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Is the Korean skincare regime too much?
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We’ve always been fascinated by how other countries look after their skin. We’ve tried to copy the French’s fuss-free approach for years, not to mention how potty we went when BB creams came over from Asia. But the latest oversea’s craze might be a little much, even for a bunch of beauty junkies like us. 

Since hearing that the Koreans undertake a whopping 10 skincare steps every day (yes 10), apart from wondering how much time and money they put into it, we also wanted to know if it actually works. Like all the other bonkers things we’ve trialed over the years we were up for giving it a go (although we did have to cancel our social plans to make time for the monstrous regime).  

So the steps advised are: oil cleanse, cream cleanse, exfoliate, toner, essence (a bit like a face mist), serum, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturiser, BB cream. Wow. Just wow. However having tried it, we started to understand why…

Madeleine Spencer, Beauty Writer at Marie Claire found it was mainly the quality rather than the look that was different. ‘It’s a bit like the difference between cashmere and wool - they may *almost* look the same, but they feel totally different  - silkier, smaller pores, more spring, fewer furrows. It’s slight, but makes all the difference’. 

But don’t just take our word for it – we chatted to Dr Adam Geyer, Kiehl’s Consulting Dermatologist to get the ins and outs of the regime. 

1. Don’t just copy – think of what works for you 

‘It’s not all about the amount of steps but the regime that is right for you’, explains Dr Geyer. ‘I’m a big believer that synergistic use of different skincare products can deliver added benefit. I commonly help people select antioxidant serums to apply under their sunscreen in the morning, perhaps a different serum for greater renewal at night, eye creams, toners, oils and so on.  But there is no right amount of steps.  It’s best to start with the basics and then gradually introduce more products as and when your skin needs them.’ Skin that’s used to a simple cleanse, tone (when you’ve got more that 30 seconds of a morning) and moisturise will have a total freak-out if you start piling on another seven or more steps. 

2. The steps aren’t set

Adding more steps can benefit certain skin types but they’re not necessarily the same. ‘In general, I find that those with oilier skin may benefit from adding an additional cleansing step, by using a toner or an exfoliant (Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Wash, £22, followed by the alcohol-free Calendula Herbal Extract Toner, £34, is one of my favourite combos), whereas those with drier skin tend to do well by adding extra layers for hydration,’ explains Dr Geyer. It’s basically beauty DIY.  

3. More steps doesn’t mean more product

More product doesn’t mean it’s better for your skin. ‘A thin layer of any cream is sufficient.  If a cream is heaped on, it is more likely to cause irritation.’ So easy does it. 

4. You’ll never get a perfect skincare formula

Well that’s encouraging to hear – we were hoping we would find just that! ‘Adjust your regime according to different seasons and environmental conditions,’ Dr Geyer explains. ‘The same lightweight moisturiser you used during summer might not provide enough hydration during winter.  Or that cream cleanser you used all winter might need to be switched out for more of a renewing, exfoliating wash during summer.’  

5. It doesn’t actually take that long… 

We exaggerated earlier a tad as it only took about fifteen minutes to get through all of the steps and 10 minutes of that was just leaving the facemask on. So it really isn’t as bad as you think!

So the number of steps may be up for discussion – but one thing the Koreans have nailed is that they look after their skin with intense treatments from a young age. We Brits tend to wait for the wrinkles to creep up and then go hammer and tongs trying to get rid of them. Remember prevention is better than cure – so anyone under the age of twenty reading this, start now! Everyone else – you’re screwed (just kidding!). 

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