These days it seems that, for every lazy girl devoted to cleansing with facial wipes (side note: this is gross and you should put them in the bin), there’s someone besotted with a calming, yet onerous, 14-step Korean skincare routine. But let’s be honest, a lot of the hype is based upon jazzy packaging and other gimmickry. So what should you really be buying? Here are my three tried-and-tested favourites.
The sheet mask that makes your pores feel refreshed
Sheet masks are undoubtedly the Korean beauty favourite that has infiltrated our lives the most. Masking is as commonplace as Netflix-and-chilling – I’m actually going to go so far as to say that masking is better than binging on boxsets with Bae (I promise to never use that word again), because it’s joyfully self-indulgent – and every self-respecting beauty store now stocks some sort of sheet mask by default. Sadly, only a handful of the sheet masks out there are actually worth buying. I’m just going to come out and say it: Tony Moly face masks aren’t up to much. The packaging looks pretty, sure, but its contents are underwhelming in comparison. Here’s a tip: stop being lured in by pretty packaging, save your pennies and buy something better, like Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Mask. The best way to describe its effect on your skin is that it makes every inch of your skin feel tight and clean, to the point that your pores feel refreshed – if that’s at all possible. Most importantly, it looks great on Snapchat.
The cleanser that does everything
Cleansing balms are your best bet if you’re looking for a first cleanse that eliminates the longest of long-wearing foundation and mascara. Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm and Clinique’s Take the Day Off are famed for their brilliance in this area but, if you’re on a budget, it can be hard to find a cheap formula that does the trick but doesn’t irritate your skin. Enter Korean cult favourite Clean It Zero, which has won loads of awards for doing exactly what the name on the tub implies: cleaning your face. Like all good cleansing balms, Banila co. Clean it Zero
melts into an oil upon contact with the skin and sloughs away all make-up. It doesn’t irritate sensitive skins or aggravate oiliness.
The CC cream that makes your skin an actual dream
My love affair with Erborian started when I needed to spend an extra £15 in Space NK to be eligible for a discount so, without thought, I handed over a mini tube of BB Crème au Ginseng to the sales associate. I’ll put it down to fate; Erborian has gone on to become my favourite Korean brand due to its clever blending of cosmetics and skincare. Erborian’s BB Cream is brilliant, but its CC Crème is possibly better – it boasts SPF 25, it adds a little bit of glow to the skin… it makes you look brilliant in a seconds, basically, (you could absolutely apply it in the dark, with your hands, and you’d still look polished), making it a favourite for both hungover weekends and running-late-for-work dashes.