The Korean attitude towards youthfulness and anti-aging is much more 'prevention' than it is 'cure', advocating good skincare and lifestyle practises from a young age to ensure the appearance of younger looking skin for longer. I've learnt many a tip and trick over the years from my Korean family so today, I thought I'd share a few preventative measures with you, that you can start right now. I'm often asked about my favourite specific products so I'll try to include those too for you!
THE KOREAN FACIAL MASSAGE
Giving yourself a massage during your skincare routine is a great way to aid lymphatic drainage, muscle stimulation and cirulation and keep your face looking firmer for longer. My mother has incorporated facial massage into her routine, often during cleansing and moisturiser application, and she has incredible skin, with still not a wrinkle in sight. You can estimate a good, Korean-style massage cream by mixing an oil like jojoba or vitamin E, in with your moisturiser, or try using a balm that has some slip and slide. Massaging with a cleansing oil is what I find works best for my lifestyle and I've amassed quite the collection! For an affordable option, I love this one from Boom De Ah Dah, or the IASO Ghassoul Black oil. For mid-range, heading into premium I love the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm or the NoTS cleansing oil, and for high end it's got to be the Shu Anti-Oxi+ and The History Of Whoo JinYul Hyang oils.
I often use an app (I couldn't find a link but just search Facial Massage) which has a 5 minute anti-aging massage you can sit and follow in real time - it's really straightforward, quick and easy. There are countless videos etc out there too for tutorials so I'll link a few resources that I like for you:
DON'T NEGLECT THE LIPS!
I'm sure we all know about applying lipbalm and keeping your lips hydrated, but one trick I've learnt from my aunt is to make sure the area immediately outside your lipline is sufficiently cared for. I mean, when you think about it, it makes complete sense, as the fine lines that age you tend to occur just around the mouth rather than necessarily on it. Lip masks, like this one from Primera, are a popular, everyday item in Korea but you can cheat a quick and easy at home version by applying Unpetroleum or caster oil around the mouth and leaving it to sink in for 20 minutes - although NB this feels rather similar to the 'trying not to lick your lips after eating a donut' challenge!
WEAR A BASE INFUSED WITH SKINCARE
One way to extend your anti-aging regime is to use makeup infused with skincare, something which is commonplace for many a Korean woman. Cushion foundations are a prime example, and in particular my current favourites, the Troipeel H+ and Troiareuke A+ cushions - I haven't been able to put these babies down lately! I actually have one on my dressing table and the other in my 'weekender bag' as I'm seemingly forever away. Both contain anti-aging adenosine, as well as niacinamide to brighten, and the skin-soothing antioxidant Centella Asiatica. Take a look at my review and try on of the H+ here, and I'll be showing more of the A+ very soon!
HYDRATE 24/7, ON THE INSIDE AND OUT
It's no secret that if you want younger-looking, soft, supple skin then keeping it hydrated is a must. Herbal or medicinal teas are really popular in Korea, making use of medicinal roots, dried fruits or ginseng etc - my particular faves are quince or dried persimmon yum! Keep yourself hydrated from the inside out with plenty of water and herbal teas, and as for skincare, it's all about facial sprays and gel masks. Choose a mist with lots of humectants and antioxidants to boost the anti-aging effects - my favourite two are the Troiareuke Skin Complex Formula (review here) and the Real Radiance Mist from The Saem, both deliciously hydrating, although the latter is pretty difficult to find! (I'm excited to try the new Marc Jacobs mist too, anyone else?) As for gel masks, I positively love the Dearpacker Rose & Black Tea mask (review here), my skin just feels so plumped and saturated after using it. And don't forget to use the code BARELYTHEREBEAUTY at BBcosmetic to get 8% off your basket (I don't make anything from this code btw, the more you know etc ;)
SAUNA + STEAM
One thing I miss about Korea, and something I positively relish in whenever we go back, are the spas. While here in the UK, they're considered more of a luxury experience, in Korea they're inexpensive and commonplace - when living in Seoul, my mother used to go to a spa several times a week - I. Miss. It! On a basic level, sitting in a sauna or steam room opens your pores and detoxifies your skin, leaving it feeling refreshed and youthful. Your can create your own spa-like ritual by running a hot bath - as hot as you can bear, adding bath oils to keep your skin supple and hydrated, and exfoliating your skin with a Korean mitt - 시원하다! (read, refreshing!) Keep your face out of the water and let the rising steam detoxify those pores! After a good soak, I love reclining back and sitting on a sheet mask - these Blithe Abalone masks are exquisite and so hydrating, and here are a selection I'm loving:
It's common knowledge how proficient a contributor the sun can be towards premature aging, so forgive me if this tip sounds completely banal and obvious! Wearing a high factor sunscreen is paramount, even in cloudy weather, and many Korean products contain SPF 50, broad spectrum sunscreens, in many forms, so it's easy to get your protection. I love the O Hui red (anti-aging) and Earth's Recipe sunscreens, although a loose sun powder is good for applying over makeup. Also using enough sunscreen is important, you want to be using around a 10p sized blob, for adequate protection. If you really want to step up your anti-aging game, then keeping your face out of the sun entirely is the best bet. In Korea, there's a very different attitude towards sunbathing and being out in the sun - summer in Seoul looks like a sea of hats and parasols!
START ON THE INSIDE
The keystone to a Korean anti-aging regime starts with food, and adequate fluids. The Korean diet is inherently healthy, with more fruits and vegetables than you can shake a stick at, an absence of butter, cheeses, sugars and unhealthy fats, and a distinct lack of desserts. Fermented foods, like kimchi and doen-jang, aid digestion and ensure vitamins and minerals are appropriately absorbed and used by the body. They also have a vast range of fresh, iron-rich spring greens, so it's easy to eat some sort of leafy green at every meal time. Whenever I go to Korea, I eat more than I do at home, lose weight, and come back with better skin and hair - it's really a fully comprehensive, healthy diet. Here are some classics to try:
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