How often have you found yourself watching K-dramas, wishfully dreaming of one day, getting a porcelain skin tone like the lead actors? You surely aren’t alone. Beauty hacks from South Korea are all the rage around the world, and for good reason. The Korean skincare philosophy is simple—allowing your skin to thrive in its natural ecosystem by cleansing, hydrating, nourishing and protecting it. The key here, though, is consistency. The lure lies in their efficacy and ease of execution; not to mention the perpetual pursuit of flawless skin and the fact that K-beauty propagates the idea of beauty radiating from the inside out.
We bring you a few tried and tested tips from the land of BB creams, sheet masks and cushion compacts that could transform not only your skin, but also the way you look at skincare.
The first step towards achieving glowing skin is understanding your skin type and hydrating it accordingly. This is a must before getting started with make-up. For a simple yet effective dry skin quick fix, mix a few drops of facial oil with your foundation or primer before application, to lock in extra moisture. This hack also lends a dewy finish to your look. The combination works well when the facial oil is mixed with a liquid primer instead of a silicone-based alternative. Look for products that contain ginseng seed oil, prickly pear seed oil, camellia oil, green tea seed oil, or plant squalene oil as the key ingredient.
Snail music, or snail secretion filtrate, is a near magical Korean beauty staple that’s made its way into almost all products—from serums and essences, to moisturisers and sheet masks. The reason: the all-natural ingredient aids in skin healing and regeneration, and is packed with nutrients such as anti-inflammatory zinc and antioxidants such as vitamins A and E. Despite being an animal extract, snails aren’t harmed in the process, making it a cruelty-free additive.
The secret to a contoured face lies in a good ol’ massage. While face yoga and massages have been associated with relaxation and spa rituals, for South Koreans, they are a non-negotiable part of their daily skincare regime. Simple facial exercises have been proven to reduce fine lines, promote natural detoxification, and improve blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, active delivery of oxygen and nutrition to facial cells. The result: a plump, glowing complexion. Try mouth stretches, puckering your lips, and using your knuckles to gently rub your chin and forehead muscles upwards, in a circular motion, for roughly 10 seconds. Apply a bit of pressure, but be gentle around the eyes.
A moisturising overnight mask, or sleeping pack, after a routine cleanse is an age-old South Korean beauty hack that works wonders to boost skin collagen and lock in moisture. A good leave-on mask comes with super concentrated moisturising and soothing formulas and is packed with vitamins E and C and antioxidants. Masks with bamboo extracts offer better results as they hydrate well, repair the skin and contain silica, a natural collagen-boosting ingredient. Opt for these masks instead of over-the-counter night creams if you’ve been struggling to get quality sleep but don’t want it to show the next morning.
The Exfoliation Trick
Exfoliation is never merely an option—certainly not when it comes to a Korean skincare routine. This simple yet effectiveskincareformula entails gently scrubbing your face in an upward direction, using a damp cloth soaked in warm water. This is a great way to get brighter, firmer- looking skin, while also removing gunk and dead skin cells, improving texture and keeping fine lines at bay. Opt for gentle fabrics, like a microfiber, muslin or silk face cloth, when picking the towel for the scrub. Restrict regular exfoliation to not more than three times a week to avoid irritation or inflammation.
This little-known ingredient has grown in popularity over the years and is now a beauty staple in South Korea. Propolis is a resin-like substance that’s produced by combining tree sap and beeswax made by bees to fill in honeycomb crevices. Propolis contains anti-bacterial, anti- fungal and anti-inflammatory properties and is also rich in antioxidants, which makes it effective to treat a variety of skin conditions — acne and damaged skin, in particular.
The Jamsu Technique
Bella Hadid sent social media into a tizzy when she endorsed this Korean beauty secret on TikTok. The Jamsu (meaning submerge) technique has amassed widespread popularity for its relaxing effects and also holding up your makeup pretty well in a few incredibly easy steps — dab on loose powder after applying your primer, foundation and concealer, and then plunge your face into a bowl of cold water for 15 seconds. Yes, that’s all it takes! Pat dry, before getting on with the rest of your makeup.
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s October 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!