Korean skincare routines have sparked a lot of interest recently, predominantly because they involve an intriguing multi-step process - one that surpasses even the most conscientious of Western skincare routines. When I was contacted by The Silk Rose, a company born to make Korean skincare accessible in the UK, I was intrigued. I'm certainly not the most diligent when it comes to my skincare, despite my mother being an advocate for a good regime as I grew up. I'll always remove my makeup and moisturise, but anything more complex happens if, and when, I have the time.
The Korean skincare regime is not for the faint hearted, and is typically characterised as a 10-step process, although this isn't set in stone. This type of routine is something which is drilled into Korean women when they are very young and as a result is intrinsic to their culture. In Korea, it is believed that radiant and healthy looking skin is the best measure of beauty.
I have to admit, I felt pretty intimidated when I received my package from The Silk Rose, which was full to the brim with products all specifically selected to suit my normal-sensitive skin. I was also concerned at the amount of time the routine would take out of my day, however I found that despite a slow start, I adapted to the routine - and by the 3rd or 4th attempt I was much faster.
To give the most effective review, I trialled this routine for one month - using it every morning and every evening. I've outlined the typical steps found in most Korean skincare routines below, as well as reviewing each of the products I used during the process. As a rule of thumb, you should start with the lightest liquid first and end with the thickest - this ensures optimum absorption by the skin.
Klairs is an eco-friendly brand which claims to produce products which are free from alcohol, parabens and artificial colours and not tested on animals. They are specifically designed for people with sensitive skin who are looking to inject moisture into their skin.
Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil *
Cleansing oils aren't really something I've got on with in the past - the ones I've tried have left my skin feeling quite greasy and that always feels counterproductive when I'm trying to cleanse my skin. The Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil is a clear product with a fresh, herbal scent - it's composed of black bean, black sesame and blackcurrant seed oil and is designed to thoroughly remove all traces of makeup and impurities whilst moisturising the skin. What I like best about this oil is that it easily removes my makeup whilst leaving my skin feeling hydrated, clean and not in the slightest bit greasy.
Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser*
Once I've done my initial cleanse, I reach for my second cleanser - the Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser. This is my preferred type of cleanser because it feels lovely on the skin, and the foam of this cleanser is super soft. This is a hypoallergenic product which contains hyaluronic acid, ceramide 3 and olive oil which works to maximise hydration. It's not the most beautiful smelling product but it's really lovely to use nonetheless (your nose adapts after repeated use!) and has really helped to even out my skin texture over the last few weeks.
As I have sensitive skin, it wasn't recommended for me to exfoliate every day, and I used the below products separately. I trialled the first for two weeks, and then moved on to the second for another two weeks.
Konjac French Pink Clay Facial Puff Sponge*
I've always wanted to try a Konjac sponge, having seen them pop up on beauty blogs more regularly. This particular sponge is designed for those suffering with weather extremes of air conditioning, excess sun exposure and central heating. It works to gently purify the skin and has a softening and plumping effect to improve elasticity and refresh the skin's appearance. Pink Clay is the mildest of all french clays which makes it perfectly suitable for sensitive skin. This sponge just needs warm water to be put to work, and whilst cleansing products aren't required - a small amount can be added to help make the sponge work harder.
Goodal Phytowash Yerba Mate Bubble Peeling*
I was most excited to use this product as it sounded the most fun to use. It's an innovative 'peeling' exfoliater that uses gentle and hydrating ingredients to remove dead skin cells. It's a creamy serum that transforms into a foamy exfoliator on the skin and is lovely to use. It contains salicylic acid which exfoliates the pores and removes excess oil as well as green tea which works to brighten and leave the skin feeling soft and hydrated.
LJH Tea Tree 70 Mist Toner*
Hydrating toners are a big part of the Korean skin care routine, and this particular product is both gentle and effective. My favourite part is that it's a spray on mist rather than a pat on version which makes it extra pleasant (and refreshing to use). It's formulated with 90% tea tree extract making it once again brilliant for sensitive, troubled and irritated skin. I found this product really helped to even out my skin tone and left it feeling soft and very fresh.
Hydrate, Nourish & Treat
LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence*
One of my favourite products that I received from The Silk Rose was the Tea Tree 90 Essence which is notorious for being a good product to treat acne and skin breakouts. Whilst I only really suffer from small hormonal breakouts, I still want to find products that help to keep my skin clear. The product didn't help with any pigmentation or scarring that spots leave behind, but it has been brilliant at generally improving the condition of my skin and keeping it clear and bright.
LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule*
I've used ampoules before so am familiar with their wonderful results and was delighted to receive this LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule in my package. This is the perfect serum for people looking for radiant skin. It's formulated with 50% propolis extract and full to the brim with multi-vitamins which makes it perfect for brightening and revitalising the skin. It's a lovely serum that easily absorbs into the skin and is great to use in the evening for a quick fix for bright, glowing skin come morning.
LJH Vital Firming Hydrogel Masks*
The LJH Hydrogel masks are made of a transparent gel-like texture which are packed with nourishing ingredients that work to hydrate and calm the skin. I loved using these masks because they made my skin feel absolutely amazing and super hydrated and they were also quite fun to use! I didn't need to use them everyday - they were an additional step if I was looking for a skin boost before a night out or special occasion.
LJH Probiotics Sleeping Cream*
Last but by no means least comes the LJH Probiotics Sleeping Cream. Sleeping creams are designed as they sound - to work as you sleep. LJH's particular cream is designed to minimise pores by removing sebum which formulates on our skin whilst we sleep. I was really interested to read that this particular product has an anti-wrinkle functional certification in Korea, which as I'm not a million miles away from turning 30 was a bonus for me. I've used lots of sleep creams before and didn't find that this was the most moisturising I've used, however I did feel that it was great at firming my skin without being drying.
Now that my Korean skin care trial is over, I'm sure the questions you're wanting to know are: did the routine work and will I continue with it now my test period is over?
The answer is a resounding yes on both fronts. I may not do all the steps every day, and I may eventually reintroduce some of my favourite Western products back into my routine, but there are some particular favourites that I'll definitely continue to use. My skin hasn't looked this consistently good for a long time - it goes to show that if you put the work in, your skin will reward you. The only slight negative I can say is that this sort of routine is going to end up costing, with that being said, some products will last longer than others and if this is the price for great skin, I'm willing to pay for it.
The Silk Rose have very kindly offered readers of my blog a 20% discount (which ends on the 10th October) - just enter 'teaparty20' at checkout.
What do you think of the Korean Skincare routine? Would you be willing to give it a try?