Everyone wants the best skin possible. But how do you go about getting it? We see so many posts online about the best skin care routines or how to follow Korean skin care, but what does it all mean? And how can you find the best routine for your skin type?
We’ve found a simple four step Korean skin care routine, specially helpful for Asian skin types. While you can do this complete routine both in the morning and the evening, we recommend this routine as your new nighttime skin care regime. Following the routine once a day, rather than twice, will also help your products last longer.
How is Asian Skin Different?
Our skin develops differently depending on our lifestyle, diet, location and ethnicity, among many other factors. This means that Asian skin, just like other ethnicities, needs a skin care routine specifically formulated for it.
So is Asian skin all that different? Certain concerns and skin conditions may be more prominent in Asian skin types compared to others, such as:
- - Age spots are more visible on Asian skin than darker skin types
- - Asian skin can be more easily irritated with skin care products, stress or environmental factors
- - Pigment disorders can be common and more noticeable in those of Asian decent
- - Asian skin is often more oily than other skin types
- - Acne can be a common issue for Asian skin, which is more prone to inflammation and scarring
Knowing that Asian skin has its own quirks and characteristics, it’s no surprise that those with Asian skin should have a specific skin care routine that will help them the most. Based on the information we have about Asian skin, we want to find products that help with acne and acne scarring, as well as products that are oil-free, soft on sensitive skin, help brighten dark spots and even out skin tone.
Asian Skin and Alcohol
If you’re of Asian decent, chances are you have heard of Asian Flush, or alcohol flush reaction. A huge portion of Asians (primarily East-Asians) experience Asian Flush when drinking alcohol and it can wreak havoc on your skin.
For those unfamiliar with Asian Flush, it is a process that results in negative symptoms when drinking alcohol. In a regular body, consumed alcohol is converted in toxic acetaldehyde, which is further broken down in the system into harmless chemicals. The individual may still get drunk if they drink enough, but they won’t feel any additional symptoms.
The overall process gets interrupted in those with Asian Flush. After alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde, those with Asian Flush can’t break the chemical down further. This results in the harmful chemical acetaldehyde building up in their system, causing numerous negative symptoms. These symptoms can often happen after just one drink, or even after a few sips in extreme cases.
Common symptoms of Asian Flush can include:
As you can imagine, these symptoms are not just uncomfortable - they're embarrassing. Often times those with Asian flush will refrain from drinking alcohol entirely, to avoid being self-conscious about their symptoms and feeling uncomfortable during a night out with friends. Unfortunately, this can be harder than it seems. Alcohol plays a huge role in social lives around the world and it can be hard to ignore or avoid. Even having to explain to your date or friends why you can’t drink can be tiring.
The most common and visual symptom of Asian Flush is a flushed face (often red cheeks) and in more severe cases, red flushes on the neck and shoulders.
By preemptively looking after your skin, such as following a daily Korean skin care routine, you can help support your skin and bounce back after dealing with red facial flushing caused by Asian Flush.
What are the steps to an easy Korean skin care routine?
Korean skin care routines are currently the hot topic when it comes to getting perfect skin. However, some can be incredibly long and confusing. Some of the most popular can exceed 10 steps!
However, there is an easier option. In a simple and effective skin care routine, you’ll need to follow 4 steps:
- Step 1 - Cleansing Exfoliant
- Step 2 - Toner
- Step 3 - Serum
- Step 4 - Moisturizer
But what does that all mean? Here are all 4 skin care steps broken down and with our favourite product for each step.
Step 1 - Cleansing Exfoliant
It’s important to start with a cleansing exfoliant in your routine to get your skin ready. A great cleansing exfoliant will clear your skin of any dirt or makeup you’ve accumulated throughout the day and give yourself a clean base to start with.
In the longer Korean skin care routines, this step is often broken into two steps - first using a cleanser, than using an exfoliant. Cleansing is important because it removes impurities such as dirt and sweat. Exfoliating is equally important because it clears out your pores and removes any dead skin cells.
However, we’ve found the perfect product for both steps. Save money and time!
Wishtrend’s Green Tea & Enzyme Powder Wash is a perfect first step in your Korean skin care routine. This wash is a mild powder cleanser so it can be used on a daily basis (we personally do this routine each night). Because this wash uses “baking powder, coconut-derived surfactant and enzymes, it controls blackheads while hydrating.” This is a great bonus for Asian skin which tends to see acne scarring as a common issue along with oily skin.
Since we know Asian skin tends to be more sensitive than others, this mild cleanser is great to help exfoliate your skin a daily basis, without causing irritation. So not only do you get to combine a cleansing step and exfoliant step together to save time, you also ensure to keep your skin clean and non-irritated.
To use: Pour a small amount of the green powder onto your hand. Mix the powder with enough water to make a foam and rub on your face in small circular motions. Make sure not to use too much water on the powder, otherwise it’ll be too watery instead of a cleansing foam. Wash off when finished.
Step 2 - Toner
Using a great toner is the final step in preparing your skin for the real, heavy-duty products that follow. Toners will balance your moisture and pH levels while removing any final impurities or residue leftover from dirt, makeup or previous products.
Our favourite toner is the Supple Preparation Facial Toner by Klairs. This non-irritating toner provides incredible hydration to the skin, making sure it’s ready to fully absorb the following products.
What’s also great is you can choose between the original scented version, or their new unscented version. We personally recommend the unscented version, as it’s more gentle on Asian skin and excludes all essential oils.
To use: Dab a small amount of toner onto your hand and apply the toner to clean skin. Pat with the palm of your hand until absorbed. You may need more product for particularly dry areas. Some like to use a cotton pad to apply the product, but you tend to lose more of the toner into the cotton than if you apply directly with your hands.
Step 3 - Serum
Next up in our condensed Korean skin care routine is using a serum. Serums are used to treat specific problems, such as wrinkles, fine lines, acne or dark spots. Now that your skin is cleansed and prepped, it’s time to really focus on what you’d like to improve.
Specifically for Asian skin, we love the Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop by Klairs. The main function of this serum is for brightening your skin. However, this particular serum also focuses on many issues that are common with Asian skin, such as:
- Acne scars
- Acne-prone skin
It’s also great for Asian skin as it’s non-irritating, which is always a bonus.
To use: Squeeze 2-3 drops from the dropper onto your face and rub into the skin with your hands. The Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop lasts longest when kept in a cool, dark place such as the fridge.
Step 4 - Moisturizer
The final step, and most important, is to apply a solid and hydrating moisturizer.
Our personal favourite is the Rich Moist Soothing Cream. This creamy moisturizer is also by Klairs, one of our go-to brands for Korean skin care products.
What’s great about this moisturizer is that you can immediately feel the effects of it once applying it. This face cream is instantly hydrating and soothing, especially useful in the dry winter months. Because it’s so creamy, you don’t need a lot of the cream to cover your whole face. The Rich Moist Soothing Cream also has a clean, fresh scent which is the perfect touch to the end of your skin care routine.
To use: Apply to your face and rub in with your hands until it’s absorbed.
Looking for the best men's moisturiser? Make sure to check out our article!
Not only is Reset a hydrating moisturizer that you can use in your Korean skin care routine, it is also specifically formulated to help stop redness associated with Asian Flush.
It’s the best of both worlds!
Reset helps those who experience Asian Flush to lead active social lives without feeling self-conscious when drinking alcohol. But how does it work against red facial flushing caused by Asian Flush?
If you’re interested in make-up and colour correction, you’ll know that green is the perfect colour to hide red. That’s why Reset's special green pigments were selected over dozens of trials to get just the right shade of green to counteract flushing without making your skin look pale. Once Reset is applied, it's barely noticeable but is still strong enough to reduce alcohol flush.
In addition to getting red cheeks from alcohol, you may also find that your face burns and gets really hot when drinking. To help aid this problem, Reset was created with soothing anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the heat and puffiness caused by Asian Flush.
So while we love the Rich and Moist Soothing Cream by Klairs, it won’t do anything to reduce your red cheeks from Asian Flush like Reset can.
At Reset, we always want to spark a discussion about Asian flush and Asian glow. If you have any comments, or want to share your experience living with Asian flush/Asian glow, be sure to drop us a line!