from the sea or from a day on the snow, or you can opt for a mask from tensor effect on occasions where you want to look particularly wow in the morning, before make-up.

STEP 08 – EYE CONTOUR

There is little to say about eye contour . We know that the skin around the eyes is the thinnest and most delicate. Wrinkles, crow's feet, bags, dark circles there is something for all tastes, the eye contour cannot be ignored. The choice is to be made only according to your preferences of consistency. A cream with a particularly rich and full-bodied texture could give some discomfort to an already oily skin, especially with makeup. There are also some types of bags and / or swellings that tend to get worse with some eye contour products, for this type of skin it is advisable to use creams with a fresher and more gelatinous consistency, perhaps keeping them in the fridge. The important thing is not to neglect the area, pamper it even with specific patches, small masks designed for the eyes (and not only ...)

STEP 09 – MOISTURIZING

The products that fall into the moisturizers category are different: creams, gels, emulsions, lotions, night masks and even oils. The main task of this last step of care is to seal in the skin all the active ingredients infused in the previous steps, preventing their natural evaporation through the pores of the skin (no matter if dilated or not, the pores are part of the skin and this is their task). Of course, all these products also contain substances that are beneficial for the skin but their concentration is completely different from that of essence, serums and ampoules, making it milder.

Lotions, emulsions and gels are light moisturizers, therefore they are recommended for combination and oily skin, for those who live in areas with high levels of humidity or simply are the preferred option during the hottest season.

The classic moisturizers have a richer and denser texture, they are the obligatory choice for dry and mature skin because they are generally more occlusive than the other options. However, we must not believe that all creams are very heavy, the beauty of Korean cosmetics is also being able to allow the most oily skin to use specially balanced creams that moisturize without greasing. Generally the finish of Korean creams is very different from that of the creams we are used to.

Oils are gaining great popularity in Korea for this reason the main brands are starting to offer a wide choice with formulations, however, very focused on specific imperfections or needs, thus combining them with other targeted active ingredients. This explains why many Koreans use oils instead of serum but using them in the last step is still a good choice.

Night masks are, as the name suggests, the last step to end an evening routine. They are creams to be applied in a thick layer and left on all night. Generally much richer than normal moisturizers, use at different times is only allowed for the driest skin.

In short, the last step is the one that closes the game and also allows you to rebalance the routine with respect to the season, at the moment, to a certain product that you have included in the routine. Have you added a serum that is a little too aggressive for your dry skin? Is your usual serum too heavy when the heat arrives? It can be rebalanced with the right moisturizer.

STEP 10 – SUN PROTECTION

Let's repeat it in chorus all day and every day: sunscreen is the simplest and most effective way to prevent skin aging (... and more!).

Korean women know this well and in fact they don't share our same love for a tan, but rather protect their paleness. A sunscreen to apply after all these steps? Yes. But we know how are the sunscreens? No, the Korean ones don't. Korean sunscreens are incredible, impalpable, ethereal you could almost say. A veil that can be applied over and over again a day, as they do, and which is therefore not heavy or annoying. There are other categories of products such as moisturizers or BB creams that contain sun protection within them, but obviously we are talking about different levels: the level of protection guaranteed by a sunscreen is not comparable in the least.

I recommend not to do without it even in winter after exfoliation, if we are in the month of continuous exfoliation I think it is highly advisable if not essential! It is important to remember that it takes about 30 minutes for the sunscreen to be absorbed by the skin and start working fully. The SPF factor stands for Sun Protection Factor and indicates the Sun Protection Factor, which measures how long the sun will protect you from UVB rays, the ones that cause the production of melanin as a defense mechanism of the skin causing spots and burns. The PA protection factor used by Asian brands indicates protection from UVA rays responsible for skin aging.