The skin care industry is notoriously recession-proof. According to Euromonitor International, this industry even grew during the global recession between 2007 and 2011, by an addition of $15 billion to reach a value of $96.5 billion in total. And I’m betting that the Korean women were among the major contributors to this growth.
Of course, beautiful skin is admired and revered everywhere, but in Korea, it seems to be a national obsession. Women’s publications devote an extraordinary amount of space detailing the beauty regiments of celebrities with enviable skin. While we in North America would also consider skin care very important, I have yet to read Natalie Portman revealing the exact technique she uses to exfoliate her face in any magazine.
Of course there are slight variations depending on the individual, but on average, Korean women’s skin care routine involves 7-10 steps. With so many products used, the order of these steps is considered very important. So if you are curious about a typical skin care regiment of a Korean woman, here is a basic one outlined by a popular Korean TV show called Get It Beauty. This is not even counting any extra steps that may not be part of a daily regiment, such as exfoliation (night), BB cream (day), facial packs (night) among others.
4. Eye cream
5. Hydrating lotion
6. Moisture emulsion
7. Day/night cream
8. Facial oil (only for dry skin)
So the question remains, do Korean women have better skin than others? I haven’t searched for any clinical studies on the topic but if my unscientific scan during my short trip to Korea has any value at all, I don’t recall seeing anyone with bad skin on the streets or in public transit. But maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. I never thought I’d apply this quote to to a case like this but author Mary E. Pearson once said “Sometimes there’s not a better way. Sometimes there’s only the hard way.” Skin care is probably no different.