Want to get your skincare routine updated for winter? Take some tips from the beauty bloggers' favourite 10-step Korean routine, with a few twists and cheats to make it work for time-pressed women in the British winter.
Steps one and two of the 10-step Korean skincare routine are both cleansing; getting rid of all the makeup, dead skin cells, and pollution and dirt that find its way onto your face throughout the day (especially if you live in a city) is so important for your skin, you really need to do it twice. Keep the first step – a gentle makeup remover such as a micellar water – the same all year round, but for the winter months consider using something rich but soothing for the second cleanse, such as a balm. Crucially, look out for ingredients like alcohol and sodium lauryl-sulphate (aka soap) in your cleansers, as these dry the skin out.
Adapting your skincare routine for winter means opting for more gentle products, so instead of a scrub or a powerful glycolic acid-based solution, try an exfoliator based with natural enzymes such as pineapple or papaya extract, or a lighter alpha-hydroxy acid such as lactic acid, which will dissolve the dead skin cells and impurities on your skin. In winter, it might be a good idea to cut back on how many times your exfoliate a week, as over doing it can irritate your skin. However skipping it altogether means that your skin is less able to absorb those nourishing ingredients that will help keep you glowing all year round.
Layering up the treatment stage of the skincare routine with serums, ampoules and essences is the heart of the Korean regime that has become so popular. But however many you choose for your skin, it’s worth updating the products you use to target the symptoms you’ll experience at this time of year. With wind and cold aggravating your face outdoors, and central heating taking its toll indoors, your skin is likely to be drier and more sensitive than it is in summer. Go for something containing hyaluronic acid – don’t let the name fool you: think of it not as an acid, but as a super hydrating ingredient that attracts moisture to it, leaving your skin plump and healthy. Other ingredients to look out for are vitamin E, natural extracts like liquorice and witch hazel, and lipids to help restore your skin’s barrier function. Best avoid fragrances if you’re particularly sensitive.
A couple of times a week, use a mask in your evening skincare routine. You might want something purifying, like a clay-based mask, in summer but as the days get colder swap that for a sheet mask that will give you a super-charged dose of hydration. Again, go for a product with hyaluronic acid to boost the moisture levels in your skin, as well as other hydrating ingredients such as glycerin (if you’re not prone to break outs).
As any dermatologist or skincare specialist will attest, sun damage is the biggest contributor to lines and wrinkles in the skin, so no matter what time of year it is, wear sun protection every day. A disciple of the Korean beauty routine would never cut this stage, even in the snowy depths of winter. In winter, rather than worrying about the SPF factor of your skincare, look for products that say “Borad Spectrum” and have a high UVA protection rating. SPF is the level of protection your sunscreen gives you from the sun’s burning UVB rays, however UVA rays cause damage underneath the skin that you can’t see, and they can penetrate cloud cover too.
Still suffering with dry and sensitive skin in winter? Book in for a nourishing spa facial.