Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Korean Skincare for the Middle-Aged, Part Deux

Not me. Sephora's idea of K-Beauty
I'm taking advantage of my trip to DC to Think Deep Thoughts about a variety of subjects, some ridiculously shallow. Korean skincare is one of them.

Here's the thing. If you start exploring Korean skin care by reading the Asian Beauty subreddit, visiting various blogs, or buying the books I mentioned in my first post on the subject, not only are you going to experience a steep learning curve, you're also going to encounter a level of enthusiasm that borders on fanaticism. Many of these people have more fervor than the average religious convert. They have found the One True Path and will tolerate no deviation from it.

Eventually, you'll feel a certain pressure to rush out and replace your Western skincare with Korean products, because Western skincare is a bunch of crap. Obviously.

There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.

Not everyone starts their skincare journey with problem skin


People with normal, healthy skin could benefit from Korean skincare practices, but you don't really hear about that when you dip into the available information. Most of the people I've been reading got interested in Korean skin care because they had skin problems. Most have acne, some have rosacea, quite a few have issues with hyper-pigmentation or sensitive, reactive skin. Only a few are dealing solely with the stuff that's bothering me: dehydration, dryness, and the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be.

Admittedly, this is a non-scientific sampling, but judging from my family and friends, there's a very good chance that you're in the same boat. Your skin may not be as plump and smooth and glowing as it was when you were 23, but it isn't a huge problem. You've actually been known to leave the house without wearing foundation.

But Korean skin care can make whatever you have better. And better is always good.

Do Re Mi


Fanaticism aside, there's no reason to overwhelm yourself. Skincare is like fitness. You can decide you want a drastic change in your fitness level. You join a gym and start doing CrossFit five times a week, swallow handfuls of supplements, and say no to carbs for weeks at a time. Or, you can decide to stop buying cookies and go for a half-hour walk every day. The choice is yours.

What level of change feels right? Unless you're dealing with big problems, with skincare, you can start by replacing a product you've been using with a product that adheres to Korean skincare guidelines.

Cleansers are a great way to do this, because we all use a certain amount of cleanser and need to replace it fairly frequently. You can find cleansers that adhere to Korean skincare guidelines very easily—and [gasp!] they can even be produced by Western companies. So switching up cleansers is a Very Good Place to Start.

More on that next time.


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xxx, Poppy.