As far as healthy, glowing skin is concerned, Korean folk set the standard. Not only did they gift us with the concept of glass skin, but they've completely shaken up the beauty packaging game, with the adorable Korean cosmetic packages we see at places like Sephora and Innisfree. With this in mind, it's hard to ignore the meteoric success of Korean beauty across the globe and the impact it's had on our skincare routine.
So much so, that many K-beauty products have become cult favourites in the beauty community. Beauty and skincare are a serious business in South Korea. Products are formulated with gentle, plant-based and natural ingredients that focus on prevention and getting to the root cause of skin issues.
But a robust Korean skincare routine isn’t just about running out to buy the latest skincare products. Korean folks are taught how to care for their skin from a very young age. Skincare secrets are passed down through the generations and skincare techniques come and go at a blinding pace.
Below, we're diving into some of the most popular Korean beauty techniques, their benefits, and how you can incorporate them into your daily beauty routine.
Daily facial steam massage
One of the first things you’ll notice if you ever visit South Korea is that there’s a skin clinic on just about every corner. You can get a facial steam massage just as easily and affordably as a budget manicure in Australia. It’s one of the secrets to the glowing, dewy complexions we all admire about our favourite Korean celebrities.
There are many benefits to this technique. For one, massaging the face increases circulation, bringing blood and nutrients to the skin’s surface which promotes elasticity and healthy, radiant skin. The steam also promotes circulation, while opening up the pores, and boosting hydration.
The easiest way to incorporate this Korean beauty hack into your daily routine is to massage your face in the shower using circular and tapping motions. Use a facial oil or an oil cleanser to add slip, maximise hydration, and to nourish the skin.
You can also steam your face over a bowl of hot water or use a facial steamer and follow up with a facial oil massage to achieve the same benefits. Be sure to start with a clean face and follow up with a moisturiser that’s appropriate for your skin type.
Jamsu is a Korean beauty hack that literally means to “submerge". The technique involves submerging the face in ice cold water before or after applying makeup. This Korean beauty hack is said to lock makeup in place and set it perfectly. It also gives a more natural, matte look by removing excess foundation.
To practice Jamsu at home, start with your usual cleanser, toner, and moisturiser. Follow with any oil-free primers, foundation, concealers, or setting powders that you prefer.
Now, pull your hair back and dunk your face in a bowl of ice water for 15-20 seconds. Then carefully pat your face dry with a towel. Your foundation will be locked in place with a natural matte finish. You’re ready to apply the rest of your makeup as normal. You can also try this technique before makeup application to hydrate dry skin, reduce inflammation, promote the healing of blemishes, and tighten the pores.
We'll be the first to admit that this technique doesn't exactly sound appealing. After all, we’ve always been taught to be gentle with our skin, especially with the areas around our eyes. Well, it turns out that mild slapping and firm tapping of the skin when applying your skin care products can actually stimulate collagen production, which keeps skin looking youthful, plump, and lifted.
The effects are similar to micro-needling, but in a much more gentle and subtle way. The technique also help your products penetrate the skin better while promoting blood flow to the skin’s surface, promoting a rosy, healthy glow.
When trying this hack at home, it’s important to remember that it should never be uncomfortable or painful. With your moisturiser on your fingertips, use gentle slapping or firm tapping motions on the cheeks, chin, and forehead. Stick to gentle tapping when applying products around the delicate eye area.
Recreate a Korean spa at home
The Korean spa experience involves hopping between hot and ice-cold baths, steam rooms, saunas, and scrubbing areas. The object is to deeply cleanse and exfoliate the skin, leaving it glowing and ultra-smooth. This treatment is a regular ritual for many Koreans.
It’s surprisingly easy to recreate this experience right in your own home. Start by taking a steamy bath or shower to soften the skin. Wash your hair, face, and body, taking the time to really massage the cleansers into your skin. This is a great time to apply a hair mask, if desired. Rinse well.
Now use a body scrub and scrubbing mitt to thoroughly exfoliate your entire body. Follow up with alternating hot and cold showers at two-minute intervals to boost circulation and reduce inflammation. Now finish your at-home Korean spa with a nourishing body oil to seal in that glow.
You can amp up the experience by applying a sheet mask to your face when you get out of the shower. Sip a cup of roasted barley tea to rehydrate and help the body detoxify. After you remove your mask, apply several layers of hydrating toner to nourish, plump, and hydrate the skin on your face.
People often overlook the importance of cleansing, and that’s a big mistake. Cleansing, and particularly double cleansing, is essential for removing impurities from the skin and preventing breakouts. It also allows your other skincare products to absorb more readily into the skin and provides a clean canvas for makeup.
To utilise this technique at home, start by using a cleansing oil to dissolve away dirt, oil, makeup, and SPF without tugging or scrubbing the skin. Follow up with a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining residue and leave the skin ultra-clean. Be sure to choose products that are formulated for your skin type.
Whether you use one, two, or all of these Korean beauty hacks, you’re sure to notice a difference in your skin. Remember, it’s not all about buying the latest products. Glowing, smooth skin is the reward of consistency and effort. Double cleansing, steam massage, and other popular Korean skincare strategies are the secret to that crystal clear, youthful skin you’ve always wanted.