About 10 years ago, I flew Korean Airlines for several round trips to the Philippines. During each flight, my mom would comment on the flight attendants and how perfect their skin looked. We attributed their complexions to winning the genetic lottery and didn’t think much of it afterwards.
A decade later, I discover the Asian Beauty subreddit while looking at makeup reviews and am reminded of those beautiful flight attendants. Could I also have perfect skin like theirs? It’s worth a shot!
What is an Asian Skincare Routine?
To say that skincare products are popular in Asia is an understatement. As discussed by Asian Scientist, countries such as Japan and China dominate the world when it comes to per capita spending on skincare and beauty products. According to a 2016 BBC article, Korean women spend twice as much on skincare products as Americans, while Korean men spend more on skincare than any other country in the world. While growing in popularity in the U.S., skincare products from Asia have had strong followings from Asian-Americans for quite some time. In fact, according to a 2015 Nielsen Report, Asian-Americans spend 70% more that the average U.S. population on skincare products. Western beauty companies have taken notice of this, with stores like Sephora and Ulta now stocking Japanese and Korean “K-Beauty” products.
Depending on which blog or article you read, you’ll find a different definitions of what makes up an Asian skincare routine. For some, it’s a skincare regimen that consists of many, many steps. For others, it’s using Asian skincare products exclusively.
For me, an Asian Beauty routine is an applied, step-based skincare philosophy meant to promote skin health. Unlike a Western skincare routine, which tends to use fewer products which target multiple skin concerns, an Asian skincare regimen uses multiple products in a step-based sequence, with each product targeting a single skin problem. For instance, a person may use one product to fight acne, one to fade scarring, one to fight wrinkles, and one to moisturize the skin. What’s great about an Asian skincare routine is it can be customized for your specific skin concerns.
What are the steps of an Asian Skincare routine?
The most basic routine for beginners consists of four products:
- Emulsifying oil cleanser (PM only)
- Second cleanser, typically a gentle foam, gel, soap, etc.
- Sunscreen (morning only)
Basically every blog and reddit thread I’ve read has told me not to move forward with other skincare products until you’ve found these four core products that work for you. Afterwards, you’ll be able to start targeting your skin concerns with toners, serums, essences, ampules, gels, and creams. The sky (and your wallet) is the limit!
As stated in my previous post, I see an esthetician and already use a number of products including a foaming cleanser and a sunscreen. These products all focus on my acne problem. As I’ve been told by the kind people in the Asian Beauty subreddit, an Asian skincare routine does not necessitate using only Asian products. Hence, my plan is to keep in the spirit of an Asian skincare routine by slowly adding products to my current regimen that address my acne scarring and aging.
This is all new to me, so I have no idea what will happen and how my skin will react. To reduce the likelihood of major reactions and breakouts, I’ll be limiting new products to one every two weeks (with the exception of masks). I’ll make sure to post my progress and anything new I learn during this journey. Thank you for joining me and wish me luck!