Like everyone else, I fell down the rabbit hole of the infamous Korean 10 step skincare regime. I was already dabbling in Korean and Japanese skincare for a while as evidenced by this blog. The 10 step regime however was daunting. In reality, we’re not talking about 10 steps every time you wash your face. More on that later. There is some debate out there about what exactly is included in this legendary regime. I would posit there should also be some debate about who, at what age group, should partake in each step. That said here is a basic list:
- Eye makeup remover (at night)
- Oil based cleanser
- Foam based cleanser
- Exfoliating cleanser
- Serums, also known as ampoules
- Eye mask or face mask
- Eye cream
- Sunscreen (in the morning)
As I mentioned, some things drop in and out on a daily basis or even depending on the time of day. Most do not exfoliate every day, you don’t need to apply sunscreen at night, and the masks are not necessarily a daily thing and certainly not a twice daily thing. You shouldn’t need to use eye makeup remover in the morning if you were good the night before and some would argue that the oil cleanser takes care of makeup removal (I personally did not find that to be true).
We are all different. This is important. Not everyone, at every point in their life, will flourish with this intensive regime. I gave it a good, solid try of a couple of months and the reality for me is my skin is too sensitive for all that cleansing. It didn’t respond well to all that rough housing. So I am back to my regular Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser (which by the way is pretty much a hybrid of an oil cleanser and foam cleanser anyway and removes eye makeup like a charm).
This regime did however resume my long lost interest in toner. OK, OK, so it is clear this regime seriously wants your skin to be CLEAN. You really do manage to remove more dirt with a toner no matter how many times you wash your face. The proof is in that cotton pad. It is also now possible to find a toner that isn’t terribly drying. I’m never going to absolutely LOVE a toner so I don’t expect to wax poetic about a toner on this blog any time soon. With that said, DO NOT EVER use toner that has alcohol or witch hazel in it. Try to find a toner that sounds somewhat moisturizing. For example, the toner I am using has aloe vera as a prominent ingredient.
My biggest take away from this time consuming affair and indeed the subject of this post is ESSENCE. What is essence? I honestly don’t have any idea. It has the consistency of toner but please understand me clearly, essence is no toner. This stuff is too precious to use it to wipe excess dirt off your face. In fact, I strongly suggest you skip the cotton pad altogether, pour a little bit of this watery ambrosia in your hand, mix it a bit with your other hand and wipe it all over your face, neck, and décolletage. In theory, essence lightly replaces moisture to your skin after all that cleansing and prepares it to readily absorb the rest of your products. There is some sort of fermented yeast going on here that imparts b vitamins amongst other supposedly delicious things that maybe somehow get lost in translation. It also apparently addresses your skins cellular turnover schedule, which is what I think Missha means when they say “control the rhythm of your skin.” This I truly believe to be true because I have witnessed new blemishes that have healed more quickly than usual. My skin definitely has a more even tone now which I really must, at least in part, attribute to this essence. My serums and potions do seem to absorb more quickly. I do think it has helped with that cellular turnover because I’m actually not struggling to exfoliate as much. There is some talk of assistance with firmness and wrinkles but I use so many other products meant to address these issues that it’s hard to correlate one with the other; especially since I’m also 44 and fighting a day to day battle on this front. In any case, I do believe it helps facilitate the absorption of those special serums and creams.
You may have heard of this insanely expensive line called SK-II from ‘she of the most beautiful, radiant skin,’ Cate Blanchett. An essence just like Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive is their signature product. Word on the street is that Missha’s version is a very close approximation to the SK-II essence at a fraction of the cost. I cannot state this as an absolute truth because I have not tried both products. I’m quite happy with the Missha version however so why would I?
It took me a while to decide I absolutely love Missha Time Revolution, The First Treatment Essence Intensive, because honestly I found it confusing at first. Plus I was doing so many other things at the same time with the Korean 10 step regime. I was breaking out more from all that cleansing due to my sensitive skin issues. So it really wasn’t until I dialed it back with the cleansing that I truly realized how nice my skin is behaving as a result of essence. I’m good and sold on this stuff. My skin loves it.As for the Korean 10 step program, I know people swear by it and I do recommend giving it a try. It didn’t work well for me but it did introduce me to this amazing product. I suspect someone younger, with less sensitive skin will absolutely respond well to the Korean 10 step regime. It also encourages you to take the time to pamper yourself in a somewhat ritualistically extreme way two times a day. I heard it described somewhere as a radical act of self-care. How can I be mad about that? Self-care is entirely the point.