Over the last few years, K-beauty and J--beauty (Korean and Japanese beauty, respectively) have become increasingly popular in the US and throughout Europe. Both have their own unique styles of makeup and skincare with some common themes such as hydration, anti-ageing, and natural-looking makeup. So, what’s the difference?
Korean skincare is known for its multi-step, layered routines. The most common K-beauty skincare regime is actually ten steps in total, aimed at intense hydration and restoration of the skin barrier. A routine might look something like this:
Oil Cleansing - this gentle first step works off any makeup, pollution or debris.
Water cleansing - this is your typical face wash step!
Exfoliation - usually with a chemical exfoliant with a milder ingredient list, gentle enough for daily use
Essence - this step is an ultra-concentrated product that targets specific concerns, a popular option is the essence of snail mucin (read more about what snail mucin does, here!)
Face oil or serum
Face mask - sheet masks work!
Eye cream - for anti-ageing and moisture.
Sunscreen - protecting the skin is highly emphasized in K-beauty.
Japanese skincare places more of an emphasis on keeping your routine quick and including just the essential steps that pack in the most long-term benefit to your skin. A typical J-beauty routine might look like this:
Double cleansing (with oil and a traditional water-activated cleanser.)
Hydrating lotion - can be swapped out for a targeted essence instead
Serum - for moisture, anti-ageing and skin barrier protection
A moisturizer that includes SPF! - Because sun protection is still prioritized highly.
If these routines don’t quite fit your lifestyle but you’d like to dabble in k-beauty or j-beauty, it can be helpful to focus on the main goals. Deep cleanings, hydrating the skin and sun protection are common across both routines and are important steps in any skincare regimen. You can also look into K or J beauty products that work in natural ingredients that suit your skincare needs to dip your toe into this youthful, protective field of skincare.
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