Trend Alert: Korean Skin Care

By Ariane Gagnon

There's been a lot of buzz of late about the step-by-step Korean skin care regimen, widely touted for its jaw-dropping and almost instantaneous results. But most women in the West tend to balk at the time and discipline it requires. Some of the steps can involve over 10 different products. So what's the scoop? Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? And how exactly does it work?
The major advantage of the Korean skin care regimen is the focus on hydration… so it must have some merit! Applying successive fine layers of creams and serums has a synergistic effect, penetrating deeply into the skin and yielding more noticeable results.
If you're determined to embrace the full 10-step ritual, you can check out Kosé's line of authentic Korean products, available at Murale, or simply use thin layers of your own tried-and-true favourites. Note that the former are usually more effective, as their finer texture is specially formulated to facilitate the overlayering process.

  1. Oil-based makeup remover

Needless to say, clean, makeup-free skin is always the place to start in any routine.

  1. Foaming cleanser

This deep-cleans your skin, making it a blank canvas for the steps to follow.

  1. Exfoliant

Removing dead follicles is essential to rehydrating, although you don't need to exfoliate daily, especially if you have sensitive skin. Two to three times a week is plenty.

  1. Toning lotion

Skin is easier to moisturize when it's damp. The added benefit of toning lotion is that it rebalances the pH level of your epidermis.

  1. Essence

Essence is a relatively unknown product here, but it's the heart and soul of Korean skin care. It's a bit of a hybrid between a toning lotion and a serum and boasts a slew of active ingredients.

  1. Special care

Whether you're targeting blotchiness, acne, signs of aging or other flaws, this is the part of the process where you need to focus on your skin's specific needs.

  1. Mask sheet

Time to zen out! Apply a mask sheet to hydrate, nourish or brighten your skin while you take 15 minutes to meditate… or snap a few new selfies, if that's how you roll. You can find a nice selection of affordable mask sheets, from Masque Bar and others, at Pharmaprix.

  1. Moisturizer

If you want your skin to really glow, we have three words for you: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Remember that less is more, though, since you'll have already applied several other products at this point.

  1. Eye treatment

The delicate skin around your peepers deserves some extra TLC – don't neglect it!

  1. Sun protection

Asian countries caught on quickly to the fact that skin needs to be shielded from the sun's harsh rays. That, and staying hydrated, are the two biggest secrets to a healthy-looking, youthful complexion!
And that's it! There are a number of bloggers and reporters out there who have given this take on skin care a whirl. Be sure to have a closer look to see how they fared!