29th May 2016|

I’ve long admired the beautiful skin of women in the Far East. Wondered how they keep it looking so toned and youthful way in a way that belies their years. A few years ago, I spent some time in Malaysia and whilst I enjoyed frequently basking in the sun (it was a cold January I had left behind in England), it tickled me that the local women were never without their parasols the minute the stepped out of the shade.

My admiration has never waned, so when I got the opportunity to question famed Korean Beauty Blogger and founder of Sorabelle, Vicky Lee on Korean beauty habits, I jumped at it.  The Korean attitude to beauty and skincare is fascinating and right up my street with the juxtaposition of simple techniques and natural oils vs technologically driven products and gadgets

Here’s what I gleamed of Vicky’s deep knowledge of Korean beauty habits:

Year round sunscreen

I think as a society we are now more accustomed to the fact that we must wear sunscreen every day. I, for one am very glad about this change of attitude. Gone are the days when we only stocked up for our two weeks in the Spanish sun, because sun damage can happen anywhere at home or abroad. The other point is, no matter your skin tone, everyone needs a degree of sunscreen.

Also sun appropriate cover ups are important – hats, sunglasses, kaftans – all help in protecting delicate skin from harmful rays.

Superfood rich diets

Superfoods are great for turbo bosting your regular diet and feeding your body and skin with extra valuable nutrients. A popular superfood in Korea is Kimchi and the average person eats almost 20kgs a year. Kimchi is fermented cabbage and garlic, that is rich in fibre but low in calories. The former is a potent antioxidant source of Vitamin C for fighting free radical damage that contributes to premature ageing. Garlic on the other hand is a detoxifier and rich in selenium which is an essential mineral for healthy and radiance skin, hair and nails.

Importantly, it is the fermentation process of making Kimchi that has the greatest beneficial effect on the body as it produces bacterial cultures that fight inflammation in the gut and also neutralises toxins that contribute to skin conditions like eczema and acne.

Simple skincare

Korean women are big on showcasing their natural skin and less so on using make up as a cover up. For this reason, they pay particular attention to their skincare routines. Often having up to eleven steps and products to use and follow.  Talking to a lot of clients here in the UK, I know that the ‘time factor’ is a major hurdle in our skincare routines, with many of us barely having enough time for a three step routine let alone eleven steps.  Whilst we may not all have time to indulge in a lengthy routine on a daily basis, it is beneficial to mind and skin to engage in slow pampering skincare at least once a week or more if you can.

Double cleansing is also a massive feature in Korean beauty routines –using an oil based make up remover like 3107 London Deep Cleansing Make Up Remover as your first step, followed by a milk, gel, cleansing oil or soap free face wash as your second. This double process ensures your skin is properly clean.

Even with technologically advance products on their doorstep, Korean women also take a holistic approach to skin care. Spending time to love and nurture it with simple and organic natural ingredients like botanicals oils that fight premature aging and inflammation.

Exfoliation is also a key area in the beauty routine, both for face and body. Exfoliating regularly with a face flannel or body brush gets rid of dead skin cells and encourages healthy skin to the surface. It also means that any subsequent product you apply absorbs better into the skin leaving you baby soft and radiant.

Detox and scrub

Going to the sauna – ‘Jjimjilbangs’ is an integral part of Korean culture. Korean women go to relax, catch up with girl friends and also to beautify. The heat in the sauna increases the sweat production as the body tries to maintain its normal temperature. Sweat removes toxins from the body and blood carries more nutrients and oxygen to the surface of the skin, which results in healthier glowing skin. If you have access to a sauna, maybe at the gym, then make full use of it!

Whilst in the sauna, it is also norm to engage in a ‘seshin’, which is a full body exfoliation performed by an experience scrub mistress. They pride themselves on getting you the freshest, smoothest and softest baby like skin, albeit quite vigorously.  Although you won’t be as hard on yourself, making an investment in a good body brush is the perfect start.



*A big thank you Vicky for sharing your immense beauty knowledge. Sorabelle is a treasure trove of information on Korean beauty habits!