The K-Beauty trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon—and we’re not complaining. Breaking through industry standards and winning over fans one by one, the Korean beauty scene is a force to be reckoned with. But, surprisingly enough, there is still little known about this evolving trend. Sure, there are a number of K-Beauty brands and products (sheet masks, anyone?) now available in the States, but how do we differentiate fact from hype? The same way anything grows in popularity, rumors and misinformation are sure to follow.
We chatted with our insider source, beauty director Sung Jin Lee from Korean Luxury Magazine, to separate fact from fiction. With an editorial background that includes top Korean publications like Noblesse and Cosmopolitan, Lee not only has K-Beauty background experience, she lives it.
Do you follow the 10-step Korean skin care routine? Is it really a thing in Korea?
I don’t always follow 10 steps. The “10-Step Regimen” is a term coined by foreigners (specifically Americans), but it’s not like a “thing” in Korea. For me, it’s usually: cleansing oil, cleansing foam, toner, serum, eye cream, face cream, oil. Lately, people have been incorporating a boosting serum as well. Foreigners are usually surprised [by that] and think that these steps are too much, but Korean women don’t think it is. We consider it a standard practice since we’ve been doing it for a long time.
Where does essence belong in this sequence, and how does it differ from a serum?
Generally speaking, a serum contains a higher concentration of nutrients than an essence. It is believed that 3 minutes after washing the face, your skin dries up. Typically, it takes more than 3 minutes to put on products, so anything that helps maintain and lock in moisture so the skin remains well hydrated, like a boosting essence, is highly recommended.
What is the most popular Korean skin care brand right now?
Actually, there isn’t a number one brand in Seoul right now because there are so many skin care brands. Women have become very knowledgeable about the right products to use for their skin type.
What about the trending ingredients?
There isn’t a popular ingredient in Korea right now, either, but these are some that have become common in Korean skin care products in recent years. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is great for rejuvenating your skin. Also, I’ve noticed a great improvement in my skin by using products with retinol in the afternoon.
We’ve heard so many rumors about what’s trending in beauty right now in Korea. Which one is really the most popular?
Illuminated, dewy skin. Not only on the surface, but from the inside out.
Out of all the skin care products out there, what is the one you think everyone should invest in and why?
Good skin moisturizers are considered a basic skin care necessity.