Recently, the Korean beauty “12-step face care routine” has exploded in popularity. While the idea of using upwards of a dozen products on your face might sound unappealing, the core message of these routines is all about self-care and customization. Before you dismiss the idea entirely, keep in mind that you can pick and choose which steps you want to try out.
That being said, a great place to start is by adding an emulsion or two, especially since we are finally transitioning from winter weather to warmer days. Emulsions are primarily intended to function as moisturizers, but some can also serve other purposes like pore care, sun protection and even mild exfoliation.

What is an Emulsion in Skin Care?

In the world of Asian beauty, terms like “essence,” “serum,” “ampoule,” and “emulsion” are sometimes used interchangeably. This can get confusing quickly if you’re not familiar with the role each of these products is meant to fill.

To put it simply, an emulsion is basically just a specially-crafted moisturizer made with ingredients that don’t typically play nicely with each other. For example, we all know that, no matter how hard we try, oil will very stubbornly sit on top of water and not mix. However, when they are mixed at the right temperatures along with another ingredient like glycerin, the result is a light, creamy moisturizer with the texture of a thin lotion.

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What Skin Types Benefit From Adding An Emulsion?

Because emulsion skin care isn’t watery like a serum or heavy like a cream, it ends up being a pretty versatile part of the Asian facial care routine. If your skin tends to be oily, hydrating emulsions are the best way to keep your skin supple without clogging your pores or making your face feel greasy.

If your skin is the normal, dry or combination type, an emulsion is a great “sandwich step” in your morning or evening skincare routine. These three skin types often need more moisture than oily skin, which means an emulsion alone is usually not enough. However, when you “sandwich” a light product like this between other moisturizing steps, it allows your skin to absorb more goodness and hold onto the moisture better.


Why Do I Need One?

Because they are a light mixture of powerhouse moisture ingredients, these products absorb quickly and generally do not leave a sticky, heavy feeling. This means they are perfect for a boost of morning moisture under your normal SPF and makeup. Some of them are even designed to leave a silky, matte finish on your skin, which means it can pull double duty as a makeup primer. Products that save time and money are always a plus.

When you update your wardrobe this spring, consider updating your skincare wardrobe as well by adding an emulsion or two for a fresh, dewy face.