As Creative Director of Roads Group, I recently had the opportunity to attend the Condé Nast Luxury Conference in Seoul, South Korea, hosted by the charismatic International Editor at Vogue, Suzy Menkes. The conference saw a successful turn out of big names from the fashion world, including Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, designer Jason Wu and Instagram queen Eve Cheng. However, there was another part of the visit that I was excited about, which was finding out more about the Korean beauty market, which is now the leader in beauty products and innovative skin care. The US and European skincare industries are diligently focused on anything coming out of this market, which saw Sephora in the States dedicate a huge 2015 Christmas campaign to Korean Beauty products.
It’s not just the products they use which I was intrigued by, but the attitude they have towards skin care itself. The 10 or sometimes 12-step skincare routine seems extreme if your attitude to skincare is to get through it as quickly as possible and hope for the best. In South Korea, culturally people tend to chill out in the evenings and spend ages relaxing whilst enjoying the process of their skin care routine. Putting music on and enjoying the time to themselves.
The culture of beauty has been as an integral part of Korean history. They are very open about their desire to be beautiful. This ambition has evolved to the point that South Korea is now the No.1 market for Plastic surgery in the world. I couldn’t help but notice many people hanging out in trendy restaurants or designer shops proudly wearing post-op bandages around their faces. Beauty techniques are taught from a young age, with facials starting as young as 10 years old, by the family facialist. The attitude towards beauty is not about anti-aging but about how you present yourself at all ages. However, they do say that if you approach your skin routine in this way your skin will look very similar in 20 years’ time.
Having spent the day shopping the main beauty stores in Korea, I came home with an extra suitcase of products and forever a different attitude toward my skin.
Here is a 10 step program (this might lengthen or shorten depending on the evening).
- Oil wash – (seems strange to wash with oil but it’s really the best and doesn’t dry out the skin)
- Foam wash
- Gentle exfoliate
- Toner – (put straight into the hands and pat onto the skin)
- Essence – (this is like a serum but very light, like a toner. The idea is to add another layer of hydration before you add the serum. )
- Serum – (try different ones depending on your skin needs.)
- Mask – (sheet mask are all the rage. Some you can wear every night and some you only need 2-3 times a week.)
- Eye cream
- Face cream / night cream
- SPF – Koreans are very serious about using SPF, choosing mostly 50 SPF.
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