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K-Beauty: This Year’s New Skin Care Trend

Asian women are renowned around the world for their soft, dewy faces, their impeccable fashion sense – and their beauty secrets.

In 2016, “K-beauty,” or beauty and skincare products from South Korea, rose to enormous popularity in the United States. Sephora now has whole sections devoted to South Korean beauty, including brands like Too Cool for School and Son & Park. The Sephora in-house brand also now offers peel-off face, hand, and foot masks, a product line that’s inspired by the South Korean sheet mask trend.

What’s different about the South Korean approach to beauty? The key lies in the emphasis that Asian women, including South Koreans, place on skincare products rather than makeup. It’s all about keeping your skin fresh and hydrated, and protecting it from sun damage.

It used to be that Western beauty brands led the way in innovation, but according to Marie Claire, that tide is turning in the other direction. When it comes to ingenious product designs and cute packaging, South Korea is leading the way. Marie Claire believes that South Korea is actually seven years ahead of the rest of the world with its forward-thinking approach to skincare products. Snail-infused sleep masks are one of them – an idea that seems strange at first but is actually ingenious!

So what does it take to get that gorgeous, youthful glow? In a recent article in Vogue, three industry experts describe the process:

1. Use an oil cleanser – oil attracts oil like a magnet, making it easy to get a deep, thorough clean and remove every trace of dirt and makeup without pulling or tugging.

2. Foam cleanser – yep, you gotta cleanse twice.

3. Toner – reset your skin after deep cleaning.

4. Essence – helps with skin-cell turnover.

5. Serum – layer one or two to get a laser focus on skin issues, like acne, wrinkles, or sun damage.

You can also use things like an exfoliator, a sheet mask (check out Mannatech’s Uth Facemask), an eye cream, or a sleep mask if you want to get the full look. But if you feel overwhelmed by all the different things you feel like you can or should try, South Korean beauty expert Charlotte Cho, cofounder of SoKo Glam!, tells Vogue it’s important to ease yourself into it.

“Don’t feel overwhelmed. First, get to know your skin. Figure out what it needs,” she says. “Slowly add products to your routine and see if the consistency and ingredients are beneficial to your skin. The fun is in the discovery of new skincare products and finding the ones that work best for you.”