Essences, serums, cleansers, moisturizers—they’re all essential to the Korean daily regimen. But assembling a comprehensive skincare routine living abroad is a pricey endeavor. So I had to ask, how do Korean women afford their notorious 10-step routines?products across the board are more affordable in Korea.
The Korean beauty market is hyper-competitive—much more so than the Western beauty space—and that drives prices way down. Low labor costs also contribute to the affordability. This high demand and saturated market create a feedback loop, which makes exploring products more accessible for a consumer. “You can get seven to 10 of them for under $50.” Apparently it’s as fun as it sounds.
But the importance of skincare doesn’t pervade the culture simply through omnipresent beauty shops and full medicine cabinets. It’s at the forefront of everyone’s minds as they go about their daily lives.
Women in Korea are so sensitive to UV light that they don’t even consider themselves safe indoors. People use gloves and visors as they’re driving to avoid sun exposure through the windshield.
These habits are formed long before you’re old enough to drive. In Korea, preventative skincare becomes a natural part of your lifestyle before you can even talk.
Just as westerns consider fitness and nutrition important for our overall health, Koreans think the same of skincare. “In Korea, skincare is not seen as a vanity thing, it’s not seen as a high-maintenance thing. It’s seen as a way to take care of yourself.”
In Europe,someone who stocks her bathroom with dozens of products might be considered superficial or obsessed with her looks. But in Korea, having a nonexistent skincare routine would be like eating fast food for every meal and avoiding exercise entirely. “It’s not something to be proud of,” .
Americans are empowered by knowledge of the food we put in our bodies. It’s important to us to know if our food is genetically modified or processed. We take that education and apply it to our lifestyles. In Korea, skincare is another one of those steps. It has been for centuries. The idea of customizing your treatments has been passed down through generations, tracing back to an era when people had to make their own products. They did so in small quantities, which allowed them to adjust the ingredients according to their skin’s needs. They might use a little more safflower oil on dry skin or tea tree oil for breakouts, just as we might add more vitamin C to our diet when we’re sick.
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