With my love of all things K-beauty, I wondered—while applying step 6 in my 10-step facial routine—do South Korean women take their body routines as serious as their face regimens? The simple answer is yes, they sure do. Through conversations with friends in the biz, I found that most Korean women have a typical 4-step body care routine, and much like with their skin- and hair-care regimens, it involves a ritual that’s practiced without skipping a step.
Considered a time to indulge, some even say that body care is the most intimate act in their daily beauty routine, as you move slowly and mindfully. And, of course, the results of Korean body care are as impressive as you’d expect with anything K-beauty related — think smoother, firmer, glowier skin allover. Ahead, I’m excited to share how the 4-step K-bodycare routine works, plus some unique Korean body care products to try.
Korean Body Care Routine
Step 1: Cleanse
A good cleanse is the first step in a solid skincare routine, and the same goes for the body. Because the skin is the largest organ on the body, Korean women are very mindful about what they put on it, avoiding body washes that are packed with harsh detergents that dry out the skin and weaken its protective lipid barrier. Instead of focusing on that squeaky-clean feel, they opt for gentle cleansers that are loaded with moisturizing and soothing ingredients and apply them with super-soft cloths to enhance the experience.
Korean Body Washes to Try:
It’s important to replenish your skin as you cleanse it, and this body wash does just that. The indulgent and intensely-hydrating formula includes iris flower extract to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and prevent the breakdown of structural proteins, as well as edelweiss flower for its soothing, anti-inflammatory benefits. Its rich lather leaves skin silky-smooth, and it has a light, aromatic fragrance that fills the air and lingers on skin oh-so-subtly.
This bar soap is a miracle worker for those who struggle with troubled skin. It contains beta hydroxy acids (specifically salicylic acid) to deep clean pores, alpha hydroxy acids to break down dead skin cells, polyhydroxy acids to stimulate epidermal growth and repair, and tea tree oil to balance oil production. But despite its blemish-clearing capabilities, this soap won’t dry out skin as it’s enriched with olive and argan oil. Use it to combat chest and bacne or to treat keratosis pilaris on the back of arms and legs.
Step 2: Exfoliate
No matter how powerful the ingredients, for body products to work their best, they have to be able to penetrate, and they can’t do that when dead skin cells are blocking their entry. That’s why exfoliation is a key step in the K-bodycare routine. To slough off dead skin, Korean women use a combination approach, with both chemical exfoliators and special cloths that provide physical exfoliation.
Korean Exfoliators to Try:
I love how unique this product is. Simply spray it on your body, wipe it off, and watch the dead skin peel away. (Yes, it’s a bit gross, but so gratifying.) The formula is packed with fruit enzymes from peach, papaya, and orange, which essentially digest and dissolve the material that binds dead skin cells together to reveal the fresh layer underneath. It also contains anti-inflammatory white tea and mung bean seed.
Viscose cloths are popular method of exfoliation in both Korean spas and homes. Designed to be used on wet skin, they manually buff away dead skin cells. Use it in the shower (sans body wash) or while soaking in a warm bath.
Step 3: Hydrate
Korean body care places special emphasis on moisturizing, a practice that starts from a very young age. Like most of the K-beauty products you put on your face, these body moisturizers focus on skin barrier repair with ingredients like ceramides, fatty acids, antioxidants, and peptides. The textures are different, too, again going back to the ritual of application. From rich creams to milky lotions, silky serums to weightless emulsions, you’re guaranteed to find something that you’ll enjoy using.
Korean Body Moisturizers to Try:
Illiyoon’s body care products are popular because they provide intense hydration that doesn’t feel heavy or sticky. This cream is formulated with ceramide capsules for long-lasting hydration; as the coating starts to dissolve, the highly-penetrable ceramides are released slowly to bolster the skin’s moisture barrier over time. The result? Soft and smooth skin all day long.
I don’t love heavy creams that take forever to dry, which is why I am sort of obsessed with the latest K-beauty body serums. Formulated with patented Volufiline, a natural complex that locks in moisture and helps plump up skin, plus smoothing peptides, this fine mist serum spray absorbs in seconds and leaves skin with a silky (never sticky) sheen.
Step 4: Smooth
The final step in a Korean body care routine is a treatment, specifically one that focuses on smoothing crepey areas and dimples while preventing future signs of aging. From masks to massaging tools, there are a number of innovative K-beauty products that are designed to address these concerns.
Korean Smoothing Treatments to Try
A massage tool and advanced smoothing gel in one, this helps to lessen the looks of cellulite and crepiness as you roll it over skin. The concentrated gel cream formula is packed with a treasure trove of seed, leaf, wood and fruit oils, root extracts, caffeine (to stimulate circulation), and probiotics, all of which are massaged into skin by 28 silicone knobs.
Formulated with the brand’s proprietary plumping ingredient, Volufiline, and a combination of six collagen-boosting peptides, this cream helps optimize elasticity for skin that appears firmer, smoother, and plumper from head to toe.
You see, there’s a reason (or lots of them) that #kbodycare is quickly becoming the latest obsessed-over trend out of the South Korean beauty scene: Its combo of cutting-edge technology and advanced science blended with natural botanicals and age-old techniques is a total game changer.
About Chelsea Scott: Founder of The Beauty Spy, specializing in Asian beauty products and seen on HSN monthly, Chelsea is an acclaimed beauty professional with more than 20 years of experience in product development and marketing. She has successfully represented beauty products in various countries for more than a decade, including HSN & TSC Canada.
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