One of the first things I did when I created my blog was to write my « Skincare routine steps. » Because you all are now more and more curious and my knowledge in this area had expanded, I decided to rewrite you a complete Asian Layering Guide, hoping it will help / please you because I put my knowledge and my love writing it !
I know how complicated it can be to read passionate bloggers that are talking in the “cosmetic jargon“, so I will try to be as clear as possible, just to wake up the k-beauty junkie in you. ♡
The beautiful illustrations come from the NYC k-beauty blogger Fanserviced-b. I just modified them to match my post. (:
The ORIGINS of LAYERING
The opinion is not unanimous whether this technique comes from Japan or Korea, but all agree on the fact that cosmetics have an important place in both cultures. So call it Japanese-Korean! I prefer that to « Asian », that I personally believe is really too reductive.
Differences between asian and western habits
- Skincare above all : In the Occident, makeup is much more popular, appreciated and highlighted… While the Asian vision of beauty is primarily reflected by a pretty glowy flawless skin, where skincare is EVERYTHING.
- Innovation : If you aren’t familiar to Korean cosmetics, you’d be surprised to know that our Western brands invent quite… nothing : Some luxury brands even have laboratories based in South Korea to remain at the top of the high tech, cosmetics trend (cushion cream) and to stay tuned about the new key ingredients (snail secretion, bee venom, etc.)… All from South Korea !
- The wanted effects : The two major differences between Western and Asian treatments are the “whitening” products and sun protection. Koreans are very sensitive to products that have a good UV protection; most complexion products have some. Whitening doesn’t mean bleaching at all, it’s more like giving a natural light to your skin. There are many « bleaching » products (so called “lightening”) but the effects are often temporary.
- Quantity : Here, we like all-in-one products. In South Korea (and for me too), it would be almost the worst nonsense on earth. If it’s not already the case, I encourage you to throw away all your prejudices about the fact that « putting XX products on your face isn’t good for the skin » « the skin can’t breathe » because I’m going to introduce you a 5 to 10 products’ skincare routine !
- #1 Double cleansing : These are the first two steps of cleaning the skin, in the evening.
– First, we superficially clean the face with a watery / oily / milky / balmy / creamy makeup remover remover. My fav is cleansing oil.
– Then, we clean more thoroughly with a foam. Dry skins should choose a moisturizing one because it tends to dry out the impurities, and therefore the skin.
The 4-2-4 rule : Ideally, you have to clean and massage your face with a cleanser for 4 minutes, 2 minutes with foam and 4 minutes with clean water. In theory, we should spend as much time cleaning our faces as the time we spend dolling up.
- #2 Toner : Also called skin softener, skin refiner, skin balancer, skin moisturizer, or lotion. (yes sir.)
To me, this is one of the indispensable elements of the routine. This watery product removes dead cells and the remaining impurities left by the double cleansing step.
Application: On dry skin, with a cotton pad. Too much alcohol too toner can dry your skin, but is effective against pimples. Allow to dry before beginning the next step.
- #2b: Scrub (1-2x / week) : I noted this step as “2b” rather than 3 because you don’t have to apply it every day, but more like 1 or 2 times a week. When your skin is fully cleaned is the best moment to exfoliate it: At this moment, your skin is the most “naked” and ready to be deeply cleansed !
Application: Massage gently, do not rub vigorously regardless of the texture of the product.
- #3 Essence / Serum / Ampoule : A serum and a very concentrated product to target a specific problem like acne, large pores, moisture, firmness, etc. The essence is its lighter version. Its action penetrates deeply, unlike the superficial aspect of the emulsion.
The essence is better in the morning and serum before to go to bed.
The ampoule on it is even more concentrated than serums, more powerful… and more expensive.
Application: A few drops in the palm of the hands then gently massage/pat your face. Wait for at least 5 minutes after application for an optimum penetration.
- #3b Sheet Mask (2x / week) : Like scrubs, sheet masks are not (necessarily) daily care. Masks are providing special care depending on the ingredients you choose, even if 100% of them still provide moisture. If you have an endless collection, do not hesitate to use them profusely but otherwise two masks per week is widely acceptable. :)
Application: SO. EASY. Eyes, nose and mouth are already precut!
> (Re)discover 10 things to know about these funny sheet masks.
- #4 Emulsion : It is an extra touch of moisture, a lighter version of a serum. The emulsions can be used on all skin types as its watery texture that will not clog pores. Especially good for oily skin, because of its mild nutrition.
Application: Once your skin is totally dry and clean after the previous cares, massage/pat 2 ~ 3 ml with your fingertips or a cotton pad.
- #5 Treatments : Most specific treatments that you must apply as for acne, skin radiance, wrinkles, etc (medical or not) should be applied between the emulsion and the final hydration -unless otherwise stated :sometimes, they can be applied before or after the toner etc-. My list is far from being universal ! Just create your own layering routine. (:
- #6 Moisturizing Cream : Some consider it optional but if I do not seal the moisture before my makeup, I really feel like my layering is incomplete! This is a particularly important step for dehydrated an dry skins. But to me, it is equally important for combination and oily skin. Do not confuse hydration and nutrition: All skin needs to be moisturized. Very rich creams are indeed for dry skin; while normal, combination and oily skin may turn to products mild moisturizing gels/light creams (with a sebum control, etc.).
- #6b Eye Cream : If you thought that eye cream was reserved for mature women to prevent wrinkles… You were wrong! Generally, you do not need to use some before 25, but many women have dehydrated eyelids. This affects makeup: The concealer will tend to slip under the dead skin micro residues; and will spoil all the makeup. This is not an area to neglect, even if you think the skin is too thin and fragile to be grind. On the contrary, stimulate it will create good effects on wrinkles in the future. :)
DO NOT : Say ADIOS to the eyebrow wax, which hurts a definitely too fragile piece of skin. Tweezers only ladies!
Application: Pat, pat, pat. It’s always better than straightening it for an optimal penetration.
- #7 Sleeping Pack (night only 2x / week) : A sleeping pack is often a very thick cream, which is made to be applied just before going to bed. The evening routine is richer and more complete as the body regenerates the most during night time . This is an extremely comforting and effective step for the driest skins because sleeping packs are often very rich. Because I’ve got a combination skin, I’m not following this step very religiously : I prefer to end my night routine with a mask and a good moisturizer.
- #7b Sunscreen (day only) : The sleeping pack will seal the night routine, but sunscreen is very important before starting any makeup, especially for very light and sensitive skin. Most Korean BB creams already have UV protection, so if like me you do not have particularly sensitive skin to the sun, you’ll believe that this step is probably optional. Western people believe that taned skins are « sexier » (it remains to everyone’s taste) but in Asia, they have this thing with veery pale skins. Do not forget that the sun is our skin’s biggest enemy : UV rays are responsible for wrinkles, many skin cancers etc.
Don’t sunbath too much, than ! Just enough to get your dose of vitamin D. ;p
You should use products from heaviest to lightest.
IN A NUTSHELL :
The jargon of skincare is VAGUE. And even if you understand the term, sometimes you do not even know how to apply the product, or what’s really its point. This section is here to enlighten you!
If a topic, a term, an opinion or another question bothers you through the blog, please leave a comment or email me : I will answer you, and also will post the answer here, to help other readers. (:
- How to find your skin type?
Just clean your face, wait an hour. Pass a tissue over your skin, paying particular attention to the “T-zone” (forehead, nose and chin). 4 choices are available to you:
– Normal Skin: Nothing happens, your skin is soft and naturally hydrated
– Oily skin: You wipe the excess sebum (the “fat”) with the handkerchief. Your face is glowy, and often goes with enlarged pores.
– Dry skin: The tissue causes a relatively slight twinge or / and found small dead skin or dry plates.
– Combination Skin: Your skin is normal on the cheeks but oily on the T-zone. Most common, and it is not a gift ..
Now that you know your skin type, always look for suitable products: Intense nutrition for dry skin, control sebum for oily skin, but hydration for all.
To be continued!