Let's face it, often times as consumers we gravitate to the quickest option. Maybe it's buying a pre portioned peanut butter for your lunch or running your washing machine on the quick cycle. Time is precious and it's safe to assume we all wish we had more of it. While we love the quick solution as much as the next girl, sometimes faster isn't always better. Fast food, crash diets, and skin care seem to fall in the "not always better" box.
Wait.. skin care? We've spent the past month diving deep into the world of KBeauty and have developed their at 12 step skin care routine into our own. You read that right, TWELVE steps. While it's a lot of steps, we mutually agree our skin has never looked better!
The world of KBeauty is huge, but we first learned about it from a client of the salon, PJ Allen. She has skin that literally glows! We knew if we wanted that same glow, PJ was our source of information. After bugging her for well over an hour with our questions and concerns, she sent us on our way with a shopping list of our own and we got right to it!
We figured letting this skin Goddess talk with you on her own experiences and knowledge with KBeauty was the very best way to explain what exactly KBeauty is and what we've been up to for the past month!
What is Kbeauty? Is it a brand?
K-beauty is more of a Korean-influenced approach to beauty. There's a rich tradition of skin care involving ingredients from nature. The Koreans, all genders, take it very seriously. They have places to get skin and beauty things done like we have gas stations and Taco Bells. I think they're doing it better! They also care about makeup and hair, but I personally care most about using their ideas to keep my skin healthy.
What are the steps? Do I need all of the steps all of the time?
Oh boy, the steps. Many blogs will tout the 10-step process, meaning there are 10 steps to cleansing and preparing your skin for makeup or going outside or whatever it is you're doing next. It can seem pretty extreme to a soap & water culture! I have really boiled my steps down, because I'm busy and I want to go to bed on time! My daily steps are:
1. The double-cleanse: an oil cleanser followed by a foam or other gentle cleanser.
2. Toner. Not the standard western "torch-the-earth" toners that promise to dry up all your acne and general failures as a human! Rather, gentle toners that are alcohol-free and address your specific skin concerns. There are products designed for acne, but they tend to be milder in nature than our acne-focused products here. It balances the surface of your skin after you've washed it thoroughly.
3. Serum. What's serum? It's mostly meant to work as an active ingredient to improve your skin in some way. In my case, I would refer to my Vitamin C serums. They just make my skin glow, probably because it's a mild acid that keeps the sloughy dead stuff at bay. I think I look fresher when I consistently use it.
3. Essence. Dude, look, I know that's as vague a term as serum. I am not 100% sure what it means, still. I treat is as "pre-moisturizer"---something that will enhance your skin, but isn't a moisturizer and isn't necessarily active (chemically working on your skin). I am a huge fan of snail-based products for this step. More on that later.
4. Moisturizer. Even folks with oily skin can sometimes benefit from a light moisturizer. I personally have very dry skin, so I opt for very rich moisturizers. Sleep packs are just hardcore moisturizers for
5. Sunscreen. You do not---you cannot---understand how seriously Asian people take sunscreen. This is considered by many to be the most important step, since it's protective from aging sun exposure. I credit my sunscreen use in my 20's with how well my skin has aged so far.
Once or twice a week, I will use an exfoliating scrub---but no more than that. We Westerners tend to be really harsh with our skin. My choice is a Vitamin C scrub, but just a sweet little black sugar scrub will get you there too. Finally, when I have the time, I use an eyebrow blade to shave the peach fuzz off my skin. It doesn't grow back thicker, and my skin looks and feels so good! (This is not for people with active acne. You can aggravate any irritation on your skin doing this. Approach with caution!)
How can I ease into this process?
Hmm. I would say that if you have a specific concern, just start there. Do you have problems with acne? Or are you getting a little older? Take that into consideration. It's really easy to get kind of extra with it in this process and spend way too much money on products that don't work for you. Keep your skin clean, address the concern, and at least use sunscreen.
What is your holy grail product?
We get to talk about snail mucin!! This is my favorite product, period. I credit it with reducing my upper lip's pucker lines and enhancing how well my moisturizer works. My neck looks better too. For those worried about the snails being harmed: the company I like best, CosRX (not being paid for that endorsement), keeps the lights dim for them, and lets them just do snail things on a mesh net. The mucin (slime) is collected from the net and processed to be hygienic. The name of this essence is CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. The 96 alludes to how much of it is mucin: 96%. Don't be grossed out. It's magic.
How did you discover kbeauty? How long have you used this routine?
It was sort of a prolonged, accidental process. I was directed to a local beauty product store for hair product, and found this strange little section full of cool products unlike anything else I'd ever experienced. I incidentally came across some beauty articles after doing a search on blackheads or some such thing. It came together from there. I think I've been doing this for about a year and a half? Maybe slightly longer.
Where do I order products from?
Amazon and Soko Glam are my go-to sites. I just found YesStyle but haven't ordered anything from there yet. Pay attention to your order times and comparison shop---sometimes you will find a product costs less on one site or another. However, sometimes what you get can be bunk (this happened with a third-party order from Amazon).
Where can I learn more kbeauty information?
It's really popular right now, so you can Google and a zillion articles will pop up. My favorite blog is The Klog, which is the information component of Soko Glam.
How can I best determine my skin type and needs?
You can get with a dermatologist, or you can go to one of the K-beauty sites that have a quiz to help you assess that. Here's Soko Glam's:
Do you have any advice on fighting the overwhelming amount of information when starting out?
No. I got sucked down the vortex in a serious way! But seriously, think about why you're trying to level up your care in the first place, and start there. Try one change at a time, to see what kind of impact that change has on you. Some information is basic: keep your skin clean, protect it from the sun, eat and drink well, get good sleep. The basics aren't that different from what you already know. It's the fine tuning that takes some exploration.
Check out Lexie and Kaylee's before and afters photos after about 2 months on following the 12 step Kbeauty routine!