A Natural Take on the Korean Skincare: Treat, Restore and Moisturize

Earlier we reviewed the first half of the Korean Skincare regimen. We talked about cleansing and refreshing the skin. Now we’re going to talk about replenishing the skin with nutrients.

6. Essence

This 80’s girl can’t hear the word “essence” without thinking of The Dark Crystal, but I digress…

Essence is something absolutely unique to the Korean skin care routine, but those who have tried it claim that this product step has been life changing. There is one shining star here: MISSHA Time Revolution First Treament Essence ($45). NO idea on what the magical ingredients are.

7. Serums

There are all sorts of things that fall into this category. Basically this is where things get real. This is where you address all your problem areas. This is also where stuff gets expensive.

A good overall facial oil is Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil ($16) which may belong in the moisturizer category, rather than here. [Read more…]

A Natural Take on Korean Skincare: Cleanse and Prep

Earlier we touched on the several step process that is the Korean skincare regimen. Today we’re going to the look at the first half of it, along with product recommendations each step of the way.

1. Eye makeup removal

Eye makeup removal is an important and necessary process regardless if you are following this routine. I have used Clinique’s Eye Make Up Remover for years, but since switching to a more natural routine I’ve been using coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a perfect option for the sensitive eye area. Just apply, let set for a little, and watch your makeup melt away. Use a cotton pad to wipe away gently. Bonus it will moisturize and is rumored to help with eyelash growth.

2. Oil cleanse

Remember when I posted about the oil cleansing method? Well apparently I was really onto something because that’s what Koreans, super models and others use to wash their face – oil! I love washing my face with oil. I suffer from chronic dry skin, and using olive oil on my face has left it dewy and moisturized without it feeling heavy or greasy.

Western runway models, who are constantly taking heavy makeup on and off use, never leave home without  Bioderma Crealine H2O Solution Micellaire Cleanse ($31.33). It’s a cleanser with oil suspended in water.

Koreans use a cleansing oil like DHC Deep Cleansing Cleansing Oil ($24.95). This is a good “natural” cleanser.

But frankly, I wouldn’t shell out the dough for those. I love my olive oil and if you try it I am sure you will too.

3. Foam cleanse

Next is the “foam cleanse,” a cleanser that most Westerners will be more familiar with. I don’t do both of these cleanses at the same time. Usually at night I go from oil cleanse right down to the serums step.

The mornings are when I do a more traditional cleanser. I recently switched to Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash ($7.55) and I have been very happy with it. It gets my face clean without over drying. It is appropriate for all skin types. It does contain sulfates, but that’s what creates foaming and so is necessary if that’s what you’re looking for.

Another highly rated face cleanser is the Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash ($12) from The Body Shop which would be a good option for those of you with acne prone skin.

If you want to go truly green, this would be a great place to introduce Manuka Honey. It will heal and prevent blemishes. Just take a small amount, massage it on your skin, wait a little and then rinse off.

4. Exfoliate

Exfoliation is something I do once or twice a week.

I’ve been using Vitamin C Microdermabrasion ($21) from The Body Shop. It’s pretty serious stuff, so be gentle and use it once a week at most.

One of the popular Korean imports is the Black Sugar Mask from Skin Food ($9.83). It comes highly rated and it’s on my “to try” list.

Another beauty darling is the Ocean Salt Face Scrub ($21.95) from Lush Cosmetics.

You can also make your own sugar or salt scrub at home.

5. Refresh/Tone

Toner is an absolutely necessary step in the Korean skincare routine. It opens your pores and lets them receive all the goodness you are about to bestow upon them. The critical information here is to have alcohol free toner. Alcohol just drys out your skin – not good.

I have been using Dickinson’s Witch Hazel ($8.22) for years and love it as a toner. It makes me feel cool and refreshed without over drying.

If you want to get fancier there are plenty of options out there. Next on my list to try is Thayer’s Alcohol Free Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera ($8) which comes in Lavender (my fav!) and Rose Petal. Also highly rated, infused with Vitamin C is Avalon Organics Vitamin C Balancing Facial Toner ($9.74).  There’s also Boot’s Botanics Complexion Refining Toner ($8.39) which infused with clay I think would be best for oilier skin.

As far as the Korean imports two keep rising to the top: Wonder Pore by Etude House ($27.50) and Be the Skin Botanical Toner ($25.00) which especially intrigues me.