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Japanese vs Korean Skincare: Unveiling the Key Differences

Japanese vs Korean Skincare: Unveiling the Key Differences

The quest for beautiful, healthy skin has become global, with countless skincare routines and products vying for our attention. Among these, two distinct approaches have become prominent: Japanese vs Korean skincare.

For Japanese and Korean cultures, skin care is not a chore; it's part of their lifestyle. And while both cultures are powerhouses in the world of beauty and skin care, there are some key differences between them. Find out Japanese vs Korean beauty standards in this article.

1. Understanding Japanese beauty

Japanese beauty's skincare routine focuses on achieving “mochi skin” regarding the skin type they want to achieve. As for skin care, Japanese beauty's core value is nourishing skin with gentle and nutritious products to achieve "mochi skin." If you are unfamiliar with mochi, mochi is a soft and filling snack made from sticky rice. “Mochi skin” is almost like a baby's skin because it is very soft, hydrated, and wrinkle-free.

With Japanese beauty, less is more, so most routines involve about 5 to 6 exfoliation steps one to two times a week. You want to give your skin time to rest and rejuvenate, so it's best not to use too much product.

Japanese beauty's skincare routine focuses on achieving “mochi skin”.

In keeping with minimalism, Japanese skincare emphasizes natural, luxurious, and effective ingredients that have been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Japanese women take pride in their skincare products and routines and their age-old wisdom, so Japanese beauty focuses on high-quality products, using natural and regular approaches to skin care.

1.1. Japanese skincare routine

The Japanese skincare routine has 5 steps, which is very short compared to many other skincare processes. According to a Japanese beauty article, the steps in the Japanese skincare routine are arranged in the following order: cleansing, lotion/essence, beauty serum, lotion/cream, and anti-aging cream.

Step 1: Clean

To clean, Japanese people often clean their faces twice, especially at night after a whole day of makeup. They will use a gentle oil cleanser (or sometimes a facial cleanser) and a foaming cleanser to remove any visible impurities both on the surface and deep within the pores.

Japanese people often clean their faces twice

Step 2: Essence

Toner is called lotion (or essence) in Japan. Although they may serve similar purposes, such as regulating sebum secretion, Japanese creams and essences tend to be more hydrating and gentle on the skin and have a lower acid content. You can also use a sheet mask for this step, but you don't have to use it all the time, just once or twice a week!

Japanese creams and essences tend to be more hydrating and gentle on the skin.

Step 3: Beauty serum

This step is what makes this Japanese skin care routine even more personal. The products used in this step may vary from person to person, depending on the skin type they have. Some people may lack moisture in certain areas, while others may worry about spots and scars caused by acne.

The products used in this step may depend on their skin type.

Step 4: Milk/cream

Using emulsions (lotions) and creams is the key to achieving “mochi-like” skin. Without moisturizer, you won't be able to replenish your skin with essential oils, and that will prevent the evaporation of moisture in the lotion from the previous step. A simple similarity in the purpose of these two products is that they functions like “a lid.” If you have oilier skin, it is important to use an emulsion; if you have drier skin, it is important to use a moisturizer.

Using emulsions (lotions) and creams is the key to achieving “mochi-like” skin.

Step 5: Sunscreen (for the morning)

Japanese people are very concerned about sunlight no matter where they are. Achieving healthy and glowing skin will be difficult without sunscreen, so wearing sunscreen is a must!

Japanese people are very concerned about sunlight no matter where they are.

You can also add Ipsa Skincare Powder into the Japanese skincare routine to help increase the freshness and shine of your skin.

2. Exploring Korean skincare

Take a trip to Korea, and you'll be transported to a world of skincare and beauty boutiques filled with amazing products, unique ingredients, and cutting-edge technology. While Japanese skincare uses tried-and-true ingredients, Korean skincare is unafraid to take risks and get creative.

Korean skincare brands are always at the forefront of trends and strive to create new, exciting products and ingredients. This is why many Korean beauty products have a texture and consistency that differentiates them from standard cosmetics.

Compared to Japanese matte mochi skin, Korean skincare is all about glassy dewy skin - skin so hydrated and reflective that it looks like a sheet of glass (glass skin). Korean skincare products use many hydrating ingredients and targeted products, such as ampoules or serums, to achieve this look.

Korean skincare is all about glass skin

2.1. Korean skincare routine

As you may know, the Korean skincare process has more steps than the Japanese skincare process. The number of steps used in a Korean skincare routine can range from 7 to 12, but the most common number is around 10. There are many steps, but each step in the Korean Skin Care routine is important to achieving “glass skin.”

The steps are as follows: balm/oil cleanser, foam cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essence, ampoule/serum, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizer, and finally, Thicker night cream/sleeping mask/sunscreen.

Step 1: Nourishing oil or oil cleanser

Korean skincare has a method similar to Japanese skincare regarding cleansing. That is, “double cleansing!” For the first step of double cleansing, it's important to use a balm or oil cleanser to remove makeup and dirt on your face!

Double cleansing to remove makeup and dirt on your face

Step 2: Water-based cleanser

As the second step of double cleansing, using a foaming cleanser to remove any product or dirt left on your skin is important. You can use different types of water-based cleaners: milk, foam, gel, etc.

Water-based cleanser

Step 3: Exfoliate

Exfoliating your face at least once or twice a week is important to remove dead skin cells. There are different types of exfoliants, such as physical or chemical exfoliants, so it's important to choose an exfoliator depending on your skin type. Most Korean exfoliating products are exfoliating cotton pads that contain exfoliating properties.

Exfoliating your face at least once or twice a week

Step 4: Toner

Toner is an essential step that helps the skin absorb all the water moisturizer provides in the following steps. You can also use facial mist, a great toner alternative!

Toner helps the skin absorb all the water moisturizer

Step 5: Essence

Essence is very important when moisturizing the skin. Preparing your skin to use other products in the next steps will be difficult without essence. The key tip here is to apply the essence as if you were soaking your skin.

Essence is very important when moisturizing the skin

Step 6: Ampoule/Serum

This step is the most personal step for your skin. The syringe/serum is the step that defines your skincare routine, much like serum is to the Japanese skincare routine.

In the Korean skincare routine, you can continuously use many types of serums within that range. Some serums contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, fatty acids, vitamin C, peptides, and minerals that help treat your skin depending on your needs.

The syringe/serum is the step that defines your skincare routine

Step 7: Paper mask

Sheet masks are important to the Korean skincare routine, and I bet many people associate them with Korean beauty, as they are essential skincare products in Korean beauty culture. The purpose of a paper mask is to help moisturize the skin down to the deepest layer of the skin.

A paper mask helps moisturize the skin down to the deepest layer of the skin.

Step 8: Eye cream

Eye cream is important for all ages because it's never too early to start caring for the moisture around your eyes. It will help care for fine wrinkles and visible dryness in your eye area.

Eye cream cares for fine wrinkles and visible dryness.

Eye cream cares for fine wrinkles and visible dryness

Step 9: Moisturizer

Although many other steps help moisturize the skin, this step is the queen of moisturizing and helps "glue" everything together. Moisturizers don't have to be creams but can be liquid or gel-based, depending on your skin type and preferences.

Moisturizer step.

Step 10: Night cream/Sleeping mask/Sunscreen (morning)

There are many other steps before this one. However, this step is the “cherry on top.” This step is essential to perfect this skincare routine further, but it depends on your skin's needs. In the morning, you need to use sunscreen. If you come back from a really dry environment or your skin is extremely dry, you may need to apply a thicker night cream or sleeping mask.

This step is the “cherry on top” to perfect the Korean skincare routine.

3. Is Korean or Japanese skincare better?

This is just my suggestion! The best way to know which procedure is right for you and your skin is to try both procedures. It really depends on you and what you want to achieve. But there may be some factors that may suit you better than others:

  • If you have sensitive and dry skin, try the Japanese skincare routine, as the steps are simple and minimal, making it gentler on your skin. On the other hand, if you have oily and acne-prone skin, try a Korean skincare routine, as the important steps of toning, exfoliation, and cleansing will be perfect for treating such skin. .
  • If you are always short on time and only have a little money to spend on skincare but still want to take care of your skin, the Japanese skincare routine will definitely be suitable! But if you have time and want to take for extra care of your skin, try a Korean skincare routine!

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, Japanese vs Korean skincare offers unique approaches to achieving beautiful, healthy skin. While Japanese beauty prioritizes simplicity and long-term care, Korean beauty embraces innovation and customization to target specific concerns. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual needs and preferences. Remember, the journey to healthy skin is personal. Don't be afraid to experiment and find a routine that makes your skin feel and look its best!

Follow Japan With Love for more useful tricks and exclusive deals on skincare products. 

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