What is your daily skincare routine?

I follow the Korean 10-step skincare regime, but I also tend to condense it down a little bit by using multi-tasking products. I wash my face with only water in the morning to keep in the skin’s natural oil (sebum), then I use a toner, ampoule and essence. I carry a high SPF sunscreen with me and a mist to apply throughout the day, and at night I usually use a sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizer, and sometimes a night mask. 

What’s the most important advice you have for taking care of skin?

I think the biggest difference you can make to take care of your skin is to hydrate it well. Korean skincare’s main focus is on hydration and most Korean products are made to improve skin moisture. I regularly use hydrating face masks, toner, mists, and I only wash my skin with water in the morning to keep moisture in. In Korea, we also use a ten-second rule after cleansing. Cleansing is really drying on the skin, and the longer you wait to replace that lost moisture, the drier your skin can become. That’s why we have a ten second rule to use a toner within ten seconds of cleansing! It really makes a difference. 

How should someone new to Korean skincare start to try it out?

If you’re new to Korean skincare it’s best to start out slowly by trying out some of the products that people aren’t used to in the west, like sheet masks or ampoules. Starting out by trying to follow the 10 step Korean skincare routine could be overwhelming, but there are ways to condense the routine by using multitasking products like a BB cream with moisturizer and SPF. 

How do you find the time to take such good care of your skin?

For me, having healthy skin is important, and when something’s important to you you can easily find the time. It’s not that my skincare routine takes so long, but it is a bit more intense than the average western routine of just cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. In Korea, we focus a lot more time on skincare than on makeup, so the effort involved probably equals out to the same amount that Western women invest on applying makeup!

Does diet play a role in skincare?

I truly believe that feeding your skin with the right nutrients is as important as what you apply on it. One of my favorite Korean brands is Skinfood because their products use this philosophy. They have black sugar products for exfoliating and moisturizing, egg white products to smooth skin, and even gold caviar products for firming skin.

What foods are good for your skin?

Kimchi because it’s loaded with probiotics from the fermentation process and antioxidants from the cabbage, garlic, and pepper. Green tea is great because it has a lot of antioxidants that fight free radicals and inflammation. Oysters, fish, and avocado have the good kind of fats – essential fatty acids – that moisturize your skin and make it glow. Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables like carrots and oranges helps with producing collagen to firm skin, and it can also help counter the effects from sun damage. Avocados and nuts contain vitamin E which is effective at fighting the free radicals that cause skin to age. Also, never forget to drink lots of water to keep your skin well-hydrated! 

Why are Korean products so effective?

Korean women have much higher standards for natural beauty because most Korean women take good care of their skin. They put a lot more effort into their skin than they do applying makeup, so they expect a lot more out of their skincare products. This has forced beauty developers in Korea to make products that are really innovative and effective, but also very natural and organic because that’s what women want. 

Why is Korean beauty becoming so popular?

I think it all comes down to the fact that Koreans have very high standards for natural beauty and so their products are designed to deliver more effective results. Koreans have always focused a lot more on skin health and showing off your natural beauty than on using makeup products to cover up, and I think the rest of the world is starting to catch on to that philosophy. 

What is the ten step skincare regime?

It involves using an oil-based cleanser, a foam cleanser, an exfoliator, a toner, an essence, an ampoule, a sheet mask, an eye cream, a moisturizer, and a night cream. It sounds like a lot compared to the Western regime of cleanse/tone/moisturize, but I normally don’t spend more than half an hour a day taking care of my skin, and I spend practically no time applying makeup. 

What is the 10-second rule?

The ten-second rule is the Korean skincare rule to use a toner within ten seconds of cleansing. We use this rule because, even though it’s essential to clear out dirt and grime, cleansing dehydrates the skin and the longer you wait to restore that lost moisture, the more dried out your skin will become. 

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