I Tried an Intense Korean Skincare Regimen

2014 gave beauty junkies quite a few trends to think about, from an intense devotion to oils to cure-all balms. However, one of the year's greatest fixations has been the much-lauded Korean skincare regimen, which promises luminous, youthful skin if you care to adopt a somewhat laborious list of practices. In honor of the new year, and with the aid of breakout brand Amarte Skin Care, I dove into the trend and learned exactly what made Korean skincare into a celebrity-favored mainstay of the beauty industry.

Amarte's brand philosophy is predominantly influenced by Korean skincare principles, which suggest utilizing a series of steps to adopt even-toned, radiant skin. The regimen is no slapdash process, and in fact is meant to be a pleasurable and exhaustive process with the outcome of thoroughly cleansed and protected skin. The process may take a touch longer than your daily swipe of makeup remover and drugstore cleanser, but the results speak for themselves: maintaining attentiveness to your skin on a daily basis results in a glow that would render even the Victoria's Secret Angels seem less brilliant in comparison.

Daily Wonder Cleansing Foam, $40, Dermstore | Eyeconic Eye Cream, $80, Dermstore | Aqua Veil Hydrator, $65, Dermstore | Wonder Cream, $120, Dermstore | Natural Finish BB Cream, $65, Dermstore

Upon Amarte's founding in 2001, the brand sought to splice together the superior facets of both Korean and American skincare routines. Dr. Craig Kraffert serves as the company's resident dermatologist and expert on matters of biochemistry, working to incorporate his knowledge of skin care into the brand for effective product that make a discernible difference in the skin's texture and tone. Kraffert worked with the brand to create products to cleanse, exfoliate, tone, reduce fine lines, moisturize, and keep sun damage at bay, while maintaining the simplicity of use which many girls on the go crave out of their skin care regimen.

Don't be fooled by the brand's charming petal-colored packaging or earthy motto of "Love yourself. Love your skin"; the science behind the products produces results. After working with Amarte to determine which products would best suit my skin type (though reportedly the products are meant to suit a number of skin care concerns simultaneously without averse effects), I commenced on a week-long journey to unearth better skin while eschewing my typical, more simplified regimen.

Amarte's regimen is inarguably simple to follow, especially when one is already aware of the proper order in which to apply products. A gentle foaming cleanser entitled Daily Wonder Cleansing Foam lathers nicely and removes city grit from the face after makeup removal without giving skin a puckered feeling, especially when followed by Amarte's Aqua Veil Pure Hydration Serum. The cucumber-scented serum itself is one of my favorite products in the line, expelled from its tube in gel form which dissolves into a fragrant, antioxidant-filled liquid that can easily be massaged into the face. A dab of Amarte's Aqua Lotion is catered to those with sebum-heavy or combination skin, with a feathery texture, luminosity-enhancing ingredients including purified nano-sulfur and arbutin, and pleasant citrus scent. Retinol-infused Eyeconic Eye Cream is the final recommended step before smoothing on some of the brand's Natural Finish BB Cream Light.

To fully embrace the meticulous Korean skincare philosophy, Amarte also offers consumers an Aqua Mist Toner and Daily Exfolipowder, the latter of which consists of a fine powder which lathers into a debris-removing foam when combined with water.

Aqua Mist Toner, $67, Dermstore | Daily Exfolipowder, $37, Dermstore

Though it is difficult to quantify results when I compare this complex, multi-step regimen to my typical routine, I observed several key changes in my skin over the course of my 7-day test drive. On day one, I was simply delighted with how deliciously scented each product is, and not in the convoluted way some luxury lines are, when one isn't quite sure how many chemicals went into creating a complex perfume. On day two, I realized that I had been over-using the Daily Exfolipowder in my zeal and inadvertently dried out my skin. On day five, I began to see slight textural and tone changes in my skin; angry dry patches resulting from harsh winter weather had begun to recede and my skin had begun to achieve a delightful clarity. By day seven, I had begun to embrace the unabridged picture of the line, from its ease of use to the way it seemed to soothe angry skin but was still not immune to the citrus and cucumber-infused fragrances which wafted from the bottles and tubes during each use.

It has been a week since my scientific experiment with Korean skincare concluded, and I still use the Aqua Veil Pure Hydration Serum and Aqua Lotion daily, albeit with my own staple products mixed in. If the globe is headed for another Polar Vortex, the least you can do to compensate is give your skin a bit of TLC, and might I recommend adopting an intensive yet entirely doable Korean skincare routine? All you have to lose is an extra five or ten minutes of your day, but for glowing skin, the price is worth the time commitment.

Image:; Giphy