It's no surprise that lots of Korean women love their beauty rituals (who doesn't?!), to the point that they indulge in an exhaustive but effective 10-step skincare routine on a nightly basis. But what you might not know is this: Many actually take their intricate evening regimen even further by performing a series of stimulating facial massages that are said to tone facial muscles, tighten loose skin, brighten the complexion, and even slim the face.
Of course we wanted in on the #SokoSecret, so we enlisted Charlotte Cho, curator and co-founder of Soko Glam—everyone's favorite Korean beauty product e-commerce destination—to demonstrate exactly how it's done in this detailed eight-step GIF tutorial.
Step 1: Scoop a rich facial moisturizer (or night cream) into the palm of your hand.
"About a tablespoon should do it," says Cho. "You want to use a bit more than usual since you'll apply it all over your face and neck." Try: Etude House Collagen Moistfull Cream, $25; sokoglam.com
Step 2: Double down on the moisture by adding a drop of essence.
"It'll thin out the cream's texture and give it a slightly slicker consistency so that it can be massaged into your skin that much easier," adds Cho. Try: Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence, $20; sokoglam.com
Step 3: Rub the moisturizer + essence combination together in the palms of your hand for about 15 seconds to warm it up.
"Korean women believe the warmer the hand, the easier the product will absorb in the skin," explains Cho.
Step 4: Pat your skin to cover the entire face with the mixture.
"Place one hand on your forehead and the other hand on your chin and press for two seconds," Cho describes. "Then place both hands on either cheek and press for another two seconds. Repeat this twice—the goal is to transfer the product from your palms onto your skin. And make sure you press firmly; Korean women believe the firm pat and pressure will help the skin better absorb the product."
Step 5: Massage the midsection of your face with your fists.
"Doing this twice helps boost circulation," explains Cho. "Start just underneath your cheekbones, using the knuckles of your two pointer fingers. Move up toward the temples with an outward-to-inward motion."
Step 6: Make your way down the entire outline of the face.
"It promotes lymphatic drainage to help flush toxins and release fluid buildup, which can bloat the face. Koreans love anything that has to do with slimming the face," details Cho. "Using the knuckles of your pointer fingers again, smooth up alongside the nose to the top of your forehead, then move out and down the sides of your face—including the jaw," Cho continues.
Step 7: Use the pads of your forefingers to gently massage the area beneath your eyes to help reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.
"Start at the bridge of your nose and move outward," accounts Cho. "Be sure to lightly press on your temples to relieve pressure."
Step 8: End by kneading your neck with your fists.
"People usually neglect to take extra care of the skin on that part of the body, plus it helps relieve any tension you may be holding in that area," says Cho. "Move from the base of your neck up toward the chin with a pushing up motion."
"Remember that every massage step should be performed slowly and with light pressure," Cho concludes. "Tugging and rubbing with too much friction could result in the opposite effect of what this massage regimen is meant to achieve!"
Photo/GIF Credits: Kathryn Wirsing