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Keep Your Glow With This Korean Beauty Routine
At some point, we have to admit it - we’re all ageing. And with our current understanding of our biology, we can’t stop that process. What we can do is reduce its visible effects on our skin and keep our glow, all with the right wrinkle regimen. A routine that is comprehensive and effective is an investment, so it’s essential to do your research and purchase products that suit your skin, your goals, and your lifestyle.
Lucky for you, we’ve put together the best anti-wrinkle regimen that many board-certified dermatologists have suggested. We will talk about the ideal beauty routine checklist, why you need each product, and maybe even recommend a few products that are making waves in the industry right now.
Step 1: Cleanser
Cleanser is the most vital of the beauty routine steps - it removes residue from other products, makeup, natural skin oils, pollutants, and bacteria from the surface of your skin. Cleansing is the first step in a routine because it will allow other products to enter your skin more easily and prevent them from sealing dirt inside your pores.
Wash your face twice daily, no exceptions. Some licensed dermatologists even recommend double-cleansing for the best results.
What You Want: Go for gentle, low pH cleansers to help preserve your natural skin barrier and resist irritation. Look for cleansers that add a little bit of hydration and won’t strip your skin of its moisture. If you’re on the go or just looking for a simple, mess-free solution to add to your wrinkle regimen, a cleansing balm like Clinique’s Take the Day Off is a great option.
What to Avoid: As you get older, ditch the foaming acne washes and any high pH cleansers because they’re going to strip your already delicate skin. Ingredients like alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate and fragrances can all be irritating and do more damage to your skin than they’re worth. You should also be avoiding cleansers that have a huge list of active ingredients - they’re not in contact with your skin for long enough to be worth it, and you can get the benefits of those ingredients from your other products.
Do You Need Toner?
Technically, no. Toners were developed in the early days of skincare when harsh, high pH cleansers were common. Toners are meant to restore the skin’s pH after a harsh process like this, but if you’ve opted for a gentler option, they’re not necessary.
However, plenty of modern toners have other benefits for your skin, such as managing oil or fighting acne. If your skin is oily, blemish-prone, or easily irritated, you might want to keep a toner in your skincare routine. A popular product from a trending Korean beauty routine is ACWELL’s Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner.
Step 2: Exfoliation
Exfoliation is vital in battling the signs of ageing. As we get older, our skin’s natural cycle of replenishing itself slows down. Dead skin cells aren’t replaced by new cells quickly, making your complexion look more dull and uneven. Exfoliating removes these dead cells manually, allowing you to reveal the younger cells underneath. It would help if you weren’t exfoliating every day - instead, adding it into your wrinkle regimen three times a week is sufficient.
There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants use abrasive ingredients such as beads, salt, or sugar to remove dead skin cells, while chemical exfoliants dissolve dead skin and the bonds between these cells to remove them.
What You Want: Choose a gentle chemical exfoliant with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, which are great for fading uneven pigmentation and adding hydration to the skin (something like E.L.F. Cosmetics' Gentle Peeling Exfoliant). Opt for a soft washcloth, silicone brush, or soft sponge that won't irritate your skin if you're using physical exfoliation.
What to Avoid: Stay away from harsh physical exfoliants like bead cleansers and sugar scrubs, as they can irritate your skin and do more harm than good.
Step 3: Serums
Serums are the ultimate weapon in an anti-wrinkle regimen. These highly concentrated products are packed with active ingredients for all sorts of skin woes. Whether you’re concerned about brightening your skin tone, stimulating collagen production, or pretty much anything else you can think of, adding a serum to your beauty routine checklist is a must.
What You Want: The skincare superhero for anti-ageing at the moment is retinol - a derivative of vitamin A that helps prevent new wrinkles from forming and stimulates cellular turnover to decrease uneven pigmentation. This and other ingredients such as tretinoin, tazarotene, L-ascorbic acid and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate can help stimulate collagen production and protect your skin from environmental and biological stressors.
What to Avoid: Serums that contain too many active ingredients or filler ingredients that don’t do anything for your skin.
What About Facial Oil?
While not technically serums, facial oils can be a great booster in your beauty routine steps. They’re primarily used for boosting hydration and elasticity, which can be a lifesaver for ageing skin. Opt for a product like Herbivore Phoenix’s Cell Regeneration Facial Oil for an extra boost.
Step 4: Moisturizer
Moisturizer is a must for anyone, but it’s especially important for maturing skin. As we age, our skin starts producing less sebum. While this results in fewer blemishes, it can also mean our skin starts to dry out more easily. Inadequate hydration is one of the leading causes of fine lines and wrinkles, but it’s, fortunately, an easy fix. There’s a reason that moisturizer is the main focus for any Korean beauty routine.
It’s important to ensure that your skin is clean before applying moisturizer; otherwise, it could trap bacteria and oils in your skin.
What You Want: Check for moisturizers that contain humectants like glycerine and hyaluronic acid - these ingredients bind water and help skin retain moisture. For night moisturizers, ingredients like petrolatum (commercially known as Vaseline) and mineral oil can help stop water from evaporating out of your skin.
What to Avoid: Avoid moisturizers that are too oily or sit on your skin - you want something that feels light and penetrates your skin to help the underlying layers retain moisture as well. There’s no point in adding another product to your beauty routine checklist, only to have it clogging up your pores.
Do You Need an Eye Cream?
The skin around our eyes is thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of the face and thus requires special attention in your wrinkle regimen. Keeping the area underneath and around your eyes hydrated can help make wrinkles in these areas less noticeable and make you look younger and more awake. Much like serums, it’s essential to be gentle and pat these creams into the skin - no harsh rubbing!
What You Want: A gentle, light cream that contains ingredients such as Coenzyme Q10, which can reduce fine lines and protect delicate skin from the sun.
What to Avoid: Heavy creams that will settle into creases, harsh alcohols, and physical exfoliants that can damage this delicate skin.
Step 5: Sunscreen
Sunscreen is vital for women of any age, but it’s especially important for combatting and preventing the signs of ageing. Sun damage is responsible for so many visible signs of ageing that it has its own category in dermatology - photoaging. UV rays can break down collagen and cause abnormalities in elastin, leading to thinner skin, wrinkles, and uneven pigmentation.
According to a recent research study, applying a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen every day can fade age spots, improve skin’s texture, and soften wrinkles up to 20% in just three months. It’s no wonder that sunscreen is vital for the best anti-wrinkle regimen.
What You Want: A sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and approved for daily use. Some moisturizers and makeup primers come with built-in sunscreen, so you don’t even have to add an extra step to your routine to ensure that your skin is safe from the sun!
What to Avoid: Sunscreens with irritating ingredients such as oxybenzone.