We receive a lot of questions that our customer service and team of estheticians handle on a daily basis, and we’ve definitely noticed some trends. Even as seasoned beauty junkies, sometimes it’s good to take a step back and rely on the foundation of our beauty knowledge, so we’re sharing these Q&As with you, our savvy, K-beauty addicts!
Here are 5 FAQs from our loyal customers to start us off:
1. Why is Korean skincare so popular nowadays?
More consumers are becoming aware of Korean skincare brands and how effectively and gently they’re formulated - then they try some and they’re hooked! It also helps that beauty editors and bloggers love to buzz about the K-beauty products that they’ve also fallen in love with.
Korean beauty products are incredibly advanced when it comes to ingredients and formulations because the Korean beauty R&D labs are pushed to extremes as Korean women continue to raise the bar for beauty products – in a culture where skincare is an extremely serious pursuit and the standard for “flawless skin” is unparalleled, a very exciting industry ecosystem develops where companies and labs rise to meet the challenge and ultimately, create beauty products that deliver results through supremely high quality ingredients and in a gentle way. To boot, Korean women want their products smelling delicious, packaging to look chic and the texture to be sorbet-soft. The saying is true: an industry will only ever be as good as their consumers demand.
2. What is the 10-step Korean skincare regimen?
We’ve got that covered for you:1. Makeup Remover + Oil Based Cleanser: Despite the many and very different skin types, cleansing oils or oil based facial cleansers are great for all skin types. Mixing with the preexisting oils already on your face to gently but effectively dissolve makeup, excess oil, sunscreen, bacteria and free radicals. This first step in a high effective, double cleansing routine leaves you with a clean, soft and hydrated complexion. Oil cleansers protect and stabilize the skin’s natural pH balance while providing your skin with "good oils," removing the "bad oils." Often times many oil free cleansers will strip your skin of not only the bad oils, but good oils as well, where your skin reacts by going into an oil production overload, leading to excess oil, build up, acne and other common skin care concerns. Oil cleansers also commonly contain powerful antioxidants, anti-aging and nutrient rich ingredients that help to support your skin while improving the texture and appearance.
2. Water Based Cleanser: Water based cleansers are specifically formulated to break down sweat, dirt, and anything left over from step one in your cleansing routine from your skin. This double step cleansing process may seem redundant, but actually these two steps are quite complementary. This process ensures fewer and less frequent breakouts, prevents signs of premature aging, skin discoloration, fine lines and many other common skin care concerns. Many often think that cleansing your face more than once can be "over doing it," but on the contrary each step offers a different and much needed step of support for optimal skin health.
3. Exfoliator: Exfoliating helps rid the skin of dead or dry skin cells, creating a smoother, more supple appearance. Said to be one of the most important aspects of your skincare routine, exfoliation not only provides a clean, clear base for additional product layering and support, but also increases blood circulation to the outer most layers of your skin, providing a healthy and natural glow.
4.Toner: Toner's often get a bad reputation for being harsh, alcohol based, drying facial treatments. But a good toner will do just the opposite. Toner's are hydrogen and oxygen packed, fast-penetrating liquid that delivers hydration, the removal of dead skin cells to the surface of your skin, resulting in plump, glowing and radiant skin. Toners offer tons of benefits to your skin including shrinking your pore size, restoring your skins PH balance, providing the foundation for other skincare products to penetrate deeper into skin, adding an additional layer of protection to your skin, moisturizing your skin and lastly, toners can be extremely refreshing!
5. Essence: Essences tend to be lighter weight, less concentrated precursors to serums, that lay the very important and necessary foundation for product layering and optimal absorption. The main job of an essence is to add a layer or additional layers of moisture to your skin so that way, subsequent serums can really work their magic and penetrate the skin to the deepest layers.
6. Treatments (booster, serum, ampoules): Facial treatments include boosters, serums and ampoules. These products are specifically designed to pinpoint your particular skin care issue or concern (like dark spots, sagging skin, fine lines, wrinkles, acne) by providing concentrated active ingredients that are formulated for that skin care concern.
7. Sheet Masks: Korean sheet masks are contoured and cut to rest on your face with minimal invasion. Many skin care savants will wear a sheet mask while tending to daily tasks around the house, relaxing at night, in flight, or even in the shower. These sheet masks are soaked in powerful, concentrated ingredients to deliver the maximum absorption into the deepest layer of your skin. A common misconception that sheet masks should be used as a "pampering" or special treatment moment, when actually sheet masks perform teh absolute best and impact your skin the most when used on a daily basis (like any other part of your skin care regimen).
8. Eye Cream: The thin, delicate skin around the eyes comes with its own unique set of issues. Yes, normal facial moisturizers will provide some sort of support and improvement to under eye and eye area concerns, but in order to really provide the treatment for (dark circles, under eye puffiness, crows feet anyone?) you need a product that is gentle yet effective and specifically formatted to nuture and support that special area. Korean eye creams are super-gentle on the precious skin surrouding your eye area, while still providing maximum efficacy.
9. Moisturizer: Moisturizing and keeping your skin supple and hydrated is key to keeping your skin looking youthful, glowing and overall at optimal health. Applying a moisturizer to your face helps to prevent the skin from becoming too dry or oily as well as maintain its balance. When skin is too dry or too oily, many common skin problems like acne start to pop up.
10. Sun Protection: Before heading out each morning, its super important to apply either facial sunscreen or makeup with SPF coverage. Despite whether your skin actually burns or not, the sun and its powerful rays can still have long term impact on your overall skins health- protection from sunburn is not the most important reason for wearing sunscreen. You want to reduce damage from the sun. Your skin can be harmed by constant sun exposure, whether or not you see a burn. Remember, sunburn is an immediate reaction, but damage from the sun occurs over a lifetime and can lead to signs of aging, skin discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles and dryness.
3. What are your favorite hydration products?
It depends on skin type, but here are some notable bestsellers on our site for each skin type:
Aromatica Organic Argan Oil: Not all argan oils are created equal. This one is completely unadulterated and in its purest form. This seeps right into the skin and keeps skin super supple, filled with antioxidants and tremendously hydrated.
Aromatic Organic Rose Hip Oil: Made of ECOCERT certified and 100% USDA approved organic rosehip fruit oil, this nourishing facial oil is something you can feel good about using. The rose hip oil extract is cold-pressed which ensures that that the nutritional and good-for-you elements are maintained at their highest levels. Rose hip oil contains vitamin A and omegas 3,6,9, which provide moisture and deliver nutrients to dry skin. It helps to strengthen the skin barrier and will leave the skin feeling smooth and soft.
Eco Your Skin Volufiline15 Eye Essence: Plump up fine lines and crow's feet in the delicate eye area with this luxurious silky gel. Glutathione and peptides help promote collagen production so skin retains more bounce and elasticity. In addition to lessening the look of crow's feet, this potent anti-ager also addresses under-eye wrinkles, lid creases, forehead and neck lines, thanks to 15% volufiline and polylactic acid. The lightweight texture is the perfect primer under makeup to visibly blur imperfections. Additionally, it helps prevent concealer or foundation from creasing and caking which can draw attention to lines and wrinkles.
Be the Skin’s pore line for the way it delivers a unique cocktail of luxurious botanical and herbal ingredients deep into the skin’s dermis to dramatically boost hydration without any oiliness or heaviness. We love that it’s great for even sensitive skin. Sebum production is kept at bay while still keeping skin hydrated. We can’t keep this in stock all the time, as it is one of our biggest repeat purchases. It works!
4. Are your products safe for people with skin allergies?
It really depends on what the allergy is. Having said that, Korean beauty products in general, and the ones that we curate tend to be more naturally and gently formulated that can help minimize product-related skin irritations. A good way to explore new products is to patch test on the jaw, neck or behind the ears and see if there are any reactions before diving face-first into new territory.
5. What are the key differences between American and Korean skincare practices?
This is a whole other blog entry on its way, but here are some key differences:
1) More heightened emphasis on cleansing the skin - a pillar for healthy skin
2) Extraordinary emphasis on hydration
3) Hyper-targeted serums that focus on very a la carte skincare needs
4) Nourishing the skin versus stripping it dry
5) Tons and tons of products layered on top of each other for maximum penetration and efficacy
The result is that there are more steps in the regimen and product categories that don’t quite exist in other countries - or until they catch on (essences, ampoules, sleeping masks, face masks, finishers, patting masks, etc.).
If you have any lingering questions, feel free to email Ask Lily at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments, questions and feedback, and of course, for your personal skincare consultations (wink wink).