K-beauty has been a buzzword all through this year. Sheet masks have become a known companion for everyone's Saturday night 'Netflix and chill' marathons and serums have made it to our regular cleanse-tone-moisturise routines. But there is still so much that we do not know about Korean beauty and how they view wellness.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself in Chennai attending a K-Beauty Convention. The best of the best Korean beauty brands found their way to Phoenix Marketcity and Palladium Chennai. I ended up talking to a lot of people there and got to understand what Korean beauty ACTUALLY means and how they view beauty, skincare and wellness. Here's what I learnt...
When this topic was brought up, there was a lot of outrage from the people around me. But there's a logic to this that makes absolute sense! "Anti-ageing in itself is a misnomer. We will age, this will happen regardless. But what the anti-ageing products do is that they help slow down the process. So the earlier you begin, the process gets slowed down sooner when the time comes around," said Noel Ham, CEO and Founder, Seoul Made, a Korean beauty retail brand that focuses solely on anti-ageing formula. They are still perfecting their products and are looking at launching some innovative products early next year in India.
By definition, an ampoule is a glass capsule or container which has highly sensitive medication. But in the K-beauty dictionary, it refers to a highly concentrated serum. The difference between an ampoule, serum and essence is that the former is a non-diluted supercharged serum with highly concentrated ingredients. You use a calculated amount of this for specific problems that you might be facing.
This discovery was a relief for me. The Korean 10-step routine has been the talk of the town since we were introduced to it. This elaborate skin care routine starts with a double cleanse (don't know what that is? read this!) followed by a toner, essence, eye cream, serum, sheet mask and moisturiser. It seems like this routine that created such a big wave is something that you need to work towards, slowly. "You need to have four steps or five or even two. But they need to be good steps, with good products for your skin specifically, and that will be a routine that will make all the difference to your skin," said Minju Minnie Kim, Associate, COSRX a no-nonsense Korean beauty brand that focusses on bringing out minimal ingredient products that focus on eradicating and treating specific problems. They retail in India on Daisy Skin Fix. She also said that loading your skin up with products is never really a solution. You need to know what works for you and what doesn't. You need to invest some time researching, before building a skincare routine.
I have always been a fan of sheet masks - I love how hydrated they make my skin feel. A sheet mask is basically a cotton fibre sheet that is doused and dipped in serum with ingredients targeting a particular skin issue. You have to place it on your face for about 15-20 minutes and take it off before it dries. There is a science behind this too. "Experts believe that serums are lightweight and when you apply them on your face sometimes in hot and humid climate, almost 40-50 per cent of the product evaporates without even doing its magic on the skin. So, the sheet prevents this evaporation and your skin gets the maximum benefits and absorption from the serum," says Nishant P.K., Vice President, Corporate Relations, Vantage Circle and Head of Sales Lemese India, a Korean beauty supply and retail company.
Yes, even sheet masks. Hydration is the most important part of a Korean beauty routine. Even if you are using a sheet mask, you can wait for half an hour while the product absorbs into the skin and then follow it up with a moisturiser.
After an off-duty chat with Seoul Made CEO Noel Ham's mother, I found out the importance that Koreans put on wellness. She was hell-bent on the idea that if you don't flush out the toxins from within, even the most expensive skincare products would not work for you. You need to watch what you eat and drink every day. Not just that, but you also need to think positively about yourself and about your surroundings. Happy skin comes from happy thoughts is what she believes.
Well, these learnings have now become a part of my skincare routine and I am sure could become a part of yours!
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