Sometime during the past few years we became preoccupied with understanding why Asian women seemed to have such flawless skin. Surely genetics can’t explain it all? Perhaps it’s all the Asian beauty products with skincare benefits, like the BB cream. Or the exotic serums that promise to address all our skincare concerns — past, present, and future.
The latest obsession is the 10-step Korean Skincare Routine (a marketer’s dream, by the way). But even as the hype subsides, you realized that 1) your oily skin has still not forgiven you for that essence-ampoule-mask-moisturizer-night cream stint you did, 2) your face looks just about the same as when you had a three-step routine, and 3) nobody’s got time for all that.
The truth is that the 10-step routine, along with other explanations, are all just expressions of something that Asian women do really well, and that’s being extremely aware of their skin and how they care for it. The revelation isn’t that they have something we Americans don’t, but that they do something we don’t.
So here, a distilled list of Asian beauty habits (only five!) definitely worth incorporating into your skincare regimen, and how to do them right so as to actually make a difference.
1. Double Cleansing
skin begins with proper
cleansing. Remember, taking off your makeup is not the same thing as cleaning
your face — it’s a two-step
cleansers are the best for removing makeup (especially if you have oily
skin, because it won’t strip your face of natural oils, therefore causing even more oil
production). Follow with a cleanser of choice to actually clean and purify the
Tip: Massage the oil into your skin (dry face with dry hands), focusing on the areas where you are wearing the most makeup. Then add a little bit of water to get the oil to emulsify (turn milky) before rinsing off completely.
mists are an on-the-go beauty must-have. Use a mist to prep your
face for skincare and makeup application, but put on moisturizer before the
mist dissipates to lock in hydration. You can also use it to freshen up during the day by spritzing
it on top of your makeup to maintain that much sought-after dewy look. On a minimal
makeup/no-foundation day, swipe a cotton pad over your skin after misting for a
quick clean and glowing look.
facial in a packet. I give it another year before these hit the North American
market en masse. To get the most out of the mask, always exfoliate before using
one so your skin can better absorb the mask serum. Once the mask has
sufficiently dried, cover your face with a warm towel to add moisture back to
the cotton sheet before swiping it over your neck and décolleté.
Tip: Put the mask on
right after you shower when your pores are open and can better absorb the serum. You can also steam your face
over a heated bowl of water or green tea if you are all about that beauty
the lazy beauties out there. Don’t fixate on the word “sleeping” — you can put this on at any
time. Rainy Sundays or work-from-home Mondays are also ideal times for a
masking session. Since these are
often rich in texture, they also make great moisturizers for the winter time,
especially if you have normal to dry skin. Again, the key is to prep your
skin beforehand for better absorption: If you have time for a mask, you have
time to exfoliate!
Tip: Does your pillow get more product than you do?
Apply the mask 15-20 minutes before going to bed, the perfect amount of time
for you to tap or massage the mask into your skin (this aids blood circulation in the face and is another favorite beauty secret).
paramount importance! Asian women are religious about sunscreen: They’ll wear
it on overcast days, indoors near windows, and when traveling (especially
flying, because you
are closer to the sun). Skip on everything else, but not this, and feel
thankful in 20 years when your skin is free of wrinkles and discoloration
If you start to get antsy with only five steps, you can certainly amp it up to ten by adding tons of different essences — but as a fellow lazy girl? I say keep it simple.