3 Ways To Upgrade Your Skin Care Regimen, Korean Style

 

Your skin feeling a little … meh? Are you bored with your basic skin care regimen of wash, moisturize, sunscreen? Or have you been fairly diligent about your skin care routine, but feel like the results have plateaued and need a little boost?

Well, look no further than to the skin care experts of the world — Korean women. They’ve nailed the 17-step skin care regimen, made BB cream a household name and mastered the no makeup-makeup look. In fact, they’re so far advanced in their skin care, they make us Americans look like Neanderthals.

Thankfully, we’ve got three easy ways for you to upgrade your skin care regimen. Make these switches and you’re bound to get some of that glow back into your complexion.

 

1. Bored with BB cream? Try the AIR CUSHION.

 

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When Korean cosmetic brand Dr. Jart+ debuted its BB cream to the U.S. market in 2011, it caused a sensation. Every cosmetic company rushed to put out its own version of BB cream and every alphabetic permutation thereof (CC and DD, anyone?). Now there are BB creams at every price point and in a much wider range of shades. But women in Korea are so beyond BB cream at this point; they’re obsessed with something even better (and no, it’s not EE or FF).

Enter the Air Cushion. The first one, Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, was introduced by venerable Korean brand AmorePacific last year, but didn’t really take off. This summer, however, with all eyes on Iope (the Korean cosmetic line was featured prominently in the hit K-drama My Love From the Stars), their Air Cushion XP just exploded.

Inspired by a sponge-like “parking stamp,” the Air Cushion solved the problem of having to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours for effectiveness. Press on the sponge with a special ruby cell puff, which holds 1.6 times more water than a synthetic latex puff, and simply “stamp” (don’t smear or rub) on the liquid sunscreen onto your face, on top of your makeup. Since it’s tinted, the product blends in well even if you have foundation or powder. And a bonus: the Air Cushion imparts a perfectly mul gwang (“water sheen complexion” — that chok chok wet look Korean stars favor) look with one application.

Wanna try it out for yourself? Check out some of our favorites here.

 

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2. Toner too tight? Switch to a HYDRATING LOTION.

 

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A hydrating lotion — sometimes called “skin lotion” or just “lotion” — is different from the toner that we here in the States may have grown up with: that harsh, alcohol-based liquid we swept over skin with a cotton ball to wipe off any residual makeup that our cleanser may have missed. Rather, “lotion” is a post-cleansing hydrator, usually applied by sprinkling into hands and pressing the palms over the face to ensure proper penetration. Not only does it hydrate, it preps skin so that subsequent treatments can more effectively penetrate skin’s top layer, allowing all those expensive serums and creams to work more effectively with less.

Lucky for us in the States, we  don’t have to fly to Korea to get a hydrating lotion onto your bathroom shelf. Asian skincare companies available in the States already have a hydrating lotion in their line, and recognizing the brilliance of Asian skincare products, a number of non-Asian companies are coming out with their own versions. With a broad price range, these lotions are something everyone can get on board with. Check out some of our favorite hydrating lotions at all price ranges here.

 

 

3. Mask feeling meh? Go for a HYDROGEL MASK.

 

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When we think of old-school masks, we may think of thick, green-colored goo that we smear on our face while we wait for it to dry into a crusty mess. But that’s so 1980s. In Korea, sheet masks elevated the mask game, with cotton masks made to fit your face, complete with eye, nose and mouth cut-outs, infused with all manner of skin care ingredients. Apply for 20 minutes and your skin is left glowing, plumped and hydrated.

And while sheet masks are gaining popularity now in the States, a true skin care baller forgoes paper or cotton for the next evolution in sheet masks: a hydrogel mask.

A hydrogel mask or gel mask (Koreans pronounce “gel” with a hard “g”), “is made of polymers that are very absorbent and hold water against your skin,” says Jessica Wu, M.D., Los Angeles dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at USC Keck School of Medicine. “The mask traps water more effectively than a sheet mask because water evaporates more slowly from a hydrogel mask.” It feels different, too — like a solidified gelatin that is “more flexible and conforms to your face better than many cloth or paper sheet masks,” says Wu.

A favorite of Dr. Wu’s is Dr. Jart+ Water-Full Hydrogel Mask ($9). We like Korean brand Missha’s Prime 24K gold Collagen Caviar Hydro-gel Mask, about $22 for 3, which has a nice golden hue, so you look a little less freaky as you soak in the benefits. For a real upgrade, try When Mask, $28 for 4, which is made of a more eco-friendly bio-cellulose material — the fit is unsurpassed.

 

Try this 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine

 

Ever wonder how Korean celebrities are able to maintain their seemingly flawless skin? It seems impossible, especially this time of the year under the blazing hot sun! Of course, we can only assume that their pictures were most likely airbrushed and photo shopped. While it is likely that there are at least some touch-ups involved, it turns out Koreans have adopted a 10-step skincare routine that has proven to make their skin smooth and silky. Though it may seem like a hassle, these efforts may be very well necessary in order to achieve perfect, glowing skin like Korean celebrities!

 

Here are the steps:

 

1. Wipe It All Off

First, remove your makeup (duh), as leaving makeup on could eventually lead to acne in the long run.

Rinse off all traces of makeup with Innisfree Real Cleansing Tissue.

2. Deep Cleansing

Next, using the Face Shop Rice Water Cleansing Oil, gently use circular motions with your fingers to massage your face.

3. Exfoliate

 Scrub your face with this Skin Food Black Sugar, but only twice a month. Apply on t-zone and where blackheads appear most.

4. Tone It Up

Apply toner to remove any leftover residue and restore your pH balance. Try this TonyMoly Floria Nutra Energy Toner

5. The Essential Step

Regarded as one of the most important steps of this routine, applying essence to your face helps keep your skin firm with a brighter complexion. Spritz on this Missha Treatment Essence Mist

6. Amp it Up

Ampoules are necessary to help brighten skin, as well as address dulling skin and uneven tones. Use Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Activator Ampoule

7. Cover It Up

 Masks are great for absorbing nutrients and moisture, but are only needed once or twice a week. Layer your face with this Manefit Bling Bling Hydro Gel Mask

8. Eye Cream

 Gently tap some Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream around your eyes. Be careful not to tug or pull at your skin when applying.

9. Moisture

 Relax, your almost there! Softly apply a light layer of Etude House Moistfull Collagen Emulsion on top of everything else on your face, to promote circulation.

10. The Night Cream

 And for the final step – tap on some SU:M37 Waterfull Timeless Moisturizing Cream to keep your face hydrated over night.

 

 

Congratulations, you have now aged 50 years. But hey, at least you have skin as flawless as a baby’s butt!

Audrey Beauty Guide: Sleeping Beauty

Branché Silk Charmeuse Pillow Case in Blush.

No one’s an overnight success. Unless, of course, you’re one of these beauty wonders.

Branché Silk Charmeuse Pillow Case

I’m no beauty novice. I’ve been devouring beauty, skincare and makeup information since I was 13 when my mother first put the tentative strokes of blue liner on my upper lid. At 16, I was seeking advice about eye cream from the woman behind the Estée Lauder counter at Macy’s (who promptly smirked and told me to just use moisturizer). So it’s a given that I haven’t slept on my side or my stomach in years to prevent the dreaded nasolabial folds (the “parentheses” around your mouth).

Unfortunately, a strained muscle in my back (an accumulated result of vacuuming a bit too arduously; spending a day lifting my 20-month-old, 25-pound niece; and a shameful lack of exercise) has forced me to spend a few nights sleeping on my side, my face smushed into the pillow. (The horror!)

Thankfully, I was trying out Branché‘s silk charmeuse pillow case at the time. I’ve been hearing about silk pillow covers recently, how they extend the life of a blow-out and prevent facial wrinkles. But I became a believer when I awoke after a particularly tumultuous night (with pain like that, you don’t care about wrinkles for the moment), and one glance in the mirror revealed no folds. In fact, no marks, no redness, nothing to indicate I had just spent nine hours on my face.

Add to that the fact that Branché’s loft 22 momme weight silk contains 18 amino acids and a high copper content that diminishes frizz and reduces hair breakage, and has been used as a curative skin treatment in ancient China. This beauty devotee is sold.

AmorePacific Contour Lift Extreme Collection

For a while, I thought I’d be immune from wrinkles. After all, my 92-year-old grandfather’ cheeks, bespeckled as they may be with age spots, are smooth and completely line-free. But years spent as a Southern Cal teen during the ’80s (read: tanning with baby oil) has caught up with me and I’ve reached a point where wrinkles are another battle to add to my growing list of beauty woes.

I never thought I’d need a beauty product with “lift” and “extreme” in its name, but AmorePacific‘s Contour Lift Extreme Creme really does make a difference on my face and neck.


AmorePacific Contour Lift Extreme Creme.

The Korea-based company is known for their use of indigenous botanicals like 6-year-old Korean red ginseng, matsutake mushrooms, bamboo sap, and green tea harvested from Korea’s Jeju Island for a luxury skincare experience.

As for me, I can literally feel the “lift” when I apply it, especially on my neck. And while I may be too young to worry about the dreaded turkey neck anytime soon, my philosophy is, you can never start too young when it comes to warding off wrinkles.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar AI Intensive Acne Spot Treatment


La Roche-Posay Effaclar AI Acne Treatment.

Yes, I am one of the 50 percent of adult women who suffer from adult acne. It’s actually more hormonally-charged pimples that crop up like clockwork once a month. And trust me, I’ve tried almost everything out there. It’s not fair to have to double up on every skincare product — one for wrinkles and one for acne. It’s straight out cruel.

One of my favorite suncare brands, La Roche-Posay, just introduced a new adult acne treatment that has been shown to reduce stubborn acne in just three days. Effaclar AI Intensive Acne Spot Treatment has 5.5 percent Benzoyl Peroxide (twice as much as usual), but in a micronized form, which means it penetrates deeper and minimizes skin irritation. That, combined with Lipo-Hydroxy Acid to micro-exfolate the skin and stimulate cell renewal (read: minimal residual skin discoloration).

For a beauty fanatic like me, that’s exciting. For everyone else, just know this: I dabbed it on one particularly painful, angry lump the other day and woke up to a no longer painful, smaller lump the next day. Two days later, it was totally gone — no eruption, no squeezing, nothing. Now, for me, that is a miracle.

Get it at CVS, Duane Reade and Longs, or online here.