We're working our way through skincare regimens from all around the world. Among the likes of Parisian and Japanese beauty regimens comes a hard hitter in Korean skincare—and the more we learn, the more obsessed we get.
Korean beauty focuses on creating gorgeous skin from the inside out so that your natural beauty peeks through your makeup as a glowing base, rather than having it covered up. The average skincare routine is approximately—are you ready?—nine whomping steps. We repeat, NINE. We won't lie—it's a commitment, but one that'll pay off when it comes to looking as fresh-faced as possible for your wedding.
We chatted with Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach & Lily, to get the details of each recommended step.
1) Double Cleanse
Oil is actually the best ingredient for removing impurities like makeup and sebum. Yoon says to wipe with an oil cleanser first, then follow with a mild water-based product. (Skip the oil-based cleanser in the a.m.) Try Kopari Coconut Cleansing Oil ($32; koparibeauty.com) and Simple Foaming Cleanser ($8; cvs.com).
2) Exfoliate Sparingly
Coarse exfoliating beads can make skin susceptible to irritation, so Yoon recommends using gentle, natural exfoliants once a week (or twice, if your skin is oily). Try Province Apothecary Regenerating + Stimulating Exfoliator ($16; provinceapothecary .com), which contains soothing lavender and oatmeal.
“A toner balances your skin’s pH,” which is essential for a flake-free, oil-free complexion, Yoon says. For oily skin, find one with pore-refining witch hazel, like Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner ($55; net-a-porter.com). For sensitive skin, she suggests using a cotton ball to pat on Be the Skin Power Nutrition Toner ($29; peachandlily.com).
4) Apply Essence
Essence might look like water, but Yoon says it’s considered the foundation of the Korean beauty regimen. This hydrating solution preps skin to allow serums and creams to absorb properly. “Hydrated skin expands, easily grabbing onto moisture,” she says. Try Erborian Eau Ginseng ($39; sephora.com).
The Korean regimen often uses neroli oil to fade spots and oxygen serums to boost radiance. “Oxygen speeds up cell renewal and makes skin glow,” Yoon says. Use Odacité Ma+N Elasticity Booster ($42; shen-beauty .com) and Omorovicza Oxygen Booster ($155; sephora.com), which is pricey but lasts a long time.
6) Try a Mask
Sheet masks are made from fabrics drenched with active ingredients. In Korea, a bride might wear one every night the month before her wedding. Use Dr. Jart+ Brightening Infusion Hydrogel Masks ($7.50; sephora.com) and Leaders Insolution Mediu Amino Pore-Tight Masks($3; peachandlily.com) to help prevent blemishes.
“We Korean women know it’s difficult to keep skin hydrated from the inside,” Yoon says, which is why she’s obsessed with lanolin, an oil derived from sheep’s wool. It’s similar to human sebum, so it absorbs easily into all skin types with no residue. Her favorite is Kicho Sheep Oil Cream ($58; peachandlily.com).
8) Add Eye Cream
To prevent dark circles, dab on an antioxidant- infused undereye product with your ring finger. (It’s the weakest finger, so it won’t tug on this delicate skin.) Go for Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream ($31; sephora.com); its main ingredient is ginseng, a Korean superfood with skin-brightening benefits.
Korean women never skimp on sunscreen, Yoon says, and she suggests using those with physical UV sunscreens, like zinc oxide, and chemical sunscreens, like octinoxate. (Physical ones deflect UV rays; chemical ones absorb the damaging rays.) Try Glytone Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 40 ($38; dermstore.com).