Dermafirm’s 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine for Beautiful Skin
There is a big disparity between skincare routines around the world. In the United States, Canada, and now many other western-based countries around the world, girls want to look older at a much earlier age. It begins with 5 year old Amanda putting on her mother’s shoes, jewelry, and make-up, and pretending to be just like mommy. Being able to put make-up on is a girl’s sign of ‘growing up’. Teenage girls are bombarded by countless images of actresses and models in every form of media, telling them what they should be doing in order to stand out and be noticed. It’s only when they are in their 30’s, 40’s and higher that they begin to start focusing on skincare health, looking for the miracle cure that will reverse all signs of aging, trying to keep up with the perfect looking stars they idol (who probably have an army of experts taking care of all their beauty needs).
In South Korea however, where Dermafirm originates from, the skincare regimen is a more detailed and thorough process that can be broken down into cleansing, exfoliating, treating, intensely moisturizing and applying plenty of SPF during the day, and repeating daily. Really, the differentiating factor between how Koreans take care of their skin and more Western routines is that in Korea, you’re programmed to start early— even as a young child. Girls have watched their mothers, sisters and aunts taking meticulous care of their skin on a daily basis. And because they start early and maintain daily, their skin retains it’s moisture and elasticity and the dreaded dry, aging skin is pushed back as far as possible!
Here are the 10 Korean-style skincare steps that Dermafirm is based upon and recommends to help you develop and maintain that glowing healthy skin that you were meant to have:
Step 1: The Eye Makeup Removal
Remove your eye makeup gently with a good makeup remover like Dermafirm’s Cleansing Water Make-up Remover because expecting a normal cleanser to do a detailed job is what leaves you with week-old mascara on your lashes. And the last thing you want to do is tug the skin around your eyes, because, like most things in life, it will hold up better if you treat it gingerly. Also, use it to remove any long-wear lipstick. For sensitive skin, Dermafirm has created Sensitive Cleansing Milk which is excellent at cleaning and removing make-up without any harsh chemicals affecting your sensitive skin.
Step 2: The Cleanse
The rule of thumb is, if you’re going to spend 30 minutes putting on your face, you should spend the same amount of time and take the same amount of care when cleaning it off. Use an oil cleanser like Dermafirm’s All-in-One Bubble Deep Cleanser and use gentle, circular motions with your fingers to massage and clean off that foundation and BB cream. Koreans, and Dermafirm’s clinical aestheticians, believe that massaging the face increases circulation, which equals brighter skin. Dermafirm has also created cleansers for specific skin types: If your skin is naturally dry, use their Perfect Moisture Foam. If you have naturally oily skin, use their Purifying Cleansing Gel. And for those of you who have sensitive skin, try the Repair Solution Cleanser.
Step 3: The Exfoliation or Peel
Exfoliating with a natural scrub like many manufacturers provide, can bring your skin back to its glory days when it was as soft as a baby’s butt. ‘But’ (pun intended) the problem with them is that your older skin is not capable of rebounding as quickly as it used to, and that natural scrub has caused skin irritation that may take a long time to subside. Dermafirm has created a better process that is more effective at exfoliating all of the dead skin cells. It’s called the AHA Peel (AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and it works as an exfoliating agent that goes under the damaged upper layers of skin and destroys the ‘glue’ which holds dead skin to the surface. As this dead skin is chemically released, the other ingredients carry the individual flakes away. The result is a much-smoother skin surface and a more youthful appearance. It can even be used for sensitive skin with the same safe but effective results. Twice a month is plenty, and it needs to be used with AHA Peel Solution which is part 2 of this exfoliating process. Dermafirm’s AHA Peel Solution helps to strengthen and protect skin from external aggression (such as peeling) by boosting hydration. The complexion is left looking smooth, clear and with a renewed youthful glow.
Step 4: The Refresher or Toner
What we in North America think of as “toning’ is an essential step. It’s believed to help remove pollutants along with any residue from your cleansers, while also restoring your skin’s pH balance. It soothes and preps your skin to absorb the next step—the essence. Dermafirm has developed Korean toners that are less harsh and drying than other kinds that you’ve tried before, which is maybe why they’re also called “refreshers.” Try Dermafirm’s Hydra Balance Tonic : it hydrates the skin so that it looks refreshed, healthy and luminous. An indulgence of botanical extracts blend with a potent hydration factor. Like other steps listed above, Dermafirm has options depending on your skin type and what your ultimate goal is. For oily skin, use the Purifying Toner. For extra sensitive skin, use Dermafirm’s Repair Solution Tonic. For those who have undergone a peel or maybe have redness from exposure to the sun’s rays, use Dermafirm’s Ultra Soothing Toner (It contains natural Azulene ingredients that keep your skin healthy by gently and rapidly soothing any sensitivities caused by stress to your skin). Finally, if your goal is to brighten your skin tone, use Dermafirm’s Whitening Active Tonic – It contains potent and effective oxidizing enzymes to reverse and prevent discolouration of your skin. This light formula enriches and brightens your skin tone with botanical whitening agents. Pour any of the above toners or tonics onto a cotton ball or pad and wipe your face and neck—and don’t be surprised at the dirty streak left on the pad.
Step 5: The Essence or Serum
Considered the most important step to Korean women, yet still a mystery to many of us here in North America! Soak your face in Dermafirm’s Multi-Complex Serum which is a penetrating concentration of Peptide Complex, antioxidants, and whitening factors against oxidation; this serum boosts collagen and promotes structural support to dramatically firm the skin. It affects skin on a cellular level, speeding your cell turnover rate which makes skin smoother and brighter. You will have the most noticeable results from adding this to your skincare regimen. Other options, once again based on your skin type, are Dermafirm’s Brightening Essence for skin discolouration and Purifying Essence for dealing with oily and problem skin.
Step 6: The Ampoule (or Booster)
Ampoules are super-concentrated versions of essences, and are often referred to as ‘boosters’ in North America. Dermafirm defines them as “Bio Correction Ampoules” because they help correct your skin issues and they’ve developed 5 different ampoules for your homeware selection (plus others for professional skincare clinics):
Berry – specially formulated with a potent super antioxidant that reduces the unevenness of skin tones. Use regularly for a brighter and more radiant complexion.
Collagen -provides optimal moisturization while restoring elasticity and firmness to the skin.
Hyalurone – prevents moisture loss, leaving your skin soft and comfortable. It eliminates the dry, tight feeling associated with skin dehydration.
Perfection -This advanced ampoule is designed to hydrate and improve the skin appearance of dry, reddened or sensitive skin. Contains Nelumbo Nucifera Callus Culture Extract, Niacinamide, Adenosine, and EGF…all ingredients known for their skin restoration effects.
Sulphur – formulated with Dermafirm’s proprietary purifying blend of high performance ingredients, including sulfur and tea tree oil, to prevent acne breakouts and absorb sebum from pores.
Vitamin C – Powder MAP (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate) contains stabled Vitamin C that dramatically refines skin tone and texture.
Step 7: Sheet Masks
Sheet masks are a twice-a-week ritual, or more if your face is very dry. The wet, papery masks (think Jason and the white hockey mask), are broken down into three types: Hydro Calming Masks, Hydro Lifting Mask, and the Ultra Soothing Mask. These masks are soaked with all the ingredients you need for either calming your skin, tightening your pores or nourishing irritated skin, which they in turn soak into your face. (Dermafirm also has many other specialty cream and modelling masks used by professional clinics) The secret to sheet masks? They force your skin to absorb the nutrients and moisture better than if you just applied a cream or serum—before the product has a chance to evaporate. The immediate effects are addicting, after one use your face is slightly more plump and much brighter due to all the moisture your skin just absorbed.
Step 8: Creams and THE Eye Cream
This is a self-explanatory product, but like every other step, Dermafirm has created specialty cream types that meet your specific needs:
Pure Moisturizing Cream – this Hyaluronic Acid rich cream replenishes the skin’s moisture reservoir and provides instant and long-term hydration.
Whitening Active Cream – contains proven qualities that inhibit melanin pigmentation and stimulates natural skin exfoliation, thus promoting whiter and brighter skin.
Bio Revitalizing Cream – an advanced anti-aging cream with age-defying benefits. Regular use may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and promote a more even skin tone.
Bio Eye Defence Cream – this advanced anti-aging cream effectively helps reduce the appearance of dark circles and swollen eyes. Regular use may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and promote a more even skin tone.
It’s important to take note of the application technique for these products – it’s important “TAP” the cream when applying it around the eye area. This leads to better absorption of the product, and of course eliminates any of that tugging and pulling.
Step 9: The Moisturizer Lotion or Emulsion
Really, another layer? If you haven’t noticed, Korean women are all about layering, to the point you feel your skin has been water-logged! Emulsion is the Korean translation for ‘moisturizer’. Products like Dermafirm’s Ceramide Moisture Dew (formulated using components of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF), the function and youthful appearance of all skin types is optimized by maintaining adequate moisture levels, improving elasticity for soft healthy skin and even helping with sleeping patterns), Hydro Fresh Formula (clinically proven, this skin protectant relieves dry skin and is designed to not clog your pores), Purifying Lotion (this lotion is a light textured formula that reduces the severity of acne blemishes and provides long term hydration, keeping skin soft and supple. Another great feature is that this lotion may be used during pregnancy.), and finally Dermafirm’s most popular lotion, the Ultra Soothing Formula Emulsion (this soothing lotion contains natural Azulene ingredients, Vitamin K and protein-rich Amino complexes to soothe sensitive skin. Gently helps skin vitalization for quick recovery from stress.). Apply these lotions with gentle strokes so that it really, truly, penetrates into your skin.
Step 10: The Night Cream Masks or Morning Protecting Creams
By this point your face feels like a 6-tiered cream cake and your skin has major shine—or as Korean women like to call it, a dewy, “moist glow.” The point is, your skin needs to stay hydrated as you recharge. Do this process once a month at nighttime to maintain your skin to it’s optimum. Dermafirm has multiple options for you depending on your skincare needs:
Berry Cream Mask – specially formulated with a potent super antioxidant that reduces the unevenness of skin tones.
Collagen Cream Mask – provides optimal moisturization while restoring elasticity and firmness to the skin.
Hyalurone Cream Mask – prevents moisture loss, leaving your skin soft and comfortable and therefore eliminating the dry, tight feeling associated with skin dehydration.
Sulphur Cream Mask – formulated with a proprietary blend of high performance ingredients that include sulphur and tea tree oil to prevent breakouts and absorb sebum from the skin’s surface.
If it’s morning time, skip this and go straight to a BB cream like Dermafirm’s Brightening Blemish Balm if you desire a glow finish, or Dermafirm’s Intensive Blemish Balm if you want a matte finish (both of these products have outstanding adhesion which makes your makeup appear very consistent and smooth). If you intend on being out in the sun for any length of time, consider using a product with plenty of SPF like Dermafirm’s SPF 50+ Sunblock Cream (it protects the most sensitive and overexposed areas of the face and body of babies, children, teens and adults, so you know it will work for any sensitive skin).
Specialty Creams and Gels (as needed)
Dermafirm has also created specialty products that are ideal for those times where you need help before an upcoming special event:
AC’ Gel – An excellent acne spot treatment gel that improves acne blemishes and prevents breakouts.
B’ Cream – supports capillary health and encourages rapid fading and healing of unsightly bruises.
L’ Cream – dramatically helps to improve the appearance of skin texture post laser treatments and tattoos, helping to quickly nourish and calm the appearance of dull and damaged skin.
S’ Gel – protects the damaged skin after cosmetic procedures, while also preventing formation of bad scars.
X’ Cream – ideal solution for those who want instant treatment for brown age spots or blemishes on the skin.
Intimidating, much? Like we tell all our female friends, this routine only takes about 15 minutes out of your evening (sheet masks, peeling packs and night creams are not really a daily thing), and it’s actually a bit therapeutic to pamper your face as you wind down for the night. The key is daily prevention and nurturing, which eliminates any need for expensive facials. And if you are too tired to any of these steps, do yourself a favour and at least wipe off the day’s makeup with some cleansing tissues. Sleeping in your makeup is the universal ultimate skincare sin—whether you’re in Toronto, LA or Seoul!