The multi-step Korean skin care routine can be confusing. While it may be to follow all the steps blindly for the sake of glass skin, it's better to know what each product or step if for to see if we truly need it. We already know about toners, essences and serums, but what about emulsions? How do they differ from essences and serums and can it replace those products and even other moisturizing elements?
Soko Glam's The Klog explains that emulsions offer the benefits of a moisturizer but in a more lightweight formula. They're meant to seal in all the hydration benefits of an essence or a serum, so most Koreans use it as a continuance of their treatments.
Typically, an emulsion goes between a serum and a creamier moisturizer since the consistency of an emulsion is heavier than a serum but lighter than a cream. Think of it as a watered-down version of your moisturizer. Remember, dermatologists suggest that when layering skincare products, you start with the lightest consistency and end with the heaviest.
Since emulsions are lightweight moisturizers and are usually water-based, those with oily skin can use it solely as their moisturizer before applying sunscreen. You skin will still get the hydration it needs without the heavy feeling and possibility of clogged pores which comes with a cream-based moisturizer. If you also live in a hot and humid state, an emulsion is a great alternative. Just make sure that the emulsion you choose is specifically for hydration as some target other skin concerns. Try Dewytree Ultra Vitalizing Snail Emulsion, Etude House Soon Jung 10-Free Moist Emulsion or Etude House Moistfull Collagen Emulsion. If you're also recovering from overexfoliation, adding an emulsion to your skincare routine will help your moisture barrier recover.
Emulsions are also ideal for acne-prone skin in the same way that they're good for oily skin - they offer enough hydration without clogging pores that will result to more breakouts. You can try these emulsions that are formulated for acne-prone skin: Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion is formulated with beta hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and excess oil, centella asiatica to calm inflammation and hyaluronic acid to deliver oil-free hydration, Dr. Oracle A-Thera Emulsion features bamboo and green tea extracts to moisturize and calm irritated skin, while Aromatica Tea Tree Balancing Emulsion has tea tree that is well-known to combat acne.
You can also find several emulsions outside of the K-beauty market. Coveteur spoke to several dermatologists about emulsion skincare and here are their recommendations:
This emulsion can replace your moisturizer and sunscreen and isn't that economical and convenient? The Shiseido White Lucent Day Emulsion is ideal for those who are dealing with dull skin, hyperpigmentation, or dark spots.
For sun damaged skin, try this emulsion with a very high SPF protection. This is yet another multi-tasking product that moisturizes skin while protecting it from the sun's harmful rays.
If you want to try using retinoids but have sensitive skin, try this retinoid emulsion from The Ordinary. With this cult brand, you know you're getting quality skincare without the heavy price tag.
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