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January 17, 2019

This Is How I Got My Friend Into Korean Beauty — & Why She’s Now Hooked

What transpires when a K-beauty pro slowly and thoughtfully introduces a K-beauty newbie to the world of Korean skincare? To quote her: “Such a big difference!” Here, a peek into their conversation, including a newcomer’s perspective (intimidating), how she got started (slowly), and the one thing that made such a big difference in her skin. (And no, it wasn’t 10 steps.)


Working in the beauty industry, I’ve always had a semi-consistent stream of messages from friends, their family members, and coworkers asking my opinion on various products. But lately I’ve been getting an increasing number of questions specifically about K-beauty. Korean beauty has solidified itself as more than just a passing fad; online retailers are popping up every week, more and more content creators are making Korean beauty products a part of their online presence, and Korean skincare products are lining an increasing number of shelves at major retailers like Sephora, where competition is vicious and shelf space comes at a high price. Sometimes I feel like I’m so sucked into the skincare vortex now that I can forget how overwhelming this whole world of Korean beauty and skincare, or the beauty industry in general, can be.


So I wanted to let you in on a conversation I had with a friend, who we’ll call “S” from here on out, for her perspective. She recently got into K-beauty and bought her first product (it was a hydrating toner *proud mama tears*). (I’ll list myself as “L” in the conversation below.)


k-beauty newbie


L: What is your skin type, and do you have any concerns you’d like to tackle when it comes to skincare?


S: I have very dry skin, and I live in the Midwest right now, so during the winter it can get really bad. It’s mostly the dryness that’s a concern and maybe some redness I’ve got around my nose.


L: What would you say is your interest level when it comes to cosmetics and skincare?


S: I’d say I’m somewhere between a novice and someone who’s super into it. I don’t really keep up with a ton of new products and like, the latest news, but I definitely will do a little research before making a purchase, and I don’t mind making an investment in something that works well for me.


L: What was your perception of K-beauty before you started learning more about it?


S: It felt super overwhelming! I saw this stuff online about how there were supposed to be 10 steps, and then I saw 12-step routines, and I was like, “well, there’s no way I’m gonna be able to do that,” and it honestly made it feel very unapproachable. Like I said, I don’t mind putting some time and effort into my skincare and whatnot, but I don’t want to be spending more than 10 or 15 minutes getting ready to leave in the morning or go to bed. I didn’t even understand all the terms being used, like essence and emulsions and stuff, so that on top of the time commitment made it seem like something that just wasn’t for me.


k-beauty newbie


L: And how do you feel now that we’ve had a few conversations about K-beauty and just skincare in general?


S: I think it was good for me to learn that the whole K-beauty ideology is more about options rather than steps you absolutely have to take. The way skincare was presented to me before was sort of a very set, regimented system, and breaking away from that was kinda scary, but it’s cool to know I can do what I make time for and feel comfortable with.


L: Yeah, I feel like it really is about customization rather than requirements. I don’t know any Korean person who does a 10-step routine every single night.


S: That’s so not the perception I had before because the internet makes it seem like everyone does that, and I was just this crusty girl in the Midwest who forgets my moisturizer sometimes, lol.


L: How are you liking the hydrating step that you’ve integrated in your routine now that it’s been a month or two? Did you ever see yourself adopting something called the 7-skin method?


S: Definitely not. It sounded super time-consuming and strange at first, but it’s made such a difference! I usually do only four layers or so, but after a few days I’ve noticed such a big difference. I’ve used different face sprays and moisturizers and stuff that said they were hydrating, but they all felt really similar to me. There have been a few times where I’ve skipped the layers and did just one before sleeping, and I could tell my skin felt not as soft in the morning, it was crazy. I don’t think I can go back, to be honest, and it really didn’t take as much time as I thought it would.


k-beauty newbie


L: I get what you mean. When I explain my routine to people, I think it comes off way more intense and time-consuming than it actually is. It honestly takes me maybe five minutes or so.

Have you seen any other K-beauty products or trends that you think you want to try incorporating?


S: I’ve seen so many of those water creams that turn into droplets on Instagram, and they look so weird! I’d be interested in trying one of those. I also don’t wear sunscreen nearly as much as I should, so a Korean sunscreen would probably be something that would be good since I always hear people talk about how they’re lightweight and easy to use.


L: Is there anything you’d like people out there to know when it comes to getting into K-beauty?


S: Find a person to actually talk to or a source online that gives you an objective look at Korean skincare or makeup. The marketing can make it feel really overwhelming and not actually give you that much information. If I hadn’t talked to you about all this before getting into Korean skincare, I honestly would have continued to avoid it. My skin is so much happier because I did, hahaha!



I hope sharing our little chat gave you guys a look into some of the conversations I have pretty regularly, and also an idea of why we do what we do as the Beautytap editorial team. If you have any questions or need some guidance, please look through our articles (some beginner recommendations below) and/or reach out to our team! We’re here to help 🙂


The 5 basics of K-beauty you need to know before you get started (hint: hydration, hydration, hydration)


The essential skincare kit for newbies: How to get started


If you’re interested in the 10-step K-beauty skincare routine, you can read this, but hold on, before you freak out, also read Why you don’t need 10 steps  and how you can customize your routine to fit you.


And if you’re curious about what S says changed her skin for good, read how you can customize the 7-skin method to fit your time and needs here.


And as always, feel free to reach out to the K-Beauty Squad with all of your beauty (and even life) questions at [email protected]!


Are you a K-beauty newbie, or have you ever introduced a K-beauty newbie to Korean skincare? How did you go about it, and what was their first product? Share your experience below!





Born in Korea and raised in Washington, Leo is another 20-something member of the K-Beauty Squad that is as committed to his love of skincare as he is to wine and cheese covered snack foods. After working as an educator and trainer in the beauty industry, he joined the team at Beautytap to continue sharing his knowledge and passion for skincare and all things chok-chok. During his free time, he’s been spotted in the wild bingeing Netflix shows, blasting K-pop while playing video games, or (much more rarely) leaving his hovel to venture forth in search of cocktails and Korean BBQ.




I remember bringing my sister into the kbeauty world! Ever since then, she would come to me for advice and recommendations on products. It's very rewarding to see her happy with her skin. She recently told me that her coworkers have been complimenting her skin nonstop. She is now hooked onto COSRX's A-sol line and their cushion! :)

Not too long ago, my friend also got very interested into kbeauty. At first, she bought mostly drugstore brands and wasn't happy with her skin. She didn't know what she was doing wrong. This is where I stepped in and introduced her... Read more


I was dragged into kbeauty via a friend actually and then bypassed her and she comes to me for info/advice/what the new products are. I read a lot and spend so much time looking at skincare on instagram.

I've been asked a few times in the last week to start a blog about skincare because people DM me often to get info, but having my own blog isn't of interest to me right now. I actually prefer just coming on here and talking to people lol. Overwhelmingly though, most people that ask me questions do not have the same skin... Read more


Isn't talking about skincare like the most fun thing in the world? LOL I could talk all day about it.

And yes, when someone asks, what should I use for my oily skin, you have to ask a million follow-up questions before you actually get to the answer. Skincare is so personalized!

Love your IG btw!


Yes! I usually link people here or a few other sites because most ppl come to me with oil skin questions and I have the driest skin and have actually never experienced oily skin, not even in my T zone so I'm not very helpful.

But YEAH I could literally talk about skincare all day everyday, I even looked up esthetician programs and what that would look like LOL.

I love YOUR ig you travel everywhere wish it my *tear* dream!


The convo about skincare is seriously never ending and I feel like I could talk about it forever too, lol. Climates change, people get older, peoples bodies change, new product types come out; I feel like there's so many ways to tackle things too depending on peoples budget, time constraints, how much they actually enjoy certain things, the variables never end


I haven't pulled anyone deep into the abyss of K-beauty, but I have become a resource for my friends and family regarding skincare questions! I always love recommending K-beauty products because they're affordable, fun, and becoming more and more accessible.

Usually I'm asked how they can make their skin look like mine, and once I start rattling off my routine they ask about something hydration related like a moisturizer or serum. I always add that my secret is sunscreen - preventing things before they happen is key, and you work your way up from there!


Totally agree! Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. That was the first thing I told the mister when he started getting into skincare. It took a while, but now he's reasonably diligent about it, as well as his 4-step routine!

I took my sisters-in-law beauty shopping when we were in Seoul, and they totally revamped their routine. It's hard not to when there's so much good stuff at really reasonable prices!


LOL I do the same thing to; so many people ask me what my routine is and as soon as I get through like, 1/4 of what I do, I can see people's eyes glaze over because I know my routine is very intense for most people. I do love the affordability of super high quality products thought; I can't ever see myself not using Korean skincare products for that reason.