The goal of most skin care routine for Asian women is glass skin: clear, luminous and radiant. But if you ask any Korean, it’s not about spending a lot of money on products. It’s about habits and routines that don’t even cost a single thing, but make a huge difference in how your skin looks when you’re 40, 50 or even 60 years old. Here are some of their traditional beauty secrets.
Clear pores regularly with a DIY facial steam
One of the cheapest ways to prevent blackheads, whiteheads and pimples! You can do it three ways:
- Boil distilled water in a large pot., covering it with a lid to capture the steam. (Optional but totally relaxing: add essential oils to the water. Try peppermint — it’s a natural astringent and smells so refreshing) Transfer the pot to a table, and lean over it with a towel draped over your head. Sit there for about 10 minutes, or until the water cools.
- Wet a small towel in hot water, and place over your face for 10 minutes.
- Invest in a facial steamer. If you have acne-prone skin, you may want to look into getting a home steamer. Try: Panasonic EH-SA31 Ionic Facial Steamer, $229, Harvey Norman. It’s compact, stylish, and makes it so easy to get a spa-quality facial steam at home.
After steaming your face, apply serum, facial oil or a sheet mask. Your skin is damp and your pores are open — the best conditions for absorbing skincare ingredients!
Massage your face once a day
This is one of the oldest traditional skin care routine for Asian women. “I remember watching my grandmother doing this every night, and she had the most beautiful skin!” says Cathy Cho.
Facial massages increase circulation, and drain excess fluid to reduce puffiness and enhance a V facial shape. You can use your fingers or a jade roller.
Apply a facial oil or balm before any facial massage. As a general rule, start at the center of the face and sweep upwards and outwards. Aside from stroking your face, gently tap it with your fingers.
“It sounds like a lot of trouble to do, but it’s actually really easy. Do it while watching a show and you won’t even notice the time pass,” says Cathy.
Use a facial essence
Facial essences have a light, watery consistency. They hydrate your skin after cleansing (which prepare it to absorb serums and moisturizers) and infuse it with nutrients.
“Hydration is the heart and soul of any skin care routine for Asian women. Instead of using just one thick cream to moisturize, you apply several layers of thin hydrating products. It’s easier for your skin to absorb, and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable in a hot or humid Asian climate,” says Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho.
For best results, pat facial essence into your skin — it’s like giving yourself a mini-facial massage each time you do your skincare.
Wash your face with rice water
Another secret of skin care routine for Asian women that’s been handed down generations! Rice water is full of antioxidants and a compound called allantoin, which helps soothe and heal the skin. Plus, it’s so cheap, natural and readily available — how many times do you cook rice a week, right?
Just throw out the first rice washing (which can have impurities) and save the second washing in a bowl. Use it to rinse off your cleanser, taking time to pat it into the skin.
Treat yourself to an overnight sleeping mask
Sleeping masks are applied on top of moisturizer. It gives that extra boost of moisture and nutrients while you sleep, so you wake up with incredibly soft and supple skin.
If you have oily skin, use a water-based sleeping mask like Missha Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream. They both have ingredients that can control sebum and fade acne marks.
If you have sensitive skin, try Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask. The 65% rice extract gently brightens your skin without causing irritation.
If you have dry and dull skin, try Banila Co It Radiant Brightening Sleeping Pack. The patented White Flower Complex and niacinamide work together to revitalize your skin and restore its glow.
Use an ampoule when your skin looks tired or feels dry
Ampoules will have the highest concentration of active ingredients — even more than serums! Use one to give a megadose of nutrients when your skin is especially dull, dry or generally meh.
Pick one that’s suited for your particular skin concern. Is your skin red and dry after a whole day in the sun? Try Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater Boosting Ampoule. Want to make your skin brighter and more radianti n time for a big event, like a wedding or date? Try Laneige White Dew Original Ampoule Essence.
Drink barley tea
Green tea isn’t the only Asian drink that’s good for your skin. Koreans love drinking roasted barley tea, which is full of antioxidants and may even help with weight loss. It’s also caffeine-free, so you can drink it at night and still get a good night’s rest.