Lancome's Miracle Cushion foundation is top of our Korean beauty lust list
Meet the 'cushion' foundation, set to be as big as BB cream. It's essentially a compact containing a sponge saturated with a hydrating, protecting base and a pad to apply it with. Lancome is the first to bring it to the UK market, showcasing their Miracle Cushion, £29.50 at the Baftas this year, and we want in. And it doesn't stop there, with everything from cushion blushers to cushion eyeliner, this is a beauty trend we can see spreading to every part of our makeup bag.
Shape Up Your Blusher
Us Brits might be obsessed with getting selfie-ready contouring nailed, but our Korean friends are all about adding youthful blusher, not Kim K cheekbones. Forget sculpting bronzers, a well-placed puff of round blusher high on the cheekbone adds an instant pop of Anime. In a good way. And speaking of cushions… the oh-so adorable cushion blusher has arrived.
Peripera, a Korean makeup company, have launched the easiest, and by far the cutest (yes makeup can be cute) blusher we've ever seen. The Ah Much Real My Cushion Blusher is a liquid blush that comes in a tube with a cushion applicator attached to it. Perfect for those of us who still haven't mastered tricky contouring, all you have to do is dab the cushion on to your cheeks and use the sponge to blend it out.
Still not feeling too confident? They've got that covered as well. Enter the blusher stencil. Yup, it's a thing, and we're obsessed.
Similar to eyebrow stencils, these colourful cut outs come in three different shapes to suit your face and you just colour in the gap with blusher. Still a bit too much faff? Rub your blusher on instead. One of Korea's biggest sellers, Mai Couture's cute, complexion-boosting papers are infused with bronzer, blusher or highlighter. Head to Beauty Mart where the stencils and papers are coming soon!
The 11 Step Skincare Routine
Yep, you heard right, 11. For Korean women there's nothing more important than amazing skin and they'll go to any lengths to get it. So wave your face wipes goodbye (and set your alarm a whole lot earlier), this is the new skincare routine (read: regimen) you need to know about.
HELPFUL TIP: Generally the order in which you apply products should go from thinnest to thickest, so first would be a thin oil or water cleanser then last would be a thicker SPF or night cream. If you ever get lost (and trust us, with 11 steps it's easy to), you can't go too wrong with this theory.
Sounds familiar right? Wrong. These exfoliators are like nothing you've used before. Used 2-3 times a week, gommage peels allow dead skin to simply roll off your face using a mix of botanical and fruit extracts. Heads up, fermented ingredients is also a massive Korean trend, we'll get to that in a bit.
FUN FACT: Korean exfoliators often contain micro-pearls that flatten under your fingertips and roll over the skin to remove impurities and dead skin cells but also to stop your fingers directly touching your face so the whole process is way more hygienic. Erborian's Creme Scrub does just that and contains seven Korean herbs for skin that's smoother and more radiant. So now you know.
2. Oil Cleanser
Korean women typically use two cleansers (of course) starting with an oil-based cleanser to remove make-up and other impurities.
3. Water-based Cleanser
Following the oil cleanser with a water-based cleanser removes any residue. The key is to find a gentle one that won't strip or dry out your skin.
Helping to re-balance the skin's pH level after cleansing, toners also prepare your face for the next 7 steps of your regiment still to come. Don't be tempted to skip this step, toners often help even skin pigmentation and help moisturise and brighten. So there.
Sorry what? Yup, this is a new one for us as well. More fluid and less concentrated than serums, their main purpose is to moisturise and help prepare your skin even more for what's about to hit it. Your face is a sponge people and hydration is the key. Just do it, ok?
6. Serums and Ampoules
Oooh we were so close to knowing what this one was all about and then Ampoules turned up. Generally it's one or the other with Ampoules often being way more concentrated so you only use them once a week. These guys are formulated with active ingredients that target specific needs for your skin type. Now is the time to customise your routine to suit you, whether it's fine lines, hyper pigmentation or dehydration you want to banish. Use Missha's Night Repair Ampoule, £35 daily for skin that practically bounces back.
7. Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes is super delicate and easily dehydrated so you need a protecting cream that can de-puff as well. Apply a dot of cream with your ring finger lightly around your eye socket. It doesn't get much cuter than Tony Moly's So Cool Eye Stick, £7.
Finally, something we already do! Moisturiser creates a barrier that will lock in all the other steps so they don't evaporate out of your skin.
This is only for your morning application (we're assuming you're not sunbathing at night). SPF is huge in Korea as women try to keep their skin as pale as possible as a sign of beauty. So slightly different to our British love of fake tan… Finish off the routine with a sun cream or BB cream that contains SPF.
10. Sheet Masks
Possibly the biggest (and scariest) beauty trend to hit instagram since no-makeup selfies, sheet masks are huge in the world of Korean skincare. Containing the same active ingredients as serums, investing in a variety of different masks means you can customise your routine depending on what your skin needs. Our fave? SNP's ones that look like panda faces, £19.99, obvs.
11. No-Rinse Sleeping Masks
Yes, we made it! 10 steps down and we're almost done. Technically an optional extra, sleeping masks are perfect for making your skin work harder while you're having a kip. Making the most of your heightened skin regeneration while you sleep, no-rinse masks feel like creams and stay on your skin all night. Beauty sleep has never been so literal.
Weird As Hell Ingredients
We can 't fault them for trying, Korea's range of skincare ingredients is vast. And weird. Definitely weird. With snail slime, bee venom, fermented fruit extracts and donkey milk becoming regular skincare staples, it all sounds a bit ridiculous, but after that 11 step routine, we get the feeling they know what they're doing. Why not combine all the fun things and try Whamisa's epic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask or Mizon's Snail Repair Eye Cream, £18? Just maybe don't answer the door while you do...