Your introduction to k-beauty

The science behind the concept of double cleansing is simple. There are two kinds of impurities that you need to clean from your face. First is the oil-based build-up, which includes the makeup that has been on your face the whole day, sunscreen and the oils your skin naturally produces. Second, you need to remove water-based debris, like sweat and dirt. Using an oil-cleanser as the first step in your double cleansing routine takes care of the oil-based impurities and the second water-based gel or foam cleanser, the water-based dirt. Simple, right? Here is how to choose the right product depending on your skin type.

Take a coin-sized amount of the oil cleanser or cleansing balm and rub it between your palms a few times.

This will warm up the product. Now gently massage it into your skin, (yes, makeup and all), until you have covered all areas on your face. Use circular motions, as this helps improve blood circulation, and makes for glowing skin. Take a cotton pad and wipe the makeup and cleanser off your face. Or, if you want go to that extra mile, and you should, as it is totally worth the pay-off, you can take a soft wash cloth, soak it in warm water, wring it, and lay it so it covers your face for 30 seconds. This acts like a mini-steam for your face and helps lift the makeup and dirt. Then gently wipe everything off with the same cloth.

Time for the second round of cleansing! Use a pea-sized amount of cleanser and massage it into your skin using your fingertips, making sure you cover your entire face. Rinse with warm water. Now stand back and give yourself a pat on your back for having double cleansed and admire your clean skin! This helps your skin to absorb ingredients from the products you will apply next.

Sheet masks are very popular and there is one to target every skin concern. They are face-shaped sheets made of bio-cellulose, hydrogel or cotton and are soaked in beneficial ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid or vitamin c. They differ from regular face masks in the way they are applied. Regular, paste-based face masks can be messy and inconvenient. Sheet masks are easy and convenient to carry, and are hassle-free. All you have to do is, put one on and relax for 15-20 minutes, and probably take a sheet-mask-selfie for Instagram! Unlike regular face masks, which can dry out your skin, sheet masks are fully soaked in serums rich in vitamins and minerals and prevent quick evaporation of said product. This ensures there is enough time for the ingredients to soak into the skin. They should be applied once or twice a week. Pro-tip: after you lay the sheet mask on your face, squeeze out the remaining serum from inside the cover (think squeezing out the last bit of toothpaste from the tube) and pat it on the mask.

All this a bit too much for you? Don’t feel overwhelmed. Start with the steps you are comfortable with and slowly start building up a regimen that follows the above principles. Over time, it will become simpler and you will be able to get through it quickly and with no extra effort. Understand the requirements of your skin. Experiment with textures and ingredients, and add products that benefit you. The fun is in finding out new products that work best for you.

The rule of thumb is to be gentle with your skin. Do not use rubbing or dragging motions while applying the products. Use light tapping motions to help better absorption of the product. Massaging the skin while you cleanse not only gives spa-esque vibes, but improves circulation and leaves you with glowing skin.

It is not that you have to follow all the steps twice a day, every day. You can rotate the products and make sure your skin benefits from each of them. Just remember to follow the main steps with diligence – cleanse, tone, exfoliate (once or twice every week), moisturise and SPF!

The three tenets of Korean skincare are: ingredients, routine and consistency. Now, while we agree that following this regimen down to the T, every single day, is a tall order, we recommend that you follow the basics every day, but return to the original routine soon. The reason this multi-step routine works is in the fact that it uses active ingredients, which are easily absorbed by the skin. So by the time you have applied, massaged and pampered your skin with 10-12 products, your skin is left supple and your pores, clean. Also, having used gentle, light, tapping motions give you the hygge moment you need in the day!