There’s no one better to get insight on what makes the Korean beauty routine so appealing than beauty editors. After all, they have the chance to test products from different countries and experience every kind of skin care routine in the world. Today, we chat with Beth Wischnia, the beauty editor at Brit & Co., about what makes the Korean routine so special.
It’s safe to say that Beth is a full on convert to the Korean skin care routine. She uses primarily Korean products in her routine and she’s dedicated to completing ever step every single night. She even has the routine printed out and taped on the inside of her medicine cabinet!
When someone is this serious about Korean beauty and they’re a beauty editor at an esteemed publication, we know we have to pick their brain. Here, Beth shares her thoughts on what sets Korean skin care products apart from all the others, her personal favorite products, and where she sees Korean beauty going in the future.
As a beauty editor, how did you first get into Korean beauty?
It all started when I discovered double cleansing. I had never really taken that good care of my skin before by my standards. I always just did three basic steps. And then once I became a beauty editor, I was testing so many products and my skin got freaked out. Every day I was wearing something different, whether it was makeup or a moisturizer. I always had pretty good, consistent skin, but then I noticed my skin changed and it didn’t make me feel good because I was writing about all of this stuff and I was dealing with these issues myself, and on camera for shoots, it was just a total confidence shift. So I was like, I’ve got to figure this out.
I discovered double cleansing and thought, maybe I’m breaking out because I’m actually not thoroughly cleansing my skin enough. So I started following up my oil cleanser with a pH balancing foaming cleanser and things got better. I realized there’s more to cleansing than just taking off your makeup. That’s what initially piqued my interest and then I became complete obsessed. Once I started a dedicated routine, I noticed a lot of changes with my skin and it was just an addiction. I’ve always been a makeup junkie, but I am so much more obsessed with skin care now than makeup. When you can see it working, it’s really addicting, and in the past six months, I’ve been really dedicated.
Where did you get most of your information on Korean beauty?
I interviewed a lot of people who own Korean skin care companies and I did my own research. I’m reading Charlotte’s book, The Little Book of Skin Care. I love that book; it’s so good. I love her philosophy on skin care and the whole fact that it’s “me time” and honoring that time and looking forward to it, and considering it a relaxing experience instead of something you have to do as a chore.
I used to hate washing my face, but now it’s definitely something I look forward to every day. Charlotte has taught me a lot about the importance of properly using a topical vitamin C product. The Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid has been a big game-changer. Also, I love cleansing sticks now because of the Neogen Green Tea Cleansing Stick.
What makes the Korean beauty routine noteworthy compared to other routines?
I think it’s the consistency and the fact that it’s acceptable to take that time. American routines are looking for three, four, five-in-one products that will kill a million birds with one stone, and we just don’t have time for anything anymore.
The Korean routine teaches you to take time for things that matter. Whether it’s taking the time to prepare a healthy meal for lunch or taking the time to dedicate to your skin care routine at night because it makes you feel and look good. So I do think that the intentional and acceptable practice of skin care is unique to the Korean market, and I think and I hope that Americans are more open to that concept because we all benefit from taking dedicated “me time” every night or the start of every morning, even if it just means you might need a 15-step routine or it just means taking the time to take soak in the smell of a essential oil that you add to your moisturizer.
If you could tell your American readers to adopt one thing from the Korean routine, what would it be?
Use an essence. I’ve always moisturized my skin, but I never realized that moisturizing is everything. Even if you have oily skin, it’s everything. I think that proper hydration is a must. Essences have been such a game-changer for my skin. I use a royal jelly toner and then I use a super viscous essence. If I’m traveling, I’m not going to bring all 15 products, but I have to use those two. They’re non-negotiables. I notice the difference. I feel like hydration in the form of an essence is something that everyone can benefit from.
What are some of your favorite Korean products right now?
Right now, I’m really into the Missha Time Revolution Night Repair New Science Activator Ampoule. It makes my skin bright and keeps it feeling hydrated even when I wake up the next morning. A little goes a long way, too! For sheet masks, I love the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Hydro Gel Mask. Hydrogel sheet masks are my jam and so is anything with snail mucin in it, and this is like a one stop shop for masks—it intensely moisturizes the skin but also keeps everything clear. Also, the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Classic is affordable, effective, and lasts forever. It removes all of my makeup and gets the job done.
The Erborian BB Creme Au Ginseng is the best BB cream I have ever used, period. It’s creamy on the skin; it’s amazing. I’d describe the coverage as medium, which has allowed me to seriously dial down how much makeup I wear. I don’t even wear foundation anymore, just this stuff every day with some mascara, blush or bronzer, and brow gel. Speaking of brow gel, I’m obsessed with the Etude House Tint My Brows Gel. I love this stuff so much that I did a video on it. I have turned several friends onto it because once you use it, you’re like, how have I not known about this? I especially love this tint when I’m traveling so I don’t have to worry about dealing with any makeup. Oh, and I also always sleep in the tint so it lasts extra long.
How many steps do you have in your routine?
My average night right now contains 11 steps. I’m pretty into it. The second I walk into the door from work or from my day, I do my entire skin care routine, literally before I take my shoes off.
Wow, that’s amazing. As a beauty editor, where do you see Korean beauty going in the future?
I’ve been really excited to see it become more mainstream in the US, and hopefully to see Americans adopt these self-care practices that I think are really important.
In terms of product, people are going to start thinking about the neck, chest, and hands. I always put excess product on the back of my hands. I never really thought about it before, but there are other areas that show your age that many people forget about, so maybe there can be a focus on taking care of different parts of your body that show aging beyond your face. I’m also curious as to what the next hot ingredient is going to be. I’m definitely going to be here for it and I’m definitely going to try it and be obsessed with it, for sure.