November 26, 2015
Korean Beauty Products can be super confusing. After grappling with many awkward mistakes I think I’ve finally got a handle on how they work. When you buy products in Korea you get SO MANY awesome free samples, and this gives you the chance to try out a lot of things and see what you like the best. I never got into the more strange products like bee venom or snail oil but I have gotten into a larger cleansing and moisturizing routine and I love it! I hope my breakdown of Korean products can help you understand the beauty and skin world a bit better and let me know if there is anything I got totally wrong!
This thin oil usually comes with a pump application head and is applied to your skin directly like a face wash. It really takes off all of your makeup! It’s magical and a really good one will take off all of your BB Cream + waterproof makeup to the point that I don’t even have to use a make up remover. However, since this is your first step to facial cleaning you must follow it up by a face soap or it will never come off! Like never ever.
Now you can wash your face like normal with one of the many kinds of cleansers available. It might be foaming, gel, bubble, milky, whatever floats your boat.
Once your face is all clean of makeup and dirt, I move to the exfoliate zone. I’m an advocate of face scrub myself, some people find it too harsh for their face but I love it. If I go two days without using it, the next day my skin will start being flaky near my nose and forehead and it will really show up when I try to apply makeup. I have two kinds of scrub, one is a super intense micro-exfoliate that I use once a month and the other is my daily to every-other-day scrub. Korean Peeling Gels or Peeling Powder kind of creeps me out because I can’t help but feel it is a chemical reaction on my skin. Some of my friends use it and love it and told me it kind of just rubs/rolls off of your skin as if you had split glue on your skin. If any of you use Peel, please let me know!
Just like the normal toner from back home, you can apply this directly after washing your face. It’s usually in a bigger bottle and very watery. Sometimes they have a gel like consistency. The watery ones need to be applied with cotton pads and the gel ones can be applied with your fingers. I still find it confusing and honestly only use it when I get it for free.
Even though I’ve asked many people, they all seem to have slightly different opinions about what every product does and when you should apply it. The conclusion I came to was that it’s like added some extra care to your skin before you apply the final lotion or cream. If you apply this and just walk away, your skin can feel tight or dry. Also, generally speaking, the smaller the bottle, the more intense the liquid inside. Some are mega-vitamin packed and can be too intense for sensitive skin, and some are like a milky lotion. It’s safe to say these usually come in small bottles and they’re more intense and focus on something specific you need. For example, it could contain vitamins, anti-wrinkle fighters, pore tightening, sebum control (aka oil control), brightening, whitening, smoothing, hydrating, and so on. Just make sure you act super dramatic and apply it like in the commercials in slow motion or it WON’T WORK!!! Just joking. OR AM I!???
Moisturizers are normally your basic last step face treatment. A lot of people just do this step after washing their face and I think deepening on your age and skin, it’s totally enough. It’s usually a light cream that can go on underneath you makeup. If you find your moisturizer very thick or oily it might be a night cream or intense moisturizer made for the extra dry season. I only use cream in the winter when my face gets mega dry.
Applying a face pack is the most awesome thing. It’s like having a wonderful flashback to when you were a child and being allowed to apply colourful goopy paint to your face. Face packs must be washed off but some are applied and left on overnight before being washed off.
These are those wonderful wet paper masks soaked in some kind of essence. You’ve seen us do a WTF on the ones that looked like creepy animals, right? In fact, if you don’t use an essence/serum you can use this in place of it. I bring these bad boys with me on long flights because the air is so dry on planes. Plus, because you don’t have to wash it off, you can just pull of the paper mask when you’re done, toss it in the garbage, and pat in the extra essence.
Many people think whitening and brightening means “change your skin tone to look more caucasian” but I would have to argue that it is actually a lost in translation kind of moment. Whitening and Brightening is supposed to be when you want to even out your skin tone to make it one colour if you have skin problems such as scarring, acne, discolouration, or red blotches (my cheeks and nose are like this). It absolutely can result in lighter coloured skin, but that’s because it has heavy coverage which makes your entire skin look like one shade.
The Dewy Finish is when your product makes your skin looks moist or wet. I personally hate this look because I spend so much time trying to powered the oil off my face, but in a lot of Korean dramas you’ll see really shiny looking girls due to the “dewy” finish. It’s supposed to give off a look of youth and freshness and I get what they’re saying…I just don’t agree with it.
Ok so this isn’t really a part of Korean Beauty Products but I’m throwing in some hair terminology as well because I’m going all out here today. Ahem: You can’t wash or dry or your hair, or put it in a ponytail for an entire day (warned my hairdresser) but after that day my hair remained straight no matter how humid the weather. After a ponytail in the heat, my hair would be straight with no bend from the hair elastic! Be warned, there is a different between a straight perm and a magic perm. The magic perm costs a lot more and is harsher.
This perm starts out on the tighter curl side but slowly loosens to big loose curls (depending on the length of your hair). To style it, you can add gel and just crunch your hair to get very defined curls or you can just use your fingers to twirl the hair and it creates loose curls. This perm does NOT start from the scalp, so the top of my hair wasn’t mega crazy curly or anything. I really want to do it again with my long hair but you can’t do it on hair that is bleached or coloured without destroying your hair. :( One day!!!
Think of the letter “c” it isn’t a full squiggle, and that’s the same for this perm. It’s mostly used at the end of your hair to create a kind of flip or small wave that gives you more volume.
This is kind of like the mermaid hairstyle and similar to the Digital Perm but not as curly. It will effect your hair differently depending on the length or weight of your hair. It is intended to create loose wavy curls but it can also add a lot of volume to your hair!
*PHEW* That was a big post! I hope this can help everyone out and make you feel more confident about buying or using Korean beauty products. If I missed anything, please let me know. Also, let me know if you ever got a Korean perm and what your experience was like. Time for me to start my 8 step face cleaning…it’ll all be worth it if I look like I’m 20 when I’m actually 90.