When I first started my skincare journey, I didn’t know what was what and where to put it. Once I figured out what things were, I still didn’t know in what order to apply these cool, new (to me) Asian skincare products or how I can incorporate them into my knowledge of a typical Western skincare routine. It seems that everyone is talking about the infamous 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine, but that’s a lot to process for someone just getting their feet wet. Maybe I don’t even want a huge arsenal of products …
A person that’s newly discovering Asian skincare typically starts off by trying 1 or 2 new products. My friends usually start with products that are not already in their routine; which usually means essences and serums. Their initial routine looks like a mixture of both Western and Asian products, and like myself, they’re left to wonder in what order to put things on. Although, I’m far from being an expert in this area, I’ve spent a whole lot of time figuring things out. I’m a visual person, so I ended up constructing an illustrated guide. It incorporates Asian skincare products into a Western skincare routine.
An Illustrated Guide to Incorporating Asian products Into Your Skincare Routine
One of the most confusing aspects of Asian skincare is the terminology. Asian products are translated to English, and each country uses a different word for the same product. For instance, a moisturizer can be called an emulsion, milk, or lotion. But a lotion in Japan usually means a moisturizing toner, which is the same as what Koreans call skin. It’s all very confusing! To further add to the confusion, these skincare products, both Asian and Western, are constantly evolving – they no longer fall into just one category. Therefore, they can’t be defined just by their name or category, but by function. With this in mind, the labels I’ve used and the order I’ve placed them, is the commonly recommended sequence. I’ve separated essences from serums and ampoules, but the line that distinguishes them are sometimes blurred. One can argue that an eye cream goes after a lotion and not before, but it’s really just a matter or preference.
Now that I’ve sampled a few products, I’m pretty sure I don’t want a 10-step routine! Currently, my nightly routine consists of five steps: 1) cleanser 2) first treatment essence 3) moisturizing toner 4) spot treatment 5) cream. But I also incorporate sheet masks, pore strips, and exfoliate, but not on a daily basis. I’m interested in trying sleep masks and I’m intrigued by serums/ampoules (although I’m not sure if my ultra sensitive skin can take it). I strongly believe that a skincare routine should be tailored to individual lifestyles and needs. I hope that this basic guide will help in the process of discovering which products are right for you.