A BEginner's guide to k-Beauty

By Rebecca Deczynski

Published on December 10, 2017 on Snapchat Discover

K-Beauty Step No. 1: Embrace the Double Cleanse

News flash: Even diligently washing your face morning and night might still not be enough to get clear skin. Korean beauty routines involve back-to-back cleansing, first with an oil-based cleanser, and second with a gentle, water-based cleanser.

Gudetama All-in-One Oil-to-Foam Cleanser by Holika Holika $16

Gudetama All-in-One Oil-to-Foam Cleanser by Holika Holika $16

“I’ve seen so many of my clients just incorporate a double-cleansing routine, with no other changes, and their skin almost immediately looks different and healthier,” says Alicia Yoon, aesthetician and founder of K-beauty companies Peach & Lily and Peach Slices (the latter of which can now be found at CVS). “The two-step process makes sure you’re really cleansing down to your pores.”

No. 2: Exfoliate the Right Way

Exfoliation is a necessary step in any skin-care routine, but it can be tricky to master. “I find that people either over-exfoliate, or they  just don’t really exfoliate at all,” says Yoon. “You can incorporate exfoliation into your weekly regimen, usually two to three times a week.” Korean peeling gels, which contain tiny exfoliating particles, are gentler than traditional exfoliants, so they particularly benefit sensitive skin.

No. 3: Hydrate and Tone

Pomegranate Nutri-Moisturizing Toner by Frudia, $15

Pomegranate Nutri-Moisturizing Toner by Frudia, $15

Toner, which balances skin to prevent breakouts, isn’t unique to K-beauty routines, but innovations in the K-beauty sphere have given it additional skin benefits. “There’s a viral hack in Korea that involves applying seven layers of hydrating toner,” says Yoon. “It helps to really pack the moisture into your skin.” To apply your toner, skip the cotton pads and instead use your fingers to press it gently into your skin.

No. 4: Start Customizing

When it comes to personalizing your skin-care routine, whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin, serums can address any specific concerns or problem areas. But Yoon says that everyone can benefit from a hydrating serum. “Dehydrated skin is something I almost always see,” she explains. “If you want a personalized routine, then you can apply a hydrating serum, plus another serum that you think is great for your skin type.”

No. 5: Try an Eye Cream

Iceland Hydrating Eye Stick by The Saem, $9

Iceland Hydrating Eye Stick by The Saem, $9

Sure, you can just rely on your moisturizer to hydrate your eye area, but if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to use an eye cream. “Eye creams are tried and true,” says Yoon. “But if you’re looking for a hack, and you just don't want another product, then you can try patch testing around your eyes with a regular moisturizer.”

No. 6: Set With a Moisturizer

If you have persistently dry skin, don’t be afraid to apply several layers of moisturizer. “I have very dry skin because I have eczema, and I can wear five layers of With the Peach Slices Citrus Honey Aqua Glow,” says Yoon. “It doesn’t pill, and I can apply makeup on top of it.”

Want to take your K-beauty skin care to the next level? Try these skin-care add-ins.

For Extra-Dry Skin: Add an Essence

Gudetama All-in-One Master Essence by Holika Holika, $31

Gudetama All-in-One Master Essence by Holika Holika, $31

Does your skin feel parched no matter how much moisturizer you apply? Try an essence. “An essence is primarily formulated to hydrate skin. Sometimes you can find a toner and an essence in one,” says Yoon. “Hydration is going to help you absorb everything else better, and keep your skin environment healthy so that your skin can repair itself better.”

For Additional Personalization: Try an Ampoule

When you want to tackle specific problem areas, an ampoule can offer even more effectiveness than a serum. “An ampoule is very much like a serum—it's just more concentrated,” says Yoon. Use it when you really need to make an impact.

For Persistent Acne: Get Spotty

Acne Patches by Peach Slices, $5

Acne Patches by Peach Slices, $5

You don’t have to use harsh products to tame persistent acne. “When it comes to breakouts, the Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots are really wonderful because they’re not drying,” says Yoon. “It comes back to that philosophy of ‘Don't fix one issue and cause another.’ These dots really help to flatten your acne, even overnight, help to heal it a lot faster, and prevent more bacterial infection happening.”

For an All-Around Glow: Use an Unexpected Ingredient

K-beauty may be known for its ingenious use of unexpected ingredients, but above all, Yoon recommends snail mucin. “It helps keep bacteria at bay, helps to regenerate skin, helps with hyperpigmentation, helps hydrate—it does everything,” she says.

Hydrate Mask by Peach Slices, $3

Hydrate Mask by Peach Slices, $3

For a Pampered Touch: Mask It Out

Sheet masks are an easy way to treat and hydrate your skin, without spending a lot of money.

“In terms of the steps, you would do cleansing, toning, your sheet mask, and then a moisturizer,” says Yoon. “I always apply a light layer of moisturizer afterward to seal in all of the mask’s effects.”