As I type this, I am wearing a sheet mask. Soon I will continue with the rest of my regimen applying routine. To many this may seem extreme and confusing, but that’s why we’re here: to simplify the Asian (typical Korean and Japanese) beauty process (I refrain from calling it a “craze” as that erases the culture that existed well before America grabbed it). As with all health and beauty suggestions, opinions can be subjective and what works for one person may not work for others. For these purposes, I will focus on the aspects of the extensive Asian beauty (henceforth referred to as AB) regimen that make it different from what we are used to doing and buying in the states in part 1. In part 2 I will provide some recommendations on where to begin building a regimen of your own.
The most notable distinction between an Asian beauty regimen and an American one is the length. While many of us over here have grown up with no more than three steps, followers of the Asian style have regimens that tip the scale with ten steps.
I wont go into detail about each step, but I want to highlight this difference. The steps are not frivolous, they each serve a purpose and with the right products can be incredibly effective. The AB market is filled with products that target a specific problem. American products are more “one-stop shop” with claims to do a lot of things. This can be helpful, but it is unrealistic. Without diving into the topic of product labeling and marketing I’ll just say that products can claim to do one thing (or 20) but accomplish just one.
The American market likes to have products that are either scientific-sounding or natural sounding. It wasn’t until I began using AB products that I discovered the different ways animal products can contribute to skin care. Snail mucus, bee pollen, horse oil are just examples of ingredients that are used.
I used to think that over-cleansing automatically dried out the skin. Its true, without the proper products, over cleansing can disrupt the skin’s valuable moisture barrier. But AB followers swear by a double-cleanse and still maintain supple hydrated skin. How? Two things: non-drying cleansers and a pH balancing toner. The multi-step AB routine calls for an oil cleanse first and then a foaming cleanser second. The next step generally involves applying a toner. American toners were known as a supplemental cleaning (and often drying) product, but AB toners maintain the skin’s pH balance after cleansing, and prepare the skin for the remainder of the products.
That’s it for part 1! Stay tuned for part 2 next week. Have you tried using Asian beauty products? How many steps does your current regimen have? Let me know in the comments!