More and more K-Beauty Skincare Products are available for sale in the US. We know that they are coming from South Korea, the Skincare Capital of the World. Beautiful skin is an Asian Women’s number one priority, and they will spend time on their skin. They make taking care of their skin a ritual, a time for themselves that they enjoy, when they can relax and perform their skin care rituals. There are many nights when I am so tired I have to push myself to just get the makeup off, wash my face and put a night cream on. However, we are fascinated with these exotic skincare products and the many steps involved, and we are starting to purchase more and more Asian products everyday. However, even though we are buying more and more K-beauty skincare products, these products and rituals of what and when to use these products are very different from what we in the Western Hemisphere are used to.
When I was growing up, the ritual was basic; Cleanse, Tone and Moisturize. As skincare technology became more advanced, serums were added to our routine, prior to moisturizer , and sunscreen became a necessity, after moisturizer. The Asian women, on the other hand, have always been taught, from a very young age, a ten to twelve step skincare system that they followed more diligently than most of us ever did when we were kids. For example, they would NEVER go to bed with their makeup on, not ever! Their products are different than ours, their ingredients are different, the textures of the products are different, and what they name their products are different, and the products perform differently than our products. We use a toner, they use an essence. They use an essence, we use a serum. They use serum, they sometimes refer to their essences as toner at times. So it gets really confusing for all of us to figure out what the heck these products are and what they are supposed to do.
We Cleanse, K-Beauty users Double-Cleanses. Then we use a toner. Our toners had developed a bad reputation because they had a tendency to over dry the skin- most likely because the main ingredient in most toners was alcohol. Over time our toners became gentler and softer. They actually target different skin care needs, they can be hydrating, brightening or oil controlling. K-beauty toners are also known as refreshers. They are softer and less harsh than our toners.
Toners are our next step after cleansing as Essences are the next step in the K-Beauty Regime after cleansing. Many toners and essences are packaged in large-sized bottles. They are packaged similarly and are both applied after the cleansing step, yet the similarities end there. Toners and Essences are not the same thing!
Toners are thought of as the next step after cleansing to restore the skin’s PH balance, and sometimes to remove traces of dirt that cleansing left behind.
The job of an Essence is to prep the skin for the next step in the skincare routine, and help in the regeneration process of cell turnover. The Regeneration process is cell turnover or renewal – the process that skin goes through to renew itself where it sheds the top layer of dead skin and allows fresh new skin to radiate and shine through.
Essences may have a more watery texture or a thicker consistency than a toner. Essences do not cleanse the skin (which toners do). Essences do contain one or more active ingredients (which toners don’t). Lastly, toners are applied to the skin with a cotton ball, and essences are generally applied with the hands, gently patted into the skin.
Because Essences have one or more active ingredients in them, some might think of them as serums. But they are not. No, Essences are not serums. The biggest difference serums have that essences don’t is serums hold more concentrated active ingredients than essences hold. Many serums on the market target particular skin care concerns such as aging, acne, hyper pigmentation, or hydration.
It is important that you know your skin type and your skin care concerns when you are looking for products for your skincare products. All of our skin changes from time to time, so it is important to recognize when your skin changes and needs to adjust to a different product, and adjust accordingly. When you know what your target concerns are, you must look for products whose ingredients address your specific skincare needs and concerns. And remember to make adjustments during those times when your skin changes.
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