Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

K-Beauty revolution: Korean skincare trends and techniques captivate global market

K-beauty seems to have achieved the impossible: glass-like skin, smooth, luminous, and profitable worldwide

K-beauty is proving to be skin deep. The very Korean practice of double cleansing with signature balms and oils has something in common with Ayurveda, although the Koreans have perfected their shtick with essences and toners which are now a key part of the beauty regime. K-beauty’s aesthetic is intuitive and the use of gentle, hydrating ingredients that strengthen moisture barriers could even prevent acne, fine lines and wrinkles before they develop.

K-drama stars and pop bands have added to its cachet as Korean skincare companies are bursting into the US skincare retailer market. The global K-beauty products market size is expected to reach USD 18.32 billion by 2030. This trend reflects an increasing Western demand for Korean skincare products that dovetails with the South Korean beauty industry’s push to prioritise cosmetic exports.

From novel skincare techniques, indigenously unique ingredients to au naturale makeup, the Koreans have something for both men and women. Achieving the Korean “glass skin” look is the skincare goal of the hour to acquire a radiant sheen that accurately resembles the transparent magic of glass.

Snail Mucin

Serums, essences, creams and gels that contain snail mucin or a mucous-like substance, secreted by snails, is one of the go-to skincare items at the moment. Clinical cosmetologist Dr Bhagyashree Gotmare highlights the numerous benefits of snail mucin as being hydrating, soothing to sensitive skin, and reparative for damaged skin.

“It contains beneficial components like hyaluronic acid, glycoproteins, and antioxidants. Its lightweight texture makes it suitable for various skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin,” she says. In rare cases, allergic reactions like redness, itching, skin irritation may occur.

Exfoliating

We can’t talk clear and smooth skin without mentioning exfoliation. Whether using a physical exfoliator (such as crushed walnut or gentle jojoba beads) or a chemical type (like glycolic or lactic acid), this step will slough away dead skin cells that dull skin and clog pores. Don’t overdo it, though. Two to three times weekly is ideal to avoid irritations, especially if you have sensitive skin. Long-term exfoliating can increase collagen production. The protein promotes skin elasticity, minimising the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age-related sagging issues.

Skin Flooding

This trend refers to the layering of multiple hydrating skincare products to deeply moisturise the skin. As outlined by dermatologist Dr Prakhar Narayan Dubey, one typically starts with a gentle hydrating cleanser followed by a hydrating serum, and finally seals in the moisture with a cream. “The primary benefit of this trend is its ability to provide comprehensive hydration. By layering products, the skin remains moisturised throughout the day promoting a healthy complexion,” he explains. However, layering multiple moisturising products can lead to breakouts in some cases.

Slugging

Slugging refers to a moisturising technique where a thick layer of petroleum jelly or a heavy cream, is applied as the last step in the night-time skincare routine to prevent moisture loss overnight. According to beauty content creator Ridhi Baluja, this trend leads to well-moisturised, soft skin as well as a radiant complexion. Slugging is also believed to help other skincare products penetrate into the skin more easily. The trend is certainly a popular one considering the large number of glowing ‘before and after slugging’ shots shared on social media.

Double SPF

This trend in Korean skincare refers to layering two different sun protection products for enhanced UV protection. First, a sunscreen lotion or cream is used as a base layer, and it’s followed by a sunscreen-infused makeup product for additional coverage. “The aim is to boost the efficacy of sun protection. By layering two products with SPF, individuals can mitigate the risk of sun damage, “says Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, chief dermatologist at Alive Wellness Clinics. She cautions, however, that layering multiple SPF products could leave a heavy or greasy feel on the skin.

The 10-step Korean skincare routine includes the following steps

Step 1. Oil-Based Cleanser

The first step is to cleanse using an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen.

Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil Rs 3000

Step 2. Water-Based cleanser: The next step is to use a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining impurities.

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser Rs 850

Step 3. Exfoliator: Use a physical or chemical exfoliator that can be used 1-3 times a week.

Daily Liquid Exfoliant- Rs 2000

Step 4. Toner: The next step is to use a toner to balance the skin’s pH level and hydrate it.

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Toning Toner Rs 799

Step 5. Essence: This is a light, watery product that can deeply penetrate the skin to deliver active ingredients.

Innisfree Black Tea Treatment Essence Rs 1320

Step 6. Serum: This is a more concentrated form of essence that targets specific skin concerns, such as hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.

Beauty of Josean calming serum Rs 1350

Step 7. Sheet Mask: These are soaked in a concentrated serum and left on the skin for a few minutes for hydration.

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Watergel Sheet Ampoule Mask Rs 299

Step 8. Eye Cream: Eye creams can be used to lighten dark circles or prevent wrinkles, nourishing the delicate skin around the eyes.

COSRX Snail Peptide Eye Cream Rs 2050

Step 9. Moisturiser: The next step is to use a moisturiser. It helps your skin barrier by improving hydration.

Belif: The true cream - Moisturizing Bomb Rs 1435

Step 10. Sunscreen: Using sunscreen helps prevent many skin problems, including wrinkles and damage from harmful UV rays.

COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream Rs 1050

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