America does a lot of things amazingly well, better than anyone else. Brunch, Christmas lawn decorations, long-winded superhero movie franchises, highly and weirdly competitive high school sports, Halloween costumes, BBQ, The Office — the list could go on awhile. The one thing we aren’t known and praised for though, my American ladies, is skincare.
For the last several years, American skincare has seen a spike in Korean and French influences, and it’s easy to see why — the effortless beauty of the French and the impossible perfection of Korean complexions are enviable to say the least. While products play a huge roll in their flawless faces, there are several skincare habits that French and Korean women don’t engage in.
Relying on Makeup Remover Wipes
When you look at the prevalence of makeup remover wipes in American skincare versus Korean or French, you’ll notice drastically fewer offerings among the former. This is because Korean and French women know that while makeup wipes might work in a pinch every once in a while, they are in no way sufficient for cleansing your skin properly. Cleansing agents and surfactants in wipes help to break down makeup and debris, but you actually need to rinse your face after in order to remove the layer of bacteria that wipes leave behind.
Having a balm or cream cleanser on hand for those nights when you really just can’t be bothered to remove your makeup makes it easier not to skip this incredibly important nightly skincare step. These cleansers will melt away every last stitch of makeup and only require a quick rinse before bed.
The better use of an exfoliating facial scrub might be to do your dishes, as all types of physical exfoliants are definitely not created the same. St. Ives Apricot Scrub continues to be one of the most purchased skincare products in the United States, despite being involved in a class action lawsuit which challenges the brand’s “dermatologist tested” claims and posits that the granular exfoliants, derived from walnut shells, accelerate the aging process by causing micro tears on the skin’s surface.
We love a good scrub in the States, and while chemical exfoliation is still the best way to remove dead skin cells, you don’t have to completely give up on the satisfaction of a physical exfoliant — just choose them wisely. Avoid large particle scrubs and ones containing micro beads, as they are known water pollutants.
Cleansing in the Shower
The extremely humid and hot atmosphere in your shower is the least ideal place for your products to live. The unstable temperature is not only going to break down your products at an accelerated rate, but the otherwise mild surfactants in your cleansers become highly irritating when applied to your sensitized skin while in a hot shower.
Try to keep your cleansers in climate-controlled environments — your bedroom is most ideal, but a medicine cabinet is still better than in your shower caddy. And always wash your face with cool to lukewarm water at your sink before stepping into a steamy shower.
Not Using Enough Products
Washing your face and slapping on a moisturizer might be enough for a select few of you out there, but for the majority of the ladies on the quest for beautiful skin, that’s just not going to cut it. Korean women have made the 10 Step Method famous, but we’ll be the first to admit that we don’t have nearly enough time for applying ten different products every single morning and night.
Depending on your skin goals, whether you’re looking to brighten, clear up, or maintain a youthful glow — everyone benefits from an antioxidant serum and a moisturizing toner.
Not Investing Where it Matters
There are plenty of places to save money within your skincare regimen, and thankfully only a couple steps really require a big spend. As a rule of thumb, your “utility” products should never be at a price point that you can’t see yourself comfortably spending every other month. Cleansers, moisturizers, toner, and essences go on your skin twice a day every day and serve to clean and moisturize, not reinvent the wheel.
Your specialized products, like serums and acid treatments, require more complicated formulations and should come from reputable brands or at prescription strength; therefore, they will cost a little extra.