An Introduction To An Asian Beauty Routine: Part 1
When I first started looking into Asian beauty routines, I was immediately enamored with the flawless skin that seemed to stem from these often extensive, over-the-top practices.
I was so overwhelmed by the amount of steps involved in the process that I almost gave up on even trying Asian beauty out for myself. What is an emulsion? Why are they washing their face twice at night? Why are they testing their products out with pH strips? What the heck is an ampoule?! All I had on-hand to take care of my skin was a bar of soap. Sometimes I’d put on sunscreen. If I were feeling up to it, I’d even put lotion on.
Generally speaking, Western skincare routines tend to be pretty simple; cleanse and moisturize, with the occasional spot treatment or eye cream tossed in for good measure.
The problem is that these simple routines aren't always enough to treat the wide range of skin types and problems that exist. If you have acne, you can solve it with one product. But what if you have acne and have oily skin? Or what if your goal is to even out skin tone, treat aging and hydrate?
The bottom line is that some products just don’t work with one another (and oftentimes, they don’t even work out with your skin type). That’s where the Asian beauty routine comes in – all of the steps involved in the process address specific types of problems that are catered to YOU. That’s what hooked me. And honestly, my skin has never looked better!
Curious? I've put together some pointers for you.
The Basic Steps: Building a Routine that’s Right for You
Start with the basics and patch test each new Asian product. Replace your Western products one by one and slowly continue to add more products to your line-up until you are comfortable with how the Asian beauty routine works. Typically, Asian beauty routines will follow these steps:
1. An Oil Cleanser: Done during your night routine, it breaks up sunscreen and makeup so that your foam cleanser can leave your skin squeaky-clean. This is part of a process called double cleansing that can be helpful, but only if you find a good balance between your oil and foam cleansers. For a semi-relevant run down on this, pop over and peruse Miranda's Oil Cleansing: A Revisitation To This Once-Super-Buzzed-About Skincare Craze.
2. A Foam, Gel Or Cream Cleanser: Your staple cleanser. It’s important to find one that’s at a low pH (~5.5) so that you can prep your face even more for the next few "rounds" of products. Many Asian cleansers do not strip your face and instead hydrate and soften it.
3. A Toner: Asian toners are much different than Western toners. They don’t dry out your face; instead, they moisturize, lower the skin’s pH levels and remove any remaining residue.
4. Essence, Serum And Ampoule: Added to your face in that order. These are products that you can really customize for your skin/skin problems. Essences are water-like liquids, while serums and ampoules are thicker and have more concentrated ingredients. Some popular ingredients are Vitamin C (brightens and fades spots, which Jamelia has mentioned many, many times), Hyaluronic Acid (hydrates), and snail mucin (treats pimples, redness and evens skin tone).
5. Emulsion/Lotion: Emulsion is very thin, liquidy lotion that acts as your first moisturizer, but this may be all an oily skin type may need. They serve to soothe and hydrate skin, but may have different properties depending on the ingredients. Drier skin types will opt to layer heavier creams on top.
6. Creams & Face Oils: A thicker cream layered on top of your initial lotion serves to moisturize even more. Like the essences, serums and ampoules, all of these lotions can be customized through their ingredients for further treatment. Face oils can be mixed into your cream for added moisture for dry skin types.
7. A Sunscreen: A vital part of your routine. It is important to wear sunscreen to protect your skin, especially if you are using a chemical exfoliator, as they make your skin photosensitive.
Side Note: For night routines, additional steps such as chemical exfoliants, spot treatments, sheet masks, eye creams and sleeping packs/masks may be added (we’ll go over these in a future post!). These steps are simply an outline—you may not need all of these steps in a routine… or you might need more!
That does it for my Asian beauty routine introduction! While you’re at it, grab some sheet masks; they’re a great way to get started with Asian beauty. I recommend Innisfree’s It’s Real Squeeze Sheet Masks.
Oh and speaking of recommendations, I love ordering from Jolse since the prices are fair and shipping is free!
Stay tuned for my next post, in which I will be going over my daytime routine!