Beginners Guide To A Korean Skincare Routine In The UK
7 minutes read
If you’re in the UK and can’t get enough of the Korean skincare craze, you’re in for a treat. In this guide, Beauty Daily delves into the world of K-Beauty and uncovers the best and most practical ways to integrate its ethos and products into your skincare routine at home. So, whether you’re a seasoned K-Beauty enthusiast or just dipping your toes into the trend, here are all the tips and tricks you need to know…
Korean skincare, often abbreviated as K-Beauty, has taken the global beauty scene by storm – and for good reason. What sets K-Beauty apart is its unique approach, that blends time-honoured traditions with cutting-edge innovations. From the bustling streets of Seoul to your very own dressing table, K-Beauty’s allure lies in its focus on achieving healthy, radiant skin through natural ingredients, innovative formulations, and meticulous routines.
One way in which the Korean skincare scene has transformed how we look after our skin in the West is seen in the rise of multi-step skincare routines. We’re now all about layering products, sometimes up to a dozen, to keep our skin hydrated and target specific skin concerns.
K-Beauty has put several ingredients on the map
- Hyaluronic acid
- Snail mucin
- Centella asiatica
- Green tea extract
Then there’s the sheet mask frenzy. These thin fabric masks soaked in skin-perfecting serums have won beauty enthusiasts over. And let’s not forget about essences – lightweight, watery products go on after toner and before serums, giving your skin an extra hit of moisture and helping other products in your routine to soak in better.
Thanks to K-beauty, we’re now embracing more personalised, comprehensive skincare and treating ourselves to some self-care moments along the way.
Try: Clarins Precious La Lotion Age-Defying Treatment Essence, £98, which contains moonlight flower to boost skin’s natural resistance to ageing and the effects of environmental aggressors.
Top K-Beauty brands in the UK
- Holika Holika
The UK has become a treasure trove of beloved Korean skincare brands. They have found their way onto British shelves, bringing with them a piece of the K-Beauty magic. These brands are celebrated for their investment in research and development and their commitment to creating cutting edge formulas containing high-performance actives that target a range of skin concerns and offer incredible results.
Essential steps in a K-Beauty routine
Now, let’s dive into the comprehensive skincare routine that leaves no stone unturned. The essential steps include cleansing, toning, essence, serum, moisturising, sunscreen and more. Each element of the typical K-Beauty 10-step routine plays a crucial role in building the foundation for radiant skin.
Step 1 – Oil-based cleanser
Good skin starts with clean skin and what better way to ensure skin is clean then cleansing twice. Double cleansing, a K-Beauty innovation, starts with an oil-based cleanser. This form of face wash is highly adept at dissolving make-up and sunscreen, which can be difficult to breakdown and remove.
Try: Clarins Total Cleansing Oil, £25, is activated by water and instantly melts away the day’s dirt, grime and pollution to reveal a clear, clean complexion.
Step 2 – Water based cleanser
After you’ve cleansed your skin with an oil-based product, follow up with a water-based cleanser, to ensure you’ve truly waved goodbye to all traces of makeup, dirt, and any impurities left on the skin. Infused with moringa the Clarins Cleansing Micellar Water, £25, cuts though make-up and pollutants in an instant.
Step 3 – Exfoliator
Exfoliation plays a vital role in a Korean skincare routine, with two main approaches: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation uses gentle scrubs or tools to manually remove dead skin cells, while chemical exfoliation relies on acids like AHAs and BHAs to dissolve them. This process enhances skin texture, reduces the appearance of pores, and promotes a radiant complexion. It should be performed up to three times a week, depending on your skin type and the strength of your exfoliant, but be sure to avoid over-exfoliation as this can cause skin sensitivity.
Try: Clarins Fresh Scrub, £26, uses ecofriendly natural beads to gently slough away at dead skin cells while boosting the skin’s natural hydration mechanisms.
Step 4 – Toner
Toning, often referred to as the hydration step, preps your skin to drink up all the actives that you’ll drench it in during step 5, 6, 7 and 8. This is where the 7-step method comes in – a K-Beauty hack that involves layering toner seven times to achieve the coveted glass-skin effect. The result? A complexion that’s plump and luminous.
Try: Clarins Hydrating Toning Lotion, £36, deeply hydrates, nourishes and balances the skin thanks to fig extract and aloe vera.
Step 5 – Sheet mask
Typically used up to three times a week, sheet masks provide a concentrated dose of hardworking active ingredients. Choose ones that target your specific concerns – think acne, pigmentation, lines, and dehydration. Then, apply your sheet mask onto your face and be sure to squeeze out whatever’s left in the packet and massage it into your neck and chest.
Step 6 – Essence
Designed to be applied after toner and before serum, essences provide an extra layer of hydration and can target specific skincare concerns like fine lines, dullness, or uneven texture. They also prepare the skin to absorb subsequent products more effectively.
Step 7 – Serum
Serums are specifically formulated to target different skin concerns such as wrinkles, dark spots, acne and more. They have a smaller molecular weight than creams, which means rather than simply treat the top layer of skin, they’re able to penetrate further for lasting improvements to your complexion.
Try: Clarins Double Serum, £85, is perfect for anyone concerned with fine lines and wrinkles.
Step 8 – Eye cream
Eye creams are specially formulated for the delicate skin around the eyes. They typically contain ingredients to address issues like puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines. Apply a small amount around the eye area, tapping gently with your ring finger to avoid pulling on the sensitive skin.
Try: Clarins Total Eye Hydrate, £32, a hydrating eye mask that provides an instant cooling effect to the skin.
Step 9 – Moisturiser
Helping to maintain and protect the skin’s barrier, seal in the previous layers of skincare and lock in hydration – this step is key. Available in a host of textures – gel, cream, lotion – you’re sure to find one that suits you best.
Try: Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream, £80, contains harungana – otherwise known as ‘nature’s retinol’.
Step 10 – Sunscreen
Sunscreen is the last and crucial step in any daytime skincare routine. It protects the skin from harmful UV rays, preventing sunburn, premature ageing, and the development of skin conditions like skin cancer. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply as needed throughout the day to maintain protection.
Try: Clarins Dry Touch Facial Sun Care SPF 50+, £24, isn’t sticky or greasy, is packed with antioxidants and dries down in a flash.
Expert tips for incorporating K-Beauty into your routine
Adopting a K-Beauty routine in the UK might seem daunting, especially considering the difference in our climates, there’s being historically far more extreme than ours. But you can make it work by simply tweaking the steps and products to make it work for your skin and your lifestyle.
Try: Clarins Hydra-Essentiel [HA2] Rich Cream, £38, which contains hyaluronic acid and leaf of life for an instant surge of hydration.
There’s no shame in building-up to a 10-step routine, in fact to ensure you don’t overstimulate your skin it’s best to go slow, and gradually introduce new steps every 2-4 weeks. But be sure to begin with a cleanser, toner, moisturiser, and sunscreen – the essentials for any skincare regimen. As you get comfortable, you can expand with serums, essences, and sheet masks, tailoring your routine to your skin’s needs.
So, whether you’re looking to pamper your skin with an essence straight from Seoul or acquire the coveted glass-skin glow, one thing’s for sure, adopting a K-Beauty regime really ups the ante on your skincare routine and if done right your skin will thank you for it.
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