Snails and Beauty?
South Korea, home of the 17-step skincare routine, has a few things to teach the world about beauty. With their ritualistic quest for mastery and innovative cosmetics industry, South Koreans take their skin care seriously and it shows. Not all of their generally youthful appearance is due to treatment of the skin, a lot has to do with genetics and melanin. However, aesthetic wisdom exudes from this dynamic culture.
Want the bright and dewy complexion of a K-pop superstar? This everything-in-one compact has you sponge your face with a unique cushion applicator loaded with a lightweight BB or CC cream with moisturizing SPF. You get skin-perfecting, blemish-covering, sun-protecting goodness in one swipe – and the overall feel is lighter than any cream or liquid foundation. All beauty enthusiasts concur – this is the next BB cream.
Among the eye-raising products you’ll discover in Korea – ‘F Cup’ cookies for breast enhancement, nose rollers and collagen-enriched mouth patches, to name a few – you’ll find serums enriched with snail slime. The extraction is known for its antibacterial properties, recommended for women who suffer from breakouts or blemishes. A number of Korean brides-to-be also use it prior to their wedding to brighten their skin!
As opposed to the West’s approach to anti-ageing skin care, where you’re encouraged to strip the skin down until it resembles aged-beef Carpaccio, Koreans place an emphasis on nourishing and moisturizing. One vital step in the storied 17-point routine is the application of a facial sheet mask. Soaked with vitamins and concentrated collagen this is a whitening and brightening approach to hyperpigmentation.
Though slathering your face with oil in the name of cleansing may sound counterintuitive, it works a dream for removing makeup, sunscreen and sebum prior to using a foam wash. South Korean actress and pop singer Bae Suzy is a double-cleansing evangelist and follows the 424 regime, rubbing oil over her face for four minutes, before foam cleansing for two minutes, and rinsing with water for four minutes.
A popular massage technique among Koreans uses strokes that are thought to create an optimal V-shape. Of course, any massage improves blood circulation, releases toxins and relieves edema. Finishing off the warmed massage with chilled water helps to refine the pores and create a palate ready for color cosmetics or a light sunblock.