While it may seem that the world of K Beauty has found a place called home in South Africa, there is still so much more that bridges the gap between bleh-skincare routine and oh my goodness look at her glowing skin!
To help you navigate the vibrant, fast-paced world of Korean beauty and skincare, we’ve created a short rundown of ingredients, products and trends. While K-beauty may seem complex, with more steps than you care to count, knowing some of the popular terms can make it a little easier to find your holy grail. Let’s get started.
A – AHAs
Also known as alpha-hydroxy acids, which are mainly used to exfoliate. They’re water soluble and are made from fruits. AHAs can help to treat hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.
B – BHAs
Beta-hydroxy acids are oil soluble and can penetrate deeper into the pores to remove excess sebum and dead skin cells.
C – Cica Cream
Also known as Centella Asiatica, or tiger grass, this herb has been used for thousands of years and does wonders in soothing redness and irritation. Rumour has it that tigers used to roll around in it to heal their wounds.
D – Double Cleanse
This technique hails from South Korea and involves using two cleansing steps to clear your face of all traces of oils, sunscreen or makeup. Start with an oil cleaner and follow with a milk, foam or gel cleanser.
E – Essence
This is something between water and a serum and is used for hydration. Essences keep the skin supple and ready for the next step.
F – Foot Peel
Summer is coming and no one wants to show off cracked heels. Take a tip from K-beauty and treat yourself to a foot peel. Guaranteed you won’t have seen anything quite as gross as old peeling skin, but the results are worth it!
G – Glass Skin
This is one of the aesthetic goals of Korean skincare – skin that’s pore less, flawless and resembles glass. Achieve this by exfoliation, hydration and then locking in moisture.
H – Honey
Not just a sweet touch to a cup of Rooibos. Honey is a natural humectant, helping to bind moisture to the skin. It’s also full of antioxidants and can prevent acne.
I – Individualised
K-beauty is for everyone, and with so many stellar products on the market you can tailor it to your specific skin needs.
J – Jeju Island
The island just south of the Korean peninsula has been referred to as the 'Hawaii of Asia', and for good reason. The volcanic soil is rich in minerals, and has some of the purest spring water anywhere. Jeju is a major source of skincare ingredients, such as green tea, volcanic lava powder and camellia oil. Innisfree's entire line is even based on the 'natural benefits of Jeju' ethos.
K – K-Beauty
The umbrella term for all beauty products and trends that come from South Korea.
L – Lotion
A lotion is slightly heavier than an emulsion, but lighter than a cream.
M – Masks
The quintessential part of K-beauty. You’ll be able to find a mask for almost any skin type or condition, and they’re a great way of plumping up the moisture factor.
N – Niacinamide
It’s hard to pronounce so we’ll just refer to it as Vitamin B3. Use it to reduce the appearance of pores, and to brighten your skin’s surface. It also helps with fine lines and wrinkles.
O – Oil-Cleanser
The first step in cleansing. Follow with a water-based cleanser.
P – Propolis
This is the resin made by bees to close gaps in the honeycomb. As a skincare ingredient, propolis can soothe signs of inflammation and uses antimicrobial properties to calm acne-prone skin.
Q – Quiet Time
A hectic lifestyle is bound to reflect on your skin. Don’t forget to make time to wind down and enjoy a K-drama and face mask combo.
R – Rose Water
For the ultimate in sweet-smelling hydration, choose a toner with rose water.
S – Snail
Not just a tasty French snack, snail or snail mucin is popular in a variety of K-beauty products. It can help with smoothing fine lines, reducing the appearance of acne scarring and keeping your skin glowing.
T – Toner
One of the essential steps in K-beauty. Toners can be used to hydrate and calm the skin, and there’s guaranteed to be a formula for you. Incorporating AHAs and BHAs into your routine can promote a glowing, brighter skin, while toners with ceramides can be more hydrating.
U – Under Eyes
This particularly sensitive part needs gentle care and a little extra attention. Look out for eye creams that focus on providing an extra dose of moisture to this area. The goal is to reduce puffiness and smooth fine lines.
V – Vitamin A
Also known as retinol, this is a powerful antioxidant that can help in generating new healthy skin cells. It also protects from free radicals. Vitamin A can promote youthful-looking skin with continued use.
W – Water-Based Cleanser
This is the second step in your double cleanse and is ideal for busy mornings. Pick either a foaming, milk or gel cleanser.
X – X-Marks The Spot
If you haven’t tried out Korean pimple patches, then you are missing out! These tiny treatment patches help in healing any damage caused by pimples and can lead to a quicker recovery time.
Y – Yuja/Yuzu
This East Asian fruit is prized for its skin brightening effects, due to it being high in Vitamin C. Look out for it on the ingredient list, as it can help in fading hyperpigmentation and soothing skin.
Z – Zzzs
Sleep is vital in maintaining good health and skin. Amp up your skin’s recovery by trying out a sleeping mask.
If you’re ever doubting your K-beauty ABCs, check this list for a quick refresh.
Here’s to glowing skin!
(Megan Bursey - Guest Blogger)
(Adonia Yanate Mankou - Image Credit)