Korean skincare treatments are experiencing a heydey in the States—in particular, the 10-step skincare regimen. K-Beauty products have two specific perks: They incorporate high-quality, innovative natural ingredients (like snail mucin and starfish extract), and they put the focus on preventing skin problems before they start rather than trying to fix them after they crop up.
Even though I’d like to try out K-Beauty for myself, 10 steps sound overwhelming (and like a serious bathroom vanity space suck). So I asked Alexia Kim, a 10-year beauty veteran who serves as the operations director for natural Korean cosmetic brand The Face Shop, for an easy introduction. The company’s Aurora boutique (there are locations all over the world) is quite literally a wonderland of affordable products, with more than 1,000 items—from shampoo to foot peeling masks to face sheet masks—for both women and men. Read on for Kim’s tips.
1. Wash your face day and night—but especially at night. Our body goes through a healing process while we sleep, so anything you have on your skin (good or bad) penetrates to the deepest level. You won’t know how much damage leaving environmental toxins and old makeup on your face has caused until you’re much older and it’s too late to fix. Just changing this one step will improve your complexion.
2. Do the two-step cleansing process at night. If you just wash you face with soap or cleanser, you’re not cleaning your pores of all the makeup, toxins, dirt, and excess oil built up over the course of the day; that will accelerate signs of aging and dullness. First, use a cleansing cream or oil (whichever you prefer for your skin type) to deep clean all the dirt and oil from your face. Rinse off any residue, and then thoroughly wash your face with a cleanser.
3. Use sunscreen! Sunscreen is 50 percent of skincare, and both UVA and UVB rays can be very harmful to our skin—especially here in the Mile High City.
“Anyone looking to diminish the appearance of wrinkles, increase collagen production, and even out dark spots should try the White Ginseng Collagen Pearl Capsule Cream (pictured, above; $88). Each capsule bursts open to deliver active ingredients directly into the skin. It even incorporates 24-karat gold to help with blood circulation, skin tone, and fine lines. I love squeezing the pearl-like capsule just before applying it on my face.”
“Regular exfoliation is key to having healthy skin. Our Smart Peeling products exfoliate without the need to worry about abrasions because they’re made with enzymes rather than scrubbing beads. The three separate formulas—papaya, apple, and white jewel ($18 each)—are for different skin types, but each one works the same way. The enzymes latch onto skin impurities to remove all the dead cells with a minimum amount of friction. They help heal scars by speeding up new cell production, while also lightening dark spots and preventing black- and whiteheads from forming. Plus, whatever skincare products you apply next will penetrate deeper to give you better results. This exfoliator makes my skin feel really clean and look instantly brighter and clearer (especially if I haven’t gotten much sleep).”
“The entire Core Seed line is consistently one of our global best sellers, but the Core Seed Essence ($42) is unique. This water-based product is effective for both dry and oily skin; it brightens skin, tightens pores, and diminishes the look of wrinkles. That may sound contradictory, but it’s super moisturizing without making you feel oily and sticky.” [Editor’s Note: The essence step tends to confuse Western women. This product goes on after your toner and is, essentially, a watery treatment serum.]
“If your makeup doesn’t have a sunscreen in it, then you need an SPF product that provides broad-spectrum coverage. Our Eco Natural Sun ($18), SPF 50, is lightweight and doesn’t leave a grainy or oily feel behind. It also smells really good!”
“All of our sheet masks are amazing, but the MasCream sheet masks ($4 each) are my favorite. They’re super moisturizing and—like the packaging says—really are equal to putting one entire bottle of cream on your face. These masks will leave your skin feeling soft and supple, a perfect remedy for dull, dehydrated skin.”
“The first time you use the Therapy Royal Made Oil Blending Cream ($58), you mix the oils sitting on top into the cream base below. By separating the ingredients while packaged, they are in a more pure state when you open the jar. My face is super dry, and this cream makes my skin feel moisturized and soft. Plus, my makeup goes on so smoothly.”
The Face Shop, 2765 S. Parker Road, Aurora, 720-255-2422