I'm someone who really cares about taking care of my skin, but simply doesn't have the time for a proper K-Beauty skincare ritual that can involve up to ten beauty products. I wish I had the time or the money for it, but I don't, so I'm taking snippets and incorporating them into my current routine. Two brands that I've been introduced to recently are really helping with my journey for perfect skin: Belif and Erborian. Both brands have their own unique take on K-Beauty, with Belif combining herbal apothecary traditions with Korean skincare, and Erborian being a French luxury brand based in Korean herbal sciences.
Belif has cut the 10-step K-Beauty routine down to 4 easy steps: Cleanse, Tone, Nourish, and Hydrate. I pretty much was doing a 3-4 step skincare routine before, but Belif's products are incredibly hydrating, and they're multi-taskers. When you use their cleansers, you won't feel like you have to cleanse multiple times. When you use their moisturizers, you won't feel the need to add extra booters/serums/etc to them. The key here is efficacy. I've been starting with the Cleansing Herb Water, which is full of herbs I would think are better for a salad than on my face, but it leaves my skin clean (but not dry!). It feels like a micellar water when you apply with a cotton pad, but you rinse this off with water. Skin is left clean, calm, and collected. Next step is to tone, which is normally where I feel like I'm cleaning up gunk that is leftover from cleansing, but I've been shockingly gunk-free since using Belif. The Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner is not your classic toner. It's kind of milky-looking, and doesn't contain harsh alcohol-based ingredients like traditional toners. Skin actually feels moisturized after this step, instead of stripped. Imagine that? (I actually could probably leave the house after this step because my skin feels so good, but if you skip step #4, you're really missing out).
Step 3, the nourish step, is quintessentially Korean. This is where you apply your Essences. Essences are like the booster shot for your moisturizers. They are highly concentrated formulas that target specific skin concerns. Belif has one for everyone, from a Sebum Control formula for people with acne-prone skin, to an Aqua Gel Oil formula for the driest of skin types.
The last step in the Belif system is the moisturizer. While there are several to choose from, I have to say that the True Cream Aqua Bomb is a personal favorite. I could talk about this product for days (and inevitably will be talking about it again) so I'll keep it short and sweet. This is a gel-cream formula that is intensely hydrating, while at the same time being lightweight. I think people with normal, combo, and oily skin can all benefit from this particular moisturizer.
Erborian has introduced me to the K-Beauty idea of a "sleep pack" or "sleep mask", which is basically just a nourishing mask that you can either wash off, or sleep in throughout the night. The Bamboo Waterlock Sleep Mask is actually out of this world. I want to sleep in it every night but am afraid that's too excessive. I'll just stick to once a week &/or for special occasions, but I want to wake up every morning with my skin feeling so good. The superstar ingredient in this product is Bamboo Sap and fibers (don't worry, it does not feel sticky in any way), which is incredibly nourishing. It's full of amino acids, proteins, and lipids that your skin just drinks up over the course of the night.
Erborian certainly didn't introduce me to the concept of a cleansing oil, but DAMN their Solid Cleansing Oil is good. It smells good, it feels good, and it gets my skin super clean. It contains a "seven herbs complex" that soothes the skin, so even though it's cleansed, you won't feel dry in the slightest. It starts off in solid form, and you scoop a little bit out with the spatula that comes in the package. Once you apply it to your face, the heat transforms it into an oil. Then you apply a little water and it changes textures again, almost like a milk or lotion, as you rinse it away. It rinses clean away and doesn't leave a bunch of residue on the skin.