South Korean men lead the world in per capita spending on male skincare products. The rise of the metro-sexual male, changing attitudes towards male masculinity, social attitudes towards appearances and strive towards youthfulness have made male skincare products a billion (US) dollar industry in South Korea.
South Korea men, similar to their women, strive towards healthy and youthful skin, and beauty glowing from within. They too aim towards the glass skin of poreless, translucent and luminous quality; or even the latest beauty standard of chok-chok skin (dewy, bouncy and youthful fresh).
The South Korea men skincare routine is very similar to the women’s multi-step routine. Let’s briefly outline the typical South Korea men’s 10-step skincare routine:
1. Oil Cleansing
Cleansing with oil based cleanser to effectively remove sunscreen and pollutants from the face.
2. Foam Cleansing
Double cleanse with a water-based cleanser for added measure to thoroughly clean what is left behind or any oil-based cleanser residue from the face.
3. Exfoliate (Once a week)
Exfoliate once a week to remove dead skin cells and clear pores.
Most South Korean toners are less harsh than the Western counter parts. Many are alcohol-free toners. It hydrates the skin, balances ph levels, exfoliates, clams and tightens skin and shrinks pores.
Spray essence to hydrate and prep the skin to absorb the other products better.
Light weight concentrated nutrients with active ingredients that penetrate into the skin.
7. Mask (once a week)
Use a sheet mask once a week to hydrate and add nutrients to the skin.
8. Eye Cream
Use an eye cream to moisturize the area near the eyes to lessen the visible signs of ageing.
Hydrate to keep the skin smooth and discourage wrinkles and fine lines.
10. SPF sunscreen for day / Night Cream for night
Use a sunscreen during the day to protect from the harmful UV rays which could lead to premature ageing of skin.
Use a night cream to hydrate and protect the skin barrier while you rest.
The Korean 10-step skincare programme for men compared
The 10-step programme is basically similar to the traditional basic 3-step programme popular in the West, consisting of cleanse, tone and moisturize. Only in that, instead of choosing between which type of cleanser – water based or oil based, you use both. Similarly where it comes to toning, instead of choosing one from toner and essence and even serum (kind of in-between toner and moisturizer), you use them all.
The South Korean 10-step routine for men can somewhat be a commitment as it involves time and monetary cost. The important question is whether it is appealing to the larger segment of men. First and foremost, do men fully stick with the traditional 3-step programme? Do many on some (most) days skip a step or two (namely the toner and/or moisturizer)? For these guys, the 10-step programme may be a tall order.
However, the 10-step programme does encourage some men to evaluate their skincare regime, to assess if their current regime is working for them and if they have changed their goals. There are some merits to the use of some of the products. To some, the realistic goals could be to cut it down to the bare essentials that they feel they can commit to and stick with.