By Jena Fetalino
KOREANS are known for their luminous, flawless skin, but it doesn’t come without the corresponding price. According to a report by BBC News, South Korean women spend twice as much of their income on beauty products and makeup than their American counterparts, while South Korean men spend more on skin care than those in any other country.
The Korean beauty industry, known as “Kbeauty,” has grown so rapidly over the past several years that in 2015 alone, South Korea exported more than $2.6 billion in cosmetics goods.
The Asian country has been in the forefront of research into new skin-care products, and its exports of such items are steadily soaring.
The skin-care regimen to achieve the flawless skin of Korean women and men involve a 10-step process and, sometimes, more. But it pays off, leaving your skin dewy and glowing if done religiously.
In the Philippines Korean skin-care products are available but they can be pricey. So I came up with alternative products to be used in the 10-step process without breaking the bank. All these products are available either in pharmacies or department stores (please note that these products were purchased and not given as samples).
The only problem I had was finding an essence, the very heart of the 10-step skin-care regimen, which does not come from any Korean brand. It seems using an essence is not perceived by marketers as a business opportunity here. The cheapest that I got, which had a very good texture, is Etude’s House Aloe Moistfull First Essence at P848, available at The Landmark).
So let’s begin.
1. Precleansing in the Korean skin-care regimen involves two products. One is a makeup remover and the other is an oil-based cleanser. Pond’s Cold Cream (P130) is an oil-based makeup remover that is a must for me. I’ve tried and tested it for years and nothing comes close to it in terms of potency and value-for-money. It removes all traces of makeup, even waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Another good thing about it is that it is easy to bring along during travels because it comes in 60 milliliters size. I put a pea-sized amount on both cheeks, forehead, eye-lids and then I wipe them off with a tissue paper.
2. The second product is an oil cleanser which only Korean-made brands carry. Unfortunately, they are quite pricey, so I chose an alternative that I found in Healthy Options. The Dessert Essence 100-percent pure Jojoba Oil (P550) is recommended as a moisturizer, but I used it as an oil-cleanser.
I placed a small amount on my face, massaging it upward and then washed off by water to ensure that no more traces of makeup are left. You will find that this oil does not leave any residue whatsoever and is very moisturizing as a cleanser.
3. Foaming cleanser: It appears to me that cleansing is a key factor in the Korean 10-step skin-care regimen as the third step still involves cleansing. For this, I chose Neutrogrena Deep Clean Brightening Foaming Cleanser (P214). Do not put the product directly on your face; instead, put some in your hands and add water to form the foam which you will use to clean your face. Wash off with water.
4. Exfoliation: Here you don’t have to spend a lot of money. The best exfoliator I have tried is St. Ive’s Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub (P224) in a 10 ounce jar, which means I can use it for three months or more. Put a small amount on your face and gently scrub, focusing on the sides of your nose. Wash off with water and gently towel off.
5. Toning: Now your skin is ready for toning. Try the Nivea Refreshing Toner (P169.75) as it is gentle and moisturizing to the skin. Use a cotton ball or pad and use all over your face. Toning prepares your skin for the next product.
6. Essence: This is where I had problems looking for a pharmacy brand that is value-for-money. I found none, except in Etude House, a Korean brand, where I came across Aloe Moistfull First Essence (P848). It boasts of 86.9 organic aloe composition. Trust me, it is very hydrating to the skin. Apply the essence to all areas of the face and neck and leave it until you feel it has been fully absorbed. Most Korean skin-care brands carry an essence product, but it was difficult to find one among the more popular brands.
Essence is perceived by Koreans as the heart of the skin-care regimen, so do not skip this.
7. Sheet mask: You don’t have to do this nightly, once a week is alright. Watson’s sells silk hydrating and illuminating facial masks for P59. Follow the instructions at the back of the package. You have to be patient when using this as you have to leave it on for 15-20 minutes. This sheet is very thin but it moisturized my skin after 15 minutes, leaving it soft and supple.
8. Serum: The Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Serum (P789) is a lightweight serum, which is fast-absorbing and appropriate for all skin types. It promises “soft and smooth skin” which materializes after application. I apply this liberally all over the face and neck.
9. Eye cream: There are several selections
in the department stores and pharmacies I
visited, but I chose to try Celeteque Brightening Eye Cream (P299). While I found it a bit thick for an eye cream, it delivered moisture in the normally dry under-eye area.
10. Moisturizer: This is thicker than the serum and, perhaps, the most important part of the routine. I tried Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 (P789) for normal skin. It is oil-free and noncomedogenic. It is easy to apply as it gets absorbed quickly.
Try this regimen for a month for at the very leat and see the difference in your skin. With the cleansing strictly followed and the subsequent moisturizing steps, you can expect supple and dewy skin. Just like that of a Korean woman’s