Think you’re serious about skincare? How many steps are there in your beauty regime? If there are fewer than 10, you’re missing out. From BB Creams to Brighteners, Korea, China and Japan have introduced us to some of our favourite beauty products. And now, the whole world is looking to the East for more skincare secrets — including an 11- to 17-step beauty regime.
Here are five Asian beauty secrets you should try:
Japanese Double Cleansing
Oil cleansing is slowly but surely making its way west, and many acne sufferers have seen amazing results when they ditch their chemical-laden cleansers in favour of pure oils. But that’s about as far as the trend has come. People are replacing their traditional cleansers with either pure food-grade oils or brand-name oil cleansers. The Japanese Double Cleansing method, however, follows up oil cleansing with a more traditional face wash.
Why It Works: The first step is for makeup removal and the second is for purifying the skin and for removing dirt and pimple-causing sebum.
To follow this method, apply an oil cleanser to dry skin with dry hands and massage (more on that below) to remove the day’s makeup. Rinse with warm water then use a cream or foaming face wash, depending on your skin type, to remove any impurities on your skin. Follow with toner/essence, serum and/or moisturizer (more on all these steps below, too).
Use a skin softener
Ditch your alcohol-laden toner and use a skin softener (or alcohol-free toner) instead. If you don’t already use a toner, add one to your routine.
Why It Works: A toner helps to balance the Ph of your skin after cleansing and prepares your complexion for essences, serums, moisturizers and finishers (yep, all of those products in that order!). Traditional toners with alcohol only dry skin out and may make you feel like you’re squeaky clean but squeaky is not actually a good feeling for skin that’s supposed to look dewy and soft.
Add about 10 steps to your regimen
If you’re like most people, you simply wash and moisturize twice a day. Well, if you want the ethereal skin of a K-Pop (Korean pop music) sensation or Chinese movie star, you’re going to have to try harder — and spend more time caring for your complexion!
Starting with double cleansing and finishing with a mist, a complete regime can include up to 17 products and you should wait between 30 seconds and one minute between each product application. The general routine is usually something like this: after cleansing, a toner is applied with fingers or a cotton pad. This is followed with a watery essence, then a collection of serums (three or more) to target different issues. After this, a paper mask can be used and removed before using eye cream, moisturizer, a sleep mask and mist.
Why It Works: Obviously, there are bound to be mixed opinions about such an involved, time-consuming and pricey habit, but at the heart of this concept is the idea that you approach skincare with more thought than a splash of water and a smear of night cream. Really look at your skin, choose products that will benefit your skin type and apply them religiously. You deserve it!
Massage your face
While cleansing — during both the oil and cleanser phases of your regimen — it’s important to massage your skin. You can also massage your face once you’ve applied a light, milky lotion that gives you a smooth base for which to glide your hands over.
Why It Works: Facial massage increases circulation, instantly brightening your complexion while helping to cleanse, detoxify and firm skin. Plus, it feels nice! There are many resources online for step-by-step instructions or you can keep it simple and use soft circular motions with fingers or a facial brush.
Try a paper mask
Chinese Actress Fan Bing Bing admits to using 600 paper masks a year — that’s at least one a day, often two. Paper masks are serum-infused face-shaped pieces of paper with holes for eyes, nose and mouth that are applied to the face and left on for about 10 minutes. They come individually wrapped and are handy for travel. Masks are a huge skincare must-have in Asia, but they don’t have to be purchased. DIY natural masks, like egg white for tightening and toning, are also popular and effective.
Why It Works: Unlike a cream mask, paper masks are thought to be more effective because they are saturated with concentrated skincare ingredients. The user is forced to lay back and relax to keep the mask in place, meaning that the serum has time to absorb and also, you’re never at risk of applying too little as there is more than enough in the mask — no need to reapply.