10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine

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10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine
2016 has been the year of Korean and Japanese beauty for skincare. Countless international brands have attempted to dip their feet in, and although some battles over a space on Sephora’s counters were successful, the war was won at the hands of East Asia. Korea and Japan have been successfully infiltrating Western pop culture for as long as we can remember; be it at the hands of K-Pop or Anime’s finest. But never has a success been so great than its recent influence on the beauty arena. Every time you pop onto Instagram, you’re guaranteed to come across some video of a makeup artist testing out a new Korean beauty fad.

The strange ways of East Asian skincare have taken the beauty world by storm: with East Asian beauty brands becoming household names as well as coming to fill the spots as some of the most luxurious skin care Sephora has to offer.  While worshipping at the shrine of their products, not many of us are actually aware of how they were made to be used. It’s rare to find a non-East Asian that practices, let alone knows of the elusive 10 step skincare routine.



10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine



Did I lose you at 10 steps? Well, bear with me because this lengthy process is what East Asians owe their clear, glowing skin to. We’re all victims of envying the youthful almost-photo shopped-looking skin that most East Asians flaunt. We’re better accustomed to the clear signs of aging and the look of what years of pimple-popping can do to a woman. So what’s their secret? Oh, nothing much, just a strict 10 step routine to be followed daily- one that most young Koreans begin to practice at the ripe age of 12. But do we, the avid supporters of the quick wash and moisturize every night, stand a fighting chance? Let’s see what it takes to glow like there’s no tomorrow. Better late than never, right? *fingers crossed*


The Double Cleanse (First 2 steps)

10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine The Double Cleanse

The beginning is simple enough; remove your makeup. Excluding the rare lazy night or spontaneous staying the night at a friend’s place, we’re mostly strict with removing our makeup even if only with a cleansing wipe. The East Asians are much less forgiving. The first two steps to both Japanese and Korean skincare routines is a double cleansing. Double cleansing is the process where you first remove your makeup thoroughly and then proceed to cleanse your skin after that.

The best way to wrap your mind around the hassle of two cleanses is to consider your makeup routine. The 30 minutes most of us devote to applying our makeup involves many layers and steps. So why is it that when it comes to removal, we only give it the bare minimum time and a single step? What we have done, needs to be undone with the same precision. This mantra will get you through the first two steps patiently enough.

The double cleansing steps have very strict techniques; it is preferred that the first cleanse be done using an oil based cleanser or a balm. The Korean skin care market is filled with tons of cleansing balm options to choose from. The second cleanse differs between the two nations. Koreans recommend and prefer using a water-based cleanser; this is seen as a more hydrating and less harsh way to remove the remaining impurities. However, the Japanese stick to a foaming cleanser to help really extract the dirt and leave your skin with a matte feel.

It is at this step that we see the prime foundational difference between Japanese and Korean skincare preferences; the Koreans aim and purpose of this all is to achieve a dewy glowy skin finish, whereas the Japanese are more focused on matte skin. These differing notions of beauty can be subtly noticed with the choices within each step- although the steps are the same.


Brighten and Smoothen

10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine Brighten and Smoothen

Exfoliation is key to the East Asian skincare routine. This step is only included once or twice a week to avoid stripping your skin completely. This is probably one of the more enjoyable steps of the routine; partly because it feels good to rub away your dead skin cells, but mostly because it yields the most instant results. Now, the exfoliation can either be in the form of chemical or physical. Coming in liquid form or pre-soaked pads, a chemical exfoliator contains acids that exfoliate the skin chemically.

Whereas alternatively, you could use a physical exfoliator, which contains rough pieces comparable to sand that physically slough off your dead skin cells. Your skin will feel baby-butt soft regardless. For more sensitive or breakout-prone skin it’s always wiser to avoid the physical exfoliators because they can be too harsh and leave you with bright red skin! This step works to reveal brighter and smoother skin and ensure that the rest of the steps work to their best potential and that your skin drinks them up like a cool iced tea on a summer’s day.



10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine Toning

The fourth step is the final prep for the rest of the products. After clearing your skin of all debris and pollution, and then rubbing off your dead skin cells, toning is the step that finally preps your skin for what is to come. A toner comes as a spray or a water base which you apply to a cotton pad. This is a seriously important step because it restores your skin’s pH balance. All that cleansing leaves your skin feeling stripped- this helps remedy that. This restores the hydration your skin naturally requires and prepares it to absorb the following steps to its best ability. Fun tip: it’s often recommended to take this step and those that follow, down your neck as well to prevent aging and sagging.


The Essence of Skincare

10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine The Essence of Skincare

Prior to this, most of the steps are likely to have sounded familiar. The concept of an Essence is unique and particular to East Asian skincare. This addition is taken very seriously and considered one of the most important steps. An essence is essentially a more lightweight serum. It comes in a similar form to a toner, although the application is entirely different. Patt essences into your skin with your hands; here‎’s your opening to gently pat your face and live out your inner-beauty-ad fantasy. The main purpose of this step is hydration and rejuvenation. An Essence also works to restore the skin’s pH balance, with the added benefit of hydrating and soothing your skin to further the absorption of the following steps.


Easy as A, B, S (Ampoules, Boosters, and Serums)

10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine Easy as A, B, S (Ampoules, Boosters, and Serums)

This is where it gets personal. One of the most highly concentrate products throughout the routine are Ampoules, Boosters, and Serums. This is where you can personalize according to your own skin issues; whether it be redness or acne or dullness. This is the part where you can most heavily treat those problem areas. Tapping it in is key yet again, so you might want to make sure your hands are clean between steps to avoid the mixing of products. A serum is another one of the most potent doses of treatment you’re going to get, so this is definitely the step to splurge on!

Looking to clean your pores: check out The Truth About Pore Strips


Scary Sheet Mask Selfie Op

10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine Scary Sheet Mask Selfie Op

Sheet masks have been one of the greatest beauty fads we’ve witnessed in ages. At first, everyone just wanted in on the funny scary selfies with a white piece of tissue placed on your face. But as they grew more and more infamous, people began to truly value the results they give. A sheet mask gives you the most intense and instant dose of whatever you need; similar to Serums. The added benefit of the spa-like feel doesn’t hurt either! Sheet masks are easily one of the most successful ways that East Asian skincare has infiltrated our homes!


All About The Eyes

10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine All About The Eyes

We’re getting closer to the finish line! It’s time to care for the most delicate and sensitive part of our skin- our under-eyes. Our under-eyes show the earliest signs of aging and can instantly show signs of exhaustion. It is vital that we treat them regularly to avoid any long-term as well as short-term damage. Apply this step with delicacy and care; strictly use only your ring finger and use a gentle tapping motion. Avoid rubbing at any and all costs!

Tips to help with dark circles under your eyes.


Set Your Hard Work in Place

10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine Set Your Hard Work In Place

Almost there. All your hard work can go amiss without this second to last step. Applying a face cream/moisturizer of some sort is a necessary step to lock in moisture and all the work that’s just been done. Moisturizers can also be personalized to your needs. For example, while Koreans opt for more hydrating and glow-inducing moisturizers, Japanese skincare prefers mattifying creams. This step is important both day and night. During the day, it works as a perfect base for your makeup to ensure its smooth application and longevity. At night, keep your skin hydrated as it absorbs all the previous steps while you get some shut-eye!


Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself!

10 Step East Asian Skincare Routine Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Now, this final step is only for the morning. There’s no better step we can take to prevent aging than applying SPF daily. We never truly realize how much damage the sun does, and we definitely never realize how little protection an SPF-infused makeup product can give. It’s imperative to start applying SPF every day religiously as early as possible to prevent aging and dark spots and the millions of baddies that come along with a lack of SPF!

*Drumroll* We made it! Now the question is, will we make it in practice? Time-consuming, definitely, but these 10 steps give such serious payoff that it’s worth attempting. We’re halfway there with the sheet mask obsession, so why not give the whole thing a chance? When in the era of East Asian skincare…


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