Brown skin deserves good press, good products, and the perfect personalized beauty routine, oftentimes it doesn’t get that. We’re here to remedy that for you. By pulling together the perfect 5 step routine for melanin rich skin, inspired from a culture with such a behemoth beauty culture, it’s internationally irreproachable. The Korean skin care industry.
If you have a working knowledge of what it takes to achieve a perfect healthy looking complexion without makeup, you can easily take what you need from a beauty industry that seems to overlook brown skin. You don’t have to ask permission to sit at the beauty table any longer.
“Yet despite the boom in specialty products, those with deeper skin tones have traditionally found options for their specific concerns to be limited at best. Melanin-rich skin has its own set of unique challenges—uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmentation, and overactive sebaceous glands being the most prevalent among them.” -SIRAAD DIRSHE, for Vogue.com
Understanding The Importance of a Good Skin Care Routine
Korean skin care can be referenced as a working knowledge of how to treat your skin. The perfect step-by-step faultless plan. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to take a “for busy people '' condensed 5 step (it’s normally 10) Korean skin care routine, presented on cosmopolitan's, Everything you need to know about Korean skincare routines, and tailor it to women with melanin-rich skin tones. Because while our beautiful brown skin might seem ageless, UV damage proof (a harmful myth), and doesn’t need a self-tanner (but can still rock some St.Tropez, if it wants), it still has its own set of challenges.
Women with deeper skin are prone to uneven skin tones, hyper-pigmentation, and oily skin bumps from overactive sebaceous glands. Oftentimes our beauty routines and big beauty brands don’t reflect our unique needs or the products that could help aren’t marketed toward us.
There’s a lack of education on what melanin-rich skin needs. We can remedy this with three steps:
1. a good working knowledge of melanin rich skin hot zones
2. a good routine
3. good products.
Korean women are notorious for their ageless complexions and phone filter-like clear skin. If you’ve ever wondered why, it’s because of their skin care routine; crafted from a good working knowledge of their skin’s needs. Ten rigorous steps of every day self care. Western cultures like here in America are more likely to spend money on makeup ( to cover up flaws enhance beauty, self-expression) whereas the Korean beauty market is dominated by skin CARE products. Culturally, young Korean women may grow up watching their mothers perform their 10-step skin care routine, so it doesn’t seem like a ‘task’ to them. 10-steps will most definitely seem like a task for us, American women, an expensive one at that.
So, we’re going to be working with only 5/10 steps in a traditional Korean skin care routine, therefore saving you some money and time. While still giving your brown skin the good press, good products, and perfect personalized beauty routine that will leave it effortlessly glowing.
Using the 5-step skin care template from Korean beauty blogger, Vicky Lee, we’ll address the problems we think dominate the arena of melanin rich skin.
“[...]This is why I have created a condensed version of the classic 10-step regime below, which saves time and still yields amazing results[...]Step 1. Wash with water, Step 2. Toner, Step 3. Serum/Ampoule, Step 4. Eye Cream, Step 5. Moisturizer with SPF.” - Korean beauty blogger, Vicky Lee Founder of Sorabelle.com
Step 1. Wash with Water Only (in the A.M., save the cleanser for evenings.)
The benefit of a water rinse is that your skin won't dry out, and this can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, says Kally Papantoniou, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. (Remember though, a cleanser-free rinse may have the opposite effect if you're wearing makeup.” -Prevention.com
Before we might have thought a vigorous scrub might be the first thing to do in the morning to combat skin related issues, but in the end you might just be drying your skin out. If you have a deeper skin tone, you probably have sensitive skin, adding pressure to get your skin care routine right. Go ahead and raise your hand if that’s you, now stick that hand under the faucet and give that sleepy face of yours a nice water rinse, sans the soap.
Regarding sensitivity, people of color are twice as likely to have sensitive skin, which means our skincare products need to be clean with limited additives – especially the products we use every day[...].” -absolutejoi.com, a clean beauty brand for black women
Step 2. Toner
Choose a toner that will help with uneven skin tone, which is a typical problem-area for people with deeper skin tones. Look for the ingredient, lactic acid or extracts that help with skin cell growth (proliferation) or skin brightening (for those pesky dark spots).
“Looks like water, acts like water, but you know it’s so much more. CACTUS WATER combines Lactic Acid with a rainbow of vegetable & plant extracts to balance and promote evenness in your skin.. Mic drop. Immediately after cleansing with MUGSHOT, saturate a cotton round and smooth over face, neck and chest.” -Freckbeauty.com
“This toner has a pH level of 5.5 to effectively balance your skin. Peony extract and a high concentration of licorice water - both natural brighteners - seep into skin to add an extra dose of luminosity to your complexion. Green tea extract also helps calm and reduce pigmentation, including acne scars and dark spots. After use, skin feels clean and smooth, not dry or tight.” - Sokoglam.com
Step 3. Ampoule/ Serum
You might be wondering, “what the heck is an ampoule?” It’s a fancy word for a serum with a higher concentration of active ingredients. Make sure if you chose to include an ampoule in your routine you make sure to: 1. Use it before the serum (if you include both). 2. Make sure you check the label to see if it can be used daily or weekly.
For women of color we recommend choosing a serum with ingredients that help deal with problem areas like skin discoloration and hyper-pigmentation.
A Vitamin C serum might just be what you need before you head the door. The antioxidant properties will help fight the fight free radicals your skin will come in contact with throughout the day. Preventing free radicals damage, will help prevent skin discoloration from broken blood vessels and brown spots, all culprits of said free radical damage.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which is an incredibly important quality that plays a role in combating dark spots. ... Vitamin C helps to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which helps to prevent melanin production. Plus, it significantly lightens pigmentation but does not lighten normal skin.” - circcell.com
“Skin brightening: Vitamin C, a powerful brightening ingredient with antioxidant benefits, inhibits melanin production for a perfectly bright and even complexion.” -vitabird.com
“Vitamin C and Magnesium visibly energize skin and make it look even. Milky emulsion soaks in immediately with no sticky residue. Skin looks radiant and feels recharged, like a fresh battery at 100%. Good to know: hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, paraben free, fragrance free, appropriate for all skin types, cruelty free.” -glossier.com
If your melanin rich skin suffers from overactive sebaceous glands, you might want to swap the vitamin C for a serum containing Salicylic acid. Salicylic acid will help with the overactive skin glands.
“Salicylic acid works by loosening and breaking apart desmosomes [attachments between cells in the outer layers of the skin]. This action encourages exfoliation of skin and unclogging of pores. ... Salicylic acid can reduce sebum secretion, which is another way it can help reduce acne.” -huffpost.com
Step 4. Eye Cream
While every ethnicity suffers from dark circles, the issue often plagues women of color (think African-Americans, Southeast Asians and Latinas) a bit more than their paler counterparts. “Dark circles are usually a combination of genetics, allergic/sensitive skin, and hollowness below the eyes, in the so-called tear trough area,” explains Dr. Donna Bliu Martin. “Often dark circles can be improved with a combination of lightening creams, injectable filler treatments, and laser treatments.” -coveteur.com
We’re not going to go as far as this dermatologist suggests, you can skip the injections and lasers and try step 4. In our Korean skin care, look for good eye cream. Look for an eye cream that contains caffeine.
By narrowing blood vessels and calming skin, caffeine can temporarily reduce under-eye bags. Caffeine can also wake up tired eyes by reducing the appearance of dark circles, informs Dr. Mariwalla.” - dermstore.com
“A wake-up call for your eyes, this cream works wonders for the under-eye area, helping to reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles. The added Matrxyl 3000™ peptide can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, while the hydrating, lightweight texture provides a perfect canvas for makeup.” - THE INKEY LIST
Step 5. MOISTURIZE WITH SPF
We all know about the magic of melanin. According to Dr. Meena Singh of the Kansas Medical Clinic, “patients with darker skin tones have a natural SPF of 13” — but when it comes to the sun's damaging effects, the power of melanin is hugely overstated. [...]However, this lack of awareness isn’t a myth that comes from the Black community itself. It starts with the medical community. Historically, the field of medicine hasn’t given Black people adequate medical care, and the field of dermatology is no exception.” - Healthline.com
"Sunscreen made by women of color for people of color, because we get sunburned too. We have created a sunscreen for every day use. We’ve worked to create a product filled with natural ingredients that will protect your skin from the sun and doubles as a moisturizing lotion."-Blackgirlsunscreen.com
Take care of that skin ladies and skip the foundation next time, age slower, and look radiantly beautiful in your brown skin.
---BCRX Content Creator, Klarrisa Arafa