Growing up, my mom was always encouraging me to keep a good skincare routine – washing my face, using toner, moisturing, etc. My mother always had (and still has) a plethora of skincare products. Things to keep your skin soft, stuff with brightening effects, things you use at night vs during the day…you name it. I remember as a kid thinking how it all seemed like a lot of work.
Well of course, I now realize that I should have listened to my mother. Funny how that tends to happen.
Last year, I finally discovered the kind-of-crazy world of Korean beauty products. I am taking my mother’s advice and now have a skincare routine that’s rooted in the basics – keeping my skin clean and healthy. I am excited to share 4 of my favorite Korean skincare products!
What’s Up with Korean Beauty Products?
Skincare is a big deal in Asia, especially in Korea. The market there is booming with all sort of products, and it seems like the search for perfect beauty is never ending. But that means, they’ve got all the cool stuff 😉
They are constantly innovating (hello, BB creams), aren’t afraid of trying unique ingredients (snail mucin anyone?) and for the most part, things are so much more affordable. I also inherently have some level of trust for Korean beauty products because they seem to really value natural and gentle ingredients.
I currently use a variety of Korean beauty products, including serums and even make-up. But for this post, I want to start with something simple, cleansing!
A lot of people are skeptical about the idea of putting oil on your face, especially if you have oily skin like I do. But cleansing oils do a fabulous job of removing impurities, is an awesome make-up remover, and cleans away the “bad oils” without drying out your skin. If you have oily skin, keeping it moisturized actually helps your skin from overproducing. Cleansing oils are a great way to clean and maintain at the same time.
Banila Co. Clean It Zero is a super cool cleanser that starts off as a solid and transforms into a silky oil once you rub it into your skin. It’s light weight and gentle, and for me, it actually leaves my skin feeling softer. The one thing I don’t love about it is the container. The twist off cap looks nice and makes it great for traveling but I find it a little cumbersome on a daily basis. I use this on days where I’ve put on a lot of make-up on and need that something extra to get it all off – like after a wedding or a night out.
(Side note – I got too enthusiastic right before taking the above picture and dropped the container, hense the crack!)
To use, you just scoop a little out – it comes with a plastic scoop – and a small amount goes a long way ! As you rub it into your face, it’ll melt into an oil. Massage it around, spending extra time on any blackheads/sebum areas to help coax them out of your pores, and then rinse! I can always see my make-up washing away with the oil which is very satisfying.
I bought this product off of Soko Glam, an online beauty and skincare retailer that was created specifically to introduce Korean beauty brands to the US. Clean It Zero retails there for $16 and it also comes in other varities. The Clean It Zero Radiance is specially made for dry skin. Clean It Zero Resveratrol is made for oily skin and Clean It Zero Purity is hypoallergenic. I haven’t tried the others but once mine runs out, I plan to get some of the Clean It Zero Resveratrol!
I’M CLEANSING OIL
I’m Cleansing Oil is the oil that I use on a daily basis because I love that it comes with a pump. I found this product off of Memebox, through their house brand line called “I’m Meme”. This product is a liquid so it gets a little messier to apply, but I think it’s a great starting cleansing oil for those interested in testing it out. They retail for $14 and there are two kinds: #01 Moist Oil for Dry Skin and #02 Fresh Oil for Oily/Combination Skin. Memebox recently changed their company distribution structure so instead of buying directly from them, you go through Amazon now. But that also means you can utilize Amazon Prime!
I’m Cleansing Oil used to come in a mini which was perfect for traveling but sadly it seems to have been discontinued since the company distribution channel change. It was only $2! But to be fair, the full bottle is fairly inexpensive.
The Double Cleanse
After cleansing with an oil, I always do another round with a regular cleanser. I’ve found that washing my face once is never quite enough. The Double Cleanse has been a part of the Asian skin-care routine for awhile now and people live by it. I remember my mother introducing me to the concept years ago and I was bewildered as to the point of washing your face twice. But trust me, you’ll see and feel a difference.
My second cleanser is actually really simple, and not a Korean product at all. I use Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash. I have acne-prone skin and after years of trying all sorts of acne washes, I found that keeping it simple and natural ingredients worked for me. Desert Essence does have tea tree oil which helps with the acne.
Toning and Prepping
After cleansing, comes the toner. I seriously love this stuff. Son & Park’s Beauty Water has become a beauty cult favorite, big enough that even Sephora now carries it online and in-store. You can also find it on Soko Glam, Amazon, and of course, from Son & Park.
Beauty Water was my first introduction to cleansing waters in general. Cleansing water is basically water infused with micellas (tiny oil molecules) that somehow absorb dirt and oil upon contact. They help create a clean base for your skin. Beauty Water works as a mild exfoliant, cleanses the skin, and adds a little hydration. It also helps prep it for make-up or other skin care products. It’s a refreshing step that removes what you don’t need, but also adds a boost to your skin.
I just put some on a cotton ball/pad and wipe it all over my face after washing. It’s an extra reassurance that I’ve truely removed everything. It seems like no matter what, I also end up with mascara smears under my eyes even after washing (twice). A swipe with Beauty Water takes it away real quick.
My absolute favorite toner, worth the $30 plus, I find that it lasts for a decent amount of time.
Double Toning…I Know I Know
You probably think I’m crazy but yes, sometimes I use a second toner. A few months ago, Soko Glam sent me a sample of Klairs’ Supple Preparation Facial Toner. Tried it on a weekend trip and found that I really enjoyed it! It has a great texture and slightly thicker than water but not quite a gel. Supple is the right word to describe how this makes my skin feel after using it! I don’t use this everyday but when I do, it’s in the mornings as a final prep before I apply make-up. Beauty Water really helps finish the cleanse and Klairs’ give me an extra boost of moisture. You can find this on Soko Glam for $25.50.
And there you have it, the basic Korean skincare products I use to cleanse and tone my skin! It seems like a lot but I’ve loved what it’s done to help my skin feel fresh and reduce the oiliness. I actually feel like I’ve toned down on my daily makeup routine as a result. Part of the fun with beauty products is trying stuff out and finding what works for you. These are definitely some of my favorites but I am always down to check out something new. Let me know if there are any cool products that you’ve discovered!
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