Defining K-Beauty

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With the mass-proliferation of K-Beauty globally, we’ve gotten to a point where we ask ourselves (in an almost existential manner), “ What is K-Beauty?”

South Korean women are very much held up as the standard of beauty across Asia. You would hardly ever come across a Korean woman who doesn’t have glowing skin, not to mention the fact that they seem to remain “frozen” in time! This is because Koreans tend to care for their complexion and treat it as the ultimate investment; not only worthy of their money but also of their time. In fact, Korean women are known to work hard for achieving a flawless, glowing skin. They follow a unique, multi-step beauty regimen that has garnered a ton of beauty industry buzz.

So, what is this beauty trend all about? And why is it so popular? Well, we’ve got all the answers for you.

K-Beauty is everywhere
Korean Beauty (K-Beauty) products and Korean skincare practices, which have steadily gained a global following in the last few years, are now gradually penetrating in the Indian beauty market. Indian beauty retailers like Nykaa are now dipping their toes into the market with a range of beauty products being sold as a separate category, on their website. And you can also find endless K-Beauty products at this little out-of-the-way store you may have heard of, Amazon? However, if you don’t know where to start, Korean beauty boxes are a good introduction to the trend.

Why is it so popular?
More consumers are becoming aware of Korean skincare brands and how effectively and gently they’re formulated. This instigates them to try some and they’re hooked!

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

Besides, beauty editors and bloggers love to buzz about the K Beauty products that they’ve also fallen in love with, which makes a big difference. 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.
Also, online beauty retailers have helped grow the Indian audience for K-Beauty products.

The Korean 10-step beauty routine  
Here’s a step by step break up of the multi-step K-Beauty skincare routine:

1. Oil Cleanser
Korean women typically use two cleansers, starting with an oil cleanser to remove any oil-based makeup, SPF and other impurities. This allows for a more gentle cleansing of the skin, rather than tugging at your skin to remove the last bit of eyeliner.

2. Water Cleanser
It’s called double cleansing for a reason. After using the oil-based cleanser,.Korean women use a water-based cleanser to whisk away any remaining residue and impurities, left by the oil cleanser. The key here is to use a gentle formula that won’t strip or dry out your skin.

3. Exfoliator
Exfoliator is a must for gaining healthy skin. Korean women exfoliate at least twice a week to get that clear, polished skin, free from dead skin cells.

4. Toner
The Korean beauty heritage is steeped in natural ingredients passed down through generations. This tradition continues today with formulations that tend to shun harsh chemicals, in toners. In fact, they use these toners to hydrate the skin and prepare it better for further treatments.

5. Essence
Essence is the heart of the Korean skincare routine. They tend to be a bit more fluid and less concentrated than serums. Their main purpose is to moisturise the skin and make the most of the serums that follow.

6. Serums and Ampoules
These products are formulated with active ingredients that target specific needs by skin type, such as fine lines, loss of firmness, hyperpigmentation and dehydration. You can customize your regimen here by adding or removing products as you see fit. You can use them in any order, but generally thicker, more viscous products go on later.

7. Sheet Mask
They are the soul of the Korean skincare routine. Sheet masks provide you with a quiet, meditative, and skin-nourishing ritual that imparts maximum treatment to your skin. In fact, sheet masks, wrinkle-fighting collagen eye patches or adorable hydrating lip masks, are targeted treatments that can consistently help brighten, tighten and hydrate the appearance of the skin, leaving you looking beautiful in a flash.  Plus, anyone can use them! They can be used anytime, anywhere and as often as you want, even every single day if you’d like. All you have to do is put one on and chill for 15-30 minutes (and probably take a selfie!). You can do this  two to three times a week for maximum effectiveness.


8. Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes is thinner and more easily dehydrated, so it should be treated with a cream specifically formulated to protect, nourish, brighten or de-puff.

9. Moisturiser
A moisturiser is designed to seal in all of the previous steps and address individual moisture needs.

Photo by Min An from Pexels

10. Sun Protection
Sunscreen is huge in Korea, and rightly so. Every morning, finish off your skincare regimen with either a dedicated sunscreen or a BB cream or cushion compact that includes SPF.

Does all of this seem too extreme? Cause for Korean women it’s just a standard, but crucial procedure.  

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Editorial Team